New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed the nation in his first Mann Ki Baat radio address of the year, which was also his first Mann Ki Baat edition of the new decade. The speech came on a day the nation also observed the 71st Republic Day and hence the timing of Mann Ki Baat, for the first time, was changed from 11 AM to 6 PM.
The Prime Minister began by wishing everyone on the occasion of Republic Day, in what was the 61st edition of Mann Ki Baat. Here are the ten salient points from his speech on Sunday.
1. PM Modi spoke on the topic of water conservation, remarking that the Jal Shakti campaign, which began last month, had witnessed wide-scale public participation. He added that from Uttarakhand to Tamil Nadu, a lot of good work had been done in this regard.
2. He gave the example of village Suniyakot along the Almora-Haldwani Highway in Uttarakhand. Here, people, by raising money and through labour, laid a pipe up to their village, thus setting up a pumping station.
3. He then spoke about the recently-concluded third edition of the Khelo India Games, which were hosted by Assam. He congratulated the government for their successful organisation of the event. He also praised the athletes, especially females, for breaking 56 out of 80 records broken at the Games.
4. On the lines of the Khelo India Games, the first-ever Khelo India University Games will be held in Odisha’s Bhubaneswar and Cuttack between February 22-March 1. More than 3,000 players have qualified to participate in these Games, the PM informed the nation.
5. Talking about the recent surrender of 644 militants from eight different groups in Assam and Tripura, he called it a ‘welcome step’ and appealed to the youth, who are associated with militancy, to solve things peacefully and work with the government to create a ‘New India.’ “Violence has no place in this era of knowledge and democracy,” he said.
6. The PM also spoke about the recent, historic accord signed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah for people of the Bru-Reang community. The accord will see 34,000 internally displaced people of the community settle in Tripura. The agreement, he said, has opened the path of a dignified life for Bru-Reang refugees.
7. On Gaganyaan, he said that the country had taken yet another step towards achieving this goal with the selection of four Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots for the mission. Calling them a symbol of India’s skill, talent, ability and courage, PM Modi said that they would be sent to Russia where they would undergo training for a year.
8. Recalling his recent ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’ interaction with Board exam-bound students, he said that with his experience of interaction with students, he can say with confidence that the youth is brimming with self-confidence and ready to face every challenge.
9. He then spoke about a recent video which went viral, showing a 107-year-old woman breaking the protocol to bless President Ram Nath Kovind. He identified her to the nation as Saalumarada Thimmakka, a Karnataka-based environmentalist. “Someone from an ordinary background was being decorated with the Padma Shri,” the PM said.
10. This incident, and the fact that 46,000 nominations were received for this year’s Padma Awards-20 times more that in 2014-shows that Padma Awards have now become ‘people’s awards.’