India's budget session of parliament began on Friday with strict observance of restrictions for coronavirus and President Ram Nath Kovind addressing the members of both Houses seated in three locations.
The Indian President congratulated the Central government for its "timely decision" to implement lockdown as it "saved the lives of lakhs of citizens", and pointed out that the number of new coronavirus cases was going down rapidly in the country, reports the NDTV.
President Kovind, in his address to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, also paid tribute to those who succumbed due to the virus.
"Joint sitting of Parliament amid Corona pandemic is essential. It's a new year, a new decade and we are also entering into the 75th year of independence. Today all MPs are present here with message and trust that however tough be the challenge neither we nor India will stop. In this fight against the pandemic, we lost many citizens. Former President Pranab Mukherjee passed away in this Corona period. Six MPs left us untimely due to Covid. I pay my tribute to all of them," he said.
"I am satisfied that the timely decision taken by my Government saved the lives of lakhs of citizens. Today the number of new Covidcases is going down rapidly. The number of recoveries is very high," he added.
Commenting upon the vaccination drive against Covid-19 which started on January 26, Kovind said: "It is a matter of pride that India is running the biggest vaccination programme in the world. Both vaccines of this programme are made in India. In this crisis, India shouldered its responsibility towards mankind and provided lakhs of doses of vaccines to several nations."
"We have seen huge benefits of the work done by my government in the last 6 years in the health sector during this corona crisis,"
He said that the facilities of Ayushman Bharat Yojana can be availed in any of the 24,000 hospitals across India.
"The poor are getting medicines at very low costs at 7000 centres across the country, under Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana," he added.
The first part of India's ongoing budget session will continue till 15 February. The second part of the session will be held from 8 March to 8 April.