A birthday card for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from Northeasthttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/narendra-modi-birthday-northeast-mary-kom-6004345/

A birthday card for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from Northeast

PM Narendra Modi has ensured sturdy development across sectors, with a personal touch.

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There is no doubt that Prime Minister Modi is health conscious and, because of his personal involvement, yoga is recognised throughout the world and practised to build a healthier society.

The very first time I met our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a few years back, he told me, “You are like a daughter to me and you can always come whenever you need anything”. I still sense and see that same attitude, something that makes me comfortable every time I meet him. More than a leader, I feel like I am meeting a father figure to whom I can address anything. He is a great inspiration to me personally for his selfless life, devoted towards the welfare of the society and the nation.

There are specific milestones which I noticed under his leadership which are admirable. Being a sportsperson, the first thing that comes to my mind is how sports are being promoted and taken to the next level. Setting aside the other achievements, through Khelo India, sportspersons are benefitting a lot — new and young talents are being identified, recognised and nurtured in all possible ways to excel. The achievers are being encouraged to do better. I believe that with this pace — from both the government and sportspersons — we will surely perform better in the times to come.

There is no doubt that Prime Minister Modi is health conscious and, because of his personal involvement, yoga is recognised throughout the world and practised to build a healthier society. It is great to see a prime minister personally performing yoga and setting an example for the citizens. His initiative, the ‘Fit India Movement’ is also one of the more unique and significant steps to have been taken. Yes, fitness comes first and it is a prerequisite for moving forward and becoming more productive in life.

In India, the declining child sex ratio presented a dreadful scenario. The ratio of the girl child was falling steeply compared to boys due to various societal reasons. Under PM Modi’s leadership, a campaign was launched for the welfare of girls as well as to make people more aware of the declining child sex ratio through the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao initiative. This is something I consider to be a very welcome move, and certainly worth working for. I do believe that in a few years from now, there is going to be visible positive change visible not only in this ratio, but also in the attitude and mindset of the people. We are witnessing how women achievers are proving their mettle in various fields: There is a renewed confidence that we (women/girls) can do it.

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Cleanliness is next to godliness. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, an initiative towards a cleaner India, has been a great success — it has been one of the most effective campaigns, featuring very high participation by one and all. This mission has immensely benefited the entire nation. Cities and localities are becoming cleaner, and several states and union territories have been declared open defecation-free. It is also a silent reminder of how we ought to be more responsible citizens — that we are as responsible as the government. The credit goes to PM Modi for spearheading the movement and taking it to the people, making it a mass movement. Another initiative which is close to the PM’s heart is the Clean Ganga mission. Efforts are being made now to arrest pollution in the river, and an integrated programme, “Namami Gange”, has been launched for this.

We are all aware of the harmful impact of plastic pollution on Mother Nature. Recently, during his Independence Day address to the nation, PM Modi made an appeal to the people of India to shun the use of single-use plastic, and encouraged everyone to use cloth and jute bags. Beating plastic pollution is something which I feel is the need of the hour to make our environment cleaner and sustainable.

I belong to Northeast India, a region blessed with very talented and hard-working people but which did not receive much attention in the past few decades. PM Modi’s attention and attitude towards the Northeast is not only heartening, it is ensuring fast-paced progress in the entire region. We are seeing rapid development through infrastructure projects, agriculture and in the deployment of special schemes for the Northeast. This focus gives confidence to the people of our region and will give great results in the future.

The dedication of PM Modi to serve the nation deserves great respect. I have complete faith in him that, in the time to come — and under his leadership, our country will reach the glorious heights of progress.

I wish him a healthy and long life!

This article first appeared in the print edition on September 18, 2019 under the title ‘A birthday card, from Northeast’. The writer is six-time winner at the World Boxing Championship and nominated member of the Rajya Sabha.

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