My dear countrymen, greetings to all of you! I have the opportunity to be amongst you to share my Mann Ki Baat once again. Far south, the people are engrossed in Onam festivities and yesterday the entire nation celebrated the holy festival of Raksha Bandhan. The government of India has launched various schemes of social security for the common man. I am happy that in a very short span of time all these schemes have been accepted in large numbers.
I had made a humble request that on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan we give our sisters these insurance schemes as a gift. The preliminary information that I have, notifies me that from launch till date around 11 crore families have joined this scheme. And I have been told that almost half the beneficiaries are women, the mothers and the daughters. I consider this as a positive sign. I offer my best wishes to all mothers and sisters on this blessed occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
Today when I talk to you, I want to mention that around a year back the Jan Dhan Yojana was started at a large scale. A task which could not be achieved in the past 60 years, would it be possible to achieve it in such a small span of time? Many questions were being raised but I am happy to tell you that all the units of the government and all the banks put in tremendous effort and as per my knowledge till date close to 18 crore people have opened their bank accounts, 17 crore 74 lakh to be precise. I saw the richness of the poor. They had to open zero balance accounts. But these poor people saved money and deposited a sum of 22,000 crores. Banks are the mainstream of the economy and to reach this facility to the homes of the poor, the programme of Bank Mitra is being strengthened. Today more than 1.25 lakh Bank Mitras are serving in the country. The youth have got employment this way. You will be pleased to know that in this one year to connect the Banking sector, Economy and the Poor People, over 1 lakh 31 thousand Financial Literacy camps have been organized. One just does not have to open account and get stuck. Thousands of people under the Jan Dhan Yojana are now eligible to take an overdraft and they have availed it too. Now the poor have this faith that they too can get money from the bank. I would again like to congratulate all the people associated with this initiative and I would like to request the poor brethren who have opened an account to never severe this relationship. These are your banks and now you should never leave them. I have brought them to you, now it is your job to keep them going. All of our accounts should be kept active. I have the faith that you will definitely continue operating the bank accounts.
In the past few days the events in Gujarat, the violence unsettled the entire country. It is natural that if something of this sort happens in the land of Mahatma and Sardar Patel, then the nation is definitely shocked and hurt. But in a very short span of time, the intelligent brothers and sisters of mine in Gujarat brought the entire situation under control. They played an important role in preventing the situation form worsening further and once again Gujarat started its peaceful march. Peace, unity and brotherhood is the right way forward. We have to walk together towards the path of development. Development is the key to our problems.
Sometime back, I had the opportunity to meet the scholars of the Sufi tradition. I had the opportunity to hear them speak. And truly speaking of the experience and the manner in which they presented their views sounded as if some music was being played. Their choice of words, their way of talking, the generosity of the Sufi tradition, its sublimity, its lyricism, I could experience it all. I felt very nice. I think it has become imperative to present Islam in its true form to the world. I am confident that the Sufi tradition which is associated with love and generosity will take this message far and wide and will thus benefit not only the humanity but also benefit Islam. And I would like to tell all that whatever faith one follows, we should definitely experience Sufism once.
I am about to get another opportunity in the coming days and I consider myself fortunate to receive this invitation. Various Buddhist scholars from across the globe are coming together at Bodh Gaya and will discuss issues relating to humanity at a global level. I have been extended an invitation to be a part of this event and I am glad to be invited at Bodh Gaya. Pandit Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India visited Bodh Gaya. And now, I will be going there with these scholars, this gives me immense happiness.
My dear farmer brothers and sisters, today I would again like to especially share my Mann Ki Baat with you. I have already mentioned this in the previous sessions of Mann Ki Baat. You must have heard me speak in the parliament, in public forums or Mann Ki Baat about it. I have always said that the government is open to all views and suggestions on the issue of Land Acquisition Act, on which a debate is going on. I have reiterated again and again that I am open to any suggestion in the interest of the farmers. But today, I want to tell all my farmer brothers and sisters that the request to reform the ‘Land Acquisition Act’ was raised by the states very emphatically. Everyone felt that if the welfare of the farmers is to be achieved, if the water has to reach the fields, if poles are to be erected to provide electricity, if roads have to be constructed in the village, if houses are to be made for the poor in the village, if employment opportunities are to be provided to the poor youth of rural areas then we have to free the land from legal hassles and bureaucratic hurdles. And hence this reformed proposal was introduced. But I saw how the framers were being misled and a fear psychosis created. My dear farmers, you should not be misled and definitely never be scared. And I do not wish to give anyone the opportunity to mislead you and scare you. For me, every single voice in the nation is important but most important to me is the voice of the farmer. We had issued an ordinance. Tomorrow, on August 31st the deadline for this ordinance ends. I have decided that let this ordinance be lapsed. This means that now same situation exists as it was prior to the formation of my government. But in the same act, there was a job which was incomplete. This job was related to 13 points which were to be completed within a year and so we brought the ordinance, but due to these disputes the issue got stuck. The ordinance is coming to an end but those 13 points which were to benefit farmers which is directly connected to the monetary issues of the farmers will be made into a law and will be implemented today itself so that the farmers do not suffer any losses, especially monetary losses. And hence the task of implementing the 13 points which was left incomplete in the earlier act is being accomplished today. I want to reassure my farmer brothers and sisters that ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ is not merely a slogan, it is our guiding Mantra. The guiding mantra is the welfare of the villages and the poor farmers. That is why I declared on 15th August that it is not just an agricultural department but an agricultural and farmer welfare department will be created. We are steadily working on it. So my dear farmers there is no need to be misled now and especially there is no need for you to fear anything. Do not be scared even if someone tries to scare you.
I have to say something more. Two days back we completed the 50 years of the 1965 war. And whenever we talk of the 65 war it is natural that we remember Lal Bahadur Shastri. It is also but natural that we remember his slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’. It is also natural that we remember our Jawans who sacrificed their lives to maintain the pride and honour of our Tricolor Flag. I salute all those associated with the victory of the 1965 war. I pay my tribute to the brave soldiers. May we continue to be inspired by such incidents of our history.
Like I had the chance of meeting the Sufi scholars similarly I had another great experience. I had the opportunity to interact for hours with the distinguished scientists of the country. I had the opportunity to hear them and I was very happy to know that India is doing commendable research in the field of science. Our scientists are doing some excellent work. Now the challenge is to take these researches to the common man. How to convert these theories into machineries? How to connect laboratory to the land? We have to take this forward as an opportunity. I got a lot of new information. I can say that it was both inspiring and educative experience for me. And I saw how the young scientists were eager to explain their work and their eyes were full of dreams. In the previous episode of Mann Ki Baat I had expressed the view that our students should be drawn towards science. After this meeting I felt that there are numerous options and endless possibilities. I would like to reiterate once again that our young friends take interest in science and our educational institutions should also encourage the students for the same.
I receive many letters from the citizens. Mr. Parimal Shah from Thane talks about educational reforms on my portal ‘MyGov.in’. They have written about Skill Development. Mr. Prakash Tripathi from Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu emphasizes the need for good teachers at primary level. They have emphasized on reforms in the educational set ups.
I especially want to make a point to my young friends. I had mentioned from the Red Fort that why should there be interviews for the lower posts. And when they do get the interview letter - the poor, the widowed mother start thinking who to reach for recommendation, who can help get the job, whose jack could be useful to get that job. I do not know what all kind of words are being used? Every one rushes and that seems to be one reason for corruption at the lower levels. I had mentioned in my speech on 15th August 2015 that this tradition of interview should at least end at some level. I am happy that in such a short span of time, it has just been 15 days but the government is moving at a very fast pace. Information is being disseminated and soon the decision will be enforced and small jobs will be made free of interviews. Now the poor will not have to run for recommendation. This will end exploitation and corruption.
These days many guests from foreign countries have arrived in India. 24 countries from across the globe discussed on the Indian soil a ‘Call to Action’ to reduce Maternal Mortality and Infant Mortality rates. It was the first time that this programme was organized in any other country outside America. And it is true that in our country about 50,000 mothers and almost 13 lakh children die during delivery or immediately after it every year. This is a cause of worry and these figures are scary. Although a lot of improvement has taken place. India is being appreciated at the International level for its efforts but this statistics is not low. Like we became polio free similarly we became free from tetanus as a cause of maternal and child mortality. The world has accepted this. But we still have to work to save our mothers and our children.
Dear countrymen, there is news of dengue everywhere. It is true that dengue is dangerous but prevention of dengue is easier. It is directly related to the Swatch Bharat Campaign that I talk about. We watch the advertisement on TV but do not pay attention. There are advertisements in the newspapers but it escapes our attention. There are several ways of keeping the smallest thing in the household clean by using pure water. A lot of Public Education Programmes are being conducted but we do not pay attention. We feel that we live in very good houses with proper arrangements being totally unaware that water is collecting at some location in the house and that we are inviting dengue. I would request you all that do not make death so cheap. Life is very precious. A little carelessness about cleanliness and accumulated water can cause death, which I believe is not right. In the entire country about 514 centers have facilities for testing dengue cases absolutely free of cost. It is necessary to get ourselves tested on time to save precious lives. Cooperation from all of you is very important for this menace. And cleanliness should be given great importance. From Raksha Bandhan to Diwali there will be many festivals. Why don’t we associate each festival with cleaniness? You will see how a tradition becomes your habit.
My dear countrymen I want to share good news with you. Like I said we may not get a chance to die for our nation, but we can be fortunate to live for the country. There are two young brothers and that too from Nashik in our own state of Maharashtra. Dr. Hitendra Mahajan and Dr. Mahendra Mahajan, both with a keen desire to help our tribal population. These two brothers have brought pride to the nation. In America a difficult cycle race of about 4800 kms known as Race Across America is organized. This year both these brothers have won this race. They have made us proud. I would like to congratulate both these brothers and send my best wishes. But I was happier to know that they do all this for their campaign “Team India – Vision for Tribals”. See everyone is doing their bit for taking the country forward. And this it, when you hear such things the heart swells with pride.
Sometimes we do injustice to our youth guided by a certain perception. The old generation feels that the new generation does not understand anything and I understand that this has been going on for ages. My experience regarding youth is different. Sometimes when we talk to the youth we learn so many things. I have met so many youth who have taken the pledge ‘Sunday on Cycle’. Some say that I keep one day a week as Cycle-Day as it is good for my health. It is good for the environment. And I enjoy my youth too. Nowadays many cities in our country are witnessing cycle use and there are many people promoting its use. But this is a good initiative both for improving health and saving the environment. And today when two youths of my country made India proud in the US, I thought of it worth mentioning.
Today I especially want to congratulate the Maharashtra government. It makes me happy. The task for erecting a memorial for Baba Sahib Ambedkar in the Indu Mill compounds had been stuck for long. The new government in Maharashtra completed this task and now a grand memorial will be erected which will inspire us to work for the dalits, exploited and the marginalized. But along with this, the house in UK where Baba Saheb lived – 10 King Henry Road has been purchased too. The globetrotting Indians on their trip to UK can visit the memorial being erected by the Maharashtra government. It will be inspirational to many. I congratulate the Maharashtra government on the accomplishment of both these tasks.
My dear brothers and sisters do share your views before the next Mann Ki Baat for I believe that democracy runs through public participation. We can take the nation forward when we work together. I send my best wishes to you.