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Your Excellency, President U Thein Sein, I am grateful to you for organising this Summit and chairing the session with great statesmanship. Under your leadership, Myanmar is playing an important role in the region and it has also benefited India-ASEAN relations.

I am grateful to each of you for your views. They have further reinforced my confidence in the India-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.

Above all, like good friends, you all wish to see a successful and prosperous India.

I want to make a few points now. There are many similarities and convergences between us. India and ASEAN are second and third in terms of population. We are among the largest economies and among the three fastest growing economies in this century. Majority of us here belong to the developing world.

We have the strength and the potential of a young population. In India, 800 million people below the age of 35 years constitute a huge opportunity.

We have embarked on a new economic journey in India. We are emphasizing infrastructure, manufacturing, trade, agriculture, skill development, urban renewal, smart cities. Make in India is a new mission. We are placing as much emphasis on ease of doing business in India as we are on making policies attractive. I invite you to this new environment in India. Indian companies are also keep to invest in and trade with ASEAN.

I also assure you that there will be major improvement our trade policy and environment. We will also move ahead with connectivity projects with ASEAN with speed.

I also suggest that we conduct a review of our free trade agreement on goods to improve it further and make it beneficial to all. । also urge that the FTA on Service and Investment be brought into force at the earliest.

Many of you have spoken about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. It can be a springboard for economic integration and prosperity in the region. However, we should aim for a balanced Agreement, which is beneficial to all; and, is truly comprehensive in nature, by equally ambitious agenda with similar timelines for goods and services.

To deepen our connectivity, I am considering establishing, with your cooperation, a special facility or special purpose vehicle to facilitate project financing and quick implementation.

However, in this age, more than physical connectivity, we need Information Highways or i-ways. My experience is that even where road connectivity is poor, we can create vast economic opportunities and employment through i-ways.

India is prepared to provide all assistance and cooperation in this area.

ASEAN and India have large cities and are experiencing urbanization at a rapid pace. This is both a challenge and opportunity. Come and participate in building India`s 100 smart cities and renewal of 500 cities.

Science and technology and education are important areas of cooperation.

We should think ambitiously of what we can do in Renewal Energy and Energy efficiency. Let us think of a major ASEAN India Solar Project for research, manufacturing and deployment.

Space science can give us benefit in many sectors. We should quickly establish the new India-ASEAN Space-related Ground Station in Vietnam and start the project for upgrading the existing station in Indonesia.

As neighbours, India and ASEAN can gain a lot from cooperation in the disaster risk reduction, response and management. India is prepared to offer full assistance in capacity building, coordination and response in the region.

We should further enhance our cooperation in health, including traditional medicine, climate change and environment and forests.

Agriculture and food security is another area where I see great potential for cooperation, as some of you have mentioned.

We should move quickly towards mutual Recognition of Degrees. We should conduct more research and exchanges on our ancient links and how our shared heritage can be of use to the modern world.

Skill development is essential for creating employment opportunities for our youth and for our economic development. We should collaborate by sharing our respective areas expertise in skill development.

I personally lay great emphasis on people-to-people contacts. I would like to see increased contacts between students, youth, teachers, parliamentarians, diplomats, media, farmers, artists and experts.

Tourism has not grown the way it should. Today, of course, ASEAN region is the most popular destination for Indian tourists. I want to see further increase in ASEAN tourists in India. In this, the Buddhist circuit represents a vast opportunity.

Excellencies, we pay a lot of attention to economic prosperity and protecting our environment. Do we pay the same attention to the security and safety of our youth?

We have received a high level of security cooperation from ASEAN countries for which I am grateful.

But, we should further strengthen our cooperation on countering terrorism, extremism, drugs, arms, and money laundering.

Excellencies, Asia`s future is bright, but it also faces many challenges. Our progress and prosperity depends on peace and stability in the region.

There is wave of change in the world. New realities are emerging in the changed world. Globalisation is a fact of life. We are all affected by it and we have all benefited from it.

And, in this world, maritime trade and passage, and therefore, maritime security has become even more important. We all have the responsibility that we all follow international law and norms on maritime issues, as we do in the realm of air passage. In future, we will also need this in space.

For peace and stability in South China Sea, everyone should follow international norms and law. This includes the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We also hope that you will be able to successfully implement the Guidelines to the 2002 Declaration on Conduct and that the Code of Conduct on South China Sea can be concluded soon on the basis of consensus.

Finally, I would like to say that it is a great privilege to meet all of you here. This has doubled my confidence and enthusiasm about our relations with ASEAN.

I assure you of my sustained personal attention to relations with ASEAN so that we can meet our high expectations from this relationship.

Pariksha Pe Charcha with PM Modi
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‘ચલતા હૈ’ નું વલણ છોડી દઈને ‘બદલ સકતા હૈ’ વિચારવાનો સમય પાકી ગયો છે: વડાપ્રધાન મોદી

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‘ચલતા હૈ’ નું વલણ છોડી દઈને ‘બદલ સકતા હૈ’ વિચારવાનો સમય પાકી ગયો છે: વડાપ્રધાન મોદી
Matthew Hayden writes an emotional note for India, gives his perspective to the ‘bad press’

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Matthew Hayden writes an emotional note for India, gives his perspective to the ‘bad press’
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India won't lose courage. We will fight and win: PM Modi
May 14, 2021
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For the first time, farmers of West Bengal will benefit from this scheme
Wheat procurement at MSP has set new records this year
Government is fighting COVID-19 with all its might

This exchange with all the farmer colleagues raises a new hope and creates a new confidence. As our Minister, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar ji, was saying now that today is Bhagwan Basaveswara Jayanti and Parshuram Jayanti also. Today is also the auspicious festival of Akshaya Tritiya. I also wish the countrymen Happy Eid.

With the wish that the morale of all the countrymen remains high in times of Corona and their resolve is further strengthened to defeat this pandemic, I would like to take forward the discussion that I had with all the farmer brothers. Present in this programme Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar ji, my other colleagues in the Union Cabinet, all chief ministers, hon’ble ministers of state governments, MPs, MLAs and my farmer brothers and sisters from all over the country,

Today, we are holding this discussion in a very challenging time. Even during this period of Corona, the farmers of the country, while discharging their responsibility in the agriculture sector, have produced record food grains and are experimenting new methods in agriculture. Another instalment of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi is going to support your efforts. Today is the auspicious festival of Akshaya Tritiya, the beginning of the new cycle of agriculture, and today about 19,000 crore rupees have been transferred directly to the bank accounts of farmers. It will benefit about 10 crore farmers. The farmers of Bengal are going to get the benefit of this facility for the first time. Today, lakhs of farmers of Bengal have received their first instalment. As the names of farmers from the State are forwarded to the Central Government, the number of beneficiary farmers will increase further.

 

Friends,

The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi is benefiting small and marginal farmers more in particular. This amount is proving to be of great use to these farmer families in these trying circumstances. So far, about 1,35,000 crore rupees have reached about 11 crore farmers of the country under this scheme. That is, more than 1,25,000 crore rupees directly into the accounts of the farmers and without any middleman. Out of this, more than 60,000 crore rupees have been transferred to the farmers’ accounts in the Corona period alone. It is the government's constant endeavour to extend help directly and quickly and with complete transparency to those who need it the most.

Brothers and sisters,

Providing rapid and direct benefits to the farmers in government procurement of produce is also being done on a very comprehensive scale. While farmers have made record productions in agriculture and horticulture amid the challenges of Corona, the Government is also setting new procurement records on MSP every year. Record purchases of paddy earlier and now wheat are happening. So far, about 10 per cent more wheat has been procured at MSP this year as compared to the previous year. So far, about 58,000 crore rupees of wheat procurement has reached the farmers' accounts directly. Above all, the farmers don’t have to worry and wait long for their money for the produce being sold in mandis now. The money which rightfully belongs to the farmers is being directly credited to their bank accounts. I am satisfied that lakhs of farmers of Punjab and Haryana have become part of this direct transfer facility for the first time. So far, about 18,000 crore rupees have been credited to the bank accounts of farmers of Punjab and 9,000 crore rupees directly into the bank accounts of farmers of Haryana. The farmers of Punjab and Haryana are also experiencing and speaking vocally about the satisfaction of getting their entire money directly into their bank accounts. I have seen several videos on social media where farmers, particularly from Punjab, are speaking with enthusiasm regarding the direct transfer of the entire money into their bank accounts.

Friends,

The Government is constantly making efforts to provide new solutions and options in farming. Promoting organic farming is one such effort. Such crops also have low costs, are beneficial for soil and human health and also command better prices. A short while ago, I had a discussion with some farmers across the country engaged in this kind of farming. I am very excited to know about their spirit and experiences. Now organic farming is being encouraged extensively within a radius of about 5 kilometres on both sides of the Ganga so that the chemical used in the field does not flow into the Ganga during rains and the river is not polluted. These organic products being made available in the market are branded Namami Gange. Similarly, the natural farming system is also being encouraged on a large scale. At the same time, the Government is making efforts to provide cheap and easy bank loans to small and marginal farmers. For this, a special drive has been launched for the last one-and-a-half years for providing Kisan Credit Cards. More than 2 crore Kisan Credit Cards have been issued during this period. Farmers have taken loans worth more than 2 lakh crore rupees on these cards. Farmers associated with animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries have also started getting a huge benefit. Recently, the Government has taken another important decision and my farmer brothers and sisters would be happy with the government's decision as it will be very beneficial to them. In view of the Corona period, the Government has decided to extend the deadline for payment or renewal of KCC loans. All farmers can now renew their outstanding loans by June 30. Even during this extended period, the farmers will continue to get the benefit of the loans at 4 per cent interest.

Friends,

The contribution of the villages and farmers has been immense in India's fight against Corona. It is the result of your efforts that India is running the world's largest free ration scheme during the Corona period. Free ration was given to the poor for eight months last year under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Provisions have been made to ensure free ration to more than 80 crore colleagues in the months of May and June. The government is spending 26,000 crore rupees in this regard. I would urge the state governments to ensure that the poor do not have any problem in getting the free ration.

Friends,

After 100 years, such a deadly epidemic is testing the world at every step. There is an invisible enemy in front of us. And this enemy is imposter also and due to which we have lost many of our close ones. The pain that the countrymen have endured for some time now, the pain that many people have gone through, I feel the same pain. Being your ‘Pradhan Sevak’, I share your sentiment. All the bottlenecks during the second wave of Corona are being addressed. Efforts are being made on a war footing. You must have seen that all the departments of the Government, all the resources, the security forces of our country, our scientists, everyone is united in meeting the challenge of COVID. COVID hospitals are being set up rapidly in different parts of the country and oxygen plants are being set up with new technology. All our three forces -- Air Force, Navy and Army -- are engaged in this work with full force. Oxygen rails have been a big boost in this fight against Corona. These special trains are engaged in delivering oxygen to the remote parts of the country. Truck drivers carrying oxygen tankers are working non-stop. Be it doctors, nursing staff, sanitation workers, lab technicians, ambulance drivers, sample collectors – all are working 24 hours to save every individual. Efforts are on a war footing to augment the supply of essential medicines in the country. The government and the pharma sector of the country have augmented the production of essential medicines manifold in the last few days. Medicines are also being imported. In times of crisis, some people are engaged in hoarding and black marketing of medicines and essential commodities due to their vested interests. I would urge the state governments to take the strongest possible action against such people. This is an act against humanity. India is not a country that loses courage. Neither India nor any Indian will lose courage. We will fight and win.

Through this event, I want all the farmers and brothers and sisters living in villages to remain alert against Corona. This pandemic is spreading fast in rural villages. Every government is taking efforts to meet with this challenge. Awareness about this among rural people and cooperation of the panchayat institutes are equally important. You have never disappointed the nation and this is also expected of you this time. All the necessary steps at personal, family and social levels need to be taken to prevent Corona. It is very necessary to wear masks continuously and in a way so that the nose and face are completely covered. Secondly, do not take symptoms like cough, cold, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea lightly. First you have to isolate yourself and then get the Corona test done quickly. Start the medication as advised by doctors till the report comes.

Friends,

Vaccination is the best defence against Corona. The Central and state governments are doing their best to increase vaccination. About 18 crore vaccine doses have been given in the country. Free vaccination is on in government hospitals across the country. Therefore, get yourself vaccinated when your turn comes. This will give us protection and reduce the risk of serious illness. And yes, wearing of masks and distance of two yards has to be maintained even after vaccination. Once again, I extend my best wishes to all my farmer friends.

Many thanks!