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I believe that Mahatma Gandhi is still as relevant in today’s world as he was in his lifetime: Narendra Modi

Ever since he took over as the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has been on a mission to ensure that Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, principles and teachings are held aloft, both in India and abroad, through his speeches and actions.

The latest in the series, was the unveiling of the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, on 21 February 2019. The vision of Narendra Modi has ensured that the Yonsei University, a great citadel of learning, will now have our Bapuji inspiring thousands of young learners. This unveiling of bust at South Korea is just one of the many initiatives taken by the Prime Minister to carry forward the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi.

Over the past four years, from Brisbane to Hannover, from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, the Prime Minister has unveiled busts or statues of Bapu all around the world, creating a lasting awareness about the Mahatma, overseas.

Modi also brought the Sabarmati Ashram, set up by Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad, to the forefront of Indian diplomacy. In his presence, key global leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have visited Sabarmati Ashram to pay homage to the Mahatma. In fact, the Chinese President described his visit to Sabarmati Ashram as one of the most memorable and enlightening moments of his life. The pictures of the Prime Minister and various world leaders using the spinning wheel, brought back memories of Gandhi’s use of the spinning wheel as a symbol of self-reliance.

 

In India, the light of Gandhi’s teachings were kept alive, through memorials dedicated to the Father of Nation and well thought out schemes encapsulating his teachings.

The National Salt Satyagraha Memorial, representing the spirit and energy of one of the defining moments of India’s freedom struggle was dedicated by the Prime Minister on January 30, 2019.

Modi’s pet project, Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan, inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, was launched on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, 2014 in New Delhi. While launching this scheme, PM had said “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019”.

Thanks to Narendra Modi, Swachhta has become a mass movement, reminiscent indeed of the days of Mahatma Gandhi, when the quest for freedom had become a mass movement. For the past four and half years, the scheme has been transforming the length and breadth of India. It has resulted in heightened awareness among the general public. States have competed vigorously in the race to become Open Defecation Free, and India is now close to achieving 100 percent rural sanitation coverage.

Khadi was a subject that Mahatma Gandhi brought to the core of India’s consciousness during the freedom struggle. The interest in Khadi had waned since those heady days. But it has been revived by the Prime Minister, especially through his speeches. Modi used his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, to encourage people to buy Khadi products and thereby emphasizing on the revival of Khadi and cottage industries. Modi’s call had such an impact that the sale of Khadi products showed a quantum jump.

Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th anniversary is being celebrated as a two year event, with many programmes outlined to celebrate the occasion. To commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s vision, the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) was held in New Delhi from 29 September to 2 October, 2018. The 4-day event saw ministers and sanitation sector leaders from all around the world participating and share their experiments and experiences.


Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn ‘Vaishnav Jan To’, went global, with artists from over 124 countries contributing musically to it. The project created a global appeal to a beautiful Indian bhajan.

A Mahatma Gandhi Museum was inaugurated at Alfred High School, Rajkot in 2018. This was the school from where Mahatma Gandhi passed his matriculation in 1887.

The Prime Minister has put into practice the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and showcased how his ideas remain relevant even in 21st century. He has used Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings to mobilize people and to further the mission of creating a New India. His actions have actualized Mahatma Gandhi’s principles and values.

Modi’s own words written in his blog on October 2, 2018 shows his vision in promoting the legacy of Bapuji. He wrote “India is a land of diversity. If there was one person who brought everyone together, made people rise above differences, to fight colonialism and enhanced India's stature at the world stage, it was Mahatma Gandhi. Today, we, the 1.3 billion Indians are committed to working together to fulfil the dreams Bapu saw for a country for which he gave his life."

ଭାରତର ଅଲିମ୍ପିଆନମାନଙ୍କୁ ପ୍ରେରଣା ଦିଅନ୍ତୁ! #Cheers4India
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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi interacted with beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana in Gujarat today via video conferencing. A public participation programme was launched in the state to create further awareness about the scheme.

Addressing the event, the Prime Minister said that lakhs of families in Gujarat are getting free ration under PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana. This free rations reduces distress for the poor and gives them confidence. He said that the poor should feel that whatever might be the calamity, the country is with him.

The Prime Minister pointed out that after independence, almost every government talked about providing cheap food to the poor. The scope and budget of cheap ration schemes increased year after year, but the effect it should have had remained limited. The country's food stocks kept increasing, but starvation and malnutrition did not decrease in that proportion. One major reason for this was the lack of an effective delivery system. To change this situation work was started afresh after 2014. He said, using new technology, crores of fake beneficiaries were weeded out of the system and ration cards were linked to Aadhar cards. This helped in ensuring that no citizen went hungry despite the biggest calamity of the century when livelihood were threatened and business suffered due to lockdown. The world has acknowledged the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. Free ration has been made available to more than 80 crore people during the pandemic with an expenditure of more than 2 lakh crore rupees, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister said today, in addition to the quota of wheat at Rs 2/kg, rice at Rs 3/kg, 5 kg of wheat and rice is being given free to every beneficiary. That is, almost double the amount of ration is being provided to the ration card holders than before this scheme started. This scheme is going to continue till Diwali. No poor will sleep hungry, said the Prime Minister. He praised the Gujarat government for taking care of the migrant labourers, fulfilling the purpose of One Nation One Ration Card Initiative.

The Prime Minister said today the country is spending lakhs of crores on infrastructure, but at the same time, to improve the quality of life of common human beings, it is also setting new benchmarks for Ease of Living. Empowerment of the poor is being given top priority today. They are being empowered as more than 2 crore poor families got houses, 10 crore families got toilets. Similarly, they get empowered when they get included in the banking system via Jan-Dhan account, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister said empowerment needs consistent hard work for ensuring health, education, facilities and dignity. Schemes like Ayushman Yojana, Reservations for Economically Weaker sections, roads, free gas and electricity connection, Mudra Yojna, Svanidhi Yojna are giving direction to dignified life for the poor and becoming a medium of empowerment.

The Prime Minister said there are many such works in the entire country including Gujarat, due to which the confidence of every countryman and every region is increasing today. And it is this self-confidence which is the formula to overcome every challenge, to achieve every dream.

Referring to India's Olympic contingent, the Prime Minister said despite the once-in-a-century calamity, the highest number of players qualified for Olympics. They just didn’t qualify but are giving tough fights to better ranked players.

The Prime Minister said the zeal, passion and spirit of Indian players is at the highest level today. He said this confidence comes when the right talent is identified and encouraged. This confidence comes when the systems change, become transparent. This new confidence is becoming the hallmark of New India.

The Prime Minister urged the people to continue this confidence in the fight against Corona and also in our vaccination campaign. He stressed on the need to maintain our vigilance continuously, in this environment of global pandemic.

He said that as the country is moving rapidly towards the vaccination milestone of 50 crore, Gujarat is also approaching the milestone of 3.5 crore vaccine doses. He stressed the need to vaccinate, wearing masks and avoid being a part of the crowd as much as possible.

The Prime Minister said gave a resolution to the countrymen to awaken new inspiration for nation building. He urged to take this holy vow during the 75 years of independence. In these resolutions, he said poor, rich, men and women, downtrodden, everyone has an equal share, he concluded.

It may be noted that nearly 948 Lakh Metric Tonnes of foodgrains was allocated last year which is 50% more than a normal year to ensure food security during COVID. About Rs. 2.84 Lakh crore food subsidy incurred during 2020-21.

More than 3.3 crore eligible beneficiaries in Gujarat got 25.5 Lakh Metric tonnes of foodgrain, incurring a subsidy amount of more than 5 thousand crore.

To further strengthen food security for migrant beneficiaries, One Nation One Ration Card implemented so far in 33 States/UTs.