Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that India needs to speed up its development in the new year and that the obstacles brought by the COVID-19 outbreak will not stifle the endeavour.

He emphasised that the country will continue to battle the pandemic with “utmost caution and vigilance,” as well as protect the country’s interests.

Also read: PM Modi, President Kovind condole 12 people who died in stampede at Vaishno Devi

PM Modi, speaking at the publication of the PM-KISAN scheme’s tenth instalment, outlined the country’s accomplishments in areas like health, defence, agriculture, the startup ecosystem, and infrastructure during the pandemic-plagued year of 2021.

“2021 will be remembered for India’s strong fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as also for reforms undertaken during the year,” PM Modi remarked, praising the achievement of more than 145 crore COVID vaccination doses.

Also read: Prime Minister Narendra Modi extends new year greeting to people

He claimed that in the previous year, India expedited reforms in several industries and built new infrastructure.

“We have to further accelerate the pace of development. Corona poses challenges, but it cannot stall the growth process,” Modi added.

On Saturday, India recorded a one-day increase of 22,775 new COVID-19 cases, the largest number since October 6, while the number of active cases crossed one lakh and the number of Omicron infections surpassed 1,431.

Also read: CoWin registration to vaccinate kids of 15-18 age group set to begin from today

PM Modi announced in his first address of 2022 that India’s economy is growing at more than 8%, that it has drawn record international investment, that its forex reserves have reached new highs, and that GST collections are increasing.

With India’s exports expected to reach $400 billion this fiscal year, PM Modi stated the country has also set new paradigms in terms of exports, particularly agricultural.

Also read: 12 dead, 20 injured in stampede at Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir

PM Modi went on to say that a process has been started to raise the marriage age for women from 18 to 21 years, bringing them in line with men.

He also mentioned the possibility of women being admitted to Sainik Schools and the National Defense Academy.