New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced a uniform vaccine policy under which the Centre will provide free vaccines for all states and union territories (UTs), starting from June 21. Addressing the nation virtually, PM Modi also extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Diwali, saying 80 crore beneficiaries will be provided free ration under this scheme.

He also lauded India's healthcare workers and frontline staff and urged people to take all necessary precautions against COVID-19 despite a decline in daily cases. He also asserted that efforts are being made on a war-footing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at various levels and production of essential medicines was ramped up.

Here are the highlights from PM Modi's address to the nation:

17:21 pm: PM Modi announces centralised vaccine drive, saying all vaccines will be procured by government of India will be given to states for free.

25 per cent of vaccination work with states will now be handled by the Centre, it will be implemented in the coming two weeks. Both State and Centre to work as per new guidelines in the coming two weeks. From June 21 June, free vaccine for people above 18 years, says PM Modi.

17:13 pm: 7 companies preparing vaccines in India, says PM Modi

17:10 pm: We launched 2 'Made in India' vaccines in just 1 year, PM Modi says

17:08 pm: India launched 'Mission Indradhanush' for COVID-19 vaccination, PM Modi says

17:05 pm: Vaccine a protective shield against COVID-19, says PM Modi

17:05 pm: Need to follow all COVID-19 protocols, says PM Modi

17:02 pm: COVID-19 biggest crisis faced by humanity in last 100 years, says PM Modi.

17:01 pm: PM Modi says 'battle against 2nd COVID wave not over yet'

17:00 pm: PM Modi begins his address

16:56 pm: PM Modi had also addressed the nation in April, when he asked people to take all precautions to control the massive in COVID-19 cases.

16:48 pm: Media reports suggest that the Prime Minister will likely speak about the COVID-19 crisis and the vaccination drive.

16:45 am: PM Modi will address the nation shortly.

PM Modi's address comes at a time when India, which was recently hit by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been witnessing a decline in daily cases.

The country on Monday reported just one lakh fresh cases while its active cases dropped below the mark of 15 lakh, thanks to the stringent lockdowns and other measures imposed by the state and union territory (UT) governments.

However, with a decline in daily cases, several states and UTs have lifted the restrictions with an aim to bring the "economy of the country back on track". On Monday, the phase-wise upliftment of the restrictions began in Delhi and Maharashtra.

While Maharashtra has announced 5-level unlock plan, depending on the situation in each district, Delhi began the second phase of the upliftment of the restrictions, allowing metro services and shopping malls to resume their function.

However, several states and UTs have also extended the restrictions for another week, fearing that cases might rise again. Notably, several health experts and doctors have also warned against any kind of 'laxity' and urged people to follow all necessary COVID-19 protocols to ensure that cases do not rise again.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma