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Tagline of #AdvantageAssam is not just a statement, but a holistic vision says PM Modi
#AyushmanBharat is the world’s largest healthcare program designed for the poor: PM Modi
The formalisation of businesses of MSMEs due to introduction of GST, will help MSMEs to access credit from financial sector, says the PM
Government will contribute 12% to EPF for new employees in all sectors for three years: PM
Our Govt has taken up many path breaking economic reforms in last three years, which have simplified procedures for doing business: PM Modi

Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay Ji,

Governor of Assam Professor Jagdish Mukhee Ji,

Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal Ji,

The delegates from all over the world, particularly the delegates from ASEAN who are present here,

Entrepreneurs from all parts of the country who are present here and other dignitaries,

Aji Aei Hon-Milonat Uposthit Apona Lok Hokoloke Moi Antorik Hubhesa Gyapon Korinso.

Logote Okhomor Homuho Raijo-Loi Mor Gobheer Shordha Gyapon Koriso.

I welcome all of you to this ‘Global Investors Summit’. Your presence in this summit reflects how Assam is marching ahead on the path of development. The presence of Prime Minister Tobgay as the chief guest is, particularly  a testimony to the deep friendship between  India and Bhutan.

Friends!

We adopted Act East Policy of which the North-east is at its heart. 

The Act East Policy requires increased people to people contact, trade ties and other relations with countries on India’s east, particularly the ASEAN countries. The tag-line of this Summit is very appropriate and it gives a big Message.

‘Advantage Assam: India’s Express way to ASEAN’ is not just a statement but it is also a holistic Vision. Recently, we had the ASEAN India Summit celebrating 25 years of our partnership. ASEAN-India partnership,   may be 25 years old but our ties with these nations go back to thousands of years.  It was a privilege for India to host the Heads of 10 ASEAN countries as our honoured Guests  at the Republic Day function  in New Delhi.

Bangladesh has recently opened a consulate in Guwahati, becoming the first country to do so. I am happy to learn that The Royal Government of Bhutan has also opened Bhutanese Consulate in Guwahati yesterday.

Brothers and sisters,

India’s growth story will grow at a faster pace only when there is a fast paced and balanced development of the people living in the North-East, of the society here and of course the entire region.

I believe that the entire region of eastern India from Imphal to Guwahati and from Kolkata to Patna should become the new centre of energy for the development of India. This is our vision and this is our approach.

The results of the efforts made by the central government in the last three and a half year and by the Assam government in the last one and a half years while following this vision is now visible clearer than ever. Today, the scale at which this program has been organised, nobody could have thought of this even a few years ago. This has become possible because the old thinking inour country that ‘nothing could change in this country’ has changed. Today, people have optimism and courage instead of despair.

Friends,

Today, roads are being laid at twice the earlier speed, work to convert railway tracks to two-lanes is being done at twice earlier the speed, and  electrification of railway tracks are taking place at twice the earlier speed.

Brothers and sisters,

We are orienting all our schemes to a direction which will bring about qualitative change in the lives of the poor, lower middle class and middle class. We are joining the schemes with peoples’ requirements, the kind of schemes that will make their lives easier and improve their ease of living.

You must have heard that the government had announced ‘Ayushan Bharat Scheme’ in the budget.  This is the largest scheme of its kind in the world.

Friends,

The one who has been raised in the midst of poverty, who has moved ahead while bearing the pain of poverty, is well aware that a poor man’s biggest concern is treatment of disease. When a family member falls seriously ill the whole family faces financial crisis for a long time. In order to bring the poor out of the agony, we are linking more than 10 crore families with this Ayushman Bharat Scheme. Under it every poor family will be provided with the facility of free treatment of up to Rs. 5 lakh in the designated hospitals. This scheme will benefit nearly 45 to 50 crore people of the country. The potential for creating a chain of hospitals in tier-II and tier-III cities has increased. It will become a source of assured income for youth. This will create large scale opportunities for capital investment in the hinterland. I would call upon the state governments to formulate policies for establishing new hospitals. In addition to Ayushman Bharat scheme, the government has reduced the health related concerns of the poor through two other schemes.

This government has provided a shield to more than 18 crore poor people through Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Jeevan Jyoti Yojana. It has freed them from a big worry. Besides this, this government has done several other things like the selling of more than 800 affordable drugs through more than 3,000 Jan Aushadhi centres, reduction of up to 85% in the cost of stents, regulation of the cost of knee implant – all these have been providing big relief to middle class.

Friends

Whether it is ASEAN countries or Bangladesh, Bhutan or Nepal, in a way all of us are farming countries. Farmer’s progress can take this entire region to a new height of development. That is why our government has been working on the goal of doubling the farmer’s income. In order to achieve this goal while on the one hand the thrust of the government is on reducing the input cost of farmers and on the other we are also working to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices. This year the government is going to spend more than 14 lakh crore on agriculture and rural sector. Just two days ago we have announced a big decision to ensure the remunerative prices to farmers. Under that at least 50 per cent more price than the cost of their produce, it means the price of at least one and a half times higher than the input cost will be assured. In addition to this the government will develop 22 thousand rural markets as rural agriculture market and those will be linked with e-NAM (electronic National Agriculture Market) platform.

Brothers and sisters,

A few weeks ago we have taken another very important decision and since I’m in North-East today I’d certainly like to talk about it.

Friends,

Scientifically bamboo falls into the category of grass. However, 90 years ago our law makers categorised it as a tree. As a result wherever bamboo is grownfor its logging and transportation a permit is required. I feel that if the people of any region of the country had suffered most because of this law it is the people of North East. So many years have passed since the independence and several governments came to power during this period. But the work of taking bamboo out of the category of tree for the welfare of millions of farmers and tribal people was not done until our government came to power. Now we are restructuring the National Bamboo Mission with a cost of Rs. 1,300 crore. The people of North East, especially the farmers of this region are going to get one more benefit through the budget.

Brothers and sisters,

While it is easy to get loan for agriculture, it is not easy for farmers to get loans for the other allied activities related to agriculture like poultry, fishery, honeybee keeping and animal husbandry. Now we have decided to constitute two infrastructure funds with an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore especially for fisheries and animal husbandry. Also, the government has made it easier to borrow a loan through Kisan credit cards.This government has taken this kind of policy decisions in the field of affordable housing and carried out reforms which will help in realising the government’s goal of providing a house to every poor person of the country.

More than one crore houses have been constructed in the last three years under the Prime Minister Avas Yojana. We have just announced in this budget that 51 lakh new houses will constructed next year as well in addition to construction of the same number of houses this year. The government has been giving a lot of relaxation to lower middle class and middle class by keeping their expectations in mind.

Besides, RERA – Real Estate Regulation and Development Act has brought transparency in this sector and it has become easier for middle class to get houses. Of late the investment in the field of affordable housing has increased significantly and I appeal to the foreign investors to participate in this sector in a big way.

Brothers and sisters,

A big example of this thing is that how a government scheme – Ujala Yojana - has been bringing about energy revolution in the country and providing a big relief to the middle class. LED bulb which was selling for Rs. 350 a piece during the previous government is now available for Rs. 40 to 45. As per one estimate, a household where 5 LED bulbs have been installed that is able to save Rs. 400 to 500 on electricity bill every month. So far more than 28 crore LED bulbs have been distributed across the country under the Ujala scheme. And because of this thing most of middle class households of the country are able to save nearly Rs. 15,000 crore per year. Also, the demand for LED bulbs has gone up in the ASEAN countries and it’s a good opportunity for Indian traders.

Friends,

Finishing the work by setting the goals is a work culture of this government. Dhola Sadia bridge which was dedicated to public by me, the people of Assam understand this thing that if the bridge was continued to be built as earlier then that bridge would be under construction even today. We have done the work of revamping the way of working of entire structure of governance. And as a result of this thing it’s not only that we are completing the project in time but we are also in a situation where we can complete the schemes before time. Similarly, we were also moving in the direction of completing the Ujjwala scheme, which is aimed at setting the poor women free from the smoke of wood stoves ahead of the schedule.

Our goal was to provide free gas connections to five crore poor women by 2019. As of now we have provided relief to more than 3.3 crore women through this scheme. But in this budget we have decided that now free gas connections will be given to more than 8 crore poor women under Ujjwala scheme.

Friends,

The way the aspirations of our young generations were neglected in the 10 years preceding 2014 cannot be easily forgotten. The youth of this country wanted to do something on its own. However, when he went to borrow a loan from banks then he was asked to furnish a bank guarantee. We have removed this compulsory condition of furnishing a bank guarantee through Mudra scheme. This scheme has given three crores new entrepreneurs to the country in the last three years. They are the people who have started their own work, those, who are doing their own business.In this budget, the government has set a target of providing loans worth Rs. 3 lakh crore to people for self-employment under the Mudra scheme. In addition to this, this government has been doing the work of empowering the youth through Stand up India, Start up India, Skill India Mission. Moreover, the government has been reforming the labour laws, simplifying the processes by following the principle of Shramev Jayate.

While earlier the industrialists were required to maintain more than 50 registers for compliance with labour laws, now it can be done through five registers only. We have made most of the processes based on internet through Shram Suvidha portal. Now a new company can be registered in the country in a day whereas earlier it used to take up to a week.These reforms have benefitted most to the country’s youth and small entrepreneurs.

Friends!
Development of MSME sector is a priority for us as this is the back-bone of our industries.

 In this year’s budget we are giving a big relief to MSMEs by reducing rate of income tax to 25% on companies reporting a turn-over of up to Rs. 250 crore. This will benefit almost 99% of companies. 

The formalisation of businesses of MSMEs due to introduction of GST, will help MSMEs to access credit from financial sector. Now, Government will contribute 12% to EPF for new employees in all sectors for three years. 

This Budget has provided additional deduction to the employees of 30% of the wages paid for new employees under the Income Tax Act. 

We are also rolling out e-assessment of income tax across the country to eliminate corruption and bring efficiency and transparency. Further, the women employees’ contribution to EPF will be 8% for first three years against existing rate of 12%.   

Paid maternity leave has been increased from 12 weeks to 26 weeks, along with provision of crèches to incentivise women employment in the formal sector. All these efforts, will strongly support ‘Make in India’ Also. 

Friends,

Today, I’d like to express my gratitude to the business class of this country from this platform because not only it accepted GST - the system for economic unification of the country – but it also included this in its business culture. Our government has also taken another big step in form of insolvency and bankruptcy code for bringing economic transparency in the country.

The need for this kind of code had been felt in India for several years because of international conventions. This is the government that has solved this problem.

  
Friends!

The Union Government has taken up many path breaking economic reforms in last three years, which have simplified procedures  for doing business. 

 It is a result of these reforms that India today ranks 100 among 190 countries in the Doing Business Report, of the World Bank, after climbing up 42 ranks! 

The position of India has improved in many other ratings like Global Competitive--ness Index of World Economic Forum and Moody’s rating upgrade from stable to positive in November 2017.

Our policies have ensured that inflation remains below 5% mark.  Now, we have Foreign Exchange Reserves of US Dollars 418 Billion. Many new sectors have been opened for 100% FDI through automatic route like Automobiles,   Textiles, Tourism, Ports, Roads & Highways.Today, India is one of the most preferred destinations for FDI.  India has received highest ever annual FDI of USD 60 Billion in 2016-17.  

The world sees India today, as an emerging power house for economic growth.

I am happy to note that Assam is ranked first among the North Eastern States in the Ease of Doing Business report. I am sure that with the present leadership of the State Government,  Assam is going to further improve its current position to emerge as one of the most sought after states for industrial investment in the country. 

Friends, today our focus is on infrastructure investment and next year we will be investing about Rs. 6 lakh crore in this sector.This year we aim to complete more than 9,000 kilometers length of National Highways.   

We will be developing 35,000 kilometers of roads with investment of Rupees 5.35 lakh crore under ‘Bharatmala’ project.  

The Railways will make an investment of Rupees 1.48 lakh crore in 2018-19. 

Our target is to re-develop 600 major Railway Stations in coming years. All these investments decisions will speed up development and are expected to generate lakhs of jobs in the coming years.

Friends,

Today, I would like to discuss one more topic. Bhupen Hazaria, the great son of this land, had written a poem when he was just 13 years old. At that time it was British rule and this entire region was under the shackles of slavery.

At that time late Bhupen Hazarika had written:

‘Ognijugau Firingauti

Notun Aukhum Gaudheem

Har Bauharar Harbasva

Punaur Firai Aneem

Notun Aukham Gaudheem’

It means:

‘I’m like a spark in this period that is raging like a fire.

I will create a new Assam.

Those who are persecuted and excluded, I will bring back whatever they have lost.

I will create a new Assam.’

It is our collective responsibility to fulfill the dreams of millions and millions of brave freedom fighters of different regions of the country. In order to fulfill this responsibility all of us have made a solemn pledge to realise the dream of a New India by 2022.

In this journey of achieving success through solemn resolve, schemes have been formulated and implemented by keeping in mind the requirements of the people of North East and by understanding the requirements of the people of North East.

I believe that the eight states of North-East, The Asht Lakshmi (the eight goddesses of beauty and prosperity), are new growth engines for the development of the country and providing momentum to them means providing momentum to the development of the country. That is why our government has been placing emphasis on the policy of transformation by transportation in North East. The investment made in the infrastructure sector has been changing the landscape of this entire region.

In the last three years, on an average Rs. 3,500 crore has been spent per year in the North East in the railway sector alone. The work on 15 new rail lines is being done in the North East with an estimated cost of Rs. 47,000 crore. When the work on Agartala-Akhaura railway line will be complete in the coming days, when the rail connectivity will be established between Tripura-Bangladesh then it will benefit the entire region. The government has approved the construction of nearly 4 thousand kilometers long national highways in North East with an estimated cost of Rs. 33 thousand crore.

In addition to this, in the next two to three years the government will spend Rs. 90 thousand crore in construction of roads and highways in North East. 

Brothers and sisters,

Prime Minister’s Rural Road scheme which was started during the tenure of Atal Ji and which was slated to be completed by 2022 now we have reduced the time for its completion to 2019.

Not only this, in this budget we have also announced that under the Prime Minister Rural Road Schemes not only villages will be connected but the big schools of the villages, hospital and big markets will also be connected.

The schemes worth over Rs. 10,000 crore has been started in order to strengthen the power sector and intra-state transmission and distribution in this region. The work on building a world class airport terminal building in Guwahati is going to start very soon which will further strengthen the connectivity of North East, particularly of Assam with ASEAN countries. The government is giving special priority to North East under the Udan scheme. The work has been done in the direction of linking the 19 airports and helipads of this region, five of them are in Assam alone, with the other cities of the country.

The centre’s decision to provide e-visa facility to the tourists of more than 160 countries will also play an important role in the development of tourism in this region.

Friends,

The central government has also approved the construction of a new AIIMS in Guwahati with a cost of more than Rs. 1,100 crore. Also, the government has been working towards connecting the North East with national gas grid. GAIL has sanctioned a project to lay a gas pipeline up to Guwahati at a cost of Rs. 3,000 crore.

Recently central government has approved a new scheme: North-East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme. Under this scheme, the central government will complete infrastructure related schemes by providing 10 per cent funding. This investment in the North East will help in boosting the tourism in the region and it will also bring new opportunities of employment for the youth and women of this region.

Friends,

I congratulate chief minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal who has created a business friendly and development friendly environment in the state in a very short span of time. Government of Assam has also taken tough measures against corruption. Also, government of Assam is providing tax incentives for setting up of industries and for boosting tourism. New IT policy, new start-up policy, new sport policy, newsugar policy and a new solar energy policy have been implemented. I also congratulate the state government for this thing as well that it has been developing Guwahati as business hub for trade with ASEAN countries. Guwahati has also been developed as a smart city.

Once again I congratulate the people of Assam and North East for holding such a big event with great fervour. I also express my thanks to the participating dignitaries who came from the ASEAN and BBIN countries in the Global Investor Summit.I am sure the Summit is just a beginning and will add a new chapter to our thousand years old relations with you.

Once again I convey my best wishes to the people of North East, to the people of Assam for this special event.

Apuna Lokok Bahut Bahut Dhanyabad.

Thank you very much to all of you.

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My dear countrymen, Namaskar. You are aware that for an important programme, I have to leave for America…hence I thought it would be apt to record Mann Ki Baat, prior to my departure to America. The day of Mann Ki Baat this September is important on another count, date wise. Routinely, we do remember a lot of days; we even celebrate myriad Days…and if you ask young sons-daughters at home, they are likely to furnish out an entire list of Days of the year with their chronological relevance! But, there is one more day that all of us must remember; this day is one that is immensely congruent to the traditions of India. It’s one that connects us with our traditions that we have been following for centuries. That is – World Rivers Day.

It has been articulated here – Pibanti Naddhah, Swayameva Naambha…meaning that rivers do not drink their own water…they give it away altruistically. For us, rivers are not mere physical entities; for us a river is a living unit…and that is exactly why we refer to rivers as Mother! Numerous festivals, festive occasions, functions of ours, occasions to rejoice take place in the very laps of these mothers.

All of you are aware – with the advent of the month of Magh, in our country, a lot of people perform Kalpvaas on the banks of mother Ganga or other rivers for an entire month. This tradition has ceased now…but in earlier times, it was customary to remember rivers while bathing at home. This tradition of remembering rivers may have gone extinct or exists sparsely…but there used to be a great tradition that would take one on a tour across the vastness of India while bathing early morning…a cerebral pilgrimage! It used to be a source of inspiration to connect with every nook and corner of the country. And of course, in India, it has been customary to chant a Shlok while bathing:

Gange cha yamune chaiva Godavari saraswati
Narmade Sindhu Kaveri Jale asmin sannidhim kuru

Earlier, at our homes, the elderly in the family would make children memorise the Shlok …this also led to germinating Aastha, faith towards rivers in our country. It would inscribe an illustrated map of the great land of India on the psyche. That used to establish an emotional connect with rivers. It would result in nurturing a harmonious credence towards the very river that embodied the Mother, sentimentally as well as visually…as a way of life too! It was a way to instill ‘Sanskaar’; the value system gamut.

Friends, now that we are discussing the significance of rivers in our country, it is but natural for everyone to raise a question…one, in fact, has the right to do so…and answering that question is our responsibility too! Anyone can question – “you are singing so many songs dedicated to rivers, referring to a river as a Mother…then why is it that the river gets polluted? Our scriptures distinctly disapprove of polluting rivers, even a bit! And our traditions have been synchronous with the thought. You know, of course, that the western region of our India, especially Gujarat and Rajasthan, suffer from scarcity of water. They face famines, many a time. Now that is why, a new tradition has developed in the social life there. For example, when it starts raining in Gujarat, Jal-Jeelani Ekadashi is celebrated there. This means, it is synonymous with what we term as ‘Catch the Rain’ in today’s times…accumulating each and every drop of water…Jal-jeelani. On similar lines, after the rains, in Bihar and other regions of the East, the great festival of Chhatth is celebrated. I hope that keeping the Chatth Pooja in mind, preparations for cleaning and repairing riverbanks and Ghats would have commenced. We can very well undertake the endeavour of cleaning rivers and freeing them of pollution with collective effort and support. The Namami Gange Mission too is making advances today…collective efforts of all, in a way, mass awareness; a mass movement has a major role to play in that.

Friends, when one is referring to the river; when Mother Ganga is being talked about, one is tempted to draw your attention to another aspect. When Namami Gange is being referred to, one thing is certain to draw your attention…especially that of the youth. These days, a special E-auction is being held. This electronic auction pertains to gifts presented to me by people from time to time. The money that accrues through this E-auction is dedicated solely to the Namami Gange Campaign. The affectionate, warm spirit, with which you present me gifts …that very sentiment gets bolstered through this campaign.

Friends, in order to rejuvenate rivers throughout the country; in order to cleanse waters, the government and social service organizations keep undertaking one endeavour or the other. And this is not about the present day; it is going on for decades now. There are some people who have dedicated themselves to these causes. And it is this very tradition, this very endeavour, this very faith that has saved our rivers. Whenever such news come to my notice, from any corner of India, it evokes immense respect in my heart for people who embark upon such tasks…and I also feel like sharing that with you. Take a look at Vellore and Thiruvannamalai districts of Tamilnadu, whose example I wish to cite. A river named Naagnadi flows there. Years ago, the Naagnadi had all dried up. Because of that, the water level there had terribly gone down. But, the womenfolk there took up the cudgels to rejuvenate their river. And then…lo and behold – they got people connected, dug up canals through public participation, constructed check dams and recharge-wells. Friends, you too would be glad to know that today, the river is brimming with water. And truly, when a river is full of water, it lends such tranquility to the mind…I have actually, witnessed the experience…

Many of you might be aware that on the very banks of river Sabarmati, Mahatma Gandhi set up the Sabarmati Ashram…during the last few decades, the river had dried up. 6 to 8 months a year, no water was even visible there. But river Narmada and river Sabarmati were linked…today, if you go to Ahmedabad, the waters of river Sabarmati fill one’s heart with such joy! Similarly, our sisters from Tamilnadu are undertaking myriad such tasks…many such tasks are being done in various corners of the country. I know for sure that many of our saints, our gurus associated with our religious traditions are doing a lot for the sake of water and rivers, along with their spiritual pursuits…many of them are running campaigns to plant trees along riverbanks…at places, dirty water is being prevented from flowing into rivers.

Friends, when we are celebrating ‘World River Day’ today, I praise and greet all dedicated to this work. But to all people living near every river; to countrymen I will urge that in India in all corners at least once in a year a river festival must be celebrated.

My dear countrymen, never make the mistake of treating minor issues, little things as small. Through tiny efforts, at times, very significant changes occur, and if we look towards the life of Mahatma Gandhi ji we will find every moment how even small things had so much importance and how using small issues he accomplished big resolutions. Our youth today must know how the campaign for cleanliness continuously gave energy to our freedom movement.It was Mahatma Gandhi who turned cleanliness into a mass movement.

Mahatma Gandhi had connected cleanliness to the dream of Independence. Today after so many decades, the cleanliness movement has once again connected the country to the dream of a new India. And this is also becoming a campaign to change our habits too and we must not forget that this cleanliness is a programme. This cleanliness is a responsibility of the transition of sanskar from generation to generation and when the campaign for cleanliness continues generation after generation in the entire society cleanliness as a trait gets imbibed. And that is why this is not a subject of a year or two; of one government or the other government. Generation after generation, with alertness, continually, without being tired or stopping, with high reverence we have to remain associated with cleanliness and continue the campaign for cleanliness. And I have said earlier too that this cleanliness is a great tribute by this country to revered Bapu and we have to keep paying this tribute every time;continuously.

Friends, people know that I don’t ever let go any chance to speak in connection with cleanliness and possibly that is why a listener of ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Shriman Ramesh Patel ji has written to me that learning from Bapu, in this “Amrit Mahotsav” of freedom, we should take the resolve of economic cleanliness too. The way building of toilets enhanced the dignity of poor, similarly economic cleanliness ensures rights of the poor; eases their life. You are aware of the campaign that the country started regarding Jandhan accounts. Today,because of this the rightful money of the poor is getting credited directly into their accounts and because of this, obstacles like corruption have reduced very significantly. It is true that technology can help a lot in economic cleanliness. It is matter of delight for us that even in villages, the common person is getting connected in the direction of digital transactions through fin-tech UPI… its prevalence has begun increasing. I will tell you a figure which will make you proud; during last August, 355 crore UPI transactions took place in one month, that is more than nearly 350 crore transactions, that is, we can say that during the month of August UPI was used for digital transactions more than 350 crore times. Today, on an average, digital payments of more than 2 lakh crore Rupees is happening through UPI. Through this the economy of the country is acquiring cleanliness and
transparency, and we all know that now the importance of fin-tech is increasing a lot.

Friends, Bapu had connected cleanliness with independence;the same way he had made khadi the identity of freedom. Today in the 75 th year of freedom when we are celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, we can say with satisfaction today that our young generation today is giving khadi the place of pride that khadi had during freedom struggle. Today the production of khadi and handloom has increased multiple times and its demand too has increased. You too know that there were many such occasions when business of more than a crore rupees has been transacted in the khadi showroom in Delhi. I too would like to remind you again that on the 2nd of October, on revered Bapu’s birth anniversary, let us together aim for another new record. In your city wherever khadi is sold, handloom is sold, handicraft is sold and now that the festival of Diwali is there.., for the festive season, every khadi, handloom, cottage industry purchase of yours should strengthen the campaign for ‘Vocal for Local’, it should break all old records.

Friends, in this period of Amrit Mahotsav, a campaign to disseminate to everyone the untold stories of the history of freedom is also going on… and for this, upcoming writers, youth of the country and the world were called upon. For this more than 13 thousand people have registered till now and that too in 14 different
languages. And for me a thing of joy also is that non-resident Indians from more than 20 countries have expressed their wish to join this campaign. There is another interesting information- more than nearly 5000 upcoming writers are searching out tales of struggle for freedom. They have taken the lead to write something on those who are unsung heroes, who are un-named, whose names don’t appear on the pages of history, on the theme of such unsung heroes, on their lives, on those events, that is the youth of the country have decided to bring forth the history of those freedom fighters who were not even discussed during the last 75 years. I appeal to all the listeners; I appeal to all those connected with the field of education. You toomotivate the youth. You too come forward and it is my firm belief that during the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence the people who are working for writing history will make history as well.

My dear countrymen, we all know about the Siachen Glacier. The cold there is so terrible that it is beyond capacity of a common person to live there. With snow spread far and wide, there is no sign of any vegetation anywhere. The temperature here dips to even minus 60 degrees. A few days ago, the feat that a team of 8 Divyang persons performed in this inaccessible region of Siachen is a matter of pride for every countryman. This team created a world record by hoisting its flag on the Kumar Post situated at an altitude of more than 15 thousandfeet at the Siachen glacier.

Despite the challenges of physical ability, the feats that these Divyangs have achieved are an inspiration for the whole country and when you get to know about the members of this team, you will also be filled with courage and enthusiasm, just like I was.The names of these brave Divyangs are – Mahesh Nehra, Akshat Rawat of Uttarakhand, Pushpak Gawande of Maharashtra, Ajay Kumar of Haryana, Lobsang Chospel of Ladakh, Major Dwarkesh of Tamil Nadu, Irfan Ahmed Mir of Jammu and Kashmir and Chongjin Ingmo of Himachal Pradesh. This operation to conquer the Siachen Glacier has been successful because of the veterans of the special forces of the Indian Army. I commend the team for this historic and unprecedented achievement. It also shows the spirit of our countrymen to tackle every challenge with a “Can Do Culture”, a “Can Do Determination” and a “Can Do Attitude”.

Friends, today many efforts are being made for the welfare of Divyangjan in the country. I got a chance to know about one such effort being made in Uttar Pradesh - “One Teacher, One Call”. This unique effort in Bareilly is showing a new path to the Divyang children. This campaign is being led by the principal of a school in Dabhaura Gangapur, Deepmala Pandey ji. During the Corona period, due to this campaign, not only did the admission of a large number of children become possible, more than 350 teachers have also joined it with a spirit of service. These teachers go from village to village calling for Divyang children, looking out for them and then ensuring their admission in one school or the other. I deeply appreciate this noble effort of Deepmala ji and her fellow teachers for the sake of Divyangjans. Every such effort in the field of education is going to shape the future of our country.

My dear countrymen, the condition of our lives today is such that the word Corona resonates in our ears many times a day… the biggest global pandemic in a hundred years, COVID-19 has taught every countryman a lot. Today there has been an increase in curiosity and awareness about Healthcare and Wellness. Traditionally natural products which are beneficial for wellness and health are available in abundance in our country. Patayat Sahu ji, who lives in Nandol, Kalahandi, Odisha, has been doing unique work in this area for years. He has planted medicinal plants on one and a half acres of land. Not only this, Sahu ji has also carried out documentation of these medicinal plants. Satish ji of Ranchi has shared another similar information to me through a letter. Satish ji has drawn my attention to an Aloe Vera Village in Jharkhand. The women of Deori village near Ranchi had undergone training in Aloe Vera cultivation from Birsa Agricultural School under the leadership of Manju Kachhap ji. After this they started cultivating aloe vera. Not only did this farming benefit in the field of health; the income of these women also increased. They had good income even during the Covid pandemic. One of the major reasons for this was that the companies making sanitizers were buying Aloe Vera directly from them. Today a team of about forty women is involved in this work. And Aloe Vera is cultivated over many acres. Whether it is Patayat Sahu ji of Odisha or this team of women in Deori, the way they have linked agriculture with the field of health is an example in itself.

Friends, the 2nd of October also marks the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri ji. In his memory, this day also teaches us about those who attempt new experiments in agriculture. To promote start-ups in the field of medicinal plants, an Incubator by the name of Medi-Hub TBI is operational in Anand, Gujarat. In a very short time, this Incubator associated with medicinal and aromatic plants has supported the business idea of 15 entrepreneurs. Sudha Chebrolu ji has launched her start-up only after getting the help of this Incubator. Priority is given to women in this company and they are also responsible for innovative herbal formulations. Another such entrepreneur is Subhashree ji who has also received help from this Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Incubator. Subhashree ji's company is working in the field of herbal room and car fresheners. She has also created a herbal terrace garden which has more than 400 medicinal herbs.

Friends, the Ministry of Ayush has taken an interesting initiative to increase awareness about Medicinal and Herbal Plants among children and Professor Ayushman ji has taken the lead. It is possible that you must be wondering who Professor Ayushman is! Actually Professor Ayushman is the name of a comic book. In this, short stories have been prepared through different cartoon characters. Along with this, the usefulness of healthy medicinal plants like Aloe Vera, Tulsi, Amla, Giloy, Neem, Ashwagandha and Brahmi has been mentioned. Friends, in the current context, with the trend of people around the world regarding medicinal plants and herbal products increasing, India has immense potential. In the past, there has been a significant increase in the export of Ayurvedic and herbal products.

I urge scientists, researchers and people associated with the start-up world to pay attention to such products, which not only increase the wellness and immunity of the people, but also help in increasing the income of our farmers and youth.

Friends, moving beyond traditional farming, novel initiatives and options are being done in agriculture and are continuously creating new means of self-employment. The story of two brothers from Pulwama is also an example of this. The way Bilal Ahmed Sheikh and Munir Ahmed Sheikh found new avenues for themselves in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, they are an example of New India.39 years old Bilal Ahmed ji is highly qualified, he has obtained many degrees. He is now using his experience of higher education by launching his own start-up in agriculture.Bilal ji has installed a unit of Vermi composting at his home. The bio-fertilizer prepared from this unit has not only benefited a lot in agriculture ; it has also brought employment opportunities to the people.Every year, farmers are getting about three thousand quintals of Vermicompost from the units managed by these brothers. Today 15 people are also working in this Vermicomposting unit. A large number of people are reaching to see this unit, and most of them are young people who want to do something in the agriculture sector. The Sheikh brothers of Pulwama took a pledge to become a job creator instead of a job seeker and today they are showing a new path not only to Jammu and Kashmir, but to the people across the country as well.

My dear countrymen, the 25th of September is the birth anniversary of a great son of the country, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay ji. Deen Dayal ji is one of the greatest thinkers of the last century.His economic philosophy, his policies aimed at empowering the society, the path of Antyodaya shown by him remain as relevant in the present context and are also inspirational. Three years ago, on his birth anniversary, the 25th of September, the world's largest health assurance scheme – Ayushman Bharat scheme was implemented. Today, more than two and a half crore impoverished people of the country have got free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh in the hospital under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Such a massive scheme for the poor is dedicated to the Antyodaya philosophy of Deen Dayal ji. If the youth of today inculcate values and ideals into their lives, it can be of great benefit to them. Once in Lucknow, Deen Dayal ji had said – “How many good things, good qualities there are – we derive all these from the society itself. We have to pay the debt of society, we must think on these lines .” That is, Deen Dayal ji taught us that we take so much from society, from the country, whatever it be, it is only because of the country ; thus we should think about how we will repay our debt towards the country. This is a significant message for today's youth.

Friends, from the life of Deen Dayal ji, we also get a lesson to never give up. Despite the adverse political and ideological circumstances, he never wavered from the vision of a Swadeshi, home grown model for the development of India. Today many young people want to move ahead by breaking away from the oft-treaded paths. They want to do things their own way. Deen Dayal ji's life can teach them a lot. That is why I urge our youngsters to definitely know about him.

My dear countrymen, we touched upon many topics today. Like we were discussing, the time to come is of festivals. The whole country is also going to celebrate the festival of the victory over untruth by Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram. But during this festival we have to remember about one more fight - that is the country's fight against Corona. Team India is making new records everyday in this fight. With regards to Vaccination, the country has made many such records which are being talked about the world over. Every Indian has an important role in this fight. We have to get the vaccine administered when our turn comes, but we also have to take care that no one is left out of this circle of safety. Those around you who have not got vaccinated also have to be taken to the vaccine center. Even after getting vaccinated, the necessary protocol has to be followed. I hope that once again Team India will keep the flag flying high in this fight. Next time, we will discuss some more topics in ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Wishing you all, every countryman the best for the fortcoming festivals.

Thank You!