Let’s start a mass movement for water conservation : PM


Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi addressed the country men in his first ‘Mann Ki Baat 2.0’ on June 30 after taking oath for second term. In his address he asked the people to make water conservation a mass movement like cleanliness drive. He also talked about importance of book reading-habit. Here, we are giving highlights of the address:

When Emergency was imposed on the country, resistance against it was not limited to the political arena or politicians; the movement was not curtailed to the confines of prison cells. There was an outrage in the conscience of one and all. The collective torment on the loss of democracy was evident. Day and night, when one gets to eat food on time, one doesn’t realize what hunger pangs are. Similarly, in day to day life, it is difficult to savour the joy of democratic rights, unless they are snatched away. During Emergency, every citizen of the country had started getting the feeling that something that belonged to him had been snatched away. If what was snatched had never been enjoyed by that person, ever, it had to eventually precipitate into a painful inner agony. And it was not just on account of the fact that the constitution of India has made certain provisions that enabled Democracy to blossom. Of course, in order to ensure smooth conduct of the social order, a constitution is required… laws & rules are necessary, rights and duties should be part of due discourse. But, India can proudly proclaim that for us, beyond laws & rules, Democracy is embedded in our sanskar; Democracy is our culture. Democracy is our heritage; ……And the country had witnessed one such Election in ’77. Just recently, our country celebrated a mega festival of democracy, a mammoth Election Campaign, from the rich to the poor, all were happily eager in this festival to decide the fate of their country.

In the 2019 Loksabha Election, India saw over 61 crore voters exercising their franchise… yes 61 crores. We can think of this figure as one ordinary but if I place it in a global perspective, if you exclude China, the number of people who voted in India exceeds the population of any other country in the world. The number of people who voted in the 2019 Lok Sabha Election is more than the entire population of America, close to double the figure. The total number of voters in India exceeds the entire population of Europe. This stands for the sheer size & spread of our Democracy.

Another encouraging fact is that, today, there are a record 78 women Members of Parliament. I congratulate the Election Commission and every person connected with the electioneering process and salute the aware voters of India.

I had urged all to choose books over flowers in welcome or felicitation ceremonies. Since then, people have been offering books at many a place. Just recently, someone gave me a book entitled ‘Premchand Ki Lokapriya Kahaniyan’, popular short stories by Premchand. It was a great feeling. Of course, I couldn’t get much time, but during my travelling, I got an opportunity to read some of his short stories once again. Images of the stark social realities that Premchand has portrayed in his stories vividly start forming in one’s mind when you read them. Each & every element of his writings comes alive. His stories are expressions of human emotions through simple, lucid language… they have touched my heart.

I had read about the Akshara Library in Kerala. You will be surprised to learn that this library lies in a village nestling within the dense forests of Idukki. A Primary school teacher, P.K.Muralidharan and P.V.Chinnathampi who runs a small tea shop, have between them worked tirelessly for this library.

The Vaanche Gujarat campaign carried out in Gujarat was a successful experiment. Participants hailing from every age group in lakhs, participated in this campaign to read books. I will still urge you in today’s digital world and in the time of Google Guru, to take some time out from your daily routine and devote it to the book.

Water scarcity affects many parts of the country every year. You will be surprised that only 8% of the water received from rains in the entire year is harvested in our country. Just and just 8%! Now the time has come to find a solution to this problem. I believe, like the other problems on hand, we can also solve this predicament by the participation of the people, Janbhagidariand their power, Janshakti we are bound to find a solution through the strength, cooperation and resolution of one hundred and thirty crore citizens.

Therefore keeping the importance of water in mind, a new Jalashakti ministry has been created in the country. This will allow faster decision-making on all subjects related to water.

A few days ago I tried to do something different. I wrote a letter to the Sarpanchs and Gram Pradhans across the country. That in order to save water, to collect water, to save the very drops of the rainwater, they should convene a meeting of the Gram Sabha and sit and discuss the resolution to this problem with the villagers. I am happy that they have shown exemplary enthusiasm on this front and on 22nd of this month crores of people contributed free labour, Shramdaanacross thousands of panchayats. People in village after village resolved to accumulate every single drop of rainwater.

My first request is that just like cleanliness drive has been given the shape of a mass movement by the countrymen, let’s also start a mass movement for water conservation. My second request to the countrymen is to share many traditional methods that have been in use over the centuries in our country for the conservation of water.

I must express my gratitude to you and to the people of the world for one more thing! On 21st June, once again, Yoga Day was celebrated together with fervor and enthusiasm, there were instances of three-four generations of each family coming together to participate on Yoga Day. The awareness about Holistic Health Care has enhanced the glory of yoga and Yoga day.

The Presidents, Prime Ministers, celebrities and ordinary citizens of many countries of the world showed me on the Twitter how they celebrated Yoga in their respective nations. On that day, the world appeared to be like one big happy family.