My dear fellow countrymen,
I am with you again almost after a month. A month is quite a long time. Lots of things keep happening in the world. You all have recently celebrated the festival of Diwali with great fervour and joy. It is these festivals which bring happiness in our daily lives from time to time. Be it poor or rich, people from village or from urban areas, festivals hold a different significance in everyone’s lives. This is my first meeting after Diwali, so I convey my very warm wishes to you all.
Last time we had some general conversation. But then I came to some new realizations after that conversation. Sometimes we think leave it... nothing is going to change, people are indifferent, they will not do anything, our country is like this. From my last conversation in Mann Ki Baat to this one, I would urge you all to change this mindset. Neither is our country is like this nor our people indifferent. Sometimes I feel the Nation is way ahead and the government is lacking behind. And from my personal experience I will say that the governments too needs to change their mindsets. And I say that because I can see tremendous sense of commitment in the Indian youth. They are very eager to do their bit and are just seeking an opportunity where they can do their bit. And they are making efforts at their own end. Last time I had asked them to buy at least one khadi outfit. I had not asked anyone to be Khadidhari, But the feedback I got from Khadi stores was that in a week’s time the sales had jumped up by 125%. In this way, as compared to last year the sales this year is more than double in the week following 2nd Oct. This means, the people of our country is many times more than we think of. I salute all my fellow Indians.
Cleanliness……….. Can anyone imagine that cleanliness will become a such a huge public movement. The expectations are high and they should be so. I can see some good results, cleanliness can now be witnessed in two parts. One is those huge garbage piles which keep lying in the city; well the people in the government will work to remove those. It is a big challenge but you cannot run away from your responsibilities. All state governments and all municipalities will now have to take concrete actions due to the rising public pressure. Media is playing a very positive role in this. But there is the second aspect which gives me immense pleasure, happiness and a sense of satisfaction that the general public has started feeling that leave what happened in the past, now they will not dirty their surroundings. We will not add to the existing dirt. A gentleman Mr Bharat Gupta has sent me a mail on mygov.in from Satna, Madhya Pradesh. He has related his personal experience during his tour of the railways. He said that people eat on trains and usually litter around. He continues to say that he has been touring from the past many years but it is this time around no one was littering, rather they were looking for dustbins to throw their trash. When they could not see any arrangements they collected all their litter in a corner. He says that it was a very gratifying experience for me. I thank Bharat ji for sharing this experience with me.
What I am seeing is that this campaign has had a great influence on kids. Many families mention that now whenever kids eat a chocolate they themselves pick the wrapper and disposes it. I was seeing a message on the social media. Someone had posted a picture with the Title “My hero of the Day”. This picture was that of a little kid who, picks up trash, wherever he goes, even when going to school. He is himself motivated to do this. Just see…people now feel it is their country and they will not make it dirty. We will not add to the existing dirt pile. And those do litter feel ashamed for someone is around to point it out to them. I consider all these to be good omens.
Another thing is that many people come to meet me who are from all the sections of the society. They can be government officers, from film world, sports world, industrialists, scientists ……. All of them, whenever they interact with me, in ten minutes discussion, about four to five minutes the discussion is on social issues. Someone talks about cleanliness, while some others talk about education, while someone talks about social reforms. Some people discuss the ruining of family life. I initially thought if a businessman comes, he will definitely talk of things of his personal interest. But I am seeing a major change.
They talk less about their interest and more about taking on some or the other social responsibility. When I add up all these small incidents I see a larger picture and I realize that we are moving in the right direction. It is true that unhealthy environment leads to diseases and sickness, but where does sickness strike first. It first strikes the poor household. When we work towards cleanliness, we make a major effort in the direction of helping the poor. If the poor families are saved from diseases, then they will be saved from a lot of financial problems. If a person is healthy, then he will work hard, earn for the family and help in running the family smoothly. And so this cleanliness drive is directly related to the health and welfare of my poor brethren. We may not be able to do something to help the poor, but even keeping the environs clean helps the poor in a big way. Let us view it from this perspective; it will be very beneficial.
I receive different kinds of letters. Last time I had mentioned about our specially abled children. Whom God has given some kind of deficiencies; I had expressed my feelings regarding those people. I see that people who work in this field are sending me their success stories. But I came to know about two things from my people in the government. The people from the HRD ministry after hearing my talk, felt the need to do something. And the officers came together to work out an action plan. This is an example of how changes are coming about in governance. One they have decided that those specially abled who want to pursue technical education, a thousand of them who are good will be selected for Special Scholarships, and a plan has been made. I congratulate the officials who could think in those lines. Another important decision is that all the Kendriya Vidyalaya’s and all Central Universities will have a special infrastructure for the specially abled, for example if they can’t climb stairs then there will be provision for ramps to facilitate movement by wheel chair. They need different kinds of toilets. The HRD ministry has decided to allocate an additional Lakh rupees to the Kendriya Vidyalays and Central universities. This fund will be used by these institutions to create infrastructure for the specially abled. This is an auspicious beginning……………these things will lead us to change.
I had the chance to visit Siachin a few days back. I spent Diwali with the Jawans who are ready to lay down their lives for the nation. When the nation was celebrating Diwali I was at Siachin. It is because of them that we were able to celebrate Diwali, so I wanted to be with them. I experienced the difficulties in which they spent their time there. I salute all my Jawans. But I want to share another matter of great pride with you. Our Jawans work in the field of security. In calamities, they risk their lives to save our life. They also fetch medals for us in sporting events. You will be glad to know that these Jawans have won a gold medal in a very prestigious event in Britain called Cambrian Patrol, defeating contestants from 140 nations. I offer these Jawans my heartiest congratulations.
I also got an opportunity to meet, the young and dynamic students, boys and girls over tea who had won medals in Sports. They give me renewed energy. I was seeing their zeal and enthusiasm. The facilities in our country are quite less as compared to other nations, but instead of complaining they were just sharing their joy and excitement. For me, this tea programme for these players was very inspiring, and I felt really good.
I would like to tell you something more and that too from my heart. I truly believe that people of my country trust my words and my intentions. But, today one more time, I want to reiterate my commitment. As far as black money is concerned, my people, please trust your Prime Servant, for me this is the Article of Faith. This is my commitment that the hard-earned money of the poor people stashed abroad, every penny of that should be brought back. The ways and means to be followed can be different. And this is very obvious in a democratic country, but on the basis of as much I understand and as much I know, I assure you that we are on the right track. Today, nobody, neither me, nor the government, nor you, nor even the previous government knew how much money is stashed abroad. Everyone gives estimate calculated in his/her own way. I don’t want to get lost in some such figures and estimates, Its my commitment that, be it 2 rupees, or 5 rupees, or millions or even billions, this is the hard-earned money of the poor people of my country and it has to come back. And I assure you that I will keep trying till the end. No efforts will be spared. I want your blessings to be always with me. I assure you that I will do whatever and whenever something is required to be done for you. I give my commitment to you.
I have received a letter. It has been sent by Sri Abhishek Pareekh. The same sentiments were expressed to me by many mothers and sisters when I was not even the Prime Minister. Some doctor friends had also expressed their concern and I too have expressed my views on this issue a number of times in the past. Mr. Parikh has drawn my attention towards the increase of drug addiction that is fast catching up with our young generation. He has asked me to discuss this topic in “Mann ki Baat.” I agree with his concern and I will definitely include this topic, in my next edition of Mann Ki Baat. I will discuss the topic of drugs, drug addiction and drug mafia and how they are a threat to our country’s youth. If you have some experience, any information in this regard, if you have ever rescued any child from this drug addiction, if you know of any ways and means to help, if any government official has played a good role, if you give me any such information, I will convey such efforts to the public and together we will try to create an environment in each family that no child ever thinks of choosing this vice out of sheer frustration. I will definitely discuss this in detail in the next edition.
I know I am choosing those topics which put the government in the dock. But how long will we keep these things hiding? How long will we brush these important concerns under the carpet? Some day or the other we need to take a call, follow our instincts and for grand intentions tough calls are equally important. I am mustering the courage to do so because your love inspires me to do so. And I will continue to do such things because of your love.
Some people told me “ Modi ji you asked us to send you suggestions on Facebook, twitter or email. But a large section of the social class does not have access to these facilities, so what can they do. Your point is very valid. Everyone does not have this facility. Well then, if you have something to say related to Mann Ki Baat, that you hear on the radio even in the villages then do write into me on the following address
Mann Ki Baat
Even if you send some suggestions through letters they will definitely reach me. And I will take them seriously as active citizens are the biggest asset for development. You write one letter, it indicates that you are very active. When you give your opinion, it means that you are concerned with national issues and this is strength of the nation. I welcome you.
For my Mann Ki Baat, your mann ki baat sould also reach me. Maybe you will definitely write a letter. I will try and interact with you again next month. I will try, that whenever I talk, it is Sunday, around 11 am. So I am getting closer to you.
The weather is changing. Winters are slowly setting in. This is a good month for health. Some find it a good season for eating. Some find it good for wearing nice clothes. Besides food and clothes it is a good season for health. Don’t let it go waste. Make the most of it.
(The original speech was in Hindi, this is the English rendering. Original speech remains the authoritative version)
My dear fellow countrymen,
Excellency, my good friend President Macron,
Mr. Maurice Levy, Chairman of the Publicis Group,
Participants from around the world,
Congratulations to the organisers for successfully organising Vivatech in this difficult time.
This platform reflects the technological vision of France. India and France have been working closely on a wide range of subjects. Among these, technology and digital are emerging areas of cooperation. It is the need of the hour that such cooperation continues to grow further. It will not only help our nations but also the world at large.
Many youngsters saw the French Open with great enthusiasm. One of India's tech companies, Infosys provided tech support for the tournament. Likewise, the French Company Atos is involved in a project for making the fastest super computer in India. Whether it is France's Capgemini or India's TCS and Wipro, our IT talent is serving companies and citizens all over the world.
I believe - Where convention fails, innovation can help. This has been seen during the COVID-19 global pandemic, which is the biggest disruption of our age. All nations have suffered loss and felt anxiety about the future. COVID-19 put many of our conventional methods to test. However, it was innovation that came to the rescue. By innovation I refer to:
Innovation before the pandemic .
Innovation during the pandemic .
When I speak about innovation before the pandemic, I refer to the pre-existing advances which helped us during the pandemic. Digital technology helped us cope, connect, comfort and console. Through digital media, we could work, talk with our loved ones, and help others. India's universal and unique bio-metric digital identity system - Aadhar - helped us to provide timely financial support to the poor. We could supply free food to 800 million people, and deliver cooking-fuel subsidies to many households. We in India were able to operationalise two public digital education programes- Swayam and Diksha - in quick time to help students.
The second part, innovation for the pandemic refers to how humanity rose to the occasion and made the fight against it more effective. In this, the role of our start-up sector, has been paramount. Let me give you India's example. When the pandemic hit our shores, we had inadequate testing capacities and shortage of masks, PPE, Ventilators and other such equipment. Our private sector played a key role in addressing this shortage. Our doctors adopted tele-medicine in a big way so that some COVID and other non-COVID issues could be addressed virtually. Two vaccines are being made in India and more are in the development or trial stage. On the Government side, our indigenous IT platform, Arogya-Setu enabled effective contact tracing. Our COWIN digital platform has already helped ensure vaccines to millions. Had we not been innovating, then our fight against COVID-19 would have been much weaker. We must not abandon this innovative zeal so that we are even better prepared when the next challenge strikes.
India's strides in the world of tech and start-up are well-known. Our nation is home to one of the world's largest start-up eco systems. Several unicorns have come up in the recent years. India offers what innovators and investors need. I invite the world to invest in India based on the five pillars of: Talent, Market, Capital, Eco-system and, Culture of openness.
Indian tech-talent pool is famous across the world. Indian youth have given tech solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. Today, India has One Point One eight billion mobile phones and Seven Seventy-Five million internet users. This is more than the population of several nations. Data consumption in India is among the highest and cheapest in the world. Indians are the largest users of social media. There is a diverse and extensive market that awaits you.
This digital expansion is being powered by creating state-of-the-art public digital infrastructure. Five hundred and twenty-three thousand kilometres of fibre optic network already links our One hundred and fifty six thousand village councils. Many more are being connected in the times to come. Public wi-fi networks across the country are coming up. Likewise, India is working actively to nurture a culture of innovation. There are state-of-the-art innovation labs in Seven Thousand Five Hundred schools under the Atal Innovation Mission. Our students are taking part in numerous hackathons, including with students overseas. This gives them the much-needed exposure to global talent and best practices.
Over the past year, we have witnessed a lot of disruption in different sectors. Much of it is still there. Yet, disruption does not have to mean despair. Instead, we must keep the focus on the twin foundations of repair and prepare. This time last year, the world was still seeking a vaccine. Today, we have quite a few. Similarly, we have to continue repairing health infrastructure and our economies. We in India, implemented huge reforms across sectors, be it mining, space, banking, atomic energy and more. This goes on to show that India as a nation is adaptable and agile, even in the middle of the pandemic. And, when I say - prepare-I mean: Insulating our planet against the next pandemic. Ensuring we focus on sustainable life-styles that stop ecological degradation. Strengthening cooperation in furthering research as well as innovation.
The challenges our planet faces can only be overcome with a collective spirit and a human centric approach. For this, I call upon the start-up community to take the lead. The start-up space is dominated by youngsters. These are people free from the baggage of the past. They are best placed to power global transformation. Our start-ups must explore areas such as: Healthcare. Eco-friendly technology including waste recycling, Agriculture, New age tools of learning.
As an open society and economy, as a nation committed to the international system, partnerships matter to India. France and Europe are among our key partners. In my conversations with President Macron, In my summit with EU leaders in Porto in May, digital partnership, from start-ups to quantum computing, emerged as a key priority. History has shown that leadership in new technology drives economic strength, jobs and prosperity. But, our partnerships must also serve a larger purpose, in service of humanity. This pandemic is not only a test of our resilience, but also of our imagination. It is a chance to build a more inclusive, caring and sustainable future for all. Like President Macron, I have faith in the power of science and the possibilities of innovation to help us achieve that future.