Addressing the nation through his monthly radio program, Mann ki baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spoke on topics ranging from handicrafts, artisans, board exams, to women empowerment.

PM started the 62nd episode of his radio program by talking about his visit to the Hunar Haat in the national capital where he paid a surprise visit on Wednesday.

PM Modi narrated the story of a “divyang” (handiapped) painter at the Hunar Haat. He urged the people to visit the fest where artisans from across the country have come to sell and display their work. “A few days ago, at a small place at HunarHaat in Delhi, I witnessed hues of our country’s diverse expanse, cultures, traditions, cuisines & the warmth of emotions,” he said.

PM Modi said, listening to a divyang woman at Hunar Haat was a source of fulfillment. She told me that earlier she used to sell paintings on the pavement. Her life changed after she connected with Hunar Haat. Through Hunar Haat, close to 3 lakh artisans gained opportunities for employment.

As it is the season of migratory birds, PM Modi said that it is a matter of pride for that for the next three years, India will chair the COP convention on migratory species. Throughout the year, India is home to many migratory species. “We are told that more than 500 varieties of birds fly in from varied regions. Recently, Gandhinagar host to COP13 convention, where this phenomenon was mulled over, discussed and deliberated,” he said.

Talking about wildlife, PM Modi said that biologists have discovered a new species of fish whose habitat is within the caves of Meghalaya. It is believed that this fish is the largest among aquatic species found under the surface of caves. ‘It lives in dark, dark underground caves, with little chance of light reaching in. Scientists are perplexed at the ability of this large fish to survive in such deep caves,’ he said. It is a matter of joy that our India, and especially Meghalaya is home to a rare species. It lends a new facet to India’s biodiversity, he added.

He then went on to talk about children and youth in India who are increasingly taking a keen interest in science and technology. “When I was in Bengaluru during Chandrayan2, I witnessed immense enthusiasm and fervor on part of children present there. There was no sign of drowsiness from any angle. To give a fillip to this very enthusiasm in children and young people; ISRO launched a facility to sit, watch rocket launching at Sriharikota. Online booking is also possible through a link provided on ISRO,” he said.

The Prime Minister then spoke about ISRO’s Yuvika programme which he said is a very commendable effort on part of the space organisation to integrate youth with science. The Yuvika programme was launched for school, students in 2019. It is an acronym for Yuva Vigyani Karyakram and this programme is in consonance with our vision “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Anusandhaan”. In this programme, students after their exams, during their holidays, visit different centres of ISRO and learn about space technology. “If you wish to be a participant of this training, you can register by visiting the website of Yuvika linked to that of ISRO.”

The PM said that the beautiful valleys of Ladakh witnessed a momentous event on January 31, for History, was made when an Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft took off from Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpoche Airport. Notably, Biojet Fuel is prepared from non-edible tree borne oil. It is procured from various tribal areas of India. These efforts will not only reduce carbon emissions but may also reduce India’s dependence on crude oil imports.

PM Modi said that New India is not willing to tag along with the old approach. In particular, our sisters, mothers grasping challenges hands-on thus setting a pace for a positive transformation in society. Purnia region in Bihar is an inspiration for people across the country, he said.

He said entrepreneurship of women, daughters of our country, their courage, are a matter of pride for each one of us. I would particularly like to share with you, the achievement of 12-year-old daughter Kamya Karthikeyan. Kamya, 12, has conquered Mount Aconcagua. This is the highest peak of the Andes Mountains in South America, which is about 7000 meters high. “Every Indian will be touched by the fact that at the beginning of this month when Kamya conquered the peak, the first thing she did was to hoist our tricolour there,” he said.

Kamya, PM Modi said, is now on a new mission, which is called ‘Mission Saahas’. Under this she is trying to conquer highest peaks of all continents, also be skiing on North, South poles. I wish Kamya all the best for ‘Mission Saahas’. He said, “A Nation that is fit, will always be a nation that is a hit. I make a special appeal to all of you to visit the place of your choice, pick up the activity of your interest and ensure integrating of your life with adventure.”

“I think students will be busy with their exams until next Mann Ki Baat. My heartiest wishes to those who are busy, carefree,” he said, adding that “we will meet again in next Mann Ki Baat with lots of new topics. Namaskaar”.