NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday cautioned that external enemies have always taken advantage of an Indian society, whenever it was divided.
Addressing the Valedictory Function of the 125th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda in Chicago through video conferencing, Prime Minister Modi stressed on the need to eliminate such evils from the society.
"We have a tradition of discuss and decide. Democracy and debate are our internal values. In such a large country with unique diversity, there are great challenges. Swami Vivekananda used to say there have been devils everywhere more or less in all ages. We have to be cautious of such evils in our society and defeat them. We have to remember that despite all the resources at our disposal, whenever Indian society has been divided, whenever there have been internal conflicts, external enemies have taken advantage," he noted.
Elaborating on the uniqueness of today's celebrations, he said, "I don't think there is any other example of celebrating the anniversary of an address. Our young people will debate on important issues and try to find the solution to challenges that confront India today. The philosophy of 'Ek Bharat-Shrestha Bharat' is the essence of Swami Vivekananda's address."
Prime Minister Modi also reminded the audience about the era of colonial rule, during which Swami Vivekanand made a global mark. "Chicago parliament was a great success for India and Indian thoughts. The scale of Swami ji's achievement looks much greater if you remember the times in which he lived. Our country was under the shackles of foreign rule, we were poor and our society was looked down as backward. Our own people were being taught to look down upon their own heritage. In these times, Vivekanand introduced the world to the grandeur of Vedic philosophy. He gave us our confidence back, our pride and our roots. Swami Vivekananda awakened the people of the country. His mantra was believed in yourself. With this vision of Swami Vivekananda, India is today going forward with full self-confidence," he explained.
Speaking about the significance of self-confidence, the Prime Minister said, "Today when India launched 100 satellites in one go, when the world discusses Manglayan and Gaganyaan then it increases the self-confidence of the country. We are working hard to increase the self-confidence of the poor, the deprived and the underprivileged."
Prime Minister Modi also mentioned the achievements of the Indian contingent at the 18th Asian Games held recently and lauded the confidence and hard work of the players, irrespective of hardships and background.
Talking of startups and entrepreneurship, the Prime Minister said "Our accelerating industrial production, young engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs are taking the country towards the new revolution of start-ups. Swami Ji firmly believed that the future of India depends on the youth. Quoting from Veda's he said, 'It is the young, the strong and healthy of a sharp intellect that will reach the lord.' I am happy to see that today's youth is marching ahead with a sense of mission. Government is also providing an encouraging platform for innovative ideas under the Start-up India campaign. As a result, 8000 start-ups received recognition last year alone as compared to around 800 in 2016. It means a ten-fold increase in one year. Under Atal Innovation Mission, we are working towards establishing 5000 Atal Tinkering Labs across the country in the next five years to bring forth the innovative ideas."
The Prime Minister continued, "The government is bringing a new culture and new approach. Even after 70 years of Independence while literacy may have increased, many of our young people lack the skills to make themselves employable. Sadly our educational system had not given enough emphasis to skills. Recognising the importance of skill development for youth, the government has created a dedicated ministry for skill development. Under the Mudra scheme, more than 13 crore loans have been given so far. This scheme is playing a significant role in enhancing self-employment in the villages and towns of the country".
Prime Minister Modi also highlighted various initiatives taken up by his government to bridge the socio-economic divide in the country. "Vivekanand swami also spoke of our socio-economic problem. He said that there will be equality in the society when we uplift the poorest of the poor at par with the ones sitting at the top. We are working in this direction for the last five years. Banks are being taken to the doors of poor through Jan Dhan Account and Indian Post Payments Bank", he said.
"On 25th of this month, we are launching Ayushman Bharat scheme throughout the country. Under this free medical treatment of serious disease up to Rs 5 lakh will be ensured to more than 10 crore poor families. Our approach is not only to eradicate poverty but to root out the causes of poverty," he added.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Modi also interacted with lakhs of ASHA, ANM and Anganwadi workers from all over India through the digital medium.