Talk by Amb Kanwal Sibal (Former Foreign Secretary) on "Why the Anti-CAA Protesters are Wrong" on Saturday, 22nd February 2020 at 6 PM, Board Room, SPMRF, 9, Ashoka Road, New Delhi

Salient Points of PM’s address in the 7th Episode of “Mann Ki Baat 2.0”


My dear countrymen, many of you must be aware of the rock in Kanyakumari where Swami Vivekanand ji had entered into the meditative state, the spiritual ‘Antardhyan’.

That very rock Memorial is completing 50 years of existence. For the last five decades, it has earned a place of pride for India. It has shown the way to realize & follow the mantra, ‘In service of the poorest of the poor’.

Just recently, I came across on the media, a story on the Bhairavganj Health Centre in the West Champaran district of Bihar. It was such a nice feeling that I could not stop myself from sharing it with you. At this Bhairavganj Health Centre, thousands of people from neighbouring villages converged for a free health check up.

This was not a government programme, nor was it a government initiative. This was a step taken as part of an Alumni Meet organized by former students of the local K.R. High School. And they named it ‘Sankalp 95’.

‘Sankalp 95’ means, the resolve undertaken by the 1995 Batch of that High School. Under the aegis of ‘Sankalp Ninety Five’, Government Medical College of Bettiah and many hospitals also joined in this campaign. And after that, an entire movement centred on public health got started. Be it free medical tests, distribution of free medicines, or, just spreading awareness, ‘Sankalp Ninety Five’ has become a shining beacon for everyone.

Some women of Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh have inspired the entire region with their tenacity. These women aligned with the women self-help group of Kadipur, joined in learning the skill of making slippers, and thus not only managed to pluck the thorn of helplessness from their feet, but by becoming self-reliant, also became the support of their families.

With the help of ‘Gramin Ajivika Mission,’a slipper manufacturing plant has also been established here, where slippers are being made with the help of modern machines.

I would like to discuss one initiative that has caught my attention and that is the ‘Himayat Programme’ of Jammu- Kashmir and Ladakh. The ‘Himayat Programme’ is actually associated with skill development and employment.

In this programme, teenagers and youth from 15 to 35 years of age, those denizens of Jammu and Kashmir whose studies, for some reason, could not be completed, who had to leave school and college midstream are associated.

Under the aegis of this programme, during the last two years, eighteen thousand youths, have been trained in seventy-seven different trades.

Out of these, around five thousand people are working somewhere or the other, and many have moved towards self-employment.

India is quite advanced in the field of astronomy, and we have taken path-breaking initiatives in this field. We have a giant meter-wave telescope near Pune. Not just that, in Kodaikkaanal, Udagamandala, Guru Shikhar and Hanle Ladakh as well, powerful telescopes are located.

In 2016, the then Prime Minister of Belgium and I, had inaugurated the 3.6 metre Devasthal optical telescope in Nainital. This is known as Asia’s largest telescope. ISRO has an astronomical satellite called ASTROSAT.

ISRO is planning to launch a satellite called Aditya, to study the sun. Whether it be our ancient knowledge in astronomy, or modern achievements in this field, we should strive to understand them and feel proud of them.

We consider our Parliament as the temple of our democracy. Today, I wish to proudly mention, that the parliamentarians that you have elected have broken all the records of the last 60 years.

In the last 6 months, both the sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha have been very productive. Lok Sabha’s productivity stands at 114%, while that of Rajya Sabha is 94%. And prior to that in the budget session, it had a productivity of 135%. Often, Parliament functioned till late at night.

I am mentioning this because all Parliamentarians deserve to be congratulated and complimented for this. The Parliamentarians that you elected, have broken all the records of the last 60 years.

So much accomplishment, in itself shows the strength of Indian democracy and the faith in democracy. I wish to congratulate all the Presiding officers, all political parties and all members of parliament for their active role in this regard.

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