Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged people to stay guarded against COVID and the Omicron variant. In his Mann Ki Baat programme on All India Radio, Mr Modi said scientists are studying the new Omicron variant and getting new data every day.

He stressed that in such a situation, self-awareness and self-discipline of the people are the country’s strength in fighting against the new variant. He stated that it is this collective strength that will defeat COVID. He called upon people to step in the year 2022 with this sense of responsibility.

Mr Modi said that it is because of everyone’s efforts that India could fight the pandemic. He took pride that when one compares India’s vaccination figures with the rest of the world, it feels that the country has achieved a huge feat. He said crossing the 140 million vaccine dose mark is an achievement of each and every Indian. He emphasised that this shows the trust of every Indian in the system, in science and in scientists.

The Prime Minister remembered Group Captain Varun Singh who was flying the helicopter that fell prey to a mishap this month in Tamil Nadu. Country’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat and his wife also lost their lives in the incident. Mr Modi said Varun Singh fought death bravely for many days, but succumbed to his injuries. He was given Shaurya Chakra in August just this year.

Mr Modi read out from the letter Captain Varun Singh had written to the principal of his school after receiving the honour. The Prime Minister said that even after reaching the pinnacle of success, Captain Varun Singh did not forget to nurture his roots.

He said that in the letter, Captain Singh did not boast of his valour but spoke of his failures instead. Mr Modi said the mantra he has given to the students to rise from average to extraordinary is very important. Varun had written that if he could inspire even a single student, it would mean a lot. Mr Modi said that through the letter, he has inspired the whole country and has given a message to the entire society.

The Prime Minister announced that he will hold a Pariksha Pe Charcha and the registration for this programme will begin on 28th of this month on . This registration will continue till 20th January next year. For this, online competition will also be organized for students, teachers, and parents of class 9 to 12. He asked everyone to participate in this and added that together, they will brainstorm on many aspects related to examinations, career, success and student life.

Mr Modi also played a snippet from a video where students from Greece perform Vande Mataram. He said the beauty and emotion with which they have sung “Vande Mataram” is amazing and commendable. He also discussed a post of Nilesh from Lucknow who showered praises on a unique Drone Show in Lucknow. This drone show was organized in the Residency area of Lucknow where different aspects of the Indian freedom struggle were brought to life including Chauri Chaura Andolan and the Kakori Train incident. He said Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav gives the country an opportunity to live the memories of the freedom struggle. He asked everyone to continue to be inspired by the great personalities of the freedom struggle.

The Prime Minister also mentioned Dr. Kurela Vithalacharya from Telangana. He said that 84-year-old Vithalacharya exemplifies the fact that when it comes to fulfilling ones dreams, age does not matter at all. Right from childhood, Vithalacharya had wished to open a big library.

Over time he became a lecturer, deeply studied the Telugu language and also created many works in the same. 6-7 years ago, he started a library with his own books and people started to gradually join and contribute to it. In this library at Ramannapet Division in Yadadri-Bhuvnagiri District, there are nearly 2 lakh books.

Mr Modi said that books not only impart knowledge, but also shape personality and life. He asked the listeners of Mann Ki Baat to mention five of their favourite books this year. He maintained that at a time when screen time is on the upswing, Book Reading should become more popular.

The Prime Minister also spoke of a centre named Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune. This institute has started an online course to acquaint the people of other countries with the importance of Mahabharata. He expressed amazement that although this course has been started now, the content being taught started taking shape over a 100 years ago. Mr Modi noted that there is a growing interest in the world today to know about Indian culture. People from different countries are not only curious to know about Indian culture but are also helping to spread it.

He mentioned Serbian Scholar Dr. Momir Nikich who has compiled a Bilingual Sanskrit- Serbian Dictionary. More than 70 thousand Sanskrit words included in this dictionary have been translated into Serbian language. The Prime Minister pointed out that Dr.Nikich had learnt Sanskrit language at the age of 70. Mr Modi also talked about 93 year old Professor J. Gendedharam of Mongolia. In the last four decades, he has translated about 40 ancient texts, epics and compositions of India into Mongolian language.

The Prime Minister also lauded the efforts of Sagar Mule of Goa, who is involved in saving centuries-old Kaavi painting from extinction. Kaavi form of painting covers the ancient history of India. With the passage of time, this form of painting was on the verge of extinction but Sagar Mule has infused a new lease of life to this art.

Mr Modi stated that if people are determined, the passion to beautify and save ancient arts across the country can take the form of a mass movement. He said many such efforts are taking place across the country and asked listeners to convey information on them through Namo App.

The Prime Minister shed light on a unique campaign being run by people on Arunachal Pradesh for a year called “Arunachal Pradesh Airgun Surrender Campaign”. In this campaign, people are voluntarily surrendering their airguns so that indiscriminate hunting of birds can be stopped in the state. Arunachal Pradesh is home to more than 500 species of birds.

Mr Modi said these include some indigenous species, which are not found anywhere else in the world. He said gradually the number of birds has started declining and this airgun surrender campaign is going on now to rectify this situation. The people of Arunachal Pradesh have voluntarily surrendered more than 1600 airguns. Mr Modi commended and congratulated the people of Arunachal for this step.

Speaking about Swachh Bharat, Mr Modi said this resolve of cleanliness will be fulfilled only with discipline, awareness and dedication. He highlighted the Puneet Sagar campaign undertaken by NCC cadets. More than 30 thousand NCC cadets participated in this campaign under which they cleaned the beaches, removed plastic waste and collected it for recycling. Mr Modi stressed that it is the responsibility of every Indian that they do not dirty any places they go to visit.

The Prime Minister said he came to know about a start-up named Saafwater which has been started by some youths. With the help of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of things, Saafwater gives information related to the purity and quality of water in their area to people. Mr Modi said that in view of the importance of this start-up for the clean and healthy future of the people, it has also received a Global Award. He said that everyone has an important role in this effort towards cleanliness, be it institutions or government.

The Prime Minister said that earlier, there used to be a lot of old files and papers in government offices. Now, these files and piles of paper are getting digitized and stored in computer folders. Special campaigns are also being run in ministries and departments to remove the old and pending material. Mr Modi said some very interesting things happened through this campaign.

When this cleanliness drive began in the Department of Post, the junkyard became completely empty. Now, this junkyard has been turned into a courtyard and cafeteria. Another junkyard has been converted into a parking space for two-wheelers. Similarly, the Ministry of Environment converted its vacant junkyard into a wellness centre.

The Ministry of Urban Affairs has even installed a Swachh ATM where people deposit garbage and take cash in return. Departments under the Civil Aviation Ministry have started making organic compost from dry leaves falling from trees and organic waste. The Prime Minister hailed the government departments for being innovative on a subject like cleanliness.

Mr Modi wished everyone a happy new year and reminded them that they have to take the country to new heights of development. He said that India will become AatmaNirbhar only when people use resources properly and not let them go to waste. He asked people to think big, dream big, and work hard to make them come true. He expressed confidence that 2022 will be the golden page of building a new India.

Meanwhile, Kurella Vithalacharya, who collected over 2 lakh books for the library at Ramannapeta in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district in Telangana thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the recognition given to his social cause in the Mann ki Baat programme.

The 84-year-old retired teacher has set up a library at Ramannapet with his own resources to fulfill his dream, which got a prominent mention by prime minister Narendra Modi in his Mann ki Baat today. Speaking to Our Correspondent, Vithalacharya said it was a thrilling moment which he will cherish forever.

His youngest daughter, Saraswati expressed happiness that her father’s selfless service to society got nationwide recognition through Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat programme. She said they support every step of their father’s cause, as he always strives and believes in the prosperity of villages through education.


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