The great revered Swami Gautamanand ji Maharaj, Swami Jitkamanand ji Maharaj, Swami Nirbhayanand Saraswatiji, Swami Vireshanand ji Saraswati Maharaj, Swami Paramanand ji Maharaj, Saint and scholars from across the country and my young companions present in large numbers.
Greetings in Kannada language.
This stadium of Tumakuru is glowing with the energy of thousands of Swami Vivekanandas and Sister Niveditas. This saffron colour is increasing the enthusiasm even more. I wanted to personally seek the blessings of this energy and was really excited to be present there when I received the letter from Swami Vireshanand ji three days back. However, there are sometimes constraints of time. And you all know that the Parliament session will begin from tomorrow. So it was a little difficult for me to be personally present amongst you but thanks to the modern technology that I got the opportunity to connect with you all through it.
There's always something or the other to learn from the conversations with the younger generation. Therefore, I try to engage in conversation with the youth more and more so as to listen to their experiences and learn from them and so that I am able to ceaselessly make efforts for their welfare in accordance with their hopes, dreams and aspirations.
I am fortunate to have received this opportunity to inaugurate this event of the great youth convention and the sadhu-bhakt programme. I still remember the love that was showered on me by the youngsters and the people of Tumakuru 3 years back when I had visited Tumakuru to seek the blessings of respected Shivkumar Swami ji. The respected Shivkumar Swami ji is committed to the penance of nation building with the blessings of Lord Basveshvara and Swami Vivekananda ji. He has sacrificed every moment of his life for the country's welfare. I always pray to God for his good health and long life.
It is rare to have celebrations of three important occasions together but this is a divine combination of the three festivals in Tumakuru. I believe that this occasion that marks 25th anniversary of the establishment of Ramkrishna Mission, 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda ji's address at Chicago as well as 150th birth anniversary of Sister Nivedita, in itself holds a great significance. It indeed is an achievement to have thousands of youngsters attending the celebration of this grand event! I once again extend my greetings to respected swamiji, Ramkrishna Mission, senior citizens and to everyone present on this occasion.
Today the focus of the programme is on Swami Vivekananda ji. We all are aware of Swamiji's love for Karnataka. Before leaving for America and Kanyakumari he had spent a few days in Karnataka. Swami Vivekananda ji had linked our spiritual thoughts to the need of the time. He had linked our glorious past with the present. I am glad that today I am able to make efforts to carry my country forward by linking the spiritual extension with the present generation through the Sadhu-bhakt programme and the Youth Convention.
Both the sages as well as the youngsters have assembled here from across the country. We will be able to discuss about both pilgrimage and technology on the same platform. On one hand we will talk about God and on the other hand about innovation. A model of spiritual festival and youth festival is being developed in Karnataka. I hope that this programme will inspire others in our country. This confluence of the old traditions with the present generation is quiet impressive!
If we look at the period of India's freedom struggle in the 19th-20th century, we will find a collective pledge at different levels. This collective resolution was to free the country from the shackles of slavery. Everyone in this society - a saint or a devotee, a theist or an atheist, a teacher or a disciple, a worker or a professional; had associated themselves with this common pledge.
At that time, our great saints were aware of the fact that the divided society with the different castes could not have fought with the British rulers. In order to get rid of this weakness, they started several socio-religious reform movements in different parts of the country. The country was united with the help of these movements; and these campaigns were started to rid the country of its internal weaknesses. The leaders of these movements united the people, elevated the people to one equal platform and gave everyone equal respect. Understanding the need of the country, they merged their spiritual journey with the nation building. Service to the people became synonymous to service to God.
That was the period when people from all walks of life- students, professionals, teachers, lawyers, scientists, doctors or engineers had joined the freedom struggle from different regions. These professionals gave a new direction to the country's freedom movement; and after Independence the foundation of nation building was strengthened.
When these efforts were merged, the country was built both intellectually and socially and the united people of India were determined to drive away the British fulfilling their resolution.
After several decades of independence, the same strength, the same resolution and the same determination has been shown by the country. We sometimes see the power of that resolution today. Day before yesterday, the country was painted in the colour of Holi and yesterday the election results in the Northeast have once again created a festive mood in the country.
Probably you are wondering why I am talking about this topic in this programme. I believe that I should express my feelings. See, I am not viewing this victory in the Northeast from the prism of politics. The important thing is that the nation was involved in the happiness of the people of Northeast. Such occasions where the accomplishment of the people of Northeast becomes the accomplishment of the entire country, are rarely seen. We saw that the people, in line with the feelings of the people of Northeast, were glued to their TV sets since morning, as if they were the part of the elections there. Every Indian has this same feeling.
I believe that for my brothers and sisters of Northeast, the mandate that they have provided, in itself is a great change! The Ramkrishna Mission, the Vivekananda centre and several workers ranging from the youth to the saints have committed their lives for the welfare of the people of Northeast. Therefore, the people sitting over there are well aware of the ground reality. So, the mood of the entire country after the elections in Northeast shows that the feelings of the nation are inter-twined closely with that of the people of Northeast. The strength of these feelings is immense for the unity of the country and for promoting 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat'.
Earlier the policies and the schemes had alienated the people of Northeast from the mainstream. They were feeling cut-off from the stream of development. This feeling was the root cause of several other problems. For the past four years, our government has made efforts to fill these loopholes and to eliminate this feeling of alienation. We have vowed for emotional integration of the Northeast and have also fulfilled that.
I am highly satisfied by the election results of the tribal areas of Tripura. I want to elaborate upon this. Friends, there are 20 assembly seats in the small state of Tripura. An illusion is created in our minds that tribal areas are Naxalite-dominated areas or Maoist-affected regions with left-wing extremism. Attempts are made to alienate the regions with these rumours so that the land becomes a breeding ground for the separatists. However, the election results in Tripura have set a good example. The people of Northeast have defeated hate-politics by voting in favour of Bharatiya Janata Party.
Radicalization can be tackled only with integration. Steps are being taken by our government so that no community or section of the society feels alienated. However, the entire country should strive to strengthen the spirit of unity.
We can feel the impact of the power of resolution in this stadium of Karnataka. The dignitaries present on the stage can feel it even more.
This pledge for nation building can be better understood with a quote of Swami Vivekananda ji. Swamiji had said -
"Life is short, but the soul is immortal and eternal, and one thing being certain, death, let us therefore take up a great idea and give up our whole life to it."
Life is short and uncertain but death is certain. Therefore, we should set a resolution and commit our lives to it.
Today, in the presence of thousands of youngsters, I want to ask one question to you all -' what should this resolution be?' Many a time it has been seen that whenever a youngster is posed with this question, he is unable to answer it directly. Often he is confused with the purpose of his life. Friends, only when we are clear about our purpose in life, we will be able to prove something and contribute to the society. If our goals are not clear, we will not be able to achieve it. If you are confused about which train to board after reaching the platform, you can neither reach your destination nor frame your itinerary.
There is another famous saying of Swami Vivekananda ji-
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life, think of it, dream of it, live on that idea, let the brain, muscles, nerve, every part of your body be full of that idea and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”
I want to urge the youngsters who have come to attend the youth festival to be clear about their resolutions and what they want to do in the future.
Brothers and sisters,
Today, India is the youngest nation of the world. 65% of the population is below 35 years of age. The strength of the youth can change the fate of the country. It can become the fuel for the entire country. After we got elected in 2014, several schemes were started, keeping this youth power in mind, to tap this energy of the youth for nation building.
You must be aware of the fact that as soon as we came to power, a separate Ministry was created for skill development, keeping in mind the future of the youngsters. Skill development was there even before but it was scattered among 40-50 ministries and their mandate was also different. Sometimes these came into conflict with one another. Today, a single ministry is doing the job of skill development. Skill development centres are being established in every district under this ministry. Short term and long term training are being provided to meet the requirements of the youth and the industry. The government has come up with the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana to provide loans without guarantee so that the youth can start their business. Till date about 11 crore loans have been given under this scheme. More than 1 crore 14 Lakhs loans have been approved for the youngsters of Karnataka. Thanks to the scheme, today the country has almost 3 crore new entrepreneurs. My young friend, this is really of great significance! In such a short time, 3 crore new entrepreneurs are contributing to develop the country's economy.
Our government has not only pushed for skill development and self-employment but also for creating new markets for the products of the youngsters.
The government has made a policy change so that the local products are given priority in government procurements. Besides, an online system called GeM, i.e., Government e-Market has been developed through which any young man or a woman or a person from a village can directly sell his/her products or services required by the government. There is no need for middlemen or tenders or any big company. The government can directly purchase from the common man. We are also encouraging the state governments to connect with this portal for encouraging their young entrepreneurs. 20 states have already joined hands with the central government for this.
Due to these efforts of the government, today the youth can seek training as per the requirement of the industries and can sell his products in the market on his own. The youngsters of Karnataka know better the importance of such an environment. The Government has started schemes like Start-up India and Stand-up India to give wings to the hopes and aspirations of crores of youngsters like you. For the first time, our government has linked employment with tax incentives. The government is providing tax incentives to the companies who are allowing apprenticeship to the youth. The Government is contributing to the Provident Funds of the youngsters that are getting deducted. Those companies whose turnover is up to Rs. 2 crores and who are making payments digitally are also getting tax benefits.
I believe that there is no shortage of 'Sense of Mission' in the youth of our country. They want to put their innovative ideas and solutions on the ground in a more efficient and economical way. Therefore, our government is encouraging them in the way they should be encouraged to achieve that objective.
Innovation is the basis of a better future. Applying this thought in our education system, we are making efforts to incorporate innovation in the schools' culture. The government has introduced the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) to transform the ideas of the children into innovation. So far more than 2400 Atal Tinkering Labs have been approved in the country.
The central government is working on another great mission with the task of setting up 20 World class 'Institutes of Eminence' in the country. Under this Mission, selected 10 public sector institutions will be provided financial assistance of Rs.10 thousand crore for a set time period. These 'Institutes of Eminence' will revive India's position back in the modern education.
In this Budget, we have started a new scheme - RISE. Under this scheme, the Government will spend 1 Lakh crore rupees in the next 4 years to transform the education system of the country.
The Prime Minister's Research Fellow scheme has also been announced by the government in this budget. Under this scheme, 1000 meritorious engineering students will be provided with Rs 70,000- Rs. 80,000 per month for 5 years to pursue PhD programme.
Keeping in mind the strength of our human resource and considering the needs of the future, the benefits of the schemes of the central government are also easily accessible to the youngsters of Karnataka. The efforts being made by the central government in the fields of Artificial intelligence, Internet of things etc. are opening new opportunities for the youth of Karnataka in innovation. Smart Cities Mission has made it easier to access the talent of the youth of Karnataka, ensuring better utilization of their talent.
Sister Nivedita had once commented - what should be done so that the Indian students do not copy ideas of the other countries and be complete in them? Further extending this point she said-
“Your education should be an education of the heart and the spirit, and of the spirit as much of the brain; it should be a living connection between yourselves and your past as well as the modern world!”
This means that it is very important to create a link between our past and the future. The stronger is the bond with our tradition; the stronger will be the youth of the country.
Brothers and sisters,
This feeling of respect for our traditions can be seen in the central government's Khelo India scheme. I would say that those who play shall blossom. Thus, we have made a major change in the policy. To promote Guru-Shisya tradition, the government will not only honour the current coach but also every other coach who has played a role in the player's sports journey. All the coaches will be given some part of the winning amount in case of an international victory.
Keeping the traditions in mind, indigenous sports like Kabaddi and kho-kho are also being promoted in the Khelo India programme. The government is trying to provide a platform after identifying the talent in all sports from every corner of the country. The Government has planned to provide financial assistance of Rs. 5 lakhs each to 1000 selected players every year for their training with modern sports infrastructure.
'Vidyarthi Devo bhava': this slogan is not only for you but is also a mantra for us. With your permission, I would like to add - 'Yuva Devo bhava, Yuva Shakti devo bhava'.
I consider the youth as equal to the divine power. I believe that Youth is not a situation or just the age in terms of years but a mental state. The young generation does not think that only the past was better. They believe in learning from the past and making the present and the future better. Therefore, they work and make efforts to change the country and the world. The youth wants the future to be much better than the past and the present.
Therefore, I salute the youth power of the country again. You must have heard of 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat'. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel had worked hard to unite the country. It is our responsibility to make this united India as the best! Some of you must be interested in learning French or Spanish language. It is a good thing. It is always good to learn any language of the world. However, have we ever thought of learning the languages of our country? It is a vast country with 100 languages, 1700 dialects. We can also learn 5-50 lines of the languages of our country. We can learn some songs of another state. I believe that this power is necessary to unite the country. We can develop it naturally and spontaneously. Even I tried speaking Kannada in bits and pieces; but as soon as I started speaking in the language it touches your hearts. You didn't bother whether my words were correct or not, whether it was grammatically correct or not or the usage of idioms was apt or not. You just felt that he was making efforts to connect with us. This has the power of uniting the country.
Much of the responsibility of taking forward the campaign of 'Sankalp se Siddhi' and the dream of a New India lie on the country's youth. I once again extend my best wishes to the country's youth and would like them to emulate the ideals of Swami Vivekananda ji and Sister Nivedita. We should remember that service to people is service to God. We should see Lord Siva in the living beings. This philosophy should be applied for transforming the country - be it the Swachh Bharat Mission, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, or schemes for the welfare of senior citizens, or technologies for farmers. We should move ahead with one or the other objective. I believe that the young people here will move ahead by seeking inspiration from the great saints and scholars present here on the sacred soil of Tumakuru.
I hope you all are connected to the Narendra Modi app. I want to connect with you all. Please connect with me through the Narendra Modi app. Talk to me and convey your feelings to me. I want to tell you that although I couldn't talk to you in Kannada language and had to speak in Hindi as I don't know this language, but if you want to listen and read this speech in Kannada language I will tell my team to upload the main parts in Kannada language on the Narendra Modi app so that you can better understand my thoughts and feelings in your language and take it forward.
I once again congratulate Ramkrishna-Vivekanda Ashram for today's 10-triveni Sangam. I salute the saints, Sivagiri Mutt and my best wishes to all the youngsters.
Thanks a lot!