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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
Akashvani
Sansad Marg
New Delhi. 

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. 

Thank You. 

(The original speech was in Hindi, this is the English rendering. Original speech remains the authoritative version)

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Distinguished dignitaries on the dais,

Delegates from India and abroad,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaste,

A very warm welcome to all the delegates from across the world to the Partners’ Forum, 2018.

It is only partnerships that will get us to our goals.Partnerships between citizens,Partnerships between communities,Partnerships between countries.The Sustainable Development agenda is a reflection of this.

Countries have moved beyond stand-alone efforts. They are committed to empowering communities, improving health and education, ending poverty and spurring boosting economic growth and ultimately, leaving no one behind.The health of mothers will determine the health of the children and the health of children will determine the health of our tomorrow.

We have gathered to discuss and deliberate ways to improve the health and well-being of mothers and children.The out-come of our discussions today will have a great impact on our tomorrow.

The Partners’ Forum vision is in line with India’s ancient wisdom of “VasudhaivaKutumbakam”,‘The World is one family’.It is alsoin line with my government’s philosophy of “SabkaSaathSabkaVikas”, which means, collective efforts and partnerships for inclusive growth.

The Partnership for Maternal, New-born, and Child Health, is a unique and effective platform.We are not only making a case for better health.We are also making an argument for faster growth.

As the world searches for new ways to ensure rapid growth, ensuring good health of women is one of the best ways of doing so.We have achieved a lot of progress in the last few years. A lot yet remains to be done. From bigger budgets to better out-comes, and from mind-set change to monitoring, there is lots to be done.

The India story is one of hope.Hope that road-blocks can be over-come. Hope that behavioural change can be ensured. Hope that rapid progress can be achieved.

When the Millennium Development Goals were agreed on, India had one of the world’s highest mortality rates for women and children.With sustained momentum, and a faster rate of decline during the last few years, India is on course to attend the SDG targets for maternal and child health, much ahead of the agreed date of 2030.

India was one of the first countries, to advocate focused attention on adolescence and implement an extensive health promotion and prevention programme for adolescents.Our effort ensured that they get their due recognition in the Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health adopted in 2015.

I am pleased to note that Latin America and Caribbean region and India will be show-casing adaptations of the global strategy during the course of this Forum. I hope that these adaptations will inspire other countries and regions to develop similar strategies.

Friends,
As our scriptures say: यत्रनार्यस्तुपूजयन्तेरमन्तेतत्रदेवता;meaning “where women are honored, divinity blossoms there”. I firmly believe that a nation prospers when its people and importantly the women, and childrenare educated; and are able to live independent, empowered and healthy lives.

I am pleased to note that India’s immunization programme, a subject close to my heart, is being featured as a success story in this forum.Under Mission Indradhanush, we reached 32.8 million children and 8.4 million pregnant women over the last three years.We have also increased the number of vaccines under the universal immunization programme from 7 to 12.Our vaccines now cover life threatening diseases like- Pneumonia and Diarrhoea.

Friends,

When my government assumed office in 2014, we were losing more than 44,000 mothers, annually, during child-birth. We launched the Pradhan MantriSurakshitMatritvaAbhiyanto provide best possible care to mothers during pregnancy.We called upon the doctors to pledge one day of service per month to this campaign.Under this campaign, 16 million Ante-Natal carecheck-ups have been performed.

The country has 25 million new-borns.Our robust facility based new-born care system, which provides care to more than 1 million new-born babies through 794 state of the art Special New-born Care Units, has served as a successful model. As a result of our interventions, 840 additional lives of children under five are being saved each day in India as compared to four years back.

Children’s nutrition is being addressed through the POSHAN Abhiyan. This brings together various schemes and interventions working towards a common goal ofmal-nutrition free India.In order to improve the quality of life of children, we are implementing Rashtriya BalSwasthyaKaryakram. This has provided 800 million health screening check-ups, and free referral treatment to 20 million children, in the last four years.

One thing that constantly worried us was the high out-of-pocket expenditure incurred by families to avail medical care. We therefore launched the Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Ayushman Bharat has a two-fold strategy.

The first is the provision of comprehensive primary care at a facility near the community, including guidance on healthy lifestyle and Yoga through Health and Wellness Centres.The “Fit India” and “Eat Right” movements are also important part of our strategy for health and wellness. The community will also be able to receive free screening and care for common diseasesincluding hyper-tension, diabetes and three common cancers, of breast, cervix and oral.The patients will receive free medicines and diagnostic support close to their homes. We plan to start 150 thousand such Health & Wellness Centres by 2022.

The other arm of Ayushman Bharat is the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. This provides cashless, health insurance cover up to 5 lakh rupees per family, per year, covering 500 million citizens who are most poor and vulnerable. This number is almost equal to the population of Canada, Mexico and the US taken together. We have already provided free treatment worth 700 Crore rupees to 5 lakh families under this scheme within 10 weeks of its launch.

Today, being Global Universal Health Coverage Day, I again state that we will continue to work towards providing universal health coverage to all.

With one million registered Social Health Activists or ASHA workers and 2.32 lakhAnganwadi NurseMid-wives, we have a formidable force of women frontline health workers.They are the strength of our programme.

India is a huge country.Some states and districts have performed at par with developed countries.Others have their work cut out. I instructed my officials to identify 117 ‘Aspirational Districts’. Each such district has been entrusted to a team that works across sectors like education, water and sanitation, rural development with top-most priority to health and nutrition.

We are working on women centric schemes through other departments also. Till 2015, more than half of Indian women did not have access to clean fuel for cooking. We changed this with UjjwalaYojana, which provided cleaner cooking options to 58 million women.

We have taken up “Swachh Bharat Mission”on war footing to make India open defecation free by the year 2019.In the last four years, sanitation coverage, in rural areas, has increased from 39 percent to 95 percent.

We all know the saying: If you educate a man, you educate an individual; but if you educate a woman you educate an entire family. We have translated that into “BetiBachaoBetiPadhao”- a progamme that focuses on the girl child, and on giving her the best quality of life and education. In addition, we have also devised a small deposit savings scheme for girls called “SukanyaSamriddhiYojana”.With more than 12.6 million accounts opened, this scheme is helping us secure the future of the girl child.

We have also introduced Pradhan MantriMatruVandanaYojana, that is expected to benefit more than 50 million Pregnant Women and lactating mothers. This scheme enables direct benefit transfer to their bank accounts to compensate for wage loss, enable better nutrition and adequate rest before and after delivery.

We have also increased maternity leave to 26 weeks, from 12 weeks earlier.We are committed to increasing India’s health spending to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2025, reaching to more than 100 billion US-Dollars. This will mean an actual increase of 345 percent over the current share, in just eight years.We will continue to work for the betterment of people. Women, children and youth will continue to remain at the heart of every policy, programme or initiative.

I would like to stress on the need for multi-stake-holder partnerships for achieving success. In all our endeavours, we are aware that effective healthcare, especially for womenand children, is best organized through convergent action.

Friends,

I have been given to understand that over the next two days this Forum will discuss12 success stories from all over the world. This is indeed an opportunity for a dialogue between countries, to share what we can learn from each other.India stands ready to support its fellow countries in the march to achieving their development goals through skill and training programmes, provision of affordable medicines and vaccines, knowledge transfers and exchange programs.

 

I would be keen to hear the outcomes of the Ministerial Conclave which has been designed to contribute to these discussions.This Forum as a vibrant platform, offers us the right moment, which should invigorate our commitment to “Survive-Thrive- Transform.”

We have our task well laid out and we continue to work with utmost dedication and devotion to provide Health for All.India shall always stand together with all the partners in solidarity.

I call upon each one of you here, including those who have joined us virtually, to embrace this in true spirit, so that we are able to extend our support to the entire humanity.

Let us join our hands together as an expression of our commitment towards this noble cause.

Thank you!