In last Mann Ki Baat before polls, PM urges first-timers to vote

PM urges first-time voters to exercise their franchise in record numbers, noting that those who have turned 18 will get a chance to elect the 18th Lok Sabha; praises village women’s efforts ahead of Women’s Day

February 25, 2024 12:07 pm | Updated February 26, 2024 01:55 am IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has frequently expressed confidence in retaining power in the elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has frequently expressed confidence in retaining power in the elections. | Photo Credit: ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday broadcast his last monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme before this summer’s Lok Sabha election begins. 

“The atmosphere of Lok Sabha elections is all pervasive in the country and as happened last time, there is a possibility that the code of conduct might also be in place in the month of March,” Mr. Modi said on the final broadcast of his term. Adhering to political decorum, Mann Ki Baat will not be broadcast for the next three months in the run-up to the election, he added.

“I would also urge first time voters to vote in record numbers. On turning 18, you are getting a chance to elect a member for the 18th Lok Sabha. That means this 18th Lok Sabha will also be a symbol of youth aspiration. That is why the importance of your vote has risen further,” the Prime Minister said. 

Village woman flying drones

In this 110th episode of the programme, ahead of Women’s Day which falls on March 8, Mr. Modi interacted with rural women from Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. 

He had a conversation with Sitapur-based Sunita Devi who completed her training in flying drones, and is now employing drones to spray fertiliser on her fields. “I have sprayed 35 acres using drones. During rains, when one is unable to enter the fields to harvest crops, we can do our work standing on the farm boundary,” Ms. Devi said. 

The Prime Minister also spoke with Kalyani Prafulla Patil, a member of a Jal Jeevan Mission water committee in Maharashtra. “I hold an M.Sc. Microbiology and have been working in my gram panchayat for three years. We collected ten types of flora and we have made an organic spray from it to ward away pests. We have made 20 recharge shafts in our village, and secured sanction for 50 recharge shafts for rainwater harvesting at government buildings like the primary school, anganwadi, and our gram panchayat building,” Ms. Patil said.  

AI tiger monitor

Mr. Modi said that during the the last few years, through the efforts of the government, the number of tigers in the country has increased. The number of tigers in the Tiger Reserve of Chandrapur, Maharashtra has risen to more than 250.

“The help of Artificial Intelligence is being taken to reduce conflict between humans and tigers in Chandrapur district. Here, cameras have been installed on the border of the villages and the forest. Whenever a tiger comes near a village, with the help of AI, local people get an alert on their mobile. Today, this system has provided a lot of convenience to the people in 13 villages,” he said. 

In Uttarakhand’s Roorkee, the Rotor Precision Group, in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India, has developed a drone which is helping to keep an eye on the crocodiles in the Ken River, Mr. Modi said. Similarly, a Bengaluru company has created apps named ‘Bagheera’ and ‘Garuda’. With the Bagheera app, vehicle speed and other activities can be monitored during a jungle safari. It is being used in many tiger reserves actoss the country. The Garuda app, based on Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, starts providing real-time alerts when it is connected to any CCTV.

Village goat banks

In Kalahandi, Odisha, goat-rearing is becoming a major path to improving the livelihood of the village people as well as their standard of living, Mr. Modi said. This transformation is being propelled by Jayanti Mahapatra and her husband Biren Sahu, both of whom were management professionals in Bengaluru, who then decided to take a break and come to the Salebhata village of Kalahandi. Here, they started Manikastu Agro and the Manikastu Goat Bank, which is promoting goat-rearing at the community level.

“Through this, farmers are given two goats for 24 months. Goats give birth to nine to 10 kids in two years, out of which six kids are kept by the bank, and the rest are given to the same family which rears goats. Not only that, necessary services are also provided for the care of goats,” Mr. Modi said. “Today, more than 1,000 farmers from 50 villages are associated with this couple. With their help, the village people are moving towards self-reliance in the field of animal husbandry,” he added. 

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