New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Touching upon the issues of daily safety, women empowerment and “technology for welfare” in his monthly radio address “Mann Ki Baat”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his dream of “New India” was the one where women were strong and empowered and equally contributed to the country’s development.
He also urged the people to become conscious and aware of their own safety and said technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) must ensure the welfare of the poor, the underprivileged and the needy.
The Prime Minister said: “If we are not aware of safety in daily life, if we are not able to attain a certain level, it will get extremely difficult during the time of disasters.
“There are messages and slogans everywhere about safety measures at work places and on streets. But these messages are hardly followed. If we stay alert, abide by the prescribed rules, we shall not only be able to save our own lives but we can prevent catastrophes harming society.”
Urging the concerned departments under corporations and municipalities who possess the fire brigades to visit different schools once a week or a month and conduct mock drills, he said it will have dual benefit free of cost.
The Prime Minister said that India was a land of geographic and climatic diversities.
“As far as disasters are concerned, the country has witnessed different disasters including chemical and industrial mishaps.”
Modi lauded the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for reaching areas hit by earthquakes, floods, cyclones and landslides within no time.
Stressing on the need to organise awareness campaign about safety, the Prime Minister said that thousands of people used to die due to heat wave few years ago but after the NDMA organised workshops on heat wave management, as part of a campaign to raise awareness among people, the death count in 2017 was dropped to around 220.
“Which means if people accord priority to safety, we can actually attain it,” he said.
Speaking about International Womens’ Day on March 8, the Prime Minister said: “There are many programmes that are held in our country and the world. Today the country is moving forward from the path of women development to women-led development.”
Quoting Swami Vivekananda’s saying that the idea of a perfect womanhood was perfect independence, Modi said the dream of “New India” was where the women were empowered.
“It is our duty to ensure the participation of women in every field of life, be it social or economic life. We are part of a tradition where men were identified due to women. Yashoda-Nandan, Kaushalya-Nandan, Gandhari-Putra, these were identities of a son.
“Today, woman power has shown inner fortitude and self-confidence, has made herself self-reliant. Not only has she advanced but carried forward the country and society to newer heights.
“After all, our dream of ‘New India’ is the one where women are strong and empowered and are equal partners in the development of the country,” he said.
Referring to a suggestion from a listener, the Prime Minister urged countrymen to felicitate mothers and sisters, who have completed 100 years, on the occasion of International Women’s day.
Hailing efforts of a group of women from Jharkhand who organised a hygiene campaign for an entire month and constructed 1.70 lakh toilets in just 20 days, Modi said they showed that women power was an integral component of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.
He mentioned the current budget in which an emphasis has been laid on turning ‘waste to wealth’ and ‘waste to energy’ through bio-gas.
“A target has been set to use cattle dung, agricultural waste, kitchen waste to produce Bio gas based energy. Under the GOBAR-Dhan Scheme, our farmer brothers and sisters will be encouraged to consider dung and other waste not just as a waste but as a source of income.”
He said that machines were getting smarter through self-learning and urged researchers to make use of AI to make the lives of the “divyangs” (differently abled), farmers and the needy more simpler.
“The machines are getting smarter these days through self learning. And this technology of AI should be used to improve the lives of the farmers, poor and the needy people,” he said.
He said that through AI, “we can be alerted about natural calamities. Can we help the farmers to know about their crops return? Can it be used to improve the reach of the medical services and help in curing the diseases in more advanced way?”
“The technology and machines should be used for the betterment of the humankind,” he added.
He described the electricity supply to Gharapuri Isle, which houses the Unesco World Heritage site Elephanta Caves, as a “new beginning of a period of development”.
“I was just watching the TV news two days ago that electricity has reached three villages of the Elephanta Island after 70 years of independence, and this has led to much joy and enthusiasm among the people there,” Modi said.
“For 70 years, the lives of the denizens of three villages — Raj Bander, Mora Bander and Shet Bander — were engulfed by darkness, which has got dispelled now and there is brightness in their lives.”