Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed the nation in his last ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme of the year 2017.
Here’s what he said:
New Year special for millenium youth
The upcoming new year will be a “special one” because this will see an entry into adulthood and voting age of all those who were born in the year that began the21st century, the Prime Minister said.
“Tomorrow (Monday) will be a special day. Those who were born in the year beginning the 21st century will turn 18 and will become eligible to cast their votes,” he said.
The Prime Minister appealed to all those turning 18 in 2018 to register themselves as voters and help frame the “India of 21st century”.
“Your vote will become the foundation of a new India… You will not just be granting yourselves the right to vote but will be making yourselves the founders of the tomorrow’s India,” Modi said.
He also suggested a district-level organising of ‘Mock Parliament’ sessions to give the young adults a practical knowledge of the polity.
He exhorted the youth to use their voting right to usher in a “people’s revolution” for the country’s development.
Service is part of India’s culture
Modi said that “service to people” was the biggest identity of humankind and also a part of India’s culture.
“On December 25, Christmas was celebrated across the world. It was also celebrated in India. On this day we remember the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ, and the thing we remember the most was his teachings on service,” he said.
He also said that we see emphasis on service in the Bible.
“The son of man has come, not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life, as blessing to all humankind,” Modi said talking about Christ’s commitment to service.
“Serving people is the biggest identity of humankind.”
Hosting 10 Asean leaders on Republic Day matter of pride
Modi said Republic Day celebration in 2018 would be “remembered through the ages” because the government for the first time in India’s history would host leaders of 10 Asean countries as chief guests on January 26.
“On January 26, the arrival of great leaders of 10 nations of the world as a unit is a matter of pride for all Indians,” he said.
He said January 26 is a historic festival for all Indians but “January 26, 2018, will especially be remembered through the ages”.
“The Republic Day will be celebrated with leaders of all 10 (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Asean countries coming to India as chief guests. This time, not one but 10 chief guests would grace the Republic Day. This is unprecedented in India’s history,” the Prime Minister said.
He said the year 2017 was special for both Asean and India because the Southeast Asian bloc completed its 50 years of formation and the year also marked 25 years of India’s partnership with the grouping.
“India looks forward to welcoming leaders” from Asean comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Muslim women can travel for Haj without ‘Mahram’
In a bid to empower Muslim women, the government has changed the law by permitting them to travel for the annual Haj pilgrimage without any male attendant, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
“I noticed that if a Muslim woman wanted to go for the Haj pilgrimage, they cannot go without a ‘Mahram’ (a male guardian),” he said.
“And when I enquired about it, I came to know that it was we who have have restricted them for going alone for the Haj. This practice is not followed in many of the Islamic countries,” he said.
Modi added that the Minority Affairs Ministry has removed this restriction and will now allow the Muslim women to travel to Haj without a male attendant.
“Till date, 1,300 women have applied to travel for the Haj without any Mahram,” the Prime Minister said, adding that “they should get equal opportunity as the men get”.