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English rendering of the text of PM’s “Mann Ki Baat” programme on All India Radio

My Dear Fellow Citizens,

Let me begin by wishing ‘Namaskar’ to all of you. Today, the world over, Christians are observing Easter. I extend my warmest greetings to everybody on the occasion of Easter.

Some of my young friends must be busy with their examinations. Some of them must have gotten over with their examinations by now. For those of you who still have examinations, it must be a testing time with exams on one hand and T-20 Cricket World Cup on the other. I am sure you are eagerly waiting for the match between India and Australia this evening.

Some days ago India won two fine matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh. We are seeing a fine momentum building up in this T-20 Cricket World Cup. Today, as India and Australia get ready to play, I convey my best wishes to both the teams.

With the young comprising 65% of our population, there should be no reason why we should be absent from the world of sports. This won’t do. We need to usher revolutionary changes in sports. We can see that happening in India. As with Cricket, there’s now increasing interest in Football, Hockey, Tennis, and Kabaddi.

You must have come to know that India will be hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup next year. Twenty-four teams from all over the world are coming to play in our country. The Indian Football team won the gold medal at the Asian Games in 1951 and 1962, and came fourth in the 1956 Olympics. Unfortunately, over the decades we have slipped from there to the lowest rungs. Today our ranking in FIFA is so low that I feel reluctant even to mention it.

On the other hand, I have been noticing that interest in Football among the youth in India has been rising – be it the English Premier League, Spanish League or the Indian Super League matches. Young Indians take time out to get the latest information on these matches and watch them on television. What I mean to say is, given this rising popular interest in Football and the opportunity of hosting FIFA Under-17 World Cup, shall we just play the role of a host and fulfil our responsibility? Or will we use the opportunity to our advantage to promote sports?

We should create an atmosphere of Football, Football, Football all around for this whole year – in schools, colleges, indeed, all over India. Our youth, the children in our schools, should be drenched in sweat just playing Football. If that happens, we shall have real fun playing the host. So, all of us should make the effort to ensure Football reaches every village, street and alley. Between now and the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2017, we should infuse a spirit of enthusiasm in the youth. One advantage of playing the host for this event is that a whole lot of infrastructure will get created with addition of sports facilities. But I personally shall be happy when we are able to link every youth of our country to this game.

Friends, I would like to hear your views on how best to use the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup to our advantage. How should this event be? What kind of programmes should we organise the whole year to help the event gain momentum? How should it be publicised? What improvements do we need to make? How can we increase the interest of our youth in sports through the 2017 FIFA under-17 World Cup? How can we introduce an element of competitiveness in governments, educational institutes and social organisations to associate with the game?

We can see all this happening in relation to cricket; we should now try to bring these elements in relation to other sports disciplines as well. The FIFA event offers us a unique opportunity to do so. Can you send me your suggestions on how best to use that opportunity? I view the FIFA event as a great opportunity to establish India as a brand at a global level. I consider this to be an opportunity to let the world know of India’s youth power – not in the sense of winning or losing a match. In the run-up to and preparation for the 2017 FIFA event, we can harness and display our many strengths; while doing so, we can do image-branding for India as well.

I look forward to your suggestions on the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup which you can send me through NarendraModiApp. Do let me know what should be the logo and the slogans. How should we propagate this throughout India? What should the songs be like? What should be in the souvenirs? Think about it friends. I would like every youth of mine to become an ambassador for the 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. You should robustly participate in this event. It’s a golden chance to build India’s image.

My dear students, you must have thought of travelling to places during your holidays. There are very few people who go abroad; most people visit places within their own states for a week or so. Some people also go outside their states. Last time too, I had requested all of you to upload photographs of the places you visit. And I have noticed that the kind of work which our Department of Tourism, our Department of Culture, State Governments and the Government of India can’t do, that kind of work has been accomplished by millions and millions of Indian tourists. Photos of such magnificent places were uploaded that it was truly a delight to view them.

We have to take this task forward. Do it this time as well. But this time, along with a photo, please write and send a small piece about the place, thus displaying your creative prowess. One gets to learn a lot by visiting new places. Things we can’t learn in a classroom, within our family, from our friends, sometimes we can learn those things by travelling. We get to experience something fresh with each new place we visit – we learn about people, their languages, foods and lifestyles. Someone has rightly said that “A traveller without observation is a bird without wings”. “If you have a desire to truly view, you should also develop an insight.” India is full of diversities. Once you set out to see the country, for the rest of your life you will keep seeing new things and still never get enough of it. I have been fortunate that I had a lot of opportunities to travel. When I was neither Chief Minister nor Prime Minster, and I was young like you, I travelled a lot. Perhaps there isn’t a district in India which I have not visited.

Travel plays a very strong role in shaping our lives. These days the youth of India are being driven by a spirit of adventure and curiosity. Unlike before, they don’t want to go to the same old places or tread the oft beaten track. They want to do something new, see something new. I see this as a good sign. Our youth should be bold. They should be brave. They should have the courage to set foot on places where no one has been before.

In this context, I would like to specially congratulate Coal India. Western Coalfields Limited at Savaner near Nagpur, where there are coal mines, has developed an Eco-friendly Mine-Tourism Circuit. Generally we don’t think of coal mines as places to be visited. When we see pictures of miners, we wonder what it must be like out there. We even have a saying, “Coal blackens your hands”, hence people tend to stay away from coal mines. But Western Coalfields Limited has made these same coal mines a destination for tourism. This is only the beginning, but already nearly 10,000 people have visited this Eco-friendly Mine-tourism site at Savaner near Nagpur. This in itself gives us an opportunity to see something new.

I hope that when you set out on a journey during the coming holidays you can contribute something to cleanliness too. There is greater awareness about cleanliness and people are making an effort to keep tourism destinations litter-free. Both tourists and local residents of these places are contributing to it. Maybe it is not being done in a very scientific way, but it is being done. Can you too, being a tourist, lay stress on cleanliness at tourist destinations? I am confident that our youth will definitely help me in this task.

Tourism is a sector that provides maximum employment. Even the poorest person gets a chance to earn from tourism. When tourists visit a place, even the not-so-well-off among them spend money. Rich tourists are bound to spend more money. There are many employment opportunities created by tourism. India lags far behind in tourism when compared to the world. But if we, 125 crore Indians, decide that we have to give importance to our tourism sector, we can attract the world. We can draw a very large number of tourists to our side. Through this we can provide new employment opportunities to several million young people in India. Be it the government, institutions, society, citizens – we all have to come together to make this happen. Come, let’s make an endeavour in this direction.

My dear young friends, I don’t like it when holidays are just frittered away. You too should think along these lines. Will you let your holidays during the most important years of your life slip away just like that? I will give you something to ponder upon. Can you resolve to add one skill, one special attribute to your personality, during your holidays? If you don’t know how to swim, can you resolve to learn swimming during the holidays? If you don’t know how to cycle, can you resolve to learn cycling during the holidays? Or you could tell yourself, “I type with just two fingers on the keyboard, so shouldn’t I learn proper way of typing?” There are so many skills to develop our personality. Why not learn them? Why not overcome some of our shortcomings? Why not add to our strengths? Do give it a thought.

It is not like you need lots of classes, a great trainer, hefty fees or a big budget for this. You can find something around you. Let’s say you decide to make the ‘best’ out of ‘waste’. Just look for some waste material and start creating something from it. You will enjoy it. By the time evening falls, you will marvel at what you have created from that rubbish. Suppose you are fond of painting and you don’t know how to paint. Just start painting and gradually you will get better at it. You must spend your holidays on building your personality by developing some new talent, acquiring some new skill. There can be countless areas where you could do so; it is not as if these are confined to only the ones that I am spelling out for you. This will help you in carving out your own identity and raising your self-confidence tremendously. Just try it for yourself. When you return to school or college and tell your classmates about what you learned during the holidays, and when your friends find that they have not learned anything new, they will realise that they wasted their time. They will admire you, “You are a very determined man, my friend, you have accomplished something concrete.” This will perhaps become a big thing among friends. I am confident that you will surely do it and, yes, do share with me what you have learned.

This time a lot of suggestions have come for Mann Ki Baat on www.mygov.in: –

Sound Byte- “My name is Abhi Chaturvedi. Namaste dear Prime Minister, you had said during the last summer holidays that even birds feel the summer heat so we should fill a bowl with water and place it in the balcony or the terrace so that the birds can come to have water. I did this and enjoyed it and in this way I made friends with a lot of birds. I request you to repeat this task in Mann Ki Baat. Thank You.”

My dear fellow citizens, I would like to express my gratitude to this little boy Abhi. He called me up and reminded me of what I had said. Frankly, I had forgotten about it. And I did not have it in my mind that I would say something on this topic, but Abhi has reminded me that last year I had asked you to put an earthen bowl filled with water for the birds.

Friends, I want to thank this boy Abhi Chaturvedi. He has reminded me of a good deed by calling me. Last summer I had remembered it and asked you to put water in earthen bowls for the birds during summers. Abhi has told me that he has been doing this for a whole year and many birds have now become his friends. The great Hindi poetess Mahadevi Verma used to love birds. She wrote this in one of her poems, “We shall not let you fly far way, we shall fill the courtyard with grains and fill the tank with sweet and cool water…” Come, let us also do what Mahadevi Ji used to do. I greet Abhi and thank him for reminding me of this very important thing.

Shilpa Kukke from Mysore has raised a very humane issue. She says milkmen, newspaper vendors, postmen come close to our homes. Sometimes utensil hawkers and cloth sellers too pass by our homes. Have we ever offered them some drinking water during the summer days? Have we ever given them water to drink? Shilpa, I am very grateful to you that you have articulated something so sensitive in so simple a manner. It is a small gesture but when the postman comes and we offer him water, he will feel good. Of course, it is a part of our nature in India. But I am glad, Shilpa, that you have observed these things.

My dear farmer brothers and sisters, you must have repeatedly heard the term – Digital India. Some people feel that Digital India is to do with the world of the youth in our cities. No, it’s not like that. You will be happy to learn that a ‘Kisan Suvidha App’ has been launched to serve your interests. If you download this ‘Kisan Suvidha App’ on your mobile phone, you will receive a lot of information related to agriculture and weather at your fingertips. There are many topics on this App, such as what is the state of the market, what is the position of the wholesale market, which crops are doing well these days, which are the appropriate pesticides. Not just this. There is a button on the App which will connect you directly with agricultural scientists and link you with the experts. If you pose a question to them, they will reply to it; they will explain things to you. I hope that my farmer brothers and sisters will download the ‘Kisan Suvidha App’ on their mobile phones. Why don’t you have a look at this gift for you and give it a try to see if something in it is of use to you? If you feel it lacks in anything then you can complain to me also.

My dear farmer brothers and sisters, summer is holiday time for the rest of the people, but for you it is the time to sweat it out even more. A farmer waits for the rains. Before that, he puts in his life and soul to get his field ready so that not even a single drop of rain water goes waste. For farmers, the season just before onset of farming is of utmost importance. We will have to give a thought to what will happen if there’s no water. Can we utilise this time to visit ponds, check the routes through which water flows into these ponds and spot the places where garbage or something else blocks the water from flowing, because of which reservoirs get depleted. Can we not remove the blockage and clean the inlets so that more water gets collected? If we manage to save and collect more water during the first rainfall and fill up our ponds, rivers and streams, then even if the rains fail later, our losses will be reduced. But this can be possible only when we conserve each and every drop of water.

You must have noticed that this time it has been decided to construct five lakh ponds and farm water reservoirs. Under MNREGA also a stress has been given to create assets for water conservation. Every village should save water. How can we save every drop of water during the coming rains? How do we begin an exercise to ensure that every drop of water in the village stays within the village? You should devise a plan and get connected with Government schemes so that we can start a people’s movement which will help us understand the importance of water. Then everyone can join in the campaign for water conservation. There must be many such villages in the country, many progressive farmers and many conscientious citizens who have already done this kind of work. But we still need to do much more in this direction.

My dear farmer brothers and sisters, a few days ago the Government of India had organised a very big Kisan Mela, ‘Farmers’ Fair’. There I saw the modern technology that is now available for farmers and how much change has come in agriculture. But we have to ensure that this technology reaches the fields. Now even the farmers have started saying the use of fertilisers should be curtailed. I welcome this. Excessive use of fertilisers has made our Mother Earth unwell. We are the children of our soil, so how can we watch our Mother Earth suffering? When we add spices and condiments while cooking our food, it adds to the taste. But if we add too much of even the best of the spices and condiments, then would one want to eat that food? The same food would taste so bad, isn’t it? The same thing happens with fertilisers as well.

No matter how good fertilisers may be, if we use them beyond a limit they will become the cause of ruination. There should be a balance in everything. This will reduce your expenses and you will end up saving money. Our stand is clear: Less Cost, More Output. Invest Less and Reap More. We should move forward with this ‘mantra’ and improve our agriculture sector by using scientific methods. I hope we will do, with full concentration, whatever is necessary for water conservation. We have a couple of months till the onset of monsoon. Do remember, the more we save water, the more the farmers will benefit and more lives will be saved.

My dear fellow citizens, the World Health Day is on 7th April. This year the theme of the World Health Day is ‘Beat Diabetes’. I call upon all of you to defeat Diabetes which plays host to so many diseases. Once it enters yours body, a whole lot of undesirable guests in the form of illnesses follow it. It is said that in 2014 India had about six and a half crore Diabetics. Diabetes was found to be the cause of death in three per cent of all deaths. Diabetes is of two types — Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is hereditary; if the parents have it, so shall their child. Type 2 is due to your habits, age and obesity. The world is worried about Diabetes and so it has been chosen as the theme for World Health Day on 7th April.

We all know that our lifestyle is the biggest cause for Diabetes. Physical labour is getting reduced. There is not a trace of sweat; there is just no walking around. Even if we play games, we play them online; very little happens offline. Can we not, drawing inspiration from this year’s World Health Day and its theme, do something to defeat Diabetes in our personal life? If you are interested in Yoga, then do Yoga. Or else, the least you can do is to go for a walk or a run. If every citizen of my country is healthy, then my country will be healthy. Sometimes we are reluctant to get our medical check-up done. When the condition worsens then only does it come to our notice that it is Diabetes to blame. What do you lose in getting a check-up done? Please get this much done at least. Everything is available and a check-up can be done easily. Please do be concerned about this.

On March 24th, the world observed Tuberculosis Day. When I was a child we would be scared by the very mention of the word TB. It would seem death was inevitable for anybody suffering from this dreaded disease. But now we are not scared of it because everybody knows TB is curable and can be easily cured. Paradoxically, when TB was linked to death we used to be duly afraid of it; but now that it is curable, we have become almost careless about it. Compared to the world, we still have a large number of TB patients. If we want to free ourselves and our country from TB, then we need correct treatment, we need complete treatment. If we leave the treatment mid-way, it can create new complications for us. Tuberculosis is one disease that even the neighbours can spot. “Oh look! You have a persistent cough and fever and you have lost weight. Go get it checked. You must have got TB.” This shows TB is one illness that can be detected fast.

My dear fellow citizens, there is a lot of work being done in this direction. There are more than 13,500 Microscopy Centres, more than four lakh DOTS providers, various advanced laboratories. And all these services are free. Please go and get a check-up done. This disease can be got rid of. All one needs is the correct treatment and the treatment must continue till the illness is gone completely. I would like to appeal to you all, whether it is TB or Diabetes, we have to conquer these. We have to eradicate these diseases from India. But this cannot happen with just the efforts of the government or by doctors or medicines till you don’t do something about it. So I call upon all of you today to defeat Diabetes and free ourselves from Tuberculosis.

My dear fellow citizens, a number of important occasions are coming up in April, especially on 14th of April which happens to be the birth anniversary of Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. His 125th birth anniversary was celebrated all over the country. The five pilgrimage spots associated with him – Mhow, his birthplace; London, where he was educated, Nagpur, where he had his ‘Deeksha’; 26, Alipur Road, Delhi, where his soul left him for its heavenly abode; and the cremation ground in Mumbai where his last rites were performed. We are making a constant effort to develop these five pilgrimage spots. I am fortunate to get the chance to visit Mhow, the birthplace of our revered Baba Saheb Ambedkar, on 14th April this year. Baba Saheb has given us a lot to help shape us into ideal citizens. We can pay our best homage to him by following the path set by him and becoming good citizens.

In a few days from now, the new year of Vikram Samvat will begin. It is celebrated in different states in different forms. Some call it Nav Samvatsar, some call it Gudi Padva, some Varsh Pratipada, some Ugadi, but it holds importance in nearly all the states of India. My greetings to everybody on this auspicious occasion of New Year.

As you know and I had said it last time also, you can now listen to my Mann Ki Baat in about 20 languages whenever you wish to. You can choose your own convenient time to listen to it. You can listen to it on your own mobile handset. All you have to do is to give a missed call. I am happy to state that although it has been barely a month since this service was launched, 35 lakh people have availed of it. You too can note down the number. 81908-81908. I repeat – 81908-81908. Give a missed call on this number whenever it is convenient for you. Even if you wish to listen to any previous episode of Mann Ki Baat, you can listen to it in the language of your choice. I will be happy to remain connected with you.

My dear fellow citizens, my heartiest best wishes to you all. Many, many thanks.

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