NCC symbolises leadership, selfless service, hardwork, discipline and nationalism: PM Modi
On 7th December we mark Armed Forces Flag Day. Let us salute the valour of our soldiers & remember their sacrifices: PM Modi
During Mann Ki Baat, PM Modi encourages students to actively take part in Fit India movement
In the country, values of peace, unity and goodwill are paramount: PM Modi
The Ayodhya verdict has proved to be a milestone for our judiciary: PM Modi
Our civilization, culture and languages convey the message of unity in diversity to the whole world: PM Modi
The Constitution of India is one which protects the rights and respects every citizen: Prime Minister

My dear countrymen, welcome to ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Today’s episode begins with the young people of the young nation; their enthusiasm, patriotism and the sense of selfless service that envelops them. As you know, every year, the fourth Sunday of the month of November is celebrated as NCC Day. Generally speaking, our young generation is more likely to remember ‘Friendship Day’, without fail. But there are many people who, equally keep in mind NCC Day. So let’s talk about NCC today. I too will get an opportunity to refresh a few memories. At the outset on the occasion of NCC, Day, I extend my best wishes to all NCC Cadets, both former & present. More so, since I too have been a cadet once; I consider myself to be a cadet even, today. All of us know that India’s National Cadet Corps, NCC is one of the largest uniformed youth organizations of the world.

It is a Tri-services organization comprising the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. NCC means, cultivating the qualities of Leadership, patriotism, selfless service discipline & hard work as an integral part of one’s character; the thrilling journey of imbibing them into one’s habits. To discuss more about this journey, let’s call up a few young people, who have made a name for themselves in the NCC. Let’s talk to them.

PM: Friends, how are you?
Tarannum Khan : Jai Hind, Hon’ble Prime Minister
PM: Jai Hind
Tarannum Khan: Sir, this is Junior under Officer Tarannum Khan
PM: Tarannum, where are you from?
Tarannum Khan: I belong to Delhi sir.
PM: Okay. So how many years have you been with the NCC?
How were your experiences?
Tarannum Khan: Sir I was enrolled in the NCC in 2017; these
three years have been the best years of my life.

PM: Great… it’s nice to hear that

Tarannum Khan: Sir, I would like to share my best experience during an ‘Ek Bharat – Shreshth Bharat’ Camp. This camp was held in August and had children from the North Eastern Region, NER too. We stayed with those cadets for 10 days. We learnt elements from their way of life, their lifestyle. We were introduced to their language. We learnt a lot about their tradition & culture. Such as ‘Vaizomi’ means ‘Hello,’ how are you? Similarly, during our Cultural Nite they taught us their dance. It is called Tehra. And they taught me wearing the ‘Mekhla’ attire. Believe me, our Delhi group was looking pretty, as well as our friends from Nagaland. We also took them around on a tour of Delhi; we showed them the National war Memorial & India Gate too. There we treated them to Delhi’s snack ‘Chaat’ & also the Bhelpuri. But they found it a bit hot & spicy. They told us they generally like having a soup, along with a few boiled vegetables. So they didn’t like it much. But, other than that, we clicked a lot of pictures with them and shared many experiences.

PM: Are you still in touch with them?

Tarannum Khan: Yes Sir. We still contact each other.

PM: Great. That’s good

Tarannum Khan: Yes sir

PM: Who else is there with you?

Hari G.V: Jai Hind Sir

PM: Jai Hind

Hari G.V: This is senior under Officer Sri Hari G.V. I belong to

Bengaluru, Karnataka.

PM: And where do you study?

Hari G.V: Kristujayanti College, Bengaluru Sir.

PM: Okay, in Bengaluru?

Hari G.V: Yes sir.

PM: So, tell me

Hari G.V: Sir, I came back from the youth Exchange Programme,

Singapore just yesterday.

PM: That’s great

Hari G.V: Yes sir

PM: So you got an opportunity to go there!

Hari G.V: Yes sir

PM: How was your experience in Singapore?

Hari G.V: Six countries had come together, there, comprising United Kingdom, United States of America, Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong & Nepal. Here we learnt an exchange on combat lessons & International Military exercises. Our performance there was one of its kind. It was here that we learnt water sports and adventure activities. Sir, the Indian team won the Water Polo tournament. And in the cultural segment, we were adjudged as overall performers. They admired our Drill & word of command, sir.

PM: Hari, how many of you were there?

Hari G.V: 20 of us Sir. We were 10 boys & 10 girls.

PM: Okay. Were they from different States of India?

Hari G.V: Yes sir.

PM: Fine. Your friends must be eager to listen to your experiences. I liked it. Who else is there with you?

Vinole Kiso: Jai Hind Sir

PM: Jai Hind

Vinole Kiso: This is senior under Officer Vinole Kiso. I belong to the North Eastern Region, Nagaland State sir.

PM: Yes Vinole. Tell us about your experience.

Vinole Kiso: Sir, I’m studying B.A. History (Honours) at St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama (Autonomous). I joined NCC in the year 2017. It was the greatest & the best decision of my life Sir.

PM: With NCC, where all did you get a chance to travel to?

Vinole Kiso: Sir NCC taught me a lot, and gave me many opportunities.

I would love to share one of my experiences. This year in June I attended a camp. It was the combined Annual Training Camp held at Sazolie College, Kohima. 400 cadets attended the Camp.

PM: So, all your friends in Nagaland must be eager to know about the various places in India, you visited, what all you saw! Do you share all your experiences with them?

Vinole Kisu: Yes sir.

PM: Who else is there with you?

Akhil: Jai Hind Sir, this is Junior under Officer Akhil.

PM: Yes Akhil, tell me

Akhil: I belong to Rohtak, Haryana Sir.

PM: Okay

Akhil: I am doing Physics Honours from Dayal Singh College, Delhi University.

PM: That’s good.

Akhil: Sir, the best thing I like about the NCC is discipline.

PM: Great!

Akhil: It has made me a more responsible citizen Sir. I love the drill and the uniform of a NCC cadet.

Prime Minister: How many camps you have had a chance to attend? What places did you get the opportunity to visit?

Akhil: Sir, I have done 3 camps. I recently was a part of the attachment camp at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun.

Prime Minister: How long was that camp?

Akhil: Sir, it was was a 13-day camp.

Prime Minister: Good

Akhil: Sir, there I witnessed from close quarters how officers are inducted into the Indian Army … and after that my resolve to become an officer in the Indian Army has become even firmer.

Prime Minister: Great ...

Akhil: And Sir, I also participated in Republic Day Parade! It was a matter of great pride for me and my family.

Prime Minister: Well done…

Akhil: My mother was much happier than me, sir. When We used to get up at 2 in the morning to go and practice on Rajpath, the enthusiasm in us was worth seeing! People from the rest of the contingents also encouraged us quite a lot. It was while marching on Rajpath, we had goosebumps!

Prime Minister: All right I got a chance to have a word with all four of you, and that too on NCC Day. It is matter of joy for me because I also had the good fortune to be an NCC Cadet in my village school as a child, so I know that this discipline, this uniform, enhances the confidence level, all these things I had a chance to experience as an NCC Cadet during childhood.

Vinole: Mr. Prime Minister I too have a question.

Prime Minister: Sure, ask!

Vinole: That you have also been a part of NCC

Prime Minister: Who? Is that Vinole speaking ?

Vinole: yes sir, yes sir

Prime Minister: Yes, Vinole please tell me.

Vinole: Did you ever get punishment?

Prime Minister: (laughing) That means that you people get
punishment?

Vinole: Yes sir.

Prime Minister: No! It never happened because I was in a way quite disciplined! But yes once a misunderstanding crept up. While we were at camp I climbed a tree. At first sight it seemed that I had broken some rule but later everyone came to realize that a bird was stuck in a kite string. So I climbed the tree to save it. So, at first it seemed that there would be some disciplinary action against me, but later I garnered a lot of praise. So I had a different sort of experience in this manner!

Tarannum Khan: Sir, it was great to know that.

Prime Minister: Thank you.

Taranum Khan: This is Taranum speaking.

Prime Minister: Yes Tarannum, tell me…

Tarannum Khan: If you permit sir, I would like to ask you a question?

Prime Minister: Yes, please tell me.

Tarannum Khan: Sir, in your messages you have told us that every
Indian citizen should visit to 15 places in 3 years. Would you like to tell us what places we should visit? And what was the one place that made you feel good rather best?

Prime Minister: Well I have always had a certain fondness for the Himalayas.

Tarannum Khan: Yes ...

Prime Minister: But even then I will urge the people of India that if you love nature,

Tarannum Khan: Yes Sir.

Prime Minister: Dense forests, waterfalls, If you want to see a unique type of environment, then I tell everyone to go to the North East.

Tarannum Khan: Yes sir.

Prime Minister: I always tell this fact and because of this I hope Tourism will also increase a lot in the North East; the economy will also benefit a lot and the dream of ‘Ek bharat! Shrestha Bharat!' will also get strengthened there.

Tarannum Khan: Yes sir.

Prime Minister: But there are lot of places everywhere in India which are worth visiting, worth studying, worth imbibing.

Shri Hari G.V. : Prime Minister sir, I am Shri Hari speaking!

Prime Minister: Yes Hari Please tell me.

Shri Hari G.V. : I want to know from you; had you not been a politician, what would you have been?

Prime Minister: Now this is a very difficult question because every child goes through multiple phases in life. Sometimes one wants to become this, sometimes one wants to become that, but it is true that I never had the desire to go into politics, nor ever thought about it, but now that I have reached here, I keep thinking how I can work for the welfare of the country with all my heart, and the mere thought that 'Where would I have been if I hadn't been here' should never enter my thought. Now, wherever I am, I should live life to the fullest and I should wholeheartedly work ceaselessly for my country, not worrying whether it is day, or night. I have now dedicated myself for this purpose only.

Akhil: Prime Minister ...

Prime Minister: Yes ...

Akhil: If you are so busy during the day, then I’m curious to know whether you get time to watch TV, movies or read books?
Prime Minister: By the way, I was always fond of reading books since it is not a time bound activity. I have never had any interest in watching films, nor do I watch TV with the same intent. I watch very little. Earlier I used to watch Discovery channel for the sake of curiosity. And I used to read books. But these days I am unable to read and due to Google, the habit of reading has deteriorated because if you want to seek a reference, then you immediately find a shortcut. So like everyone certain habits of mine have also been spoiled. Ok, friends, I loved talking to you all very much and through you I wish the very best to all the NCC cadets. Thanks a lot my friends, Thank You!

All NCC cadets: Thank you very much Sir, Thank You!

Prime Minister: Thank you, Thank You.

All NCC cadets: Jai Hind Sir

Prime Minister: Jai Hind

All NCC cadets: Jai Hind Sir

Prime Minister: Jai Hind, Jai Hind

My dear countrymen, we should never forget that Armed Forces Flag Day is celebrated on the 7th of December. This is the day when we pay homage to our brave soldiers, for their valour, their sacrifices; we also contribute. Only a sense of respect does not suffice. Participation is also necessary and every citizen should come forward on the 7th of December and everyone should possess the flag of the Armed Forces on that day; everyone should also contribute. Come. On this occasion, let us express our gratitude for the indomitable courage, valour and spirit of dedication of our Armed Forces and remember the brave soldiers.

My dear countrymen, by now you must be familiar with the Fit India Movement. CBSE has taken a commendable initiative of introducing the concept of ‘Fit India week’. Schools can celebrate ‘Fit India week’ anytime during the month of December. There are many types of events to be organized with regards to the aspect of fitness. This includes quiz, essays, articles, paintings, traditional and local sports, yogasana, dance, sports and games competitions. Students as well as their teachers and parents can also participate in the Fit India Week. But don't forget that Fit India doesn’t mean just exercising the mind or making fitness plans on paper or merely looking at fitness apps on the laptop or computer or on a mobile phone. Not at all you’ve to sweat it out. The food habits have to change. The habit of maximising focus activity should be inculcated.

I appeal to the school boards and management of all the states of the country that Fit India Week should be celebrated in every school, in the month of December. This will inculcate the habit of fitness in our daily routine. In the Fit India Movement, schedules have been drawn for ranking schools in accordance with fitness. The schools that achieve this ranking will also be able to use the ‘Fit India’ logo and flag. The Schools can declare themselves as Fit by visiting the Fit India portal. Fit India three star and Fit India five star ratings will also be given. I appeal that all schools should enroll in the Fit India ranking system and Fit India should become innate to our temperament. That it become a mass movement and bring awareness is what we must strive for!

My dear countrymen, our country is so large…so full of diversity. It is so ancient… that so many things just slip our mind…and that’s quite natural. But I do wish to share something with you. I happened to glance at a comment on the MyGov portal a few days ago. Mr Ramesh Sharma from Nagaon in Assam has written this comment. He writes, that a festival is being celebrated on Brahmaputra river. It’s called Brahmaputra Pushkar. This festival was held between 4th and 16th November, and people had come from all corners of the country to take part in this Brahmaputra Pushkar. Weren’t you also surprised to hear this? See, that’s the thing, this is such an important festival, and our forefathers have fashioned it in a way that once you hear the full details, you will be even more surprised. But unfortunately, the extent to which this should have been publicized, the extent to which this information should have been disseminated to every corner of the country, it isn’t done. And it is also true, that this event in a way signifies the concept of one country-one message. And that we are all ONE. It fills us with that feeling, it energises us.

First of all let me thank Shri Ramesh for having shared his thoughts with the entire country through the Man Ki Baat forum. You have also agonized about the fact that such an important event is not adequately publicized, not discussed as much as it should be. I can empathise with you.
Not many people in the country know about this. Well, if someone would have given it the moniker “International River Festival”, or used some other highfalutin lingo to reference it, well then, it might have resulted in some sort of discussion around this topic in the country.

My dear countrymen, Pushkaram, Pushkaraalu, Pushkaraha. – have you ever heard these terms? Do you know what these are? Let me tell you. These are the different names by which festivals organized on 12 different rivers across the country are called. One river every year…that means it would recur on that particular river after 12 years…and this festival is held sequentially every year in 12 different rivers spread across the country …and it lasts for 12 long days. Just like the Kumbh festival, this too, encourages the concept of national unity. And echoes the philosophy of “Ek Bharat-ShreshTh Bharat” (One India Best India)…Pushkaram is a festival in which the greatness of the river, the glory of the river, the importance of the river in our lives…all these are brought forth naturally.
Our forefathers put a lot of emphasis on nature, on environment, on water, on land, on forests.

They understood the importance of rivers, and tried to inculcate a positive mindset towards rivers in the society. They constantly strove to conflate the river with the cultural stream, the stream of tradition, and with the society. And the interesting thing is that, not only did it bring the society closer to the rivers, it also brought people closer to each other. Last year the Pushkaram was held on the TaamirabaraNi river in Tamil Nadu. This year it was held on the Brahmaputra river. Next year it will be held in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on the Tungabhadra river.

In a way, you can travel to all these 12 places, as part of a tourist circuit as well. Here I would like to appreciate the warmth and hospitality of the people of Assam, who acted as wonderful hosts for pilgrims from all over the country. The organizers also paid great attention to cleanliness. They ensured plastic free zones. Bio-toilets were also provided at many places. I hope that this ancient festival, that has helped create a positive mindset towards rivers among us, will continue to bring our future generations also closer to the rivers. Nature, environment, water – all these things should not only be part of our tourism – they should also be a part of our lives.

My dear countrymen, young Shweta writes in from Madhya Pradesh on the NaMo app. And she says, sir, I am studying in Class 9, and there is still a year to go before I sit for my board examinations. But I regularly listen to your conversations with students and exam warriors. The reason I am writing to you is that you have not yet shared with us the scheduled date for your next interaction on examinations. Please schedule it at the earliest. If possible, please schedule it in January.

Friends, this is something I really like about the “Man Ki Baat” programme. The love and sense of entitlement with which my young friends complain to me, instruct me or give suggestions to me – I really am gladdened by them. Shveta ji, you have raised this issue at an opportune time. Exams are round the corner…so like every other year, we need to discuss examinations. And you are right, that this program needs to be scheduled a bit earlier.

After the last exam interaction, many people have written in with suggestions to make it more effective. Some have even complained that it was held too close to the date of the exam. And Shweta is right that I should conduct it in the month of January. The HRD ministry and the MyGov team are jointly working on it. It will be my endeavour to hold this discussion on exams in the beginning or middle of January. Student friends across the country have two opportunities. One, they can become part of this through their respective schools. Alternatively, they can be part of the program being conducted here in Delhi. Students participating in the Delhi event will be selected through the MyGov portal. Friends, we have to banish the fear of examinations collectively. I want to see my young friends smiling during examinations, their parents should be stress-free, teachers should be assured. We have been constantly striving to achieve this objective – through the Man ki baat program, through the “Discussions on Examinations” Townhall or through the Exam Warriors book. Students, parents and teachers from across the country have taken this mission forward, and I am grateful to all of them. We will all celebrate the upcoming program on Examination Discussion together – I cordially invite you all.

Friends, in the last edition of Man Ki Baat, we had discussed the 2010 Allahabad High Court Judgment on the Ayodhya issue. And I have referred to how we had maintained peace and harmony back then. Whether it was before the verdict, or after the verdict. This time too, when the Supreme Court pronounced its judgment on 9th November, 130 crore Indians once again proved, that for them, national interest is supreme. The values of peace, unity and goodwill are paramount in our country. When the verdict on Ram Mandir was pronounced, the entire country embraced it with open arms. They accepted the verdict with ease and with peace. Today, through the Man Ki Baat program, I would like to appreciate and thank my countrymen. I am particularly grateful to them for the patience, restraint and maturity shown by them. On the one hand, a protracted legal battle has finally come to an end, on the other hand, the respect for the judiciary has grown in the country. In the truest sense, this verdict has also proved to be a milestone for the judiciary in our country. After this historic verdict of the Supreme Court, the country has moved ahead on a new path, with a new resolve…full of new hopes and aspirations. It is my hope and wish that New India imbibes this feeling and forges ahead in a spirit of peace, unity and goodwill. It is the wish of each one of us.

My dear countrymen, our civilization, culture and languages preach the message of unity in diversity to the entire world. 130 crore Indians belong to a country about which it is said, “The taste of the water changes after every couple of kilometers, the lingo changes every few miles. Hundreds of languages have blossomed and flourished in our country for centuries. At the same time, we are also concerned about the possible extinction of these languages and dialects. Recently I read a story from Dhaarchulaa in UttaraakhanD. That gave me a lot of satisfaction. After reading that story, I got to know how people are coming forward to promote their languages. In innovative ways…I was attracted to this story from Dhaarchulaa since I too have stayed there while travelling. It has Nepal on one side, Kali Ganga on the other side – so it’s natural that my attention was drawn to this story from Dhaarchulaa. There are many people of the Rang community who inhabit Dhaarchulaa in PithauraagaRh.

They converse among one another in the Ranglo language. They are quite saddened by the fact that the number of people who speak this language is rapidly dwindling. And then, one fine day, they got together and resolved to save their language. And in no time, people from the Rang community joined in. You will be amazed to hear that there are only a handful of people in this community. Roughly, their number is estimated to be around ten thousand. But in order to save the Ranglo language, everyone contributed their mite. Be it an 84 year old elderly man Diwan Singh, or a 22 year old youth Vaishali Garbyaal. Be it a professor or a trader, everyone contributed – in whatever way they could. In this mission, ample use was also made of the social media. Many WhatsApp groups were formed. Hundreds of people were connected to this mission through these groups. This language does not have a script. It finds usage only in the spoken form. So, people started posting stories, poems and songs. They started correcting each other’s language (errors). So, in a way WhatsApp became a kind of classroom, where everyone was a student and a teacher at the same time. There is an effort to conserve the Ranglo language in all this ?? Different kinds of programs are being held, magazines are being published, and social institutions are also assisting in this effort.

Friends, another important thing to note is that the United Nations has declared 2019 as the “International Year of Indigenous Languages”. That means, efforts are being made to conserve those languages which are on the verge of extinction. Hundred and fifty years ago, the father of modern Hindi Bharatendu Harishchandra had also said

“The progress of one’s language, is the source of one’s overall progress
All progress is meaningless if one’s mother tongue is neglected”
That means, no progress is possible without the knowledge of one’s mother tongue. This initiative of the Rang community, thus, is sure to be showing the path to the rest of the world. If you too, have been inspired by this story, then start using your language or dialect from today. Inspire the society and your family to do so.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Mahakavi (Great Poet) Subramanya Bharati had said, and he had said in Tamil.
முப்பது கோடி முகமுடை யாள். Mupppadu kODi mugam uDai yaaL
உயிர் மொய்ம்புற ஒன்றுடையாள்- uyir moim bura onDruDaiyaaL
இவள் செப்பு மொழிபதி னெட்டுடையாள் ivaL seppu mozhi padineTTuDaiyaaL
எனில் சிந்தனை ஒன்றுடையாள் enil sindanai onDruDaiyaaL

And he said it back then, I am referring to the second half of the 19th century. And he said that Mother India has 30 crore faces, but one body. She speaks 18 languages, but thinks as one.

My dear countrymen, there are times when mundane things in life enrich us with a great message. Just the other day, I was reading a story in the media on scuba divers. This is a story that can be inspiring for all Indians. One day, these scuba divers, who impart training in Vishakhapattanam, were obstructed by plastic bottles and pouches on their way back from sea on Mangamaripetta beach. While cleaning the litter, they found the matter grave. They were appalled at the way our sea is being littered with garbage. For the last many days, these divers go up to 100 mts. away from the coast; dive deep and take out the garbage lying around. And I am told that just within 13 days ie 2 weeks, they have removed more than 4000kg of plastic waste from the sea. This small beginning by the divers is being transformed into a big mission.

They are being helped by local people now. Local fishermen have also started to help them by all means.

Pondering over, taking inspiration from these scuba divers, if we too, take a pledge to rid our surroundings of plastic waste, "Plastic Free India" can become a new example for the whole world.

My dear countrymen, the 26th of November is just two days away.. This day is special for the whole country. This is especially important for our republic since we celebrate this day as Constitution Day. This year it is even more special as we are completing 70 years of the adoption of the constitution. This occasion will be marked by a special programme in Parliament followed by many other events organised across the country throughout the year. Let us pay our respects and gratitude to all the members of the constituent assembly. Our constitution guards the rights and dignity of every citizen which has been ensured owing to the farsightedness of the architects of our constitution.

I pray that the 'Constitution Day' reinforces our obligation towards upholding the constitutional ideals and values thus contributing to nation building. After all, this was the dream of the makers of our constitution.

My dear countrymen, winter is knocking on the door. We can feel the pink of the season all around us. Parts of the Himalaya have begun to don sheets of snow, but this is the season of the ‘fit India movement’ too. You, your family, your friends, your friend circle, your companions, should not miss the opportunity. Use the weather to your advantage to take the ‘Fit India Movement ‘forward.

Many good wishes. Many thanks.

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PM Modi's interview to Mathrubhumi
April 21, 2024

You are already preparing a road map for India. What are the lessons you have picked from the last 10 years of governance to shape Amrit Kaal 2047? What will be the first five initiatives, especially focussed on Young India?

I would like to correct you here.

My experience as head of government spans 23 years. I have had the unique honor of serving for 13 years as the CM and 10 years as the PM. These 23 years have been a learning experience, and people have taught me a lot. One key learning that I have utilized in Gujarat as well as India is trusting people and making them partners. In Gujarat, I worked on increasing female literacy and decreasing school dropouts by making this a mass movement.

At the national level, be it the Swachh Bharat Movement, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, or Digital Transactions, change was achieved through people-led mass movements. For a long time under the Congress, youth was stymied and not allowed to achieve its full potential. Corruption and nepotism hurt the youth badly. It is my conviction that Viksit Bharat can only be achieved by the power of our youth. We have several initiatives focused on them. In our Sankalp Patra, we’ve outlined how we’re going to strengthen Young India.

In education, we have a qualitative as well as a quantitative change. The NEP revolutionizes education and helps our youth excel in their strengths. In the last 10 years, we’ve built many higher education institutes and will continue to do so in our third term as well. From 2014 to 2024, the pace of growth was remarkable, with more than two colleges opening every day, and one university opening every week. In the last 10 years, we have built 7 new IITs, 7 new IIMs, and 15 new AIIMS.

Record investment is happening in India in manufacturing and infrastructure. This is creating numerous opportunities for the youth. Start-ups will flourish through multiple new avenues as well as access to credit.

We will focus on increasing our tourism, by augmenting the infrastructure at our cultural and other natural landmarks. This will create new opportunities for the youth. The loan amount under PM MUDRA Yojna will be doubled to ₹20 Lakh to encourage small and medium businesses by the youth.

The 21st century is not just India's century, it is also the century of India's youth. To fulfill the aspirations of our youth, we need to make big, positive changes. We are laser-focused on our goal for Viksit Bharat and are working 24x7 for 2047.

You have emphasized technology, A-I, tourism, and health among the top priority areas. How do you plan to connect these dreams with the youth energy of our country?

Today, if India has an advantage in the world, it is because of its Yuva Shakti. Everywhere you look, youngsters are eager to make a difference.

Our smart, young minds are exploring and expanding AI’s possibilities every day. To encourage this, our government’s policies and programs are guided by the motto of ‘AI for All’. We encourage our youth to take giant leaps to ‘solve for India’ using technology and AI. To give you an example, we ask ministries to list down problem areas where they need solutions. Then we compile all such problems and present them to our youth in the form of hackathons. I make sure to participate in these hackathons. Our youth deliver and come up with solutions to all the problems presented to them.

When it comes to health, in the last 10 years, the number of medical colleges in India has increased from 387 before 2014 to 706 as of now. MBBS seats have increased from 51,348 before 2014 to 1,08,940 at present. PG seats have increased from 31,185 before 2014 to 70,645 currently. This means more and more of our Yuva Shakti are becoming doctors and healthcare professionals, which will increase the affordability and accessibility of healthcare.

In the last 10 years, tourism in India has increased significantly. Tourism greatly impacts the local economy as many people across the value chain earn through it. We have focused on ensuring that our tourism sites have good infrastructure.

Kerala has all forms of attractions to draw tourists, from mountains to backwaters, and from heritage to wellness. We aim to make Kerala one of the biggest hubs of tourism. Our Sankalp Patra places special emphasis on further developing our cultural and religious destinations. We will strengthen the Swadesh Darshan program and develop various thematic tourism circuits, including riverine tourism. These initiatives will lead to huge gains for Kerala and augur well for the common man.

You have given the Niti Aayog and other agencies a new template of development which originates from your vision. What are the thoughts that prompt your initiatives?

As someone who has also served as a Chief Minister, I understand how important it is to involve states in the nation-building process. That is exactly what NITI Aayog does: it consults with and works directly with states.

The problem with the Planning Commission was that it employed a 'one-size-fits-all' approach for all states. It did not create plans that were tailored to the specific wants and needs of each state and functioned in a top-down fashion. Funds would often be allocated for one purpose, but the needs of the states would be completely different. There was no flexibility given to states to decide their own set of priorities. Unsurprisingly, many of its plans failed to show tangible results.

The NITI Aayog follows a pro-people, proactive, and participative development agenda. Take the example of the Aspirational Districts Program. The Central Government is working together not only with the State Governments but also with local administrations to bring about change in the lives of people.

Similarly, NITI Aayog is at the center of preparing the roadmap for 2047. Through NITI Aayog, we have reached out to people across the country and received feedback from around 15 lakh people.

Like never before, you are personally leading the fight in Kerala, where the RSS has a tremendous presence. But BJP has not been able to make much political mileage out of this. How do you see this? And how will the scenario change this time?Congress has high hopes from the South especially Kerala. What do you feel?

Karyakartas of the BJP and aligned organizations have been working on the ground for a long time. Be it a social cause or a natural calamity, they are always visible serving the people. In the 2021 Assembly Elections, our vote share rose significantly. This is because the youth of Kerala, the women of Kerala, the poor people of Kerala, and the farmers of Kerala are now starting to see the BJP as a ray of hope. They view the BJP and the NDA as entities that can fulfill their aspirations.

The UDF and LDF have only taken Kerala backward; they have never moved Kerala forward. So yes, the situation is changing, and the scenario is set to change even further. The 2021 results revealed what lies ahead. The BJP is expected to grow even more in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and we are confident that in time, the BJP will have MPs from Kerala and will also eventually form the state government.

Talking about the Congress, in 2019, sensing a defeat in UP, the Yuvraj ran away to contest the elections in Kerala. Over the last 5 years, even the people of Kerala have realized that they have no vision, no governance agenda, and have put in no efforts for the people. But this time, they know that the people of Kerala are also going to reject them. The results of Wayanad will be announced even before the results of the entire country. As soon as the polling in Kerala is over, the Yuvraj will file a nomination from another seat, so confident are they of their defeat.

Youngsters in Kerala are migrating outside the state for education and professional reasons. Across South India, something seems to be lacking for the youth. What is your vision for South India, focusing on skill and technical exposure?

It is unfortunate that the youth of Kerala have been forced to move out of their home state in search of better opportunities. The LDF and UDF governments have repeatedly and willfully ignored the need to develop industries and jobs that create employment in the state.

On the other hand, our Central Government is working towards making the youth future-ready, equipping them with next-generation skills, and creating opportunities for them within the state itself. We have established more than 370 Atal Tinkering Labs in the state to catalyze innovation among the young. Under the MUDRA Yojana, we have enabled the disbursal of collateral-free loans worth 1 lakh crore to the youth of Kerala.

Did you know that in the last 10 years, India has launched over 400 satellites from various countries and earned more than Rs 4000 crores from it? Kerala, home to many ISRO research and launch sites, along with Start-Up India, will ensure a network of indigenous startups and industries focused on space science and defense emerges in Kerala. It is in this context that I inaugurated the country's first Digital Science Park in Thiruvananthapuram to transform Kerala into a knowledge-based economy.

We have also invested lakhs of crores to improve infrastructure in the state, including the upgrading of Kochi harbor, widening of NH-66 to improve connectivity, doubling of railway tracks, and expanding the Kochi Metro. All these initiatives are giving a significant boost to employment opportunities in the state.

The other day, you took on CPM and its leaders by flagging the Karuvannur bank scam and alleged corruption involving the CM's daughter. But CPM is alleging that the Central Government is trying to kill co-operative banks in Kerala through these measures. Your views, please.

First and foremost, I do not believe in the use of the word "killing." If there is any party that indulges in rampant political violence and the killing of opponents, it is the CPM. Therefore, I will not dignify any usage of that term.

Moving on to your question—the fact of the matter is that the LDF in Kerala has transformed into everything we associate with the Congress Party—dynasty politics, corruption, and so on. Regarding the cooperative scam, I have spoken about this on many occasions and I have assured you that those guilty of the scam will not be spared. It is disheartening to see that thousands of poor people have been stripped of their hard-earned money, leaving them in a miserable situation.

The cooperative sector is a very important one, directly linked to empowering people in villages, and empowering women. It is a pity that the CPM has used the cooperative sector to enrich a few leaders.

How do you see the rivalry of the Left & Congress in Kerala? How do you respond to Rahul Gandhi’s statement that Pinarayi Vijayan must be sent to jail?

The Congress and the Left are two sides of the same coin. In Kerala, they engage in a friendly fight, while in Delhi, they are partners. In Kerala, the Congress' Yuvraj wants to put Pinarayi Vijayan in jail, yet in Delhi, they unite to protest action against corruption.

The Congress' approach to corruption is selective. They have no issue with corruption itself; they only use it as a tool to attack those they dislike. I have been constantly and aggressively exposing Pinarayi Vijayan, yet the Congress and its Yuvraj have remained silent throughout.

I spoke about the deal between the Chief Minister and his daughter with CMRL; the Yuvraj was silent. In the gold smuggling case, I raised the issue of links between the Chief Minister's office and the smuggling racket; the Yuvraj was silent. I exposed the looting by CPM-run cooperative banks and promised to return the money to the common people, even considering the attachment of properties of those involved; once again, the Yuvraj was silent.

You and your party are aiming for more than 400 seats. Most of the 303 seats won in 2019 were from North India. But South India seems to be a difficult terrain for the BJP. Do you think this time you can break the pattern of electoral behavior of the region? Congress has high hopes from the South. What do you feel?

Your question is not factually correct. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP was the single largest party in Southern India. Until recently, we had a government in Karnataka. We are a part of the government in Puducherry. We have always been an important force in Telangana. Therefore, I do not agree with the binary view that the BJP lacks a presence in the South. This narrative suits the perspective of a few political analysts, but the facts tell a different story.

You may also know that three of our party presidents have come from South India. In 1984, when we were reduced to only two seats, one of them was from Southern India. Thus, the BJP has a very close link with the South.

Looking at the present, I have been traveling across Southern India, and the response wherever I have gone has been phenomenal. I am confident that South India will bless the BJP in record numbers this time.

Opposition’s narrative on the strong divide between South India and North India is quite intense. They say the South is largely ignored by Modi Govt., especially on financial issues. Kerala Govt has approached the Supreme Court for permission to take loans. How do you plan to reach out to the South Indians?

This narrative of dividing India into north and south propagated by the opposition is utterly shameful, and I categorically reject it. Indians from across South India have also firmly rejected this charge. Both the UDF and LDF aim to divide India along the lines of caste, creed, state, and religion to confuse the voters and cling to power. Despite this, Kerala, with its abundant resources and excellent human capital, is an equal partner in India’s development. We are committed to powering Kerala on its path to development. Unfortunately, both UDF and LDF have perpetuated a culture of misgovernance in the state and have failed to take meaningful steps toward improving and diversifying Kerala’s economy.

This mismanagement has resulted in debt reaching alarming levels, forcing the Kerala government to borrow money even to pay its employees! Instead of utilizing funds for constructing infrastructure, which would create more jobs, the government is focused on spending money on hiring more personal staff for its ministers and paying them lifetime pensions. Meanwhile, they make PSC rank holders wait for years for offer letters because they do not have the capacity to pay these meritorious youth.

However, this has not stopped my government from supporting the Kerala government in every way possible. Under my administration, tax devolution to Kerala has substantially increased from just Rs 46,000 crore under the UPA to more than Rs 1.55 lakh crore under the BJP. This shows our commitment to Kerala.

During the pandemic, we provided an additional borrowing of Rs 18,000 crores, and recently, we provided an additional Rs 13,000 crores to help manage the immediate crisis. Even the Supreme Court has highlighted their misgovernance and financial mismanagement. It is high time those in power realize that instead of creating divisions and distractions, they should focus on governance.

I maintain direct and daily contact with the people and our Karyakartas in the South, and I am grateful that they consider me part of their family too. The response I received during public meetings and road shows, with thousands coming out to support the BJP, is ample proof that the manufactured North-South divide is completely artificial and has no basis on the ground.

Anyone who believes there is a North-South divide is not fully acquainted with the reality of India as a nation, and more importantly, as a civilization that is thousands of years old. The North-South divide theory originates from the political desperation of the opposition, not from reality. Yes, we are diverse and even different in some cultural aspects, but that does not mean we are divergent. We are diverse, not divergent

Bishops and senior pontiffs have met you many times. But the church leaders continue to raise their apprehensions from time to time. How can BJP win their total confidence?

The BJP has established a very close relationship with the Christian community. We have been in government in Goa since 2012, and are also part of the ruling coalitions in Meghalaya and Nagaland, where there is a significant Christian population. As such, the Christian community is well aware of the good work that BJP governments, both at the Centre and in the states, are doing.

I have been interacting with leaders from the Christian community even before I became Prime Minister, and these exchanges have always been very fruitful. Regarding any apprehensions, it's important to recognize that everyone has the right to express concerns when they feel a situation needs attention. We, as the government, are committed to addressing any apprehensions or grievances.

The reality is that the Christian community is fed up with both the LDF and the UDF. These alliances have failed the Christian community because their politics of vote banking do not support the empowerment of the community. Christians have realized this, and as a result, they are now voting for the BJP in large numbers.

You have strengthened our relations with the Gulf. As a result, we even have a Hindu Temple in UAE. Across the Muslim world, you are hailed as a global leader. What message does this give the Indian Muslims?

For decades, our foreign policy was managed without prioritizing our diaspora. One significant change we implemented after coming to power was to recognize that looking after our diaspora’s goodwill is an integral part of foreign policy.

Consider the example of the Gulf countries, where lakhs of our citizens reside. For decades, our governments did not engage with these countries as they should have, seeing them only from the perspective of our neighbor. They viewed the Gulf solely as a venue to export manpower and import fuel products, without investing in deeper relations.

You might be surprised to know that I was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in three decades! Before my visit, there had only been two such prime ministerial visits to Saudi Arabia.

Today, our people residing in the Gulf countries feel there is someone back home they can count on. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I regularly spoke with governments in the Gulf, and they assured me that they would take care of Indians as their own. I also requested the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to increase the Haj quota for Indians.

The strong relationships we have cultivated over time proved crucial in times of crisis. In 2015, when thousands of Indians were stuck in Yemen amidst the bombing, I personally spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia. Bombing was halted daily for a few hours to allow safe passage for our people. During the 2023 Sudan crisis, we worked closely with Saudi Arabia to ensure safe passage for our citizens caught in a war-like situation.

Recently, we brought back 8 Navy veterans from Qatar who were facing death sentences. The entire nation rejoiced.

When our citizens see the results of our improved relations, they naturally feel proud and more secure. This demonstrates that the Modi Government cares for its people, whether Hindu, Muslim, or Christian.

Kashmir is today near normal. But there have been sporadic attacks. Pakistan-based groups still trouble us. Can we feel confident that all such menaces will end in the Modi 3.0 era?

It's undeniable that Kashmir has made significant strides towards normalcy recently. Since the abrogation of Article 370, we've seen a remarkable decline in terror incidents and casualties, demonstrating our government's steadfast commitment to eradicating terrorism.

Historical traditions are being revived; Muharram processions in Srinagar proceeded through the traditional route for the first time in 34 years, and Diwali was celebrated at the Sharda Temple for the first time since the partition in 1947.

From 2004 to 2014, over 7,000 terror incidents claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 security personnel and civilians. In contrast, under the BJP’s leadership in the past decade, there has been a 70% reduction in terror incidents. In 2010, during UPA rule, the region witnessed over 2,600 incidents of organized stone pelting. Fast forward to 2023, four years after the abrogation of Article 370, and not a single such incident has occurred.

Tourism in Kashmir is experiencing a remarkable surge, with visitor numbers reaching record levels since our independence in 1947. This influx not only bolsters the local economy but also promotes cross-cultural exchange and appreciation, fostering greater understanding and harmony.

The youth of Kashmir are being empowered like never before, with abundant opportunities in sports, entrepreneurship, and academia. Young Kashmiris are harnessing their talents and capabilities to forge a brighter future. The recent success of several candidates from Jammu and Kashmir in the Civil Services examination is a testament to the region's rising potential and the government's commitment to nurturing talent.

In our next term, we will continue to build on these developments with even more vigor so that the fruits of growing opportunities in the rest of India also reach our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Somewhere during this campaign, there is an increasing portrayal of elections 2024 as a fight to protect Sanatana Dharma from its vehement critics. Will this redefine democratic exercise totally?

As India experiences a resurgence of its cultural and civilizational heritage, the Congress party and its allies seem to be grappling with a sense of unease. In recent months, we have witnessed INDI Alliance partners liken Sanatan Dharma to diseases like dengue and malaria. This depth of discomfort reveals their animosity, resentment, and shallow understanding of Sanatan values. It is ironic that a party that once prided itself on embodying Mahatma Gandhi's ideals now aligns with those who call for the eradication of Sanatan Dharma.

Today, Congress finds itself at odds with the very essence of India's millennia-old identity. They deny the existence of Bhagwan Ram, reject invitations to the Pran Prathishtha of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, mock Dwarkadhish, and vow to oppose Shakti.

As a proud son of Bharat, I rejoice in our timeless traditions. It was our party that ensured the historic Sengol is placed in our temple of democracy. Our government has helped the ancient science of Yoga gain global appreciation and ensured that Shri Anna—or millets, once a staple in every home in Kerala—receives global recognition. These achievements are witnessed, experienced, and appreciated by the people of our country.

For us, these aspects are not related to elections; they are part of who we are. The initiatives I mentioned were implemented well before election period.

The people of our country are no longer willing to tolerate disrespect toward their ancient culture and vibrant traditions; instead, they take pride in them. The people are also questioning these leaders on matters of governance, delivery, and policies. In their frantic attempts to divert public attention from their continuous failures, these leaders resort to making hateful statements.

You have not taken a day off in the last 10 years and more. Please take us through a day-in-the-life of Modiji? Your favourite food, especially South Indian cuisine?

In the last 10 years, the work we have done is just the trailer of what is to come. I genuinely feel that there's so much more to do, and I don't want to spend even a single moment of my life not devoted to serving the nation. I consider myself to be working for my family of 1.4 billion Indians. This emotional connection with them continues to drive me every day.

I spent many years in spiritual pursuit during my younger years. Since then, I've maintained the habit of waking up during Brahma Muhurat. I start my day early, dedicating time to yoga and exercise. Afterward, I catch up on the day’s news and happenings. I also take time to call friends, karyakartas, and acquaintances, and return phone calls. My official engagements begin at 9 AM and often extend late into the night. My day is filled with meetings, presentations, and events. I normally like simple food and don’t have strong likes or dislikes when it comes to food.

Source: Mathrubhumi