Present in the program are my colleagues in the Council of Ministers Smriti Irani ji and Dr. Mahendrabhai, all the officials, parents and teachers, and the future of India, my young friends!
It was a pleasure interacting with you. I also got to know about your experiences. You have received awards for your extraordinary achievements in various fields ranging from art and culture to gallantry, education to innovation, social service and sports. And you have got these awards after a tough competition. Children from every corner of the country have come forward and you have been selected. The number of awardees may not be so much, but the number of promising children is unparalleled in our country. Once again, many congratulations to all of you for these awards. Today is also National Girl Child Day. I also congratulate and extend my best wishes to all the daughters of the country.
Along with you, I want to especially congratulate your parents and teachers. They have a major contribution to your growth today. Therefore, every success of yours is also the success of your loved ones. It includes the efforts and emotions of your loved ones.
My young friends,
The award you have received today is very special for another reason. It is the occasion for these awards! The country is currently celebrating 75 years of its independence. You have received this award in this important period. Throughout your life, you would proudly claim that ‘I received this award when my country was celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence’. This award also entails a huge responsibility for you. Now the expectations of your friends, family and society have also increased from you. You do not have to take stress from these expectations, but you have to take inspiration from them.
Young friends, small children, sons and daughters of our country have written history in every era. Heroes like Birbala Kanaklata Barua, Khudiram Bose and Rani Gaidinliu have a history in our freedom struggle that fills us with pride. These fighters had made the country's independence the mission of their lives at a very young age and had dedicated themselves for it.
You must have seen it on TV when I went to Nowshera sector of Jammu-Kashmir on Diwali last year. There I met heroes Shri Baldev Singh and Shri Basant Singh, who had fought the war in Kashmir immediately after independence as child soldiers. Now they are very old, but they were very young then. They were recognized as child soldiers for the first time in our army. They had helped the army at such a young age without caring about their lives.
Similarly, the bravery and sacrifice of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh ji is another example! Sahibzadas were very young when they had sacrificed with immense valor, patience, courage and complete dedication. Their sacrifice for India's civilization, culture, faith and religion is incomparable. The country has also started 'Veer Bal Diwas' on 26th December in memory of the sacrifices of Sahibzadas. I would like all of you and all the youth of the country to read about the brave Sahibzadas of the country.
You must have also seen that a digital statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was installed near India Gate in Delhi yesterday. We get the biggest inspiration of duty, of the nation first from Netaji. Taking inspiration from Netaji, all of us and the young generation, in particular, have to move forward on our path of duty for the country.
Our 75 years of independence are important because today we can be proud of our past and draw energy from it. Now is the time to fulfill the present resolutions. This is the time for new dreams for the future and set new goals and move forward. These goals are for the next 25 years, when the country will complete its hundred years of independence.
Think over it. Most of you today are between the ages of 10 and 20. When there will be hundred years of independence, you would be at that stage of your life when the country would be very grand, divine, progressive and at its peak and your life would be full of happiness and peace. In effect, these goals are for our youth, for your generation and for you. Our young generation has an immense role when the country would be at its pinnacle in the next 25 years and there would be a huge potential of the country.
We have got the fruits of what our ancestors sowed; it is because of their austerity and sacrifice. But you belong to a period and where the country is today that you would get to savor the fruits that you would sow! Such a swift change is going to happen. Therefore, you must have seen that our young generation and you are at the center of the policies and efforts that are being made in the country today.
You take up any sector. Today there are missions like Startup India, programs like Standup India; there is a massive Digital India campaign, the impetus is being given to the Make in India, the mass movement of self-reliant India is leading to the rapid expansion of modern infrastructure in every nook and corner of the country, highways and high-speed expressways are being built. With whose pace does this progress and speed match? You are the people who see themselves connected with all these changes and remain so excited for all of them. Your generation is leading this new era not only in India but outside India as well.
Today we feel proud when we see the CEOs of all the major companies of the world and everyone is discussing them. Who are these CEOs? They are the children of our own country. This is the young generation of this country which is dominant in the world today. Today, we feel proud when we see that the youth of India are making their mark in the world of start-ups. Today, we feel proud when we see that the youth of India are making new innovations and taking the country forward. Sometime from now, India, on its own strength, is all set to send Indians into space for the first time. The responsibility of the Gaganyaan mission is also on our youth. The youth who have been selected for this mission are working hard.
The awards that you received today also celebrate the courage and valor of our younger generation. This courage and valor is the identity of new India today. We have seen the country's fight against Corona. Our scientists and vaccine manufacturers took the lead in the world and provided vaccines to the country. Our healthcare workers served the countrymen non-stop even in the toughest of times. Our nurses are vaccinating people visiting the most difficult places in villages. This reflects the country’s great example of courage.
Similarly, look at the valor of our soldiers posted on the borders. Their courage to protect the country has become our identity. Today our players are also achieving accolades, considered impossible for India. Similarly, our daughters are doing wonders in the fields where they were not allowed earlier. This is the new India, which does not hold back from innovating. Courage and determination are the identities of India today.
Today, India is taking continuous steps to strengthen the future of its present and coming generations. Emphasis is being laid on learning in the local languages in the new National Education Policy. This will make it easier for you to read and learn. Special provisions have been made in the education policy to enable you to study the subjects of your choice. Atal Tinkering Labs, being built in thousands of schools across the country, are instilling the potential of innovation in children from the very early days of their studies.
The children of India, the younger generation have always proved their mettle in taking India to new heights in the 21st century. I remember I had called children from across the country during Chandrayaan. I can never forget their enthusiasm and zeal. The children of India have displayed their modern and scientific thinking in the vaccination program as well. Since January 3, more than 40 million children have got the corona vaccine in just 20 days. It shows the awareness of the children of our country about their responsibilities.
I also give a lot of credit for the success of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to the children of India. As child soldiers, you inspired your family and neighborhood households for the cleanliness campaign. The children themselves had taken up the task of ensuring cleanliness in houses by family members and no filth inside and outside of the houses. Today I seek cooperation from the children of the country for one more thing. And if the children support me, then the change will come in every family. And I am confident that my little friends and this army of children will help me a lot in this work.
As you came forward for the cleanliness campaign, you should also come forward for the ‘Vocal for Local’ campaign. All the brothers and sisters at home should make a list of products that you use from morning till late at night and write down them on a paper which are not made in India, but foreign-made. You then insist your family to buy the products made in India. It should have the fragrance of the soil of India and the sweat of the youth of India. What happens when you buy made-in-India products? Immediately, our production will pick up. Production will increase in everything. And when production increases, new employment opportunities will also be created. When employment increases, your life will also become self-sufficient. Therefore, the campaign of AatmaNirbhar Bharat is linked to our young generation, to all of you.
Two days from today, the country will celebrate its Republic Day. We have to make some new resolutions for our country on Republic Day. Our resolutions can be for society, for the country and for the future of the entire world. The example of the environment is before us. India is doing so much for the environment today, and the entire world will benefit from it.
I would like you to think about those resolutions which are related to the identity of India and which will help in making India modern and developed. I am sure that your dreams will connect with the country's resolutions and you will set innumerable records for the country in the times to come.
With this belief, many congratulations to all of you once again!
Lots of love, congratulations and thanks to all my young friends!