Asking the people to take the fight against black money and graft to the "next level", Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged them to use less cash in their daily lives and continue to support the movement towards digital payments started after the note ban. In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' programme, he also spoke of building a 'New India', which he said can be achieved when 125 crore Indians take a pledge and unitedly work towards it.
"My dear countrymen, we must take our fight against black money and corruption to the next level. .... We should contribute towards reducing the use of cash, of currency notes," the prime minister said.
Asking the people to pay school fees, buy medicines or items from fair price shops or purchase air and train tickets digitally, he said "we can do this in our day to day lives. You can't imagine how you can serve the country in this way and become a brave soldier in the fight against black money and corruption."
Observing that the budget had announced that there would be 2,500 crore digital transactions this year, he said if 125 crore countrymen can resolve, "they need not wait for a year; they can do it in six months."
Expressing gratitude to the people, Modi said over the last few months the country has witnessed an atmosphere in which people in large numbers have participated in the digital payment, 'Digidhan' movement.
"There has also been an increase in curiosity about cashless transactions. The poorest of the poor are making attempts to learn, and people are gradually moving towards doing business without cash. There has been a surge in various modes of digital payment after demonetisation," he said, adding that the Bharat Interface for Money app or BHIM, launched about two and a half months ago, has already been downloaded by one-and-half crore people.
The prime minister greeted the people of Bangladesh on their independence day saying India will always stand with them in the struggle for peace, security and development in the region.
In his address, the first since the BJP's victories in the recently concluded Assembly elections in five states, Modi said small and steady steps by all Indians can lead to the realisation of a new and transformed India.
"We are in the 21st century and there is no Indian who doesn't want to transform India. New India is neither a government project nor a manifesto of a political party. It is the joint call and desire of 125 crore Indians to transform India," said Modi. "Everything is not linked to the budget or government funds. If every citizen pledges to be more responsible, performs his duties, then this dream of new and transformed India can be easily realised," he said.
"If we look at the society, there are many who are serving the society in their own ways. Some are serving patients in hospitals, others are voluntarily donating blood and some others feeding the poor. Service is the core of our values. If we obey traffic rules, pledge not to use petrol or diesel once a week, resolve to be more responsible, if we do things step by step, we can achieve a new India," Modi added.
"There are now only two or three countries in the world that are ahead of us in this matter. India has taken a very important decision for these working women sisters of ours. The basic aim is to ensure proper care of the newborn, the future citizen of India, from the time of birth. The newborn should get the complete love and attention of the mother."
"I hope that Bangladesh marches ahead on the path of progress. I also assure the citizens of Bangladesh that India is a strong partner, and a good friend, and we will continue to work together shoulder to shoulder to contribute towards the peace, security and development of this entire region," the prime minister said. He said it was a matter of pride that Rabindra Nath Tagore, who authored the national anthem for Bangladesh and India, had given up his knighthood in protest against the 1919 massacre of people in Jallianwala Bagh by the British.
This had also provided an "inspiration and a mission in life" to a young teenager, who until then had spent his days playing merrily in the fields. This youngster was none other than Bhagat Singh, then 12-years old, to evolve as a martyr.
Modi also referred to the Champaran Satyagraha launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917, saying "through his demeanour and deeds, he could inspire the poorest of the poor, the most illiterate, to unite and come together out into the open for the struggle against the British Rule.
"This was a manifestation of an incredible inner strength, through which we can experience the vastness of Mahatma Gandhi's great persona," the prime minister said. He said the government of India has taken "a very important decision" to give working women maternity leave of 26 weeks, instead of the earlier 12 weeks, for their pregnancy and delivery.
He also talked about his favourite "Swachch Bharat" drive and said people of the country are getting angry as far as dirt is concerned and this will lead to more efforts towards cleanliness. Modi also talked about wastage of food saying it is unfortunate and an injustice to the poor.
He also spoke at length about depression and how it can be overcome by expressing one's feeling to the near and dear ones and urged the people to help those suffering from it to overcome it. Talking about the importance of Yoga, he called upon Indians to make the 3rd International Day of Yoga memorable by involving more and more people.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Mar 26, 2017 14:23:41 IST