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Modi bats for tech in Mann ki Baat

NEW DELHI, Feb 26: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed the science community for India’s record satellite launch and successful testing of a missile system as he made another pitch for digital payments.

February 15 was a historic day for India as it launched 104 satellites in one go, Modi said of the record achieved by the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation.

“This cost effective, efficient space programme of Isro has become a marvel for the entire world,” the Prime Minister said during the 29th edition of Mann ki Baat, his monthly radio show.

For the 124 satellites put into orbit, 101 were for foreign countries.

Modi singled out India’s Cartosat 2D, saying it would map resources and infrastructure. It would be of great help to farmers, as it would give a correct measure of water available and help them make the best use of resources at hand.

“It is also a matter of exultation for us that this entire campaign was led and steered by our young scientists, our women scientists. This tremendous participation of youth and women is a major glorious dimension in ISRO’s success.” Modi said.

The country had achieved a milestone in the field of defence as well. India successfully test fired a ballistic interceptor missile, he said.

The missile, test-fired on February 11, is capable of hitting an incoming ballistic missile, a significant milestone in developing a two-layered ballistic missile defence system.

Only four or five countries had this capability, the PM said, as he encouraged the young to embrace science.

“The country needs more and more scientists. Today’s scientist becomes a potent catalyst for enduring change in the lives of our future generations,” Modi said.

Technology, he said, could be used in innovative ways to improve lives of people. Digital payments were getting popular in the country and people were gradually switching over to cash-less transactions.

Modi talked about the success of Lucky Graahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapari Yojana, programmes aimed at encouraging people and traders to go cashless.

The cashless push came after the government in a surprise move withdrew Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. As these two bills accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation, it led to a huge cash crunch that saw people switch to digital modes of transaction.

But a lot need to be done. As HT wrote on February 26, with money situation easing, many people, even among the winners of the lottery scheme, are going back to dealing in cash. Infrastructure and transaction charges continue to be the biggest hurdles

Modi urged the youth and lottery winners to become ambassadors of the two schemes and encourage people to go cashless that would go a long way in the fight against corruption and black money.

“To me, each and every individual involved in this mission constitute a new anti-corruption cadre in the country. In a way you are a soldier in the cause of cleanliness and purity.”

He asked each of the winners to teach at least 125 people the use of BHIM App in the memory of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar, whose 125 birth anniversary would be celebrated on April 14.

Bharat Interface for Money, or BHIM, is an app developed by the government to further its cashless push.

Modi unveils 112-feet-tall statue of Lord Shiva

COIMBATORE, Feb 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 112-feet-tall Lord Shiva statue in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore on the occasion of Hindu festival Mahashivratri on Friday.

Modi unveiled the statue or ‘Adiyogi’ -- an avatar of Lord Shiva who is considered to be the first of yogis -- at Isha Foundation in Coimbatore.

Extolling the ancient Indian discipline of Yoga, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for efforts to protect nature and mould human activities to bring them in sync with ecological surroundings. He also termed unity in diversity as the speciality and strength of the Indian culture.

"This (Maha Shivaratri celebrations) symbolises a spirit of vigilance, that we have to protect nature and mould our activities in sync with our ecological surroundings," he said.

Underlining the need for peaceful coexistence, Modi said, "Lord Shiva is everywhere" and referred to the bull, peacock and mouse that were the vehicles of the Lord and his sons -- Ganapathy and Karthik. He also talked about the venomous snake Vasuki curled around Shiva's neck to emphasise the importance of peaceful coexistence. In homage to the first yogi – Lord Shiva,

Meanwhile, famed singer Kailash Kher composed a song with lyrics by poet and writer Prasoon Joshi ‘Adiyogi – The source of Yoga’. Kailash Kher also performed this original track at the function.

Modi asked people to remain united, insisting unity in diversity was special to Indian culture.

Praising the ancient practice of Yoga, whose goal is to bring the practitioner's body, mind and spirit in tune with each other, Modi told the gathering that by "practising Yoga, a spirit of oneness is created. Oneness of mind, body and the intellect, oneness with our families and with the society we live in, with fellow humans and with birds, animals and trees."

Adiyogi"This is Yoga, Yoga is a journey from me to we," he said, emphasising India's biggest strength was its diversity. Modi began his speech by greeting people in Tamil "Ungal Ellorukkum En Anbana Vanakkam," (My loving greetings to all). Founder of Isha Foundation, Jaggi Vasudev, said the bust of 'Adiyogi' was built in eight months. He also lauded Modi for practising Yoga.

Before unveiling the giant 'Adiyogi' bust, Modi lighted the "Maha Yoga Yagna" and released the book 'Adiyoga: The source of Yoga', which deals with yogic sciences. Modi was shown around various places in the Isha Yoga complex, including the Dhyana Linga, Surya Kund, Nandi statue and the inner and outer corridors (prakaras) by Sadhguru Vasudev.

The Prime Minister offered aarti and showered flower petals over the Dhyana Linga. He later sat in the Dhyana Linga mandapam, where a yogic dance was performed by a group of youngsters to the accompaniment of traditional music and Sanskrit shlokas. Modi briefly sat alongside Vasudev in a meditative posture.

Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami received Modi on his arrival here. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan and Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi also attended the event. The statue and the foundation are located in the foothills of Velliangiri mountains in the Western Ghats.

The Prime Minister had earlier on Friday greeted people on Mahashivratri and invoked Lord Shiva, saying that people can see what is good or bad for them with their third eye.

The bust, made of steel, weighs 500 tonnes and took two-and-a-half years to design and eight months to build it.

A five-tier security blanket was put in place in and around the city and at the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border due to the event.

Human rights organisations, various political parties, farmers and tribal bodies had planned protests during the event, alleging that Adiyogi’s face was built on encroached land and that Modi’s visit would only regularise it (land).

In Chennai, the CPI(M) and CPI had pointed out alleged violations in setting up of the statue at the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats and said the Prime Minister should not visit the venue.

Mahashivratri, which translates to the great night of Shiva, is celebrated annually in remembrance of overcoming darkness. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, practising yoga and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty and forgiveness.

Kailash Satyarthi’s Nobel Prize citation stolen in theft at his house in Delhi

NEW DELHI, Feb 7: Thieves broke into Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s home in south Delhi and stole several valuable items, including his Nobel certificate, police said on Tuesday.

People close to Satyarthi, who also runs NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, said his Nobel prize is safe as it currently with the President.

No one was present in Satyarthi’s Kalkaji house when the thieves struck. Satyarthi is currently in the United States to attend the World Peace Summit.

The theft came to light on Tuesday morning when Satyarthi’s son, who lives elsewhere in the city, found the locks of the house broken. The house was ransacked and several valuables were missing.

Police were immediately informed and a case has been registered. Police said it was too early to say who is behind the theft, but suspect that it was the handiwork of burglars whose primary aim was to steal jewellery. The time of the theft is yet to be ascertained.

The CCTV cameras in the area are being scanned and known criminal elements in the area are rounded up for questioning.

Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, which he shared with Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai.

 



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