India stands with Kerala in this hour of grief, PM says on Mann Ki Baat

Listed out the achievements of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee

New Delhi.

The Kerala floods dominated the ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio address on Sunday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuring its victims that India stands with them in their hour of need.

“We express our condolences to the people who have lost their loved ones in the Kerala floods,” he said, adding that people from all walks of life have come forward to support them.

He also hailed the role of central forces who were involved in rescue operations in the natural disaster, which claimed 265 lives and wreaked destruction to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore. The Centre had released Rs 543 crore in financial aid to the state under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme on Friday.

Starting his address by wishing the nation on Rakshabandhan and Sanskrit Diwas, Modi went on to talk about former prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee — who died on August 16.

He said most people wanted him to speak on Vajpayee in this month’s Mann Ki Baat address. “Atalji brought a very distinctive and positive change in India’s political culture. Tributes have poured in from all sections of society,” Modi added.

Listing out Vajpayee’s contributions to Indian democracy, the Prime Minister said it was during his tenure that the size of the council of ministers was fixed at 15% the size of the state assemblies. “Atalji also made the anti-defection law stricter,” he noted.

Modi contended that parliamentarians cutting across party lines strove to make this year’s monsoon session successful. “This was a session devoted to social justice and youth welfare. The government is committed to safeguarding the rights of SC and ST communities.”

Addressing yet another issue facing the nation, the Prime Minister said his government will show zero tolerance towards those who commit crimes against women. “It’s for this reason that Parliament passed stricter laws against rape, and passed an amendment to make child rape punishable by the death penalty,” he added.

He also spared a mention for Indian players who won medals for the country at the Asian Games in Indonesia. “We are proud of the medal winners in the 2018 Asian Games, and wish the very best to those whose events are forthcoming. I once again urge the people of India to focus on fitness.”

India has won 29 medals in the Games so far — seven gold, five silver and 17 bronze.

In his last such address on July 29, Modi had urged the people of the country to seek good governance from the administration. Referring to the slogan “swaraj (self-rule) is my birth right and I shall have it” given by freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he said, “Today is the time to say that good governance is our birth right and we will have it.”

“Every Indian should have access to good governance and positive results of development. It is the factoring in of this outreach that will create a new India,” Modi had said, adding that his regime has been pushing for good governance by easing rules and repealing obsolete laws.

The Prime Minister had also referred to a differently abled girl from Gurgaon who topped the CBSE Class 10 board examinations in the disabled category with 97.8 per cent marks in his previous address.

“I came across the news of Gurgaon’s specially-abled daughter Anushka Panda, who is suffering from a physical condition called spinal muscular atrophy. Anushka did not let her disability deter her from becoming an all-India topper,” Modi had said, adding that the girl should be a role model for others.

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