Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Episode #15, 27 December 2015

Fellow citizens, Namaskar to all. This will be the last edition of Mann ki Baat in 2015. The next edition of Mann ki Baat will be in 2016. We celebrated Christmas and preparations are now on to ring in the New Year.

India is land of diversities.. We celebrate a whole lot of festivals. One is not done with one festival, in the mean time the second one comes along. In a way one festival leaves us waiting for another. At times it feels India is one such country which has a ‘festival driven economy’. It becomes a source of the economic activities for even the poor sections of the society. Greetings from my end for a Merry Christmas to all Indians and I also wish you all a Happy New Year. May 2016 usher in lots of joys in your lives. I hope that new zeal, new excitement and new pledges may take you to new heights. May the world be free of crises, be it from terrorism, from global warming or from natural calamities or manmade tragedies. There can be no greater happiness than the humanity having a peaceful existence.

You are aware that I use a lot of technology which provides me lots of information. I keep a watchful eye on my portal “My Gov”.

Mr. Ganesh V. Savleshwarkar has written to me from Pune that this season is a tourist season. A large number of foreign and domestic tourists travel across the country. People also travel to celebrate Christmas vacations. He says most of the facilities related to tourism are catered to but special emphasis should be laid on cleanliness at all places which are tourist destinations or famed tourist places, religious destinations or stay over’s. India’s image will be enhanced if the tourist destinations are clean. I appreciate the views of Ganesh jee and convey this message to the people of our country. We say, “Atithi devo bhava” and just imagine how we strive to keep our homes neat and clean when a guest is due to arrive. In a similar manner, the onus is on us to maintain our tourist destinations and pilgrim tourism sites neat and clean. I am very happy that a lot of news stories related to cleanliness keep appearing in the media space. From day one, I have thanked our media friends since they have brought many such small and good success stories before the people. I have come across a nice story in the newspaper and I would like to narrate it with the fellow citizens.

Dileep Singh Malviya is an elderly artisan from Bhojpura village in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh. He is a mason by profession to earn his livelihood. He did something so different that the newspapers printed his story. And when it came to my notice, I wanted to share this story with you. Hailing from a small village, Dileep Singh Malviya decided that if anyone provides materials for toilet in the village, he will render his labour services free of cost. And hats off to him, he has constructed 100 toilets in Bhojpura village so far taking it as a divine cause and providing his labour services without charging a penny. My heartfelt congratulations to Dileep Singh Malviya for his earnest efforts. Sometimes we hear disappointing news about our nation. But there are thousands of people like Dileep Singh who are doing something good for the nation on their own. This is the power of the nation. This is the hope of the nation and these are the things which carry the nation forward and it is natural that we applaud Dileep Singh and his efforts in Mann ki Baat.
Due to tireless efforts of many people the nation is making rapid progress. 125 crores Indians are not only marching together but they are taking the country forward too. Better education, best talent and new opportunities of employment are being created. Be it providing insurance cover to citizens or providing them banking facilities, be it the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the world horizon or making facilities available for new businesses, we have done it all. People from normal backgrounds who could not step inside banks can now avail loan facilities from the “Mudra Yojana.”
Every Indian is proud to know how the world is accepting and getting attracted towards Yoga. When the world celebrated “International Yoga Diwas” and the entire world got associated with it, we became proud of our country. Such emotions arise when we see the enormity of our nation. No one can forget the story of Krishna and Yashoda where he opened his mouth and the mother was able to see the entire universe, and then only his power could be realized. The Yoga incident was a similar reminder.
The concept of cleanliness is being echoed in every household. The participation of citizens is also increasing. Many villages receive an electric pole after so many years of Independence. Those of us who live in cities and are so accustomed to using electricity that we don’t realize the extent of happiness and excitement when darkness is removed from our lives. The power department of the state and Indian government were functional earlier as well but from the day 1000 day target to provide electricity to every village has been set, we get news everyday that power supply is available in some or the other village and the happiness of the inhabitants’ knows no bounds. The media has not discussed this topic. But I am sure that media will definitely reach such villages and will inform the nation about the happiness and excitement of the people there.

The biggest achievement of this task is that the government officials involved in this task will have immense satisfaction that they have done something which will bring about such a big change in the lives of the people and the village itself. Be it the farmers, poor, young or women, should such things reach them or not? Such news should reach them not to highlight any government’s achievement, but to make them aware of their rights. They should not let go if it is their right. People should get information in order to avail their rights. We should all make efforts that right information, good information and information useful to the common man should reach as many people as possible. This is also a kind of service. I too have tried to do this work from my end. I cannot do everything alone by myself. But if I am saying then I should at least do something. Even a common man can download the Narendra Modi App and get connected to me. And I can share these small things with you through the app. And it is a matter of happiness for me that people share all the things with me. You too get connected with this initiative, we have to reach 125 crore Indians. How will I reach without your help? Come, let us collectively do such things of interest for the common man in their language and inspire them to avail things which are their rights.

My dear young friends, I had some preliminary discussions about “Start-up India, Stand-up India” in my speech on 15th August from the Red Fort. After that all government departments started discussing it. Can India become a “Start-up Capital’? Can our states work together for new Start-ups for youth, and encourage innovations with start-ups, be it in the manufacturing sector, service sector or agriculture. Everything should be new, new ways and new thinking – after all the world does not move ahead without innovation. “Start-up India, Stand-up India” brings in a huge opportunity for the young generation. My dear young friends, the government will launch the entire action plan for “Start-up India, Stand-up India on 16th January. What it will be, how it will be and why it will be? You will be presented with a structure. In this program all the IIT’s, IIM’s, Central Universities, NIT’s, wherever there is young generation, they will be brought together via live connectivity.
There is an established thinking regarding the Start-ups that they are meant only for the digital world or the IT profession. This is not true at all; we need to modify it according to the needs of India. For example, when a poor person works somewhere as a labourer and there is a lot of physical effort involved but if a young man innovates something which can reduce the physical effort and help the labourer- I will call it as a Start-up. I will ask the bank to help such an individual and I will tell him to move ahead with courage. You will get the Market. Similarly is the intellectual wealth limited to a few selected cities or what? This thinking is wrong. The Indian youth all over the country has talent, all they need is opportunities. This “Start-up India, Stand-up India” should not be limited to a few cities only. It should spread to every corner of India. And I will request the state governments to take this forward. I will definitely interact with you on 16th January and will discuss this in detail. Your suggestions are always welcome.

Dear young friends, 12th January is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. There are thousands like me who draw inspiration from him. Since 1995, 12th January, the birth Anniversary of Vivekananda is celebrated as the National Youth Festival. This year it will be organized from 12-16th January in Raipur district of Chhattisgarh. This is a theme based event and I have got the information that this time they have a very good theme and that is “Indian Youth on Development Skill and Harmony”. I have been told that 10,000 young people will gather from all over India. A mini-India will be created there. They will share dreams together. A feeling of determination will be experienced. Can you give me suggestions regarding this youth festival? I would request the youth to send me their suggestions directly on the “Narendra Modi App”. I want to gain an insight into your understanding. And that it gets reflected in the Youth Festival, for that I will give the government reasonable suggestions and information. So I will wait dear friends for your suggestions on the youth festival on the “Narendra Modi App”.
Dilip Chauhan, from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, who is a visually challenged teacher, celebrated ‘Accessible India Day’ in his school. He called me up to express his feelings:

“Sir, we celebrated Accessible India Campaign in our school. I am a visually challenged teacher and I addressed 2000 children on the issue of disability and how we can spread awareness and help differently-abled people. And the students’ response was fantastic, we enjoyed in the school and the students were inspired and motivated to help the disabled people in the society. I think it was a great initiative by you.”

Dilip ji, thank you very much. You are yourself working in this field. You understand everything and you must have faced a lot of difficulties too. Sometimes when we meet someone with different ability in the society then a lot of things come to our mind. We express our perception of him based on our thinking. There are some people who lose a limb or body part in an accident. Some people are born with some defects. And for these people different terms are used and a lot of thought goes on behind the usage of these terms. All the time people feel that this kind of identification does not sound nice and respectable. At some point we heard handicapped, then it was disabled and somewhere it is specially-abled, so many terms have been used. It is true that words have their own significance. This year when the government of India started the ‘Sugamya India’ programme, I was supposed to attend it, but could not make it, because of severe floods in Chennai and other areas of Tamil Nadu. However, since I had to attend that program some thoughts kept coming in my mind. That time, I thought that we call or know those people as handicapped since they are lacking in some ways in terms of their body structure or whose organs do not function properly. However, at times when we interact with them, we realize that we see only the deficits with our eyes but God has certainly bestowed them with some extra powers. God has bestowed upon them some different power which we cannot see with our eyes, but it is only when we see them working do we realize their talent. We think O Great! Look how he works. So I thought that upon looking at them with our eyes we feel that they are handicapped, but experiences tell us that they have some extra power. So I thought why not use the term ‘Divyang’ instead of ‘viklang’ in our country. They are those people who have one or more such organs which have divinity, where divine power flows which we normal bodied people do not have. I like this term. My dear countrymen can we make it a habit to use the word ‘Divyang’ and make it popular. I hope that you will take this forward.

That day we started the ‘Sugamya Bharat’ campaign. Under this campaign we will improve both the physical and virtual infrastructure and make it accessible for the ‘Divyang’ people. Be it schools, hospitals, government offices, bus depots, railway stations, everywhere ramps, accessible parking, accessible lifts, Braille, many amenities will be made available. To make things Sugamya – we need innovation, we need technology, we need systems and we also need empathy from people. We have taken the initiative. We are receiving public participation too. People like it. You too can join in the manner you deem fit.

My dear countrymen, the government schemes will continue exist and run, but it is necessary that these schemes always remain operational. The schemes should be operational till the last mile individual has benefitted from them. They should not have a dead existence in government files. After all, these schemes are meant for common man, the poor people. In the past few days the government has made an effort to ensure that the benefits of schemes reach out to the rightful owners. In our country, we give subsidy for the gas cylinders. Crores of rupees were spent on it but we did not know if it reached the right people or not, if this subsidy reached people on time or not? The Government has made some changes in the scheme. The government undertook the largest ‘Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme’ to provide subsidy directly in the bank accounts of the beneficiaries with the help of ‘Jan Dhan Account’ or ‘Aadhar Card’ etc. I am happy to share with the countrymen that this scheme has earned a place in Guinness Book of World Records as the largest Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme which has been implemented successfully. This scheme is known as ‘Pahal’ and this experiment has been very successful. Till November end, around 15 crore LPG customers have become its beneficiaries. The government money is being directly transferred to the accounts of 15 crore beneficiaries. No middlemen nor any recommendation, nor any possibility of corruption. On one hand was the Aadhar Card Scheme, and on the other was the Jan Dhan Account. Thirdly the state and Indian government compiled the lists of beneficiaries. That was connected to account and Aadhar. This work is still in progress. Nowadays, even the MNREGA scheme, which provides employment opportunities in villages, is being connected to it. There were lots of complaints about this scheme. In many places the wages of the labourers is now being directly transferred into their accounts. There were complaints about student scholarships too; they too are being transferred into their accounts. This has been started and will be gradually taken forward. Till now around 40,000 crore rupees are directly reaching the beneficiaries through various schemes. According to my rough estimate, around 35-40 schemes are now under ‘Direct Benefit Transfer.’

My dear countrymen, 26th January is the golden moment in the life of Indian democracy. This is a beautiful co-incidence that Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the maker of the Indian Constitution, his 125th birth anniversary will be celebrated this year. We organized a two day special discussion on the constitution and it was a very good experience. All the parties and all the members deliberated on the sanctity of the constitution, its importance to understand the true interpretation of the constitution. It was an excellent discussion. We should take this thing forward. Can Republic Day be an opportunity to connect the masses with the system? Our constitution grants us several rights and there are many discussions on it and it should be so and it is equally important. But constitution equally emphasizes on duty also. But it is seen that duties are hardly discussed. At the most, whenever there are elections, then we see advertisement all around us, they write on the walls and hoardings are put to tell that to vote is our sacred duty. There is a lot of talk about duties during elections, but why not discuss our duties in general life too. This year when we are celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar then can we make 26th January a medium to organize debates, poetry, slogan competition regarding duties in our own schools, colleges, villages, cities and various organizations and societies. If 125 crore Indians take dutiful steps one after the other, they can make history. But at least let’s start with discussions. I have an idea – Send me an essay or poem before 26th January about duty in Hindi or English or your native language. Can you send me? I want to know your views. Send them on my portal ‘My Gov”. I would like to know what my young generation thinks about their duties.

I want to give a small suggestion. On 26th January we celebrate Republic Day. Can we citizens and school and college students take up the initiative of cleaning the statue of any great men installed in our city, of cleaning the premises, we can do best of cleanliness and best of decoration on the occasion of 26th January. And I am not saying this on government lines. We become so emotional about getting the statues of great men erected but become equally complacent when it comes to maintaining them. As a society, as a nation can we make it a natural tendency to respect the statues of our great men? On this 26th January let us make an effort that we will respect such great men and keep the premises clean. But this should be done by the citizens willfully.

Dear Countrymen, greetings to you for a Happy New Year 2016. Thank You Very Much!