My Dear Countrymen,
Today is the holy festival of Vijay Dashami. My heartiest greetings on this occasion of Vijay Dashami to one and all.
Through the medium of radio, I would like to share few heartfelt thoughts with you today. And, I hope that not only today, this series of conversation may be carried out regularly in future. I will try my best, if possible, to take out time twice a month or even once to speak with you. In future, I have also decided that whenever I will speak to you, it would be on Sundays and time would be morning 11. In that way, it would be convenient for you too and I will feel contented with the fact that I am successful in sharing my thoughts with you.
We are celebrating the festival of Vijay Dashami today, which symbolises the triumph of Good over Evil. But one gentleman named Ganesh Venkatadari, a native of Mumbai, sent me a mail and has written to me that we must take a vow to eliminate ten bad habits from within ourselves on this occasion of Vijay Dashami. I express my gratitude to him for this recommendation. We all, as individuals, must be thinking to put an end to all our bad habits and win over them, although, with respect to our nation, I believe we all should come together and take a vow in eliminating all the dirt from our country. On this occasion of Vijay Dashami, we must take a vow to eliminate dirt and filth and we can do so on this occasion.
Yesterday, on 2nd October on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, more than 1.25 crore countrymen have started the ‘Swachh Bharat’ movement. I had shared one thought yesterday which is that I will nominate nine people and they need to upload their videos of cleaning the nation on social media websites, and nominating nine more people to do the same. I want you all to join me, clean the nation, and nominate nine more people to clean the nation, and those nine people must do the same. Eventually, the entire nation will have this atmosphere. I strongly believe that you all will join hands with me to carry this movement forward.
Whenever, we think of Mahatma Gandhi, naturally we are reminded of Khaadi. You may be wearing variety of clothes with different fabrics and company brands in your family. But is it not possible to include Khaadi too? I am not telling you to use only Khaadi products. I am just insisting to use, at least one Khaadi product, like handkerchief, or a bath towel, a bed sheet, a pillow cover, a curtain or anything of that kind. If you have an inclination for all kinds of fabrics and clothes in your family, you can also buy Khaadi products on a regular basis. I am saying this as when you buy Khaadi products, it helps poor people to light lamps on Diwali. Also, you can avail a special discount on Khaadi products from 2nd October for a month. It is a very small thing, but has very big impact which binds you with the poor. How you see this as a success. When I speak of 1.25 crore countrymen and infer the outcome, we might assume that government will take care of everything and as individuals we stand nowhere. We have seen that if we intend to progress then we need to identify our potential, understand our strengths and I can swear that we form the incomparable souls of this world. You all know that our own scientists have been successful in reaching Mars, bearing least expenses. We do not lack in our strengths, but have forgotten our strong points. We have forgotten ourselves. We have become hopeless. My dear Brothers and Sisters I cannot let this happen. I always remember one of the sayings by Swami Vivekananda ji as he always used to emphasize on one thought and possibly, he might have shared this thought with many others.
Vivekananda ii used to say, once a lioness was carrying her two cubs on the way and came upon a flock of sheep from a distance. She got a desire to prey upon them and started running towards the flock. Seeing her running, one of the cub too, joined her. The other cub was left behind and the lioness moved on, post preying upon the flock. One of the cub went with the lioness but the other cub was left behind, and was brought up by a mother sheep. He grew among the sheep, started speaking their language and adapted their ways of life. He used to sit, laugh and enjoy with them. The cub who went with the lioness, was a grown-up now. Once, he happened to meet his brother and was shocked to see him. He thought in his mind,” He is a lion and is playing with sheep, talking like sheep. What is wrong with him? He felt that his ego was at stake and went to talk to his brother. He said,” What are you doing, brother? You are a lion.” He gets a reply from his brother, “No, I am a sheep. I grew up with them. They have brought me up. Listen to my voice and the way I talk.” He said, “Come, I will show you, who you really are.” He took his brother to a well and told him to look in the water his own reflection, and asked him, if both of them had similar faces. “I am a lion, you, too, are a lion.” His brother’s self-esteem got awakened; he attained self-realization through this and even a lion brought up among sheep started roaring like a lion. His inner entity was awakened. Swami Vivekananda ji used to say the same. My countrymen, 125 crore Indians have indefinite strengths and capabilities. We need to understand ourselves. We need to identify our inner strengths and like Swami ji always used to say, we need to carry our self-respect, identify ourselves and move forward in life and be successful, which in turn, make our nation a winning and successful country. I believe, all our countrymen with a population of 125 crores are efficient, strong and can stand against any odds with confidence.
These days, I have been getting many letters through social media websites, like Facebook, from my friends. One of them, Mr. Gautam Pal, has addressed an issue regarding the specially-abled children. He has suggested forming separate Municipality, Municipal Corporation or councils for them. We need to plan something for them for enhancing their moral support. I liked his suggestion and I have experienced this during my day as Chief Minister of Gujarat. A Special Olympics was held in Athens in 2011. After the Olympics I had called all the participants and winners of specially-abled category from Gujarat to my home. I spent two hours with them, and it was the most emotional and inspiring incident of my life. As I believe, a specially-abled child is not only the responsibility of the parents in a family, it is the responsibility of the entire society. God has chosen this family to support a specially-abled child, but a child is a responsibility of the entire nation. After this incident, I got so emotionally attached with them, I started organizing separate Olympics for them in Gujarat. Thousands of children with their parents used to come and attend, I, too, used to attend the Olympics. There was an atmosphere of trust and, this is the reason, I liked the suggestion given by Mr. Gautam Pal and I felt like sharing this thought with you.
It reminds me of another story. Once, a traveller was sitting at the corner of a road, and was asking everyone the way to a specific place. He continued asking the route from many people. A man, sitting beside him was observing him. The traveller stood up and started asking passers-by again. He stood up and said,” The way to your destination is here.” The traveller, then, said,” Brother, you were sitting next to me for so long, saw me asking everyone the route. If you knew the route, why didn’t you tell me before?” The man answered,” I was waiting to verify if you really intend to reach your destination or you are asking people just for your knowledge. But, when you stood up, I was assured that you truly wish to reach your destination, and decided to confirm the address”.
My countrymen, till the time we do not decide to walk, stand on our own, we will also not the get the guidance from others in our journey. We will not get the people to hold our hand and help us in walking. We need to take the initiative in walking and I trust all my 125 crore Indians, who are capable of walking on their own and will keep moving.
For the past few days, I have been getting very interesting suggestions from people. I am aware, when to adapt to these suggestions. But, I want everyone to actively participate in these suggestions as we all belong to our nation, the nation does not only belong to any Government. We are the citizens of our Nation and we all need to unite without any exceptions. Some of you have suggested simplifying the registration process for Small Scale Industries. I will definitely put this under Government’s notice. Some of you have written to me to incorporate skills development courses in the school curriculum from 5th standard. This will help the students to learn various skills and crafts. I loved this effective suggestion given by them. They have also suggested that even the adults should learn skills development courses along with their studies. One of the suggestions given was to keep a dustbin at every 100 meters and a cleaning system should be established.
Some of you have written to me, to abolish the use of plastic bags. I am receiving numerous suggestions from people. I have always been telling you, to write to me and narrate a true incident, which is positive and inspiring to me and our Countrymen, along with the evidence. If you do this, I can promise this to you, that I will share all those heartfelt thoughts or suggestions with all our Countrymen, through “Mann ki Baat”.
I have only one intention in speaking with you all,” Come, let us serve our Mother India. Let us all take our nation to the new heights. Let us all take a step forward. If you take one step, our nation takes 125 crore steps to move forward, and for this purpose, on this auspicious occasion of Vijay Dashami, we all need to defeat all of our inner evils and decide to start doing something good for the nation. Today is the fortunate beginning for me. I will be sharing my heartfelt thoughts with one and all. Today, I have shared all the thoughts coming directly from my heart. I will meet you all next at 11 am on Sundays, but I trust our journey shall never end and will continue receiving love and suggestions from you.
After listening to my thoughts, please do not hesitate in sharing your thoughts or advice to me, I will appreciate that your suggestions keep coming. I am glad to talk with you through this simple medium of Radio, which serves each and every corner of the nation. I can reach the poorest homes, as mine, my nation’s strength lies within the hut of Poor, within the villages; my nation’s strength lies with the Mothers, Sisters and Youths; my nation’s strength lies with the farmers. Nation will only progress, if you believe in it. I am expressing my trust towards the nation. I believe in your strength, hence, I believe in our nation’s future.
I would once again, like to thank one and all for taking out time and listening to me. Thank you all.
(The original speech was in Hindi, this is the English rendering. Original speech remains the authoritative version)
My Dear Countrymen,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.