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As crowds gathered for India’s first Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai on Saturday with British Rock band Coldplay being the highlight, they were first greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed the crowd via video-conferencing and told them about his experience at the New York Global Citizen Festival back in 2014 and talked about Swacchh Bharat mission.
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Addressing the crowd through video conferencing, PM Modi started on a light note, acknowledging that the English music band Coldplay was going to perform. “I know that I stand between you and Coldplay so I will make this brief,” he said, adding that he was glad he was only asked to speak and not sing. “You’ve been smart in asking me to only address gathering and not sing, or else I’m sure you’d be asking money back that too in Rs 100 notes.”
PM Modi also commented on how times were changing by citing the Bob Dylan song. “The times, they are a changing,” he said.
Talking about the Swachh Bharat mission, he said that the worst affected by malnutrition, unemployment, corruption and dirt are the poor and that the youth should be participating in cleansing the country in all senses. “Kuposhan ho, berozgari ho, bhrashtachar ho, aswachata ho, iska sabse zyada asar gareebon par hi padta hai. The young people have taken the initiative of “Swacch Bharat Abhiyan” forward, be it for the country orblack money,” he said.
“On the whole, I’m convinced that we can and we will build a Swachh Bharat free of all forms of filth within one generation. Deeply grateful to you for working shoulder to shoulder with me in this cleanliness drive and look forward that you continue to do so. India is a young country and our future is build on the choices you make and the actions you take; hope you too will seize the moment,” he said.
He then recounted his experience at the Global Citizen Festival in New York in 2014, regretting that this time his schedule didn’t allow him to come in person. “Back in 2014, I had enjoyed attending the Global Citizen Festival in the beautiful Central Park of New York. This time around, my schedule didn’t permit me to come in person,” he said.
PM Modi stressed the importance of youth and how it is always energising for him to be among them. “I always look forward to being among young people. It refreshes and re-energises me. You bring an energy and idealism that is unparalleled,” he said.
The Global Citizen Festival India is being held at MMRDA Grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. More than 80 per cent of the tickets were given away free to those who took part in social activities in support of Global Citizen India across the country.
More than 80,000 fans from across the country will be seen thronging the event. Global Citizen Festival is focused on creating an impact in areas of education, equality, and clean water and sanitation.