NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement that the Centre would provide COVID-19 vaccines free of charge to all above the age of 18 years has injected a new strength to the fight against the pandemic, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.
Singh said the prime minister's announcement has given great relief to the people of the country.
"By announcing free vaccine from the central government to all the countrymen above the age of 18, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given great relief to the public and a new strength to fight against coronavirus," the defence minister tweeted.
"I heartily congratulate the prime minister for this public welfare decision," he said. In an address to the nation, Modi announced that the central government would provide vaccines free of charge to all above 18 years from June 21.
In a series of tweets in Hindi, Singh said Modi has completely quashed the efforts by some to spread apprehensions about the COVID vaccines in India.
"The prime minister, in his address today, completely quashed the efforts to spread rumours and apprehensions about the vaccine in India and has increased the confidence of the countrymen in the vaccination campaign. I thank him for this," Singh said.
The defence minister also urged people not to fall prey to any unsubstantiated campaign and appealed to them to get vaccinated with full faith and confidence.
"Vaccine is the strong shield against Coronavirus through which we will be successful in defeating this epidemic," he said.
The defence minister also described as a "big decision" the prime minister's announcement that the free ration scheme for over 80 crore people in the country will be continued till Diwali.
"Today, taking a big welfare decision for the poor, the prime minister has extended the Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Deepawali, ie till November.
"Under this, 80 crore poor people of the country will continue to get free food grains in fixed quantity," he said. Singh said the government is dedicated to the welfare of the poor.