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PM’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme on All India Radio

My dear countrymen, Namaskar!

Early this morning, I had an opportunity to spend some time with some young people from Delhi. And I believe, in the days to come, the spirit and fervor of sports will envelop every young person in the country. All of us know that in a few days time, the world’s largest sports event, the biggest sports carnival will take place. RIO is going to resound in our ears time and again. The entire world will be at play… every country in the world will keep a close watch on the performance of its sportspersons; you too will be doing the same. All of us harbour a lot of hopes and expectations, but keeping the morale of our sports contingent at RIO high is also the solemn duty of us 1.25 billion countrymen. In Delhi this morning, the Government of India had organised a very good event, ‘Run for RIO’, ‘Play and Live’, ‘Play and Blossom’. In the days to come, wherever we are, let us do our bit to encourage our sportspersons. A sportsperson, who makes it to this stage, does so after putting in a lot of hard work. It’s a kind of severe and dedicated ‘tapasya’. However much one cherishes all kinds of food, one has to sacrifice that. However much one would like to snuggle up in warmth during a harsh winter, one has to just get up and leave for the track and field. And this happens not just to the players. Even their parents leave no stone unturned for the sake of their children. Sportsperson are not made overnight; it takes long and sustained perseverance to attain that stature. Victory and defeat are certainly important, but what is even more important is reaching this level in a game or sports discipline and, therefore, let all of us Indians join hands in wishing our RIO contingent the very best. I’m also ready to do this on your behalf; the prime minister of the country is ready to be a postman to convey your good wishes to these players. Do send your best wishes to our sportspersons in Rio on the ‘NarendraModi App’. I’ll convey these to our contingent. Just like 1.25 billion Indians I too as a citizen would like to join you in encouraging them, cheering them up. Come, over the next few days, let us try to the fullest extent possible to make each one of our sportspersons feel proud, to reward them for their endeavours and exertions; and today, as I speak on the Rio Olympics, I would like to mention the name of a poetry lover, Suraj Prakash Upadhyay a student of the Punjab Central University, who has sent me a poem. It’s possible that many poets would have written poems, some may be planning to write, some may even compose their verses into songs, in all languages. But here I would like to share with you the poem sent by Suraj Ji.

”The games bugle’s been sounded
The festivities of competitions
In this mega sporting odyssey
Amidst the melodious chimes of RIO
May India commence on a grand note
May it rain gold, silver and bronze!
May India commence on a grand note
May it rain gold, silver and bronze!
May the turn be ours also this time
May we be amply prepared this time
Set your sight straight at the Gold
But let a loss not deject you
You are a hero to a billion hearts
You are the heartbeat of your sport
March ahead and set records
Let our tricolour flutter with pride in RIO
Let our tricolour flutter with pride in RIO.

Suraj Ji, I dedicate your sentiments to all our sportspersons and extend to them the warmest and heartiest wishes from my side and on behalf of us 1.25 billion countrymen, that our tricolour indeed flutters with joy and pride in the skies of RIO.

A young man Mr. Ankit has reminded me of the death anniversary of President Abdul Kalamji, which was observed last week. The country, in fact the world paid glowing tributes to him. The mere mention of Abdul Kalamji’s name brings to mind vivid images of science, technology, missiles – in fact the entire spectrum of strengths and capabilities of India in the days to come. And that’s why Ankit asks me… What is your government doing to ensure that Abdul Kalamji’s dreams come true? You are right. The future is going to be technology driven. And technology is extremely dynamic. Day by day, technology keeps updating, changes form, transforms its impact. You cannot shackle technology. If you strive to hold it still, it would move beyond your grasp assuming new looks and forms. If we have to match its strides and move ahead, research and innovation are the keys, these are its lifelines and moving spirit. In the absence of research and innovation, technology will become a burden, just as still water stagnates and even stinks. And if we go on just using old technology without recourse to research and innovation, we will become outdated in this rapidly changing world and age. And that is why the government too has taken steps to attract the new generation toward science and research & innovation in the field of technology. And that is why I say ‘let us aim to innovate’. And when I say “let us aim to innovate’ my AIM stands for “Atal Innovation Mission’. This Mission is being promoted by the Niti Aayog. The purpose is to create an eco-system in the entire country through the Atal Innovation Mission, to forge a vibrant chain of innovation, experiment and entrepreneurship, which would also enhance the possibilities of new employment generation. If we have to develop the next generation innovators, we shall have to link our children with it. And that is why the Government of India has taken the initiative of ‘Atal Tinkering Labs’. Wherever such Tinkering Labs are established in schools, those would be given 10 Lakh rupees and further 10 Lakh rupees will be provided for maintenance during the period of five years. Similarly, innovations are directly connected to Incubation Centres. If we have strong and well-equipped Incubation Centres, a system comes into place for innovations, for start-ups, for experimentation and to bring these efforts to a certain level. Creation of new Incubation Centres is essential just as it is necessary to strengthen the older Incubation Centres. And when I talk of Atal Incubation Centres, the government has considered allocating the huge sum of 10 crore rupees for this also. India is grappling with diverse challenges. We see problems in daily life. We shall now have to look for technological solutions for these. Through the ‘Atal Grand Challenges’ we have exhorted the young generation of the country that if they see problems, they should search for solutions taking the path of technology, doing research, applying innovations and bring those on board. The Government of India wants to specially reward technology developed to find solutions to our problems. And I am happy that people have evinced interest in these things. When we spoke of Tinkering Labs, about 13 thousand schools applied and when we talked of Incubation Centres, over four thousand academic and non-academic institutions came forward. I firmly believe that the real tribute to Abdul Kalamji will consist of harnessing research and innovation for developing technology to find solutions to problems we face in day to day life, and ridding us of the difficulties we face to make things easier for us all. The more the new generation devotes itself to this task, the greater will be their contribution with immense significance for the modern India of the 21st century. That will be the real tribute to Abdul Kalamji.

My dear countrymen, while some time ago, we were concerned about a drought like situation, these days, on the one hand, we are enjoying the rains, but on the other, reports of floods are also coming in. Central government and State Governments are working hand in hand with their utmost efforts to provide relief and assistance to the flood-affected. Despite causing some hardships, rains make every human heart rejoice since rains, and agriculture, are the focal point of our entire sphere of economic activities.

There are times when one has to face an illness that leaves a scar for a lifetime. But if we are aware, alert and active, the prevention is also very easy. Take the case of Dengue. It is preventable. Pay attention to cleanliness, be alert, try and be safe and take special care of children. And the mindset that such diseases strike poor neighborhoods only, is not valid in the case of Dengue. Dengue first enters affluent localities and we should try and understand it. You must be watching advertisements on TV but there are times when we neglect taking proactive and informed action on it. The government, hospitals, doctors will of course do their job, but I urge that we should also be alert in ensuring that Dengue doesn’t enter our homes, locality, family, for that matter, any illness connected with stagnant water.

I would like to draw the attention of my dear countrymen to another menace. In today’s fast paced, rat race of life, at times we don’t have time to think about ourselves. When we fall sick, we want to get well as soon as possible and as a result pop in just any antibiotic that we can lay our hands on. It may give you instant relief, but my dear countrymen, this random pill popping habit can land you in deep trouble. It may give you temporary succor, but we should completely stop taking antibiotics without the advice of a doctor. Avoid it till a doctor gives you a prescription. Do not use the short cut method; it can lead to serious complications. Although random and rampant use of antibiotics gives immediate relief to the patient, but gradually the disease causing bacteria get accustomed to that drug. The drug then loses its efficacy and one has to fight the battle anew, develop new medicines, do new research; it takes years and till then these diseases create other complications. That’s why we have to be very aware about that. One more problem has presented itself. Suppose the doctor advises that brother, take this antibiotic and he tells that 15 tablets of that to be taken over a period of five days. I urge you to complete the entire course of medication as prescribed by the doctor. Because if the treatment is abandoned halfway, it would benefit the bacteria. If the medicine is taken more than what is required, that too would be in the favour of the bacteria. And that is why, it is utmost essential to take the entire course of antibiotic medicine in terms of number of tablets as well as days. If we leave the treatment halfway due to improvement in our condition, we are only helping that bacteria getting more sturdy and difficult to treat. Microbes spreading TB and malaria are bringing about rapid mutations in themselves, rendering medicines ineffective. In medical parlance it is called antibiotic resistance. Hence it is indeed necessary to follow rules in the administration of antibiotics. The government is committed to prevent antibiotic resistance. You must have seen, these days, on the antibiotic medicine strips there is a red line to make you aware. You must pay attention to that.

While we are on the subject of health, I would like to talk about one more issue. I feel very concerned about the lives of pregnant women of our country. In our country, close to 3 crore women become pregnant every year but some of these mothers die during childbirth. Sometimes the mother loses her life, at times the infant does. There are times when both die. It is true that in the last decade there has been a decline in maternal mortality rates but even now, we are not able to save the lives of a large number of pregnant women. Anemia during or after pregnancy, pregnancy related infections, high BP, any such complication can have devastating effect. Keeping in view these issues, in the last few months, the Government of India has launched a new campaign ‘Prime Minister Safe Motherhood Campaign’. Under this, on the 9th of every month, all pregnant women will get a check-up at government health centers free of cost. I urge all poor families to ensure that all pregnant women avail of this benefit on the 9th of every month, so that if by the time they reach the 9th month any complication arises, it can be dealt with suitably in time and the lives of both mother and child can be saved. I have specially asked the gynecologists whether they could offer their services free on the 9th of every month, for the sake of under privileged mothers! Can’t my doctor brothers and sisters spare just 12 days in a year for this service to the under privileged? Over the last few days, many have written to me. There are thousands of doctors who have implemented what I said. But India is such a vast country. We need lakhs of doctors to join this campaign. I do believe that you will indeed do so.

My dear countrymen, today, the whole world is concerned deeply about climate change, global warming and the environment. These are discussed collectively in the country and across the world. In India, this has been accorded great importance for centuries. In the battlefield of Kurukshetra too, Bhagwan Shri Krishna talks of trees. Showing concern towards trees even in the midst of a battle, underlines how much importance was attached to trees. In the Gita, Bhagwan Shri Krishna says, ‘ashwatth sarvvrikshanam’ which means amongst all trees, I am the Peepal Tree. It is proclaimed in Shukracharya Neeti that ‘naastimulam anaushadham’ meaning that there is no plant that does not have medicinal values; the Anushasan Parv of the Mahabharta elaborates this concept at greater length. It is stated in the Anushasan Parv that whosoever plants a tree begets an offspring in the form of that tree. There can be no doubt about this fact. He who donates a tree, that tree in return becomes a ladder to salvation just like children. Therefore it is appropriate that parents desiring their well-being should plant tree and rear them like their own children.
Our scriptures like Gita, Shukracharya Niti and Anushasan Parv of the Mahabharta contain such lofty ideals. However, there are certain individuals in the present generation also, who live up to these ideals. A few days ago, I came across a mention of Sonal, a young daughter from Pune. It touched my heart. It is mentioned in Anushasan Parv in Mahabharata that a tree is like an offspring and becomes means of salvation in after life, Sonal has not only taken it upon herself to fulfill her parents’ wishes but society’s expectations also. Shri Khandu Maruti Mhatre, a farmer of Narayanpur village of of Junner Taluka of Pune got his granddaughter Sonal married in a very inspiring manner. What did Mhatre Ji do in Sonal’s marriage? He gifted all his relatives, guests and friends with a sapling of ‘Kesar’ variety of mango. I saw a picture of this marriage in social media. I was surprised to see that in the marriage festivities, instead of members of the wedding party, saplings were more visible! That picture really touches one’s heart. I think that Sonal, who herself is an agriculture graduate, came upon this idea. And to present Mango saplings in the marriage, just think, reflects the love for nature in a brilliant manner. In a way, Sonal’s marriage in an everlasting story of love for nature, I congratulate Sonal and Shriman Mhatre Ji for this innovative effort. And such experiments are done by many people. I remember, when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat – the temple of Ambaji there is visited in the month of Bhadrapad by lakhs of devotees travelling by foot. A certain NGO decided to distribute saplings as ‘Prasad’ to the devotees, and the devotees were told that Mata Ambaji will keep on showering her grace, if they took care of the saplings, till their maturity into trees in their homes and villages. And lakhs of such saplings were distributed to the devotees traveling on foot to Ambaji temple that year. Other temples too can start the practice of distributing saplings instead of ‘prasad’ during this rainy season. It can easily grow into a people’s movement for planting trees. I repeatedly tell my farmer brethren that instead of wasting our land in building fences around our fields, why don’t we start planting timber trees there. Today India has to spend billions and trillions of rupees to import timber wood from abroad for construction of houses and furniture. If we plant on the boundaries of our fields timber trees that can be utilised for construction of homes and furniture and which can also be cut and sold after 15 to 20 years with the permission of the government. This way, not only can these become a new source of your income, but can also save India from importing timber.

Some days ago, a few states taking advantage of this weather have started many campaigns in this direction and the Government of India has also passed CAMPA law, under which about 40 thousand crores rupees will go to the states for planting trees. I have been told that the Maharashtra government planted about 2 crores sapling in the entire state on 1st July and next year they have taken a pledge to plant about 3 crores trees. The Maharashtra government has transformed this activity into a people’s movement. Rajasthan, desert area, has celebrated Van Mahotsav in a very big way and pledged to plant 25 lakhs trees. To plant 25 lakhs of sapling in Rajasthan is not a small matter! Those who know the soil conditions of Rajasthan would know how mammoth this task is going to be. Andhra Pradesh, too has decided to increase its green cover by 50% by the year 2029. Under the central government’s ongoing ‘Green India Mission’, Railways too have joined in this endeavour. Gujarat too has an illustrious tradition of observing Van Mahotsav. This year Gujarat has undertaken many projects like ‘Aamra Van’, ‘Ekata Van’ and ‘Shaheed Van’ as a part of Van Mahotsav and launched a campaign to plant crores of trees. I am not able to mention every state but all deserve to be appreciated.

My dear countrymen, I had the opportunity to visit South Africa for the first time some time back. During a foreign visit, diplomacy is practiced, there are trade deliberations, discussions about security and as is customary, many MoUs are concluded. But for me the visit to South Africa was more like a pilgrimage. When we think of South Africa, it is very natural to remember Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Whenever we hear the words – non-violence, love and forgiveness, the inspiring faces of Gandhi and Mandela appear before us. During my South Africa tour, I visited Phoenix settlement where Mahatma Gandhi’s home is known as ‘Sarvodaya’. I also had the good fortune of traveling from Pietermaritzburg station in the train in which Mahatma Gandhi had travelled, and which was the site of the incidence that sowed the seed of the transformation of a Mohandas into Mahatma Gandhi. But what I want to tell you is the fact that this time I had an opportunity to meet those great men who had devoted their young lives for society fighting shoulder to shoulder with Nelson Mandela for the ideals of equality and equal opportunity; who had spent 20 to 22 years of their lives in prison with Nelson Mandela, effectively sacrificing the entire period of their youth for the society. I had the privilege of meeting these grat personalities, these close associates of Nelson Mandela such as Shriman Ahmed Kathrada, Shriman Laloo Chiba, Shriman George Bizos and Ronnie Kasrils. All were Indian by origin but dedicated themselves to wherever they settled and decided to offer their lives for those amidst whom they lived. So much strength they had! And the greatest thing was that while I was talking to them and listening about the experiences of their imprisonment, they had no bitterness or ill will for anyone. There was not a single trace of desire, to get something, to become somebody even after living such a great life of ‘Tapasaya’. The essence of performing one’s duty as explained in Gita was embodied in their persona. I will remember that meeting forever. Equality and equal opportunity are the two biggest ‘mantras’ for any society and government. Equality and equal opportunity, compassion and fraternity, these are the paths leading us to a bright future. We all want a good future for our children. Everybody has different needs and different priorities but there is one common path of development, equality, compassion and fraternity. Come, let us be proud about these Indians who have lived their lives in South Africa embodying our highest and fundamental ideals.

My dear countrymen, I have received a message from Shilpi Varma, to whom I am grateful. Her concern is very genuine. She has made me aware of an incident: –

“Pradhan Mantri Ji, I am Shilpi Varma speaking from Bengaluru. Some days ago, I read in a news article that a lady became a victim of fraud and cheat email, lost 11 lakh rupees and committed suicide. Being a woman, I feel an empathy with her family. What is your opinion about such cheat and fraud emails.”

She has pointed a certain incident, and you must also be aware that we get messages on our mobile phones and emails, proclaiming attractive offers that you have won a jackpot of so many rupees; if you pay a certain amount then you become eligible for the greater amount. People get duped by this money trap. These are new methods of technology that are spreading in the entire world for cheating people. And just as technology plays an increasingly bigger role in our economic system, it also invites those who misuse it. A retired gentlemen, who not only had to get his daughter married but also to build his home, one day he received an SMS, that there was a gift that had arrived from abroad and could be obtained if he deposited 2 lakh rupees as custom duty in a bank account and this gentlemen without giving any thought took out 2 lakh rupees from his hard earned life savings and sent it to some stranger. That too on the strength of just an SMS! And in very little time, he understood that he had been looted! You too must be getting similarly confused sometimes! These people write a letter in such style that it seems perfect. They use fake letter pads while sending these letters. They obtain your credit card number and debit card number and empty your bank account through technology. And this new means of fraud is digital fraud. I believe that we must be aware against such lure, must remain cautious and if such false communications come to our notice, then we must share them with our friends and make them aware also. Shilpi Varma has brought this important thing to my notice, which although even you must have encountered, but may be you did not take it that seriously, but I feel there is need to look at it seriously.

My dear countrymen these days, the Parliament Session is going on, and during the Parliament Session, I get to meet many people from across our nation. Our MPs also bring people from their constituencies and introduce them to me; they tell me many things, their difficulties also. But recently I had a pleasant experience, real pleasant experience! Student from Aligarh had come to meet me. You should have seen the enthusiasm of those boys and girls. They had brought a big photo album with them and their faces were lit with joy. They showed me the pictures of how they had beautified the Aligarh railway station! These were artistic painting done on the station. What is more, they had searched for and collected the plastic bottles and oil cans lying in the garbage in the villages and by filling those with soil and planting saplings, they have transformed those pots into a vertical garden. And by creating this vertical garden on the site of railway station, they have given it a new look. If you go to Aligarh, do visit the railway station. I am receiving news from many railway stations in the country where the local populace has taken to depicting on the walls of the railway stations, their area’s identity, through means of their arts. They have brought about a refreshing feeling. This is a prime example of the great transformation, which can be brought about through people’s participation. I felicitate all such citizens involved in these kinds of activities and especially congratulate friends from Aligarh.

My dear countrymen, with the onset of rainy season, there is also an onset of festival season in our country. There would be fairs everywhere, festivities would be observed in temples and places of worship. You too will become a participant at home and outside during the festive celebrations. The festival of Raksha Bandhan is a festival of special significance. Just like last year, can’t you gift on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna or Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna to mothers and sisters of our country. Think about it, we should gift such a present to our sisters, which really provides her security in future. Not only that, we may be having in our homes a lady making food for us or a lady who cleans our house, a daughter of an impoverished mother! To them also, you can gift Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna or Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna on this festival of Raksha Bandhan. And this is what social security in reality is all about; this is the true meaning of Raksha Bandhan.

My dear countrymen there are many among us who were born after independence. And I am the first Prime Minister of this nation who was born in free India. ‘Quit India movement’ started on 8th august, and this year would be the 75th year of ‘Quit Hind -Quit Bharat” and on 15th august, it would be 70th year of our independence. We are enjoying our independence and are proud to be free citizens, but this is an occasion to remember those who sacrificed their all for winning our independence. The 75th year of Quit India and 70th year of Independence can be source of new inspiration, source of new enthusiasm and an occasion to take a pledge to do something for our nation. The whole nation should be imbued with the spirit of those great patriots and we should once again experience anew the fragrance of freedom. Let us all create such an atmosphere. Independence Day should not be a government event, it should be the celebration of the entire people. Just like Diwali, it should be our own festival. I hope that you too become inspired with the spirit of patriotism and do something good in that vein. Do send a picture of it on ‘Narendra Modi app. Let us create such an atmosphere in the nation.

Dear countrymen, I have the good fortune to talk to the nation from ramparts of Red Fort on 15thAugust, it is a tradition. You too must be having certain thoughts that you wish were proclaimed from Red Fort. I invite you to write to me about your thoughts that I, as your representative, as your Pradhan Sevak should talk about from the Red Fort. Send me suggestions, your advice and new thoughts, I will try to convey your thoughts to rest of the countrymen. I do not wish that whatever I speak from the ramparts of Red Fort should just be the opinion of the Prime Minister; it should be the collective voice of 125 crores countrymen. Do send me something, either on ‘Narendra Modi app’ or on MYGOV.IN. Today the platforms of technology are such that your message can reach me very easily. I invite you once again, come, let us remember and salute our great freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives for India and let us move ahead with the pledge to do something for our nation. My best wishes to you all and many thanks.

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