Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his last edition of this year’s “Mann Ki Baat” today conveyed New Year’s greetings and said the coming Republic Day celebrations would be special as leaders of 10 ASEAN countries will be chief guests.
The PM exhorted youth, especially new voters, to contribute to the making of “New India”. He urged the youth to hold “mock parliament” in every district to brainstorm on how to take the country forward by 2022. He further suggested that one such mock parliament be organised in Delhi around August 15 (Independence Day) to discuss how the country could be transformed in the next five years.
In his 26-minute address, Modi said although January 26 is a historic occasion, the coming Republic Day “will be especially remembered through the ages”. “The arrival of the great leaders 10 nations of the world as a unit is a matter of pride for all Indians,” he said. Modi had created a buzz by his novelty of inviting SAARC leaders at his swearing-in ceremony for the PM’s office.
Batting for women’s equal right vis-à-vis men, the PM said the journey of country’s progress had been possible due to women power. He said his government had taken corrective measures in discarding the 70-year discriminatory rule of not allowing Muslim women to go on Haj pilgrimage alone, without “mehram” (male guardian).
For decades there was no discussion on the issue on justification of this discrimination, which was not in vogue even in many Islamic countries. Since the corrective measure taken by the government, more than 1,300 women from across the country had applied to undertake pilgrimage along. The PM said he had asked the Minority Affairs Ministry to treat applications of women as special category. Normally, selection of applications is made through the lottery system.
Referring to 2017, he said 350th “Parkash Parv” of Guru Gobind Singh was celebrated. The illustrious life of the iconic leader was source of inspiration, he added. The PM sought people’s participation in “Swacch Bharat” campaign. “Clean India” has been an unfulfilled dream of Mahatma Gandhi, he added.
He said January 1 was a special day as people born in 2000 or later would become eligible voters. He welcomed them as “New Indian Voters”. Terming youth in age group of 18-25 years as “New India Youth”, he said they stand for aspirations, enthusiasm and energy. The dream of “New India” will be realised through their skill and fortitude.
PAT for Valley youth
The PM praised J&K Anjum Bashir Khan, 27, for cracking the Kashmir Civil Service exam this year. He lost his house to militancy, forcing his family to flee the native village