‘Nation’s battle against the pandemic was almost at the cusp of victory with the nationwide vaccination drive in full swing’, he says.

Despite enduring lockdowns and restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, India has set itself on the path to restore economic growth by reposing faith in the country’s collective resilience, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has said.

The Governor, who unfurled the national flag and received salute at the 72nd Republic Day parade at the Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, said that nation’s battle against the pandemic was almost at the cusp of victory with the nationwide vaccination drive in full swing. The ‘’Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (or self-reliant India) campaign spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had rekindled the spark of creativity and innovation, taking the Gandhian concept of ‘Gram Swaraj’ to the next level.

“In addition to the many indigenous vaccines in the offing, the two COVID-19 vaccines developed by Indian scientists and doctors in record time will remain as an endearing and epic stride in the history of Indian science and symbolise the Indian spirit of self-reliance,” he said, adding that the country had become ‘the pharmacy of the world’ by supplying vaccines, medicines and equipment globally, including developed nations.

Mr. Khan also credited the State for its “innumerable innovative interventions” that proved decisive in keeping mortality to the lowest in the country and won the government global acclaim. “We ensured no one was left unattended and focused on upgrading 461 of our 674 primary health centres to family health centres. We also rendered our expertise in setting up Corona hospitals in other States in the country,” he said.

‘Food for all during lockdown’

The State also adopted a policy of welfare and care to ensure food for all during the lockdown and after through the community kitchens run by ‘Kudumbasree’, relief camps and regular supply of provision kits to all cardholders. Senior citizens and migrant workers were also taken care of, he added.

He also elaborated on the State’s accomplishments in the education sector, including its achievement as the first in the country to digitise the general education sector and its first rank in the National School Education Index of NITI Aayog.

Platoons of the Army, the Indian Air Force, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Special Armed Police, the Thiruvananthapuram City police and its band, NCC Senior Division Boys, NCC Senior Wing Girls and Kerala Armed Police (KAP) Third Battalion Band took part in the parade. Vikram Sinha, Squadron Leader, Southern Air Command, was the parade commander.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was also present at the ceremony. In contrast to the previous Republic Day parades that usually attracted several hundreds of people to the stadium, attendance was restricted to 100 invited guests in view of the COVID-19 scenario.

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