The world’s biggest inoculation drive against the coronavirus is set to begin in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, a day after India’s drugs regulator approved two vaccines for restricted emergency use.
Lauding scientists and technicians for the “Made in India” vaccines, he said the country was proud of them.
“World’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination programme set to begin in India. For this, the country is proud of the contributions of its scientists and technicians,” Mr. Modi said.
India’s drugs regulator on Sunday approved Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine Covishield made by the Serum Institute of India, and the indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, for restricted emergency use, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.
Addressing scientists at the National Metrology Conclave, Mr. Modi also said that it must be ensured “Made in India” products not only have a global demand but also global acceptance.
“Quality is as much important as quantity, our standards should rise with our scale in our quest for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’,” he stressed.
The PM said that in any progressive society, research was key, and its effects were commercial and social.
“We do not want to fill the world with Indian products, but we must win the hearts of every customer of Indian products in every corner of the world,” he said.
Quality of services in our country and products, both public or private sector, will determine India’s strength in the world, he stressed.
The PM pointed out that, historically, countries have progressed in direct correlation to their effort to promote science. He termed this “value creation cycle” of science, technology and industry.
Mr. Modi said scientific invention creates technology and this leads to industrial development. Industry, in turn, invests further in science for new research.
“This value creation cycle of science to mass creation has become all the more important in today’s world, when the country is moving forward with the goal of ‘Aatmanirbhar’ India. CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) will have to play its role in this,” he said.
Mr. Modi also dedicated the National Atomic Timescale and the ‘Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya Pranali’ to the nation, and laid the foundation stone for the National Environmental Standards Laboratory through video conference.
The conclave was organised by the CSIR-National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi, on its 75th year of inception. The NPL is one of the oldest laboratories in the country.
NPL has adopted an international practice for the production of Indian Certified Reference Material (CRM) Trademarked as ‘Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya’.
Describing the NPL as India’s timekeeper, Mr. Modi said it also has the responsibility to change the future of India. He urged the institute to “come forward and play an important role in keeping with the new standards and benchmarks to proceed towards forging a self-reliant India”.
Mr. Modi said metrology also sets the foundation for any scientific achievement and no research can proceed without measurements.
“Even our achievement has to be measured on some scale. The credibility of the country in the world will be dependent on the reliability of its metrology. Metrology is like a mirror showing us our standing in the world, the scope for improvement,” he said.
Talking about the the ‘Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya’, he said this would help industry to make quality products in sectors like heavy metals, pesticides, pharma and textiles by drafting a “Certified Reference Material System”.
Mr. Modi noted that now industry was moving towards a “consumer-oriented approach” instead of a “regulation-centric approach”.
He said complying with international standards will help large foreign manufacturing companies coming to India find a local supply chain.
He said that with the new standards, the quality of both exports and imports would be ensured. It would also provide quality goods to general Indian consumers, and reduce problems faced by exporters, he added.
Expressing happiness over the National Atomic Timescale, Mr. Modi said India had become self-reliant in measuring time within the range of a nano second. This would be a big help for organisations like ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), which are working with cutting edge technology. Modern technology-related banking, railways, defence, health, telecom, weather forecast, disaster management and many similar sectors will be benefited greatly from this achievement, he said.
The PM said timescale will also help in strengthening India’s role in “Industry 4.0”.
“India is moving towards a leading position in the field of environment. Still, for technology and tools for measuring air quality and emission, India is dependent on others. This achievement will lead to self-reliance in the field and will lead to creation of more effective and cheaper tools for pollution control. This will also enhance India’s share in the global market for technologies related to air quality and emission technology,” he said.
Mr. Modi said institutionalisation of innovation was as critical as the innovation itself.
“Our youth will have to understand how to protect intellectual property. We will have to remember that the more our patents are there, the more their utility. Our identity will get strong in the sectors where our research is strong and leading. This will lead to a stronger Brand India,” Mr. Modi said.