Many of them have come from small towns and overcome to several hurdles to reach where they are today, he said. The programme also shared recorded messages of some of the athletes.
Prime Minister Modi also asked the youngsters to join the ‘Swachh Bharat Summer Internship 2008’ launched by his government and announced incentives, including credit point by the UGC, for participants, saying it is an opportunity for those who want to make a change in the society.
PM Modi also pitched for water conservation, saying it should be everyone’s responsibility and asserted that his government has spent Rs 32,000 crore annually outside the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) budget and 150 lakh acre land have benefitted from it in the last three years.
In his over 30-minute address, PM Modi touched on a number of topics, including Indian athletes’, especially women’s, achievement in the Commonwealth Games, people’s response to his call for fitness and also paid tributes to Prophet Mohammad and Lord Buddha ahead of the month of Ramzan and ‘Buddha Purnima’ respectively.
Noting that India had carried out nuclear tests on Buddha Purnima on May 11 in 1998, when BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee was prime minister, PM Modi said youths need to imbibe Vajpayee’s mantra of ‘Jai Vigyan’ (hail science) to make India modern and strong.
Giving a call to students to join the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign during their summer vacation, he said three ministries of his government have launched an internship programme and it is an opportunity for those who want to work for the society, contribute positively and bring about a change.
“The best of the interns who have strived in schools and colleges with excellent work will be rewarded with recognition at the national level. Not just that, those interns who accomplish their tasks well will be awarded two credit points each by the UGC ,” PM Modi said.
It will also boost the cleanliness campaign, a signature project of his government, those who participate in it will feel “a sense of fulfillment” when the country celebrates the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, he said.
Turning to water conservation, he said India has traditionally done it and cited examples of many temples and other historic places that have done so and noted that some rivers in states like Kerala and Uttar Pradesh have been revived recently. “ (We are) Leaving no stone unturned for water conservation,” he said.
PM Narendra Modi also expressed his happiness at enthusiastic response to his ‘FitIndia’ invite. He said that many have written to him and shared ‘Fitness Mantra- Fit India’ stories on social media.
PM Modi said that he appreciates eminent personalities like Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar for sharing videos on Twitter which show him exercise with wooden beads and playing volleyball to encourage youth to make India a FitIndia.
He also called “Yoga an inexpensive movement for FitIndia,” and urging everyone to join and celebrate the upcoming International Yoga Day on June 21.
The prime minister drew from the teachings of Prophet Mohammad and said he believed in knowledge and compassion. His life taught people to walk the path of equality and brotherhood, PM Modi said.
“Lord Buddha believed in peace, harmony and brotherhood and these values are needed the most in the world today,” PM Modi said.
India is developing infrastructure to boost Buddhism tourism, he said, and working to connect easily with the Buddhist countries of the south east Asia.
Bhim Rao Ambedkar was also inspired by Buddha in his work for empowering the marginalised sections of society, he said.
Modi also paid tributes to Rabindranath Tagore, whose birth anniversary falls on May 7, and said he would regularly listen to ‘Rabindra Sangeet’ when he was a child.