Some focused on my photo while we delivered vaccines: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said at a time when the entire world was discussing how India was able to give certificates to people soon after they were vaccinated against Covid-19, there were some people who were just focusing on why was his photo was appearing on these documents.

“The world is amazed at the way record of each dose of vaccine given to such a large population was made available. People elsewhere faced trouble in getting vaccine certificates. But in India, once a person got a vaccine dose, he would immediately receive the certificate on his mobile phone,” he said.

The Prime Minister was delivering the inaugural address for Digital India Week 2022 at Mahatma Mandir Convention Centre in Gandhinagar when he hit out at his critics, saying: “The world is discussing how we managed to give Covid-19 vaccination certificates to people just after they got jabbed, but a few people here (in India) were just focussed on why there was Modi’s photo on these certificates.”

The Kerala high court had earlier dismissed a petition questioning Modi’s photograph on vaccination certificates.

At the event, Modi also praised the role of digital technology in changing the lives of people of the country.

India is emerging as a torch bearer for the world in the fourth industrial revolution and is working to achieve its target of manufacturing electronic goods worth $300 billion, he said.

“With the passage of time, the country that does not adapt to modern technology is left behind by time. India was a victim of this during the Third Industrial Revolution. But today, we can proudly say that India is guiding the world in the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0,” he said.

India has eliminated queues by going online to provide different services, Modi said. “Eight to 10 years ago, we had to stand in lines (queues) for everything. We had to stand in line for birth certificates, to pay bills, for ration, for admission, for exam results, for certificates, in banks. How many lines we used to stand in? India has eliminated all lines by going online,” he added.

The Union government’s flagship programme Digital India has provided relief to the poor from corruption and is working for elimination of middlemen in all fields, Modi said.

“Today, India is working on the target of taking electronics manufacturing to more than $300 billion in the next three to four years. India wants to become a chip maker from a chip taker. Investment is rapidly increasing in India to increase production of semiconductors,” he said.

Modi also recalled the opposition which digital payment system being pushed by his government faced in Parliament.

“When we introduced this scheme in Parliament, an ex-finance minister raised many issues with it. He had concerns like ‘people do not have mobile phones, how will they use it’. He is very educated. The problem with highly educated people is that they make a lot of analysis,” Modi said in a veiled reference to former finance minister P Chidambaram.

The Prime Minister also launched several new digital initiatives such as Digital India Bhashini, Digital India Genesis, Chips to Startup and My Scheme at the event.

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