New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India will soon make its presence felt on the Moon with the Chandrayaan-2 mission and appreciated the use of space technology in saving assets and life, and in delivering government schemes.
Delivering his first 'Mann Ki Baat' address of 2019, which was the 52nd edition of his monthly radio programme, Modi summed up the government's achievements such as bringing 98 per cent of rural India under sanitation coverage, declassifying the files related to freedom fighter and INA founder Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Through its highly competitive launch services, Modi said, India not only propels the satellites of developing countries but also those of developed nations.
"We have created a world record for launching 104 satellites simultaneously from the same spacecraft. We will soon register India's presence on the Moon through the Chandrayaan-2 campaign," Modi said.
He added that Indian satellites symbolise the country's growing power and help in establishing better relations with other countries.
Modi said the government is using space technology in delivering government schemes as well as maintaining accountability in government programmes.
He cited examples of Geo-tagging of about 40 lakh houses in the 'Housing For All' scheme and 30.5 million properties under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act besides distribution of NAVIC devices to fishermen for their safety and economic development.
He also pointed out the fact that the number of successful space missions attempted since the country's independence until 2014 have been equal to those successfully completed in the past four years.
The Prime Minister remembered Vikram Sarabhai saying that he played an important role in India's space programme.
Modi described Netaji as a "heroic soldier" and "skilled organiser" and said that his government has fulfilled the long pending demand of making the files related to the freedom fighter public.
"For many years it was being demanded that the files related to Netaji be made public and I am happy that we fulfilled this demand," he said.
Sharing an anecdote about Netaji's life, the Prime Minister said: "I have always considered radio as an important means to communicate with the people. In the same way, Netaji too had a very deep connection with the radio and he also chose radio to communicate with the countrymen."
Modi also highlighted the museum dedicated to Netaji inaugurated on January 23 at the Red Fort.
In his speech, he also mentioned his visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands last month.
"I went to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and at a programme, the national flag was hoisted at the same place where Netaji had unfurled it 75 years ago," he said.
"Similarly, when the flag was hoisted on the Red Fort in October 2018, everyone was surprised, as it is only the tradition on August 15 to hoist a flag there. But it was an opportunity to mark 75 years of the formation of the Azad Hind government."
The Prime Minister also urged first time voters to register and cast their ballots in the coming Lok Sabha polls saying this will be the first time that youth born after 2000 will vote.
Modi said more than 5.5 lakh villages and 600 districts have been declared open defecation free (ODF) and 98 per cent of rural India is now under sanitation coverage with nine crore households being provided with latrines.
"Due to the unequivocal support from the people of India, today India is moving towards liberation from open defecation much prior to the target of October 2, 2019," he said.
Modi also hailed the Election Commission (EC) for holding elections across the length and breadth of the country and said that the people of the country were proud of it.
He praised the recently concluded Khelo India Youth Games, saying it gave a platform to local-level players to "shine globally".
In January, about 6,000 players participated in 18 disciplines in the Games held in Pune.
"Only when the local ecosystem of our sports will be strong i.e. only when our base will be strong, then only our youth will be able to perform their best in the country and across the world," Modi said.
He urged everyone to pay a 2-minute tribute to the martyrs on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30.
Modi also paid tribute to the late Siddaganga Mutt Seer Shivakumara Swami, saying that he had dedicated his entire life to social service, working for the social, educational welfare of thousands of people.