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On the eve of his visit to Russia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an exclusive interview to TASS First Deputy General Director Mikhail Gusman for TASS and Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to meet with you again. We meet with you literally a few hours before you fly to Vladivostok to the Eastern Economic Forum, to the Russian Far East. What do you expect from this forum? What are your expectations for going there?

Hello! First, I would like to thank you for coming to us from afar. Welcome to India! I would like to thank the Russian people through you and convey my warmest greetings, because the peoples of India and Russia in many respects feel close to each other.

Once I came to Russia for a bilateral summit, that evening we were shown a cultural program. All the speakers on stage were Russian, but I was completely shocked by how they portrayed India. The whole atmosphere on the stage was Indian: the speakers demonstrated Indian traditions, Indian clothes, Indian culture, and I felt how Russian people love India. Therefore, I sincerely thank the Russians and convey them my best wishes.

As for relations between India and Russia, I note that two years ago, at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, I visited St. Petersburg at an economic forum. And he invited me to this forum a year ago, and I received this invitation even before the elections, when their winner was not yet known (the general parliamentary elections in India were held in April-May of this year - TASS comment). But he confidently told me: "No, you come." Such trust, respect, love for a friend is very important in itself.

As for relations between India and Russia, I am sure that they are not limited only to relations between politicians or between the capitals - Delhi and Moscow. India is a huge and diverse country. In every country in the world, different regions have their own strengths. And if we want to develop relations, we must get acquainted with the whole country. I believe that if we do not get acquainted with the Russian Far East, we will not recognize Russia to the end. This is a very powerful region of Russia.

I remember the last time I came to St. Petersburg, I was able to talk with the governors of the Far Eastern regions for about half a day. A number of representatives from the Far East came to the Vibrant Gujarat international investment forum (Vibrant Gujarat, an international forum organized by the government of Gujarat - approx. TASS).

And I am ready to make efforts so that this Far Eastern forum will contribute to a new strengthening, new expansion and inclusiveness of economic relations between India and Russia. That is why I think this forum is very important.

But this forum is not limited to just meeting and exchanging points of view. We have been preparing for this forum for six months. A large delegation from the Far East came to us. The chief ministers of our states, ministers of the government, entrepreneurs came there, they saw this region with their own eyes. And now I'm going. I am sure that this visit will give a new direction, new energy, new speed to relations between the two countries.


Mr. Prime Minister, you mentioned your previous meetings with President Putin, including at the forum in St. Petersburg, you will meet in Vladivostok. How is your personal dialogue going, as they say that you have developed a personal relationship, as they say, a special chemistry. How would you rate this?

You see, over the past 20 years, relations between India and Russia have made great progress. But the greatest achievement is trust, which in itself is of very great importance. For the first time, I got the opportunity to meet with President Putin in 2001. Then I arrived in Moscow with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (Prime Minister of India in 1996, 1998-2004 - approx. TASS).

I was the chief minister of the state (Gujarat - approx. TASS), and this was our first meeting. But Putin did not at all make it clear that I am less significant, that I am from a small state or that I am a new person. He treated me as friendly as his own. As a result, the doors of friendship were open. We discussed not only issues relating to our countries, we discussed various issues, talked about our hobbies, then about peace and world problems. We talked openly, like our own people. It is very interesting to talk with him, and I openly admit that conversations with him are very informative.

The second one. Putin is a very open person. He speaks directly and expects him to speak directly and clearly. Therefore, we communicate without any “but” and “if”. We clearly understand that President Putin thinks so. Therefore, it is very easy for me to express my opinion to him.

I know that he is a physically very developed person, he leads an active lifestyle, keeps himself in shape. I love it. He is also interested in the environment, wildlife, the underwater world, especially interested in the problem of conservation of tigers and so on. I'm the same by nature. Therefore, it is natural that many things connect us.

Thirdly, India and Russia have similar opinions on almost all issues on the international agenda. And if they do not coincide, then the difference is small. This also greatly affects our relationship. With each meeting with President Putin, we are getting closer, and our relationship is developing. In a previous informal meeting, President Putin led me to see the school. I was pleased to meet with the students, and I invited them here to India. They came and met with our students, and it was very nice.

When I was in Russia for the last time, I decided that I would send a large group of Indian businessmen to the Russian Far East so that they themselves all saw at first. So we do everything openly.

You spoke about the proximity of the Russian and Indian peoples. This was written at the end of the XIX century by the Russian emperor Nicholas II, when he went on a trip around the world. He even wanted to open a consulate in Bombay. There have never been any conflicts or wars between our countries. I think this could not be. What prospects would you see for the future of Russian-Indian relations?

I note that many people in the world do not know that when Vladivostok was a closed city, the only exception was India, it was India that became the first foreign state to open its consulate there. This is a reflection of trust between our countries.

I would like to say that our relations in the economy, culture, trade, military-technical cooperation are developing very steadily. And yet, where do you see the unrealized potential? And you will have something to talk about with President Putin. What issues should be paid special attention from the point of view of the development of relations?

You see, the official forum follows in its discussions on the agenda, but informal negotiations are of particular importance. And we know from experience that, although this is a bilateral or multilateral forum, President Putin and I will always find time to talk.

We sit together and talk, walk and talk. In our relations there is a special chemistry, a special lightness. Here, in this forum, we will have a lot of time, I hope that we will be able to discuss a lot of issues.

Secondly, our bilateral relations with Russia are one thing. But we speak from a single point of view in multilateral formats, Russia always takes a friendly position to us. Both we and Russia dream of a multipolar world. This is what the world needs today. We have gone from a bipolar world to a unipolar world, but now we are gradually moving towards a multipolar world. At the same time, we must think carefully about all the issues of this progression in order to gradually move forward. India and Russia have the same point of view on this issue.

Continuing the conversation about relations between India and Russia, I want to note that if you intend to develop the Far East, then you need labor resources. And India has great potential in this area. For example, in the Gulf countries, over 9 million Indians have been working in the last 30–40 years. In any state of West Asia, the Persian Gulf, when you arrive there, they will be happy to tell you that in the development of their countries over the past 40 years, the role of Indians and their work is very high.

But there is another ability of the Indians, out of those 9 million people who have been working hard and hard all 40 years, not one has renounced their citizenship. All of them remain citizens of India, their families live here in India. They constantly come here, are in constant contact with relatives. This is a feature of the Indian people.

I am sure that if millions of Indians go to work in the Far East, then after work they will return from Russia

Take, for example, the diamond industry, which is developed in my home state of Gujarat, he has extensive experience in working with diamonds. The Far East is also actively working in this area. Therefore, both parties can join forces.

It seems to me that nature itself connects us with the Far East. For example, every December Siberian cranes fly to my native state of Gujarat. For them, this is a kind of tourist destination. Siberian cranes fly from there to Gujarat, many Indians go to the Far East. So this is a natural connection.

You spoke about several of your initiatives with President Putin. I know about another initiative: you and President Putin have led the fight to save tigers, the iconic animal for India. Would you like this movement to become international?

The fact is that in 2020 we would like to hold a large forum on the conservation of the tiger population. I remember that ten years ago, President Putin came up with this initiative, and over the past ten years, India has done a lot to save tigers. The number of these animals doubled in ten years. This is a great success for India and for the whole world. I want to consult with President Putin on this subject, as he has extensive experience and interest in this topic.

I would also like to discuss with him questions concerning the development of labor resources. I want us to discuss with Mr. Putin the problem of developing labor resources, including in the Far East, and for India to join this process.

You have one more thing in common that unites you with the president. This is the ability to maintain oneself in great physical shape. You talked about yoga, thanks to you there was a Yoga Festival. And now, on your initiative, a new Fit India movement has appeared in India, what tasks do you set for it?

The natural instinct of a person, and anywhere in the world, is to grow, develop. By all means, a person wants to become stronger, more energetic. This is the very nature of man. Even a small child, when he sleeps, then in a dream tries to walk on his own. We see students ten times a day trying to pull themselves up, to hang on the horizontal bar, that is, they are engaged in physical exercises to become taller. Nobody teaches them. They do it themselves. But today, man is immersed in a routine, because of which this natural instinct is suppressed. People must return to their beginning.

But in order to achieve this alone, it takes a lot of effort. But if this becomes a collective goal, then even with less effort you can achieve more results. Therefore, I began to create the Fit India mass movement. I believe that Fit India can play a big role in the prevention of diseases, while such a movement does not require funds, but gives a greater return. Therefore, I try to create a collective action, when everyone is working together, joining forces, developing methods of training, and an exchange of experience. Development goes on its own.

I would like to touch upon another important topic in our relations, this is military-technical cooperation. It seems important to note that the relationship is not going on the principle of buying something, but on the principle of interaction in creating new technologies? Technical interaction? How do you rate this area of ​​your relationship?

I always tell President Putin that relations between India and Russia should not be relations between a buyer and a seller.

We are close friends. And as close friends, we should think that we can do together in the future

Information technology is developing well in India; we are making progress in the space industry. Now, when we are developing the Gaganyan project (Heavenly spaceship - the first Indian manned spacecraft - approx. TASS), Russia will help us with the preparation of our cosmonauts. Our cooperation of this kind is not limited only to military-technical and related fields. It goes beyond that.

When we recently invited schoolchildren from Russia to India, they showed brilliant results. They came here to us, together with our students conducted various experiments. And as a result, we saw that the students on both sides complemented each other perfectly. President Putin and I were surprised that in some 36 hours they managed to do real miracles. And so we do not want to be limited only by the relationship of the buyer and seller of military technology. We are confident in the technology transfer model. I have already spoken about this several times, and we have even begun to move in this direction.

Today, subject to technology transfer, it is possible to produce military equipment cheaply in India. And we can supply such weapons to third countries at very low prices. This opportunity of India and Russia should be used.

I must say, Mr. Prime Minister, that if you look at how our relations are developing in the international arena, the positions of Moscow and Delhi are very close or completely coincide on most modern foreign policy issues. In particular, our countries stand for a multipolar world, which takes into account the national interests of all countries and peoples. In addition to bilateral cooperation, Russia and India are very actively developing ties and contacts within the framework of international and regional organizations, such as the UN, G20, BRICS, SCO. How do you rate our interaction in this area?

Our relations have been tested by various tests and have proven their strength over 50-60 years, especially over the past 20 years, on all international issues, India and Russia have similar positions. Our general opinion influenced world politics. Look: we are not neighbors, we do not have a common border, but our souls are similar. Therefore, nothing holds back our cooperation. I am surprised that Russian people know songs from Indian films more than I do. They know all the words and even know their meanings.

At the celebration of the upcoming 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, Russian artists who spent their whole lives in Russia sang a religious song in Gujarati, the language of my native state. They sang this song very well. I even showed a video of the song to President Putin and said: "Look at what a high level these Russian artists work." You correctly said that Indian films from Bollywood influenced Russians. Here I meet young people who also know Indian songs. Everyone remembers Raj Kapoor. It was more popular with you than in India. He was a great artist of our country. And four generations of his family today work great in the movies.

Today, the attention of the whole world is riveted to a very difficult Kashmir issue. How would you comment on the situation in Kashmir?

Look, Kashmir has a long history. When India gained independence in 1947, it was divided, the country of Pakistan appeared. But from birth, Pakistan dreamed of destroying India, and they began with Kashmir. He divided Kashmir, a large part of it is occupied by Pakistan. And even today, the Pakistan army is killing people in this part of Kashmir. India is constantly working for the benefit of the people in its part. We have contributed to the peaceful and good development of Kashmir - in the films of Raj Kapoor you too could see scenes shot in Kashmir.

And this is precisely what Pakistan did not like, so they fought against us, but could not win. And then they began to fight with us stealthily. For 40 years, they have turned Kashmir and the Ladakh region into a terrorist base.

In the past 20–25 years, 43,000 innocent people have died. We captured thousands of kilograms of explosives, thousands of AK-47 assault rifles. Pakistan is constantly exporting terrorism, terrorism has become an industry. They created a feeling of isolation from India in Kashmiris.

Since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru (First Prime Minister of India - TASS), we have tried to solve this problem. But she did not dare. India is now paying particular attention to the rights of its citizens in Kashmir. You will be surprised that the women of Kashmir did not have the same rights as women in all of India. Ordinary Kashmiris did not have the rights that ordinary citizens have throughout India. Those people who had to move from Pakistan to India in 1947 received all rights. But those people who moved to Kashmir did not receive equal rights. There is not even a right to vote. In Kashmir, anti-corruption laws did not apply.

Kashmiris expressed dissatisfaction, they waited a long time for their rights to be received. We believe that they should also receive rights, opportunities for development. They should have the right to stand up. Therefore, we are doing everything for the good of the people of Kashmir.

Speaking about the elections, in India and even beyond its borders everyone was sure that our government would return to power, people only doubted whether we would get the majority of seats [in parliament], some thought that there would be no absolute majority. But the mood of our people was such that we were able to go down in history, having received a vast majority. I am grateful to the Indian people for this.

And President Putin loves India. India and Russia believe that we can develop together, of which I am sure, and Mr. Putin. And we are confident that the peoples of our countries together can give much to the world.

Russia is one of the main suppliers of energy resources to India. What is your opinion on the potential and prospects of cooperation between Russia and India in the energy sector?

“You said it right.” One of the important sources of energy for India is Russia. Our companies, and I think this is right, began to invest in Russia, in the energy sector. I understand that oil production and its transportation are expensive. But as a true friend, we love Russia, and when we work together, it is beneficial for both sides. We would like to cooperate even more actively in the energy sector.

Last year at the UN General Assembly in New York, you were awarded the highest annual international award by the world organization Earth Champion for his outstanding contribution to environmental protection. We know that you are making great efforts in this direction. Which of your environmental activities is of most importance to you personally?

First of all, we should not think about ourselves, about the rewards for us. We must work for the good of people, for their development, work in the interests of the citizens of our country for the benefit of the whole world. We must leave a safe planet, a safe world for future generations.

And India is working in the same direction - to preserve nature and atmosphere. This is probably why I was awarded. But when I was the chief minister of Gujarat, then I did not think about whether the UN knew about me or not. I acted as a protector of nature, tigers in my state. I did a great job for this. Since all this is in our culture and traditions.

We must not kill nature. We must respect nature, preserve it, worship it, all this is part of our culture. It is good that the whole world is thinking about it now.

India is an ancient culture and civilization with rich traditions. How are national traditions and modern Indian society combined today?

India has chosen its own path of development, where there is no place for a conflict between the old and the new. Why is there no conflict? Because the main mantra of India is not a revolution in which they speak of destruction, abandonment of the old.

India talks about evolution, not revolution

We believe in the eternal soul, in the fact that the body changes depending on the circumstances, but the soul remains unchanged. The Almighty made it so that our body collapses after a certain time and a new one appears. So we work according to the same formula: in a new body we act with new energy.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, as the Buddha said, we believe in the unity of the living: all animals, birds, people, white and black, are one from the East or from the West. We consider the whole world as one family. And so we choose the path without conflict - the path of negotiation, understanding, agreement. Here is the main mantra or idea of ​​India!

We are now going to the present. Our children go into the field of information technology, but we will not just wait for the future. We are ready to use everything that is created by mankind, knowledge is open to all. What we will do should be for the benefit of all.

In Russia, just a tourist boom around India. People tend to go to Delhi, and to Bombay, and to the resorts of Goa. Where would you personally advise tourists to go to India, what to see, try? And where do you yourself love to be in your wonderful country?

If you come to the state of Goa, you will see that there sellers even speak Russian, since many guests from Russia come there. But I would like to say that India is a huge country, that in order to watch it, you will have to draw up a program for 20 years in advance in order to stay in each state for at least one month a year. And even this month will not be enough for you.

If you want to look at snow, desert sand, mountains, beaches, the sea, rivers, steppes, forests, we all have it. Here you can see everything your soul wants. Even the oldest port in the world of the Mohenjo-Daro era can be seen here - it is located in Gujarat.

An Indian proverb says that managing a thousand people is as difficult as managing three. You are the prime minister of a country with more than a billion people. What basic principles do you follow in your work? How do you make decisions? How do you keep in touch with over a billion people?

I agree with you that it seems to foreigners a strange country with 1.3 billion people, in which 100 languages, 1700 dialects, completely different landscapes ... How does this fit together?

First, India is a culturally united community. And we accept it.

Second, we know about the perception of people from other countries that everything should be governed and directed, but attempts to govern such a country as India are doomed to failure. Therefore, do not even try. India accepts freedom and diversity. We respect each other’s freedom and diversity.

We refused direct control and made a bet on reporting what we consider necessary to take the direction. Send your message in such a way that a person, in accordance with his interests, tastes, capabilities, responds to your message, answers it according to his abilities. Therefore, I do not rule the country, but we direct the country.

Therefore, leading such a country is not power management. It is not like "I am one thing, and you are another." “I” and “we” are not different, we are leading this country together, and we are moving forward, saying not “I”, but “we”. This is the power of the word “we,” with which we are walking with 1.3 billion people to raise the country to new heights.

Thank!

Source: TASS

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For us the rivers are not a physical thing, for us the rivers is a living entity: PM
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My dear countrymen, Namaskar. You are aware that for an important programme, I have to leave for America…hence I thought it would be apt to record Mann Ki Baat, prior to my departure to America. The day of Mann Ki Baat this September is important on another count, date wise. Routinely, we do remember a lot of days; we even celebrate myriad Days…and if you ask young sons-daughters at home, they are likely to furnish out an entire list of Days of the year with their chronological relevance! But, there is one more day that all of us must remember; this day is one that is immensely congruent to the traditions of India. It’s one that connects us with our traditions that we have been following for centuries. That is – World Rivers Day.

It has been articulated here – Pibanti Naddhah, Swayameva Naambha…meaning that rivers do not drink their own water…they give it away altruistically. For us, rivers are not mere physical entities; for us a river is a living unit…and that is exactly why we refer to rivers as Mother! Numerous festivals, festive occasions, functions of ours, occasions to rejoice take place in the very laps of these mothers.

All of you are aware – with the advent of the month of Magh, in our country, a lot of people perform Kalpvaas on the banks of mother Ganga or other rivers for an entire month. This tradition has ceased now…but in earlier times, it was customary to remember rivers while bathing at home. This tradition of remembering rivers may have gone extinct or exists sparsely…but there used to be a great tradition that would take one on a tour across the vastness of India while bathing early morning…a cerebral pilgrimage! It used to be a source of inspiration to connect with every nook and corner of the country. And of course, in India, it has been customary to chant a Shlok while bathing:

Gange cha yamune chaiva Godavari saraswati

Narmade Sindhu Kaveri Jale asmin sannidhim kuru

Earlier, at our homes, the elderly in the family would make children memorise the Shlok …this also led to germinating Aastha, faith towards rivers in our country. It would inscribe an illustrated map of the great land of India on the psyche. That used to establish an emotional connect with rivers. It would result in nurturing a harmonious credence towards the very river that embodied the Mother, sentimentally as well as visually…as a way of life too! It was a way to instill ‘Sanskaar’; the value system gamut.

Friends, now that we are discussing the significance of rivers in our country, it is but natural for everyone to raise a question…one, in fact, has the right to do so…and answering that question is our responsibility too! Anyone can question – “you are singing so many songs dedicated to rivers, referring to a river as a Mother…then why is it that the river gets polluted? Our scriptures distinctly disapprove of polluting rivers, even a bit! And our traditions have been synchronous with the thought. You know, of course, that the western region of our India, especially Gujarat and Rajasthan, suffer from scarcity of water. They face famines, many a time. Now that is why, a new tradition has developed in the social life there. For example, when it starts raining in Gujarat, Jal-Jeelani Ekadashi is celebrated there. This means, it is synonymous with what we term as ‘Catch the Rain’ in today’s times…accumulating each and every drop of water…Jal-jeelani. On similar lines, after the rains, in Bihar and other regions of the East, the great festival of Chhatth is celebrated. I hope that keeping the Chatth Pooja in mind, preparations for cleaning and repairing riverbanks and Ghats would have commenced. We can very well undertake the endeavour of cleaning rivers and freeing them of pollution with collective effort and support. The Namami Gange Mission too is making advances today…collective efforts of all, in a way, mass awareness; a mass movement has a major role to play in that.

Friends, when one is referring to the river; when Mother Ganga is being talked about, one is tempted to draw your attention to another aspect. When Namami Gange is being referred to, one thing is certain to draw your attention…especially that of the youth. These days, a special E-auction is being held. This electronic auction pertains to gifts presented to me by people from time to time. The money that accrues through this E-auction is dedicated solely to the Namami Gange Campaign. The affectionate, warm spirit, with which you present me gifts …that very sentiment gets bolstered through this campaign.

Friends, in order to rejuvenate rivers throughout the country; in order to cleanse waters, the government and social service organizations keep undertaking one endeavour or the other. And this is not about the present day; it is going on for decades now. There are some people who have dedicated themselves to these causes. And it is this very tradition, this very endeavour, this very faith that has saved our rivers. Whenever such news come to my notice, from any corner of India, it evokes immense respect in my heart for people who embark upon such tasks…and I also feel like sharing that with you. Take a look at Vellore and Thiruvannamalai districts of Tamilnadu, whose example I wish to cite. A river named Naagnadi flows there. Years ago, the Naagnadi had all dried up. Because of that, the water level there had terribly gone down. But, the womenfolk there took up the cudgels to rejuvenate their river. And then…lo and behold – they got people connected, dug up canals through public participation, constructed check dams and recharge-wells. Friends, you too would be glad to know that today, the river is brimming with water. And truly, when a river is full of water, it lends such tranquility to the mind…I have actually, witnessed the experience…

Many of you might be aware that on the very banks of river Sabarmati, Mahatma Gandhi set up the Sabarmati Ashram…during the last few decades, the river had dried up. 6 to 8 months a year, no water was even visible there. But river Narmada and river Sabarmati were linked…today, if you go to Ahmedabad, the waters of river Sabarmati fill one’s heart with such joy! Similarly, our sisters from Tamilnadu are undertaking myriad such tasks…many such tasks are being done in various corners of the country. I know for sure that many of our saints, our gurus associated with our religious traditions are doing a lot for the sake of water and rivers, along with their spiritual pursuits…many of them are running campaigns to plant trees along riverbanks…at places, dirty water is being prevented from flowing into rivers.

Friends, when we are celebrating ‘World River Day’ today, I praise and greet all dedicated to this work. But to all people living near every river; to countrymen I will urge that in India in all corners at least once in a year a river festival must be celebrated.

My dear countrymen, never make the mistake of treating minor issues, little things as small. Through tiny efforts, at times, very significant changes occur, and if we look towards the life of Mahatma Gandhi ji we will find every moment how even small things had so much importance and how using small issues he accomplished big resolutions. Our youth today must know how the campaign for cleanliness continuously gave energy to our freedom movement.It was Mahatma Gandhi who turned cleanliness into a mass movement.

Mahatma Gandhi had connected cleanliness to the dream of Independence. Today after so many decades, the cleanliness movement has once again connected the country to the dream of a new India. And this is also becoming a campaign to change our habits too and we must not forget that this cleanliness is a programme. This cleanliness is a responsibility of the transition of sanskar from generation to generation and when the campaign for cleanliness continues generation after generation in the entire society cleanliness as a trait gets imbibed. And that is why this is not a subject of a year or two; of one government or the other government. Generation after generation, with alertness, continually, without being tired or stopping, with high reverence we have to remain associated with cleanliness and continue the campaign for cleanliness. And I have said earlier too that this cleanliness is a great tribute by this country

to revered Bapu and we have to keep paying this tribute every time; continuously.

Friends, people know that I don’t ever let go any chance to speak in connection with cleanliness and possibly that is why a listener of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Shriman Ramesh Patel ji has written to me that learning from Bapu, in this “Amrit Mahotsav” of freedom, we should take the resolve of economic cleanliness too. The way building of toilets enhanced the dignity of poor, similarly economic cleanliness ensures rights of the poor; eases their life. You are aware of the campaign that the country started regarding Jandhan accounts. Today, because of this the rightful money of the poor is getting credited directly into their accounts and because of this, obstacles like corruption have reduced very significantly. It is true that technology can help a lot in economic cleanliness. It is matter of delight for us that even in villages, the common person is getting connected in the direction of digital transactions through fin-tech UPI… its prevalence has begun increasing. I will tell you a figure which will make you proud; during last August, 355 crore UPI transactions took place in one month, that is more than nearly 350 crore transactions, that is, we can say that during the month of August UPI was used for digital transactions more than 350 crore times. Today, on an average, digital payments of more than 2 lakh crore Rupees is happening through UPI. Through this the economy of the country is acquiring cleanliness and transparency, and we all know that now the importance of fin-tech is increasing a lot.

Friends, Bapu had connected cleanliness with independence; the same way he had made khadi the identity of freedom. Today in the 75 th year of freedom when we are celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, we can say with satisfaction today that our young generation today is giving khadi the place of pride that khadi had during freedom struggle. Today the production of khadi and

handloom has increased multiple times and its demand too has increased. You too know that there were many such occasions when business of more than a crore rupees has been transacted in the khadi showroom in Delhi. I too would like to remind you again that on the 2 nd of October, on revered Bapu’s birth anniversary, let us together aim for another new record. In your city wherever khadi is sold, handloom is sold, handicraft is sold and now that the festival of Diwali is there.., for the festive season, every khadi, handloom, cottage industry purchase of yours should strengthen the campaign for ‘Vocal for Local’, it

should break all old records.

Friends, in this period of Amrit Mahotsav, a campaign to disseminate to everyone the untold stories of the history of freedom is also going on… and for this, upcoming writers, youth of the country and the world were called upon. For this more than 13 thousand people have registered till now and that too in 14 different languages. And for me a thing of joy also is that non-resident Indians

from more than 20 countries have expressed their wish to join this campaign. There is another interesting information- more than nearly 5000 upcoming writers are searching out tales of struggle for freedom. They have taken the lead to write something on those who are unsung heroes, who are un-named, whose names don’t appear on the pages of history, on the theme of such unsung heroes, on their lives, on those events, that is the youth of the country have decided to bring forth the history of those freedom fighters who were not even discussed during the last 75 years. I appeal to all the listeners; I appeal to all those connected with the field of education. You too motivate the youth. You too come forward and it is my firm belief that during the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence the people who are working for writing history will make history as well.

My dear countrymen, we all know about the Siachen Glacier. The cold there is so terrible that it is beyond capacity of a common person to live there. With snow spread far and wide, there is no sign of any vegetation anywhere. The temperature here dips to even minus 60 degrees. A few days ago, the feat that a team of 8 Divyang persons performed in this inaccessible region of Siachen is a matter of pride for every countryman. This team created a world record by hoisting its flag on the Kumar Post situated at an altitude of more than 15 thousand feet at the Siachen glacier.

Despite the challenges of physical ability, the feats that these Divyangs have achieved are an inspiration for the whole country and when you get to know about the members of this team, you will also be filled with courage and enthusiasm, just like I was.The names of these brave Divyangs are – Mahesh Nehra, Akshat Rawat of Uttarakhand, Pushpak Gawande of Maharashtra, Ajay Kumar of Haryana, Lobsang Chospel of Ladakh, Major Dwarkesh of Tamil Nadu, Irfan Ahmed Mir of Jammu and Kashmir and Chongjin Ingmo of Himachal Pradesh. This operation to conquer the Siachen Glacier has been successful because of the veterans of the special forces of the Indian Army. I commend the team for this historic and unprecedented achievement. It also shows the spirit of our countrymen to tackle every challenge with a “Can Do Culture”, a “Can Do Determination” and a “Can Do Attitude”.

Friends, today many efforts are being made for the welfare of Divyangjan in the country. I got a chance to know about one such effort being made in Uttar Pradesh - “One Teacher, One Call”. This unique effort in Bareilly is showing a new path to the Divyang children. This campaign is being led by the principal of a school in Dabhaura Gangapur, Deepmala Pandey ji. During the Corona period, due to this campaign, not only did the admission of a large number of children become possible, more than 350 teachers have also joined it with a spirit of service. These teachers go from village to village calling for Divyang children, looking out for them and then ensuring their admission in one school or the other. I deeply appreciate this noble effort of Deepmala ji and her fellow teachers for the sake of Divyangjans. Every such effort in the field of education is going to shape the future of our country.

My dear countrymen, the condition of our lives today is such that the word Corona resonates in our ears many times a day… the biggest global pandemic in a hundred years, COVID-19 has taught every countryman a lot. Today there has been an increase in curiosity and awareness about Healthcare and Wellness. Traditionally natural products which are beneficial for wellness and health are available in abundance in our country. Patayat Sahu ji, who lives in Nandol, Kalahandi, Odisha, has been doing unique work in this area for years. He has planted medicinal plants on one and a half acres of land. Not only this, Sahu ji has also carried out documentation of these medicinal plants. Satish ji of Ranchi has shared another similar information to me through a letter. Satish ji has drawn my attention to an Aloe Vera Village in Jharkhand. The women of Deori village near Ranchi had undergone training in Aloe Vera cultivation from Birsa Agricultural School under the leadership of Manju Kachhap ji. After this they started cultivating aloe vera. Not only did this farming benefit in the field of health; the income of these women also increased. They had good income even during the Covid pandemic. One of the major reasons for this was that the companies making sanitizers were buying Aloe Vera directly from them. Today a team of about forty women is involved in this work. And Aloe Vera is cultivated over many acres. Whether it is Patayat Sahu ji of Odisha or this team of women in Deori, the way they have linked agriculture with the field of health is an example in itself.


Friends, the 2nd of October also marks the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri ji. In his memory, this day also teaches us about those who attempt new experiments in agriculture. To promote start-ups in the field of medicinal plants, an Incubator by the name of Medi-Hub TBI is operational in Anand, Gujarat. In a very short time, this Incubator associated with medicinal and aromatic plants has supported the business idea of 15 entrepreneurs. Sudha Chebrolu ji has launched her start-up only after getting the help of this Incubator. Priority is given to women in this company and they are also responsible for innovative herbal formulations. Another such entrepreneur is Subhashree ji who has also received help from this Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Incubator. Subhashree ji's company is working in the field of herbal room and car fresheners. She has also created a herbal terrace garden which has more than 400 medicinal herbs.

Friends, the Ministry of Ayush has taken an interesting initiative to increase awareness about Medicinal and Herbal Plants among children and Professor Ayushman ji has taken the lead. It is possible that you must be wondering who Professor Ayushman is! Actually Professor Ayushman is the name of a comic book. In this, short stories have been prepared through different cartoon characters. Along with this, the usefulness of healthy medicinal plants like Aloe Vera, Tulsi, Amla, Giloy, Neem, Ashwagandha and Brahmi has been mentioned. Friends, in the current context, with the trend of people around the world regarding medicinal plants and herbal products increasing, India has immense potential. In the past, there has been a significant increase in the export of Ayurvedic and herbal products.

I urge scientists, researchers and people associated with the start-up world to pay attention to such products, which not only increase the wellness and immunity of the people, but also help in increasing the income of our farmers and youth.

Friends, moving beyond traditional farming, novel initiatives and options are being done in agriculture and are continuously creating new means of self-employment. The story of two brothers from Pulwama is also an example of this. The way Bilal Ahmed Sheikh and Munir Ahmed Sheikh found new avenues for themselves in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, they are an example of New India.39 years old Bilal Ahmed ji is highly qualified, he has obtained many degrees. He is now using his experience of higher education by launching his own start-up in agriculture.Bilal ji has installed a unit of Vermi composting at his home. The bio-fertilizer prepared from this unit has not only benefited a lot in agriculture ; it has also brought employment opportunities to the people.Every year, farmers are getting about three thousand quintals of Vermicompost from the units managed by these brothers. Today 15 people are also working in this Vermicomposting unit. A large number of people are reaching to see this unit, and most of them are young people who want to do something in the agriculture sector. The Sheikh brothers of Pulwama took a pledge to become a job creator instead of a job seeker and today they are showing a new path not only to Jammu and Kashmir, but to the people across the country as well.

My dear countrymen, the 25th of September is the birth anniversary of a great son of the country, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay ji. Deen Dayal ji is one of the greatest thinkers of the last century.His economic philosophy, his policies aimed at empowering the society, the path of Antyodaya shown by him remain as relevant in the present context and are also inspirational. Three years ago, on his birth anniversary, the 25th of September, the world's largest health assurance scheme – Ayushman Bharat scheme was implemented. Today, more than two and a half crore impoverished people of the country have got free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh in the hospital under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Such a massive scheme for the poor is dedicated to the Antyodaya philosophy of Deen Dayal ji. If the youth of today inculcate values and ideals into their lives, it can be of great benefit to them. Once in Lucknow, Deen Dayal ji had said – “How many good things, good qualities there are – we derive all these from the society itself. We have to pay the debt of society, we must think on these lines .” That is, Deen Dayal ji taught us that we take so much from society, from the country, whatever it be, it is only because of the country ; thus we should think about how we will repay our debt towards the country. This is a significant message for today's youth.

Friends, from the life of Deen Dayal ji, we also get a lesson to never give up. Despite the adverse political and ideological circumstances, he never wavered from the vision of a Swadeshi, home grown model for the development of India. Today many young people want to move ahead by breaking away from the oft-treaded paths. They want to do things their own way. Deen Dayal ji's life can teach them a lot. That is why I urge our youngsters to definitely know about him.

My dear countrymen, we touched upon many topics today. Like we were discussing, the time to come is of festivals. The whole country is also going to celebrate the festival of the victory over untruth by Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram. But during this festival we have to remember about one more fight - that is the country's fight against Corona. Team India is making new records everyday in this fight. With regards to Vaccination, the country has made many such records which are being talked about the world over. Every Indian has an important role in this fight. We have to get the vaccine administered when our turn comes, but we also have to take care that no one is left out of this circle of safety. Those around you who have not got vaccinated also have to be taken to the vaccine center. Even after getting vaccinated, the necessary protocol has to be followed. I hope that once again Team India will keep the flag flying high in this fight. Next time, we will discuss some more topics in ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Wishing you all, every countryman the best for the fortcoming festivals.

Thank You!