My dear countrymen, Namaskar. This is the first ‘Mann Ki Baat’ program of 2024. There is a new enthusiasm, a new wave in Amritkaal. Two days ago, all of us countrymen celebrated the 75th Republic Day with great pomp and fervour. This year our Constitution is also attaining completion of 75 years… and the Supreme Court is also completing 75 years. These festivals of our democracy further strengthen India as the Mother of Democracy. The Constitution of India has come into being after such intense brainstorming that it is called a living document. In part three of the original copy of this very Constitution, the fundamental rights of the citizens of India have been described and it is note-worthy that at the beginning of Part three, the makers of our Constitution had allotted due space to the pictures of Bhagwan Ram, Mata Sita and Lakshman ji. The rule of Prabhu Ram was also a source of inspiration for the makers of our Constitution and that is why on January 22 in Ayodhya, I had talked about 'Dev se Desh'… I’d referred to 'Ram se Rashtra'.
Friends, the occasion of Pran Pratishtha in Ayodhya seems to have bound around a common thread, crores of people of the country together. Everyone's feelings are unanimous, everyone's devotion is in unison… Ram is in everyone's words, Ram is in everyone's heart. During this period, many people of the country sang Ram Bhajans dedicating them at the feet of Shri Ram. On the evening of the 22nd of January, the entire country lit Ram Jyoti and celebrated Diwali. During this time, the country saw the power of togetherness, which is also a major basis for our resolves of a developed India.
I had requested the people of the country to run a cleanliness campaign from Makar Sankranti to the 22nd of January. I felt good that lakhs of people joined with devotion and cleaned religious places of their area. Many people have sent me pictures and videos related to this - this sentiment should not diminish… this campaign should not stop. This power of collectivity will take our country to new heights of success.
My dear countrymen, this time the parade of 26th January was awesome, but the most discussed element was seeing Women Power in the Parade… when the women contingents of Central Security Forces and Delhi Police started marching on Kartavya path, everyone was filled with pride. On Seeing the Marching of the women's band and seeing their tremendous coordination, people in the country and abroad were thrilled. This time, out of the 20 contingents that marched in the Parade, 11 were of women. We saw that even in the tableaux that went by, all the artistes were women. About one and a half thousand daughters took part in the cultural programs that took place. Many female artistes were playing Indian musical instruments like Conch, Nadaswaram and Nagada. The tableau belonging to DRDO also attracted everyone's attention. It showed how woman power is protecting the country in every field - water, land, sky, cyber and space. India of the 21st century is thus moving ahead with the mantra of Women Led Development.
Friends, you must have watched the Arjuna Award ceremony just a few days ago. In that, many promising players and athletes of the country have been honoured at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Here too, something that attracted a lot of people's attention was the Arjuna Awardee daughters and their life journeys. This time 13 women athletes have been honored with the Arjuna Award.
These women athletes participated in many major tournaments and brought glory to the flag of India. Physical challenges, economic challenges could not hold up vis-à-vis these courageous and talented players. In the changing India, our daughters, women of the country are performing wonders in every field. There is another area where women have made their mark, that is self-help groups. Today, the number of women self-help groups in the country has also increased and their scope of work has also expanded a lot. That day is not far when you will see Namo Drone Didis helping in farming using drones in the fields in every village. I came to know about women preparing bio fertilizer and bio pesticide using local ingredients in Bahraich, UP. The women of Nibiya Begumpur village, associated with self-help groups, prepare bio-fertilizer by mixing cow dung, neem leaves and many types of medicinal plants. Similarly, these women also prepare an organic pesticide by preparing a paste of ginger, garlic, onion and chilli. These women together have formed an organization named ‘Unnati Jaivik Ikai’. This organization helps these women in preparing bio products. The demand for bio fertilizer and bio pesticide made by them is also continuously rising. Today, more than 6 thousand farmers from nearby villages are buying bio products from them. Through this, the income of these women associated with self-help groups has increased, and their financial condition has improved as well.
My dear countrymen, in ‘Mann Ki Baat’ we highlight the efforts of those countrymen who are working selflessly to strengthen the society and the country. In such a situation, when the country has announced the Padma Awards three days ago, it is natural to discuss such people in 'Mann Ki Baat'. This time too, Padma honors have been conferred upon many countrymen who, by connecting with the grassroots, have worked to bring about big changes in the society.
A lot of curiosity across the country to know about the life journey of these inspiring people has been noticed. Away from media headlines, away from the front pages of newspapers, these people have been engaged in social service without any lime-light. We have hardly seen or heard anything about these people earlier, but now I am happy that after the announcement of Padma Awards, people such as these are being discussed everywhere; people are eager to know more and more about them. Most of these Padma Award recipients are doing unique work in their respective fields. Like, somebody is providing an ambulance service, while another is arranging a roof over the head for the destitute. There are some who are engaged in nature conservation efforts by planting thousands of trees. There is also one, who has worked for the conservation of more than 650 varieties of rice. There is one as well who is spreading awareness in the society for the prevention of drug and alcohol addiction. Many people are engaged in connecting people with Self Help Groups, especially the Nari Shakti campaign. Countrymen are also very happy about the fact that 30 of those who received the honour are women. These women are taking the society and the country forward through their work at the grassroots level.
Friends, the contribution of each one of the Padma Awardees is an inspiration for the countrymen. This time, a large number of people receiving honors are those who are bringing glory to the country in the world of classical dance, classical music, folk dance, theater and bhajans. This honor has also been conferred upon those who have done excellent work in Prakrit, Malvi and Lambadi languages. Many people from abroad have also been honored with the Padma Award, whose work is lending new heights to Indian culture and heritage. These also include citizens of France, Taiwan, Mexico and Bangladesh.
Friends, I am very happy that the system of Padma awards has completely changed in the last decade. Now it has become the People's Padma. There have been many changes in the system of conferring the Padma awards. People even have a chance to nominate themselves now. This is the reason why this time 28 times more nominations have been received compared to 2014. This shows that the prestige of The Padma Award, its credibility and respect for it is rising every year. I once again extend my best wishes to all those receiving the Padma Awards.
My dear countrymen, it is said that every life has a goal; everyone is born to fulfill a goal. For that, people perform their duties with full devotion. We have seen that some people perform their duties through social service, some by joining the army, some by teaching the next generation, but friends, there are some people among us who even after the end of life, fulfill their responsibilities towards society and life and their medium for that is organ donation. In recent years, there have been more than a thousand people in the country who donated their organs after their death. This decision is not easy, but this decision is a saver of multiple lives. I would also appreciate those families who respected the last wishes of their near and dear ones. Today, many organizations in the country are also making very inspiring efforts in this direction. Some organizations are making people aware about organ donation, some organizations are helping in registering the people willing to donate organs. Due to such efforts, a positive environment is being created in the country towards organ donation and people's lives are also being saved.
My dear countrymen, I am now sharing with you an achievement of India which will make the life of patients easier and their problems will be mitigated to an extent.
There must be many people among you, who get help from Ayurveda, Siddha or Unani system of medicine for treatment. But such patients face problems when they go to some other doctor of the same system. In these medical practices, a common language is not used for the terminology of diseases, treatments and medicines. Every doctor writes the name of the disease and methods of treatment in one’s own way. This sometimes makes it very difficult for other doctors to understand. A solution to this problem that has been going on for decades has now been found. I am happy to share that the Ministry of AYUSH has categorized the data and terminology related to Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicine, with the help of the World Health Organization as well. Through the efforts of both, the terminology related to disease and treatment in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha medicine has been codified. With the help of this coding, all doctors will now write the same language on their prescriptions or slips. One advantage of this would be that if you go to another doctor with that slip, the doctor will get complete information about it from just that slip. That slip will help one in knowing one’s illness, treatment, what medicines one has been taking, for how long the treatment has been going on, what things one is allergic to. Another benefit of this will accrue to those people, who are associated with research work. Scientists from other countries will also get complete information about the disease, medicines and their effects. As the research expands and many scientists come together, these medical systems will field better results and people's inclination towards them will rise. I am confident that our doctors associated with these AYUSH systems will adopt this coding as soon as possible.
My friends, when I am referring to AYUSH system of medicine, pictures of Yanung Jamoh Lego are also coming before my eyes. Ms. Yanung is a resident of Arunachal Pradesh and is a herbal medicinal expert.
She has done a lot of work to revive the traditional medical system of the Adi tribe. This time she has also been conferred with the Padma Award for this contribution. Similarly, this time Hemchand Manjhi of Chhattisgarh has also received the Padma Award. Vaidyaraj Hemchand Manjhi also treats people with the help of AYUSH system of medicine. He has been serving poor patients in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh for more than 5 decades. People like Ms. Yanung and Hemchand ji have a big role in preserving the treasure of Ayurveda and herbal medicine hidden in our country.
My dear countrymen, our mutual relationship through ‘Mann Ki Baat’ is a decade old now. Even in this era of social media and internet, radio is a powerful medium to connect the entire country. A unique example of how much change the power of radio can bring about is being seen in Chhattisgarh. For the last almost 7 years, a popular program is being broadcast on the radio here, whose name is 'Hamar Hathi - Hamar Goth'. Hearing the name you may wonder what connection there could be between radio and the elephant! But this is the beauty of radio. In Chhattisgarh, this program is broadcast every evening from four stations of Akashvani - Ambikapur, Raipur, Bilaspur and Raigarh and you will be surprised to know that the people living in the forests of Chhattisgarh and its surrounding areas listen to this program with great attention. In the program ‘Hamar Hathi – Hamar Goth’ it is announced through which area of the forest a herd of elephants is passing. This information is very useful for the people here. As soon as people get information through radio about the arrival of a herd of elephants, they become alert. The danger of crossing the paths through which elephants pass is averted. On the one hand, this reduces the possibility of damage caused by elephant herds; on the other, it helps in gathering data about elephants. The use of this data will also help in the conservation of elephants in future.
Here, information related to elephants is also being disseminated to the people through social media. This has made it easier for the people living around the forest to strike a balance with the elephants. People living in other forest areas of the country can also take advantage of this unique initiative of Chhattisgarh and its experiences.
My dear countrymen, on this very 25th of January we all have celebrated National Voters Day. This is an important day for our glorious democratic traditions. Today there are approximately 96 crore voters in the country. Do you know how big this figure is? This is almost three times more than the total population of America. This is about one and a half times more than the total population of entire Europe. If we refer to polling stations, their number in the country today is around 10.5 lakh. To enable every citizen of India to exercise their democratic rights, our Election Commission sets up polling booths even at places where there is only one voter. I would like to commend the Election Commission, which has made relentless efforts to strengthen democratic values in the country.
Friends, today it is a matter of enthusiasm for the country that while the voting percentage is decreasing in many countries of the world, the voting percentage in India is increasing. In 1951-52, when elections were held for the first time in the country, only about 45 percent of the voters cast their votes. Today this figure has increased significantly. Not only has the number of voters increased in the country, but turnout has also increased. The government has also made amendments in the law so that our young voters can get more opportunities for registration. I am also happy to notice that many efforts are being made at the community level to increase awareness among voters. At some places people go door to door and tell voters about voting.
At other places the youth are being attracted through painting; elsewhere through street plays. Every such effort is infusing myriad colors into the celebration of our democracy. Through ‘Mann Ki Baat’ I will ask my first time voters to definitely get their names added to the voter list. They can easily complete it online through the National Voter Service Portal and Voter Helpline App. You should always remember that one vote of yours can change the destiny of the country; can fashion the destiny of the country.
My dear countrymen, today the 28th of January also marks the birth anniversaries of two great personalities of India who have set an example of patriotism in different periods of time. Today the country, is paying tribute to Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai ji. Lala ji was a freedom fighter, who sacrificed his life to liberate us from foreign rule. Lala ji's personality cannot be limited only to the freedom struggle. He was immensely far sighted. He played an instrumental role in the establishment of Punjab National Bank and many other institutions. His objective was not only to expel foreigners from the country, but the vision of giving economic strength to the country was also an important part of his thought. His thought and his sacrifice greatly influenced Bhagat Singh. Today is also a day to pay homage to Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa ji with reverence. He set an example of courage and bravery by leading our army during an important period of history. He has an important contribution in making our army stronger.
My dear countrymen, today India is attaining new heights every day in the world of sports. To excel in the world of sports, it is imperative that players get as many opportunities as possible to play and well organized sports tournaments are held in the country. With this thought in mind, new sports tournaments are being organized in India today.
Just a few days ago, Khelo India Youth Games were inaugurated in Chennai. More than 5 thousand athletes of the country are participating in this. I am happy that today such new platforms are continuously being created in India, in which players are getting an opportunity to display their potential. One such platform that has been created – Beach Games, was organized in Diu. You know for sure that 'Diu' is a Union Territory, very close to Somnath. These Beach Games were organized in Diu in the beginning of this year itself. These were India's first multi-sports beach games. These included competitions like Tug of war, Sea swimming, pencak silat, Malkhamb, Beach volleyball, Beach Kabaddi, Beach soccer, and Beach Boxing. In this, every contestant got ample opportunity to showcase one’s talent and you will be surprised to know that in this tournament many players came from states which have no connection whatsoever with the sea. Madhya Pradesh won the maximum medals in this tournament, where there is no sea beach. It is this temperament towards sports that makes any country the crowning glory of the sports world.
My dear countrymen, that’s all this time with me in 'Mann Ki Baat'. Shall talk to you once again in February. Our focus will be on how the country is marching ahead through the collective and individual efforts of the people of the country. Friends, tomorrow, on the 29th at 11 am we will also have Pariksha Pe Charcha'. This will be the 7th edition of ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’. This is one program, which I always look forward to. This gives me an opportunity to interact with students, and I also try to mitigate their exam related stress. In the last 7 years, ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’ has emerged as a very good medium to discuss various issues related to education and examinations. I am happy that this time more than 2.25 crore students have registered for it and have also put forward their inputs. Let me tell you that when we first began this program in 2018, this number was a mere 22,000.
Many innovative efforts have also been undertaken to inspire students and spread awareness about exam related stress. I urge all of you, especially the youth & students to join in record numbers tomorrow. I too would love to talk to you. With these words, I take leave of you in this episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’. See you again soon. Thank you.
Today, the number of women self-help groups in the country has increased and their scope of work has also expanded a lot. Here is a success story from Uttar Pradesh... #MannKiBaat pic.twitter.com/cen70CAndR— PMO India (@PMOIndia) January 28, 2024
Do join in for 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' at 11 AM on 29th January. pic.twitter.com/iUo3Ixwa8q— PMO India (@PMOIndia) January 28, 2024