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PM’s “Mann ki Baat” programme on All India Radio

My dear countrymen, namaskar!

Once again I have got an opportunity to talk to you about matters close to my heart, through ‘Mann Ki Baat’. For me, ‘Mann Ki Baat’ is not a matter of ritual; I myself am very eager to talk to you. And I am really happy that I am able to connect with you all in every corner of India, through this programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’. I am grateful to All India Radio that they have also been successfully broadcasting ‘Mann Ki Baat’ in regional languages at 8 pm. I am also very happy that the people who listen to me, later communicate their feelings to me through letters, telephone calls, the website and also through the NarendraModiApp. A lot of what you say is of great help to me in the functioning of the government. How active should the government be in terms of public service? How much priority should be given to public welfare activities? In terms of these matters, this dialogue, this link that I have with you all, is of great use. I hope that you will now be even more actively and enthusiastically involved in ensuring that our democracy should function with people’s participation.

The summer heat is increasing day by day. We were hoping for some respite, instead we are experiencing continual rise in temperature. And in the midst of this came the information that the monsoon will perhaps be delayed by a week, which has added to the worry. Almost the entire country is reeling under the scorching impact of severe heat. The mercury continues to soar. Be it animals, birds or humans…everyone is suffering. These problems have been getting increasingly worse due to environmental degradation. Forest cover has kept receding due to indiscriminate felling of trees. In a way, the human race itself has paved the way for self-annihilation by destroying the environment.

5th June is World Environment Day. On this day, discussions expressing concern on the issue are held all over the world for saving the environment. This time on the occasion of World Environment Day, the United Nations has given the theme “Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade”. This topic will, of course, be discussed, but we also must talk about saving our flora and fauna, conserving water, and how to expand our forest cover. You must have seen in the last few days how forest fires raged in the lap of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The main cause of these forest fires was dry leaf littering combined with carelessness, which led to the massive inferno. And so, it becomes the bounden duty of each one of us, to save forests and save water.

Recently, I convered at length with the Chief Ministers of eleven states, reeling under severe drought- Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and, Odisha.

As per the conventional Government precedent, I could have had a combined meeting with all the drought affected states, but I chose not to do so. I had a one-on-one meeting with each state, devoting about two to two and a half hours with each one. I carefully heard what each state had to say. Usually such talks do not go beyond discussion on how much money was granted by the Central Government state-wise, and how much money was actually spent by each state. Thus, it came as a surprise even to the officers of the Central Government that some states have indeed made some very commendable efforts related to water, environment, tackling drought, caring for animals as well as affected human beings. Based on inputs from all corners of the country, irrespective of the ruling party there, we found that we had to give a thought to finding not only permanent solutions but also devising practical ways and means to deal with this long-standing problem. In a way, It was a kind of a learning experience too for me. And I have told the Niti Aayog that they should work on how to incorporate the best practices across all the states.

Some states, especially Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have made full use of technology. I would like that in future, through the Niti Aayog, the exceptionally successful efforts of these states should be applied to other states also. People’s participation is a strong base for solving such problems. And for this, I believe that if there is a confluence of perfect planning, use of appropriate technology, and time-bound action, then we can achieve optimum results in drought management, for water conservation, to save every single drop of water. My faith is that water is a Gift from God. When we go to a temple, we are given an offering of Prasad and even if a small bit of that spills, we feel bad in our hearts. We not only pick it up but also pray five times for God’s forgiveness. Water is also an offering form the God. Even if a drop of water is wasted, then we should feel remorse and pain. And so water storage, water conservation and proper water irrigation are all of equal importance. And so there is need for implementing the maxim ‘Per Drop More Crop’ through Micro-Irrigation and cultivating crops that require minimal water intake. At present, it is indeed good news that in many states, even sugarcane farmers are using micro irrigation, some are using drip irrigation and some are using sprinklers. When I discussed with the eleven states, I noticed that even for cultivating paddy for production of rice, some of them had employed drip irrigation successfully and got higher yields, thereby also reducing the requirement for water as well as for labour. I also found that there were many states which had taken on very big targets, especially, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat- these three states have done massive work in the field of drip irrigation. And they are striving to bring every year 2 to 3 lakh hectares additional land under micro- irrigation. If this campaign gets underway in all the states, then not only will it benefit cultivation, but more water will also be conserved. Our farmer brothers in Telangana, through ‘Mission Bhagirathi’ have made a commendable effort to optimally use the waters of Godavari and Krishna rivers. In Andhra Pradesh, ‘Neeru Pragati Mission’ has been using technology for ground water recharging. People are devoting hard work and contributing financially as well to the mass movement that has been started in Maharashtra,. ‘Jal Yukt Shivir’ is one such people’s movement which is really going to be of great help in saving Maharashtra from water crisis in the future- this is what I feel. Chhattisgarh has started the ‘Lok-Suraj, Jal-Suraj’ campaign. Madhya Pradesh has started the ‘Balram Talaab Yojana’- and dug nearly 22,000 ponds, which is no small figure, work is also being carried out on their ‘Kapil Dhara Koop Yojana.’ In Uttar Pradesh there is ‘Mukhya Mantri Jal Bachao Abhiyaan’. In Karnataka water conservation efforts are in the form of ‘Kalyani Yojana’, under which they are trying to revive wells once again. In Rajasthan and Gujarat there are many ancient baodis – deep tanks or masonry wells with steps going down to the water. These states are making a very big effort to revive these as ‘water temples’. Rajasthan has started the Chief Minister’s Jal Swawalamban Abhiyan – Water Self Sufficiency Campaign. Jharkhand, although being a predominantly forest area, still has some parts which face water problem. They have launched a very big campaign for building ‘Check Dams’. They have started an exercise to check and stop the flow of water. Some states have started a campaign and made a number of small dams at distances of 10 to 20 kilometres in the rivers themselves to check the flow of water.

This is a wonderful experience. I urge the people of India that during this June, July, August September, we should resolve that we shall not let a single drop of water be wasted. We should decide right now upon the places where we can conserve water and where we can check the flow of water. The Almighty blesses us with water according to our needs, nature fulfils our needs. But if we become careless during the abundance of water and then during the lean water season land into trouble due to water scarcity, how can this be allowed? And the issue of water is not just for the farmers. This concerns everybody – the villages, the poor, the labourers, the farmers, the urban people, the country folk, the rich and the poor. And for this reason, now that the rainy season is approaching, saving water should be our priority. And when we celebrate Diwali this time, then we should also revel in how much water did we save; how much water we stopped from flowing out. You will see for yourselves that our joy will increase manifold. Water has this power, no matter how tired one is, just a bit of water splashed on the face makes one feel so refreshed. No matter how tired we are; when we see a large lake or an ocean, how magnificent that sight is. What a priceless treasure it is bestowed upon us by the Almighty! Just connect to it with your heart. Conserve it! We should harvest water. We should also store water. We should also modernise water irrigation. This I say as an earnest appeal. We should not let this season go waste. The coming four months should be transformed into a Save the Water Campaign, to save every drop of water. And this is not just for the governments, not just for the politicians, it is a work to be carried out by the people at large. Recently the Media reported about the water crisis in great detail. I hope that the Media will show the path to the people on how to save water, start a campaign, and also share the responsibility to free us from the water crisis forever; I invite then as well.

My dear Countrymen, we have to build a modern India. We have to make a transparent India. We have to make many services uniformly available across the entire country from one corner to another. So we will have to change some of our old habits as well. Today I want to touch upon one topic in which if you can be of help to me, then we can together achieve progress in that direction. We all know and we were taught about it in school that there was a time when there were no coins, no currency notes; there was a barter system. If you wanted vegetables you could give wheat in return. If you wanted salt, you could give vegetables in exchange. Business was carried out only through the barter system. Then gradually came currency, coins came, notes came. But now times have changed. The whole world is moving towards a cashless society. Through the facility of electronic technology, we can get money and also give money; we can buy things and pay our bills too. And with this there is no question of our wallets getting stolen from our pocket. We need not worry about keeping an account; the account will be maintained automatically. In the beginning it may appear to be a bit difficult, but once we get used to it, then this arrangement will seem very easy for us. And this possibility is there because under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana that we have started recently, nearly all the families in the country have had their bank accounts opened. On the other hand, they have also got their Aadhar numbers. And the mobile phone has reached the hands of almost every Indian. So Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile – Jam – J. A. M. Synchronising these three, we can move ahead towards a cashless society. You must have seen that along with the Jan Dhan account people have been given a RuPay card. In the coming days this card is going to be useful as both- a credit and a debit card. And now-a-days a very small instrument has come which is called ‘point of sale’- P. O. S. – ‘Pos’. With the help of that, be it your Aadhar number or your RuPay card, if you have to pay money to someone, you can do it through that. There is no need to take out any money from your pocket and count it; there is no need to carry around any cash with you. One of the initiatives in this regard taken by the Government of India is about how to make payments through ‘Pos’, how to receive money. The second endeavour we have started is Bank on Mobile. The ‘Universal Payment Interface’ banking transaction- UPI will change the way things work. It will become very easy to do money transactions through your mobile phone. And I’m happy to tell you that the N.P.C.I. and banks are working together to launch this platform through a mobile app. If this happens, perhaps you may not even need to carry a RuPay card with you.

Across the country, nearly 1.25 lakh young people have been recruited as banking correspondents. In a way we have worked towards providing the bank at your door step. Post offices have also been geared up for banking services. If we learn and adapt ourselves to use these services, then we will not require the currency, we will not need notes, we will not need coins. Businesses will function automatically, resulting in a certain transparency. Under-hand dealings will stop; the influence of black money will be reduced. So I appeal to my countrymen, that we should at least make a beginning. Once we start, we will move ahead with great ease. Twenty years ago who would have thought that so many mobiles would be in our hands. Slowly we cultivated a habit and now we can’t do without those. Maybe this cashless society assumes a similar form. But the sooner this happens, the better it will be.

My dear countrymen, whenever the Olympic games come around, and when these begin, we sit and clutch our heads and sigh, “we were left so far behind in the tally of gold medals… did we get a silver or not… should we do with just a bronze or not…” This happens. It is true that in the field of sports we face a lot of challenges. But an atmosphere for sports should be created in the country.

To encourage the sportspersons who are leaving for the Rio Olympics, to boost their morale, everyone should try in one’s own way. Someone could write a song, someone could draw cartoons, someone could send messages with good wishes, somebody could cheer a particular sport, but on the whole a very positive environment should be created in the entire country for these sportspersons. Whatever may be the result, a game is a game, one can win or lose, medals are won sometimes and sometimes not; our spirits should always soar high. And as I speak, I would like to mention our Sports Minister Shri Sarbanand Sonowal for a gesture that has touched my heart. Last week all of us were busy in the ups & downs of Assam election results. Shri Sarbanandji himself was leading the campaign. He was the Chief Ministerial candidate; but he was also the Union Minister. And I was very happy when I came to know that one day before the Assam election results, he discreetly reached Patiala in Punjab. You must be aware of the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports- N.I.S. – where the sportspersons going for the Olympics are trained. They all are there. He suddenly reached there, much to the surprise of the sportspersons. And it was a matter of surprise for the world of sports as well, that a Minister personally cares for our sportspersons. What are the arrangements for them? How is the food? Are they getting nutritious food according to their needs or not? Are the appropriate trainers for their body fitness present there? Are all the training machines functioning properly? He surveyed everything in great detail. He personally inspected each and every sportsperson’s room. He spoke to all the players in great detail. He had a word with the management and trainers; he himself ate with the sportspersons. With election results being due, with the distinct possibility of a new responsibility as a Chief Minister, and yet if one of my colleagues, in the capacity of a Sports Minister, displays such concern for his work, then it gives me great joy. And I am confident that like this, we should all realize the importance of sports, we should encourage the people in the world of sports, encourage our sportspersons. This becomes a source of strength in itself, when the sportsperson feels that his 125 crore countrymen are with him, his morale gets boosted.

Last time I spoke to you about the FIFA Under 17 World Cup and recently I got to see the suggestions that have come pouring in. And these days I have noticed that a conducive atmosphere for Football can be seen in the whole country. Many people are taking an initiative to form their own teams. I have received thousands of suggestions on the NarendraModi Mobile App. Maybe many people don’t play the game themselves, but hundreds of thousands of young Indians have displayed such keen interest in the sport, this by itself was a very delightful experience for me. We all know the bond that India has with Cricket, but I saw the same passion for Football as well, and this by itself heralds a very positive signal for the future. For all the selected candidates for the Rio Olympics, and for our favourite sportspersons, we should create a cheerful and positive atmosphere. We should not judge everything in terms of victory and defeat. India should be known in the world for its spirit of sportsmanship. I appeal to my countrymen to contribute their bit in creating an atmosphere that boosts the spirits and enthusiasm of our athletes.

In the last week or so, results have been pouring in from all over the country…. and I am not talking about election results… I am talking about those students who slogged for the entire year, those of 10th and 12th Class. It is clear that our daughters are marching ahead triumphantly. It is a matter of joy. To those who have succeeded in these exams, I extend my congratulations and felicitations. And those who were not able to succeed, I would like to tell them once again that there is a lot to do in life. Life does not get stuck if we do not get results according to our expectations. We should live with hope, we should move ahead with confidence.

But I have been confronted with a new type of question, about which earlier I had never given a thought. I’ve received one email on site, which drew my attention. One Mr. Gaurav, Gaurav Patel of Madhya Pradesh writes that in the M.P. Board exam he has secured 89.33% marks. Reading this I felt elated. But in his continued narration, he tells us his tale of woes. Gaurav Patel says that Sir, afte securing 89.33% marks when I reached home, I was thinking that I would be congratulated by my family and friends, I would be applauded. But I was amazed when everybody in the house, friends and my teachers said the same thing, “Oh Dear, if your had secured just 4 more marks, you would have made it to 90%”. So it seems that my family, my friends, my teachers, nobody was pleased with my 89.33% marks. Everyone was lamenting that I missed my 90% by four marks. Now I’m perplexed and don’t know how to handle the situation. Is this all to life. Was what I did not good enough? Did I not prove myself? I don’t know but I feel a burden on my heart and mind.

Gaurav, I have read your letter very carefully. And I feel that perhaps this pain is not just yours; like you there are many lakhs and crores of other students who share the same pain. Because nowadays there is a trend that instead of finding satisfaction in what we have achieved, we tend to express our dissatisfaction in not achieving unrealistic goals. This is another form of negativity. We can never guide society towards the path of satisfaction if we always find dissatisfaction in everything. It would have been better if your family members, your class mates and your friends had appreciated your 89.33%. Then you would have felt motivated enough to do a lot more. I would like to urge guardians, parents and people all around, to please accept, welcome and express your satisfaction over your children’s results, and motivate them to surge ahead in life. Else, it might happen that a day will come when he brings 100% marks and you will say that, “you have got 100 percent! But still, had you done something more, it would have been better!” There is a limit to everything and that should be accepted.

Santosh Giri Goswami has written to me from Jodhpur something similar, almost along the same lines. He says that the people around him just don’t accept the results. They say that you should have done something better. There was a poem I had read long ago. I don’t remember the complete poem. The poet had written something like this – “I painted a picture of my anguish on the canvas of life. And when it was exhibited, almost all the visiting people commented that it needed some touching up. Someone said, ‘yellow here would have been better in place of blue.’ Someone said, ‘This line would have been better situated there instead of here.’ I wish some odd visitor had also shed a tear or two over the picture of my anguish.” I don’t remember if these were the exact words of the poem, as I read this poem way back. But nobody was able to grasp the pain depicted in that picture; everyone just spoke of touching it up.

Santosh Giriji, you have the same problem that Gaurav has. And there must be crores of students like you. You have the burden on yourself of fulfilling the expectations of millions of others. All that I would like to say to you is that in such a situation, don’t lose your balance. Everyone expresses their expectations; just keep listening, but stick to your point and make an effort to do something even better. But if you are not satisfied over what you have got, you will never be able to create something new. The strong foundation of one success becomes the foundation for another greater success. The dissatisfaction arising out of success never becomes a ladder to success; it guarantees failure. And so I would like to appeal that you should sing in celebration of the success that you have achieved. Possibilities of newer successes will arise out of success achieved earlier. I would like to appeal to parents, friends and neighbours that please don’t impose your expectations upon your children. And friends, does our life come to a standstill if we meet with failure sometimes. Sometimes one is not able to score good marks in exams, but he or she surges ahead in sports, or does well in music, or excels in the fine arts, or forges ahead in business. God has gifted each one of us with a unique talent. Please recognize your internal strength, build upon it and you will be able to march ahead. And this happens everywhere in life.

You must have heard of the musical instrument called santoor. There was a time when the santoor was associated with the folk music of the Kashmir valley. But it was Pandit Shiv Kumar (Sharma) whose magical touch transformed it into one of the prime musical instruments of the world. Shehnai once had a limited space in the world of music. It was mostly played at the threshold of the courts of emperors and kings. But Ustad Bismillah Khan’s mastery over the Shehnai made it one of the finest musical instruments in the world; it has now carved an identity of its own. And so you should stop worrying about what you have and how is that. Just concentrate on what you have and devote your utmost with that you are sure to reap handsome rewards.

My dear countrymen, sometimes I notice that the money that our poor families have to spend on their healthcare, throws their life off the track. It is true that while one has to spend little on preventing illness, the expenditure incurred on regaining health after you have fallen ill, is a lot more. Why can’t we lead life in such a way that we don’t ever fall sick and no financial burden falls upon the family. Cleanliness is one of the strongest protections from disease. The greatest service that can be rendered to the poor is by maintaining cleanliness. And the second thing that I constantly urge you to do is Yog. Some people also call it Yoga. 21st June is the International Day for Yog. People are not only attracted to Yog the world over, they have implicit faith in it and the whole world has embraced it. This is a priceless gift handed over to us by our ancestors, which we have given to the world. To the world which is filled with stress, Yog gives the power to lead a balanced life. Prevention is better than cure. A person practicing Yog, can easily have the achievements of staying healthy, maintaining balance, being richly endowed with a strong will power, nurturing supreme self confidence and to have concentration in every task one does. 21st June, International Yog Day is not just a mere event. It should spread wide, it should find a place in every person’s life. Each person should take 20-25-30 minutes out from his daily routine and spend it on practicing Yog. And for this, the International Yog day on 21st June gives us the inspiration. These collective occasions do become a reason for effecting positive change in an individual’s life. I do hope that on 21st June, wherever you may be, please take the initiative; you have a month with you. If you visit the website of the Government of India, the syllabus for this time, which ‘asanas’ you have to do, how one has to do them, all that has been described in it. Have a look at it. Do get these followed in your village, in your mohallas, in your city, in your school, in your institution, even in offices. Start it from now, one month in advance and you will be a participating partner on 21st June. I have read it several times that there are offices where on a regular basis, when they first meet in the morning, they begin with Yog and Pranayam and the efficiency of the entire office increases. The whole culture of the office gets transformed and the environment also undergoes a positive change. Can we make use of 21st June to bring Yog into our lives? Can we use it to bring Yog into our social life? Can we use it to bring Yog into our surroundings? I will be going this time to Chandigarh to participate in the programme on 21st June. I shall be doing Yog with the people of Chandigarh. You too must connect yourself with it when the whole world will be doing Yog on that day. I urge you all not to get left behind. Your staying healthy is very important to make India healthy.

My dear country men, through Mann Ki Baat, I connect with you regularly. I had given all of you a mobile number earlier, which you could use for listening to ‘Mann Ki Baat’ by giving a missed call on that number. But now we have made it a lot simpler. Now, to be able to listen to this programme, all you have to do is to dial just four digits. That four digit number is 1-9-2-2 . I repeat …One- Nine- Two -Two. By giving a missed call on this number, you will be able to listen to ‘Mann Ki Baat’ at any time, wherever you are and in any language of your choice.

My dear countrymen, Namaskar to all of you once again! Please don’t forget what I had said about water. You will remember it, won’t you? Okay! Thank You. Namaste!

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