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Narendra Modi Prefers to Finish Pending Projects Instead of Waiving Loans

He also targeted the Congress for launching housing schemes in the name of former Prime Ministers

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi.(Wikimedia Commons)

In an obvious attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that he preferred to complete the pending irrigation projects to empower farmers instead of waiving their loans.

Modi told a public rally in Palamau, about 160 km from Ranchi, that when he took power in May 2014, he found that several irrigation projects were pending for 30 to 40 years.

“Our government has started work on 99 pending irrigation projects at a cost of Rs 90,000 crore. Our government preferred to complete the irrigation projects instead of waiving loans,” he said after laying the foundation stones of six irrigation projects.

Work on the North Koel (Mandal) irrigation project was started in 1972 and ended in 1993, Modi said. The irrigation project is now a joint venture of Bihar and Jharkhand.

The Prime Minister said that it would irrigate 111,000 hectare of land including 19,000 hectares in Jharkhand.

In 1972, the project cost was Rs 30 crore which had now swollen to Rs 2,400 crore, he pointed out.

“Keeping the irrigation projects pending was criminal negligence on the part of the previous government,” he said.

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Preferred to finish pending projects instead of waiving loans: Modi, flickr

“How could a irrigation project be pending for 50 years? The previous government viewed farmers as a vote bank while our government considers them Annadata.”

Again attacking the Congress, Modi said: “The previous government first made the farmer take loan and is now doing the drama of loan waiving.

“Our government believes in strengthening the farmer and empowering them by ensuring irrigation to agriculture land.”

Modi congratulated Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar of Bihar and Raghubar Das of Jharkhand for setting an example of cooperative federalism.

“I congratulate both Chief Minister for starting the Mandal dam project. This is happening when many states are fighting over water and the cases are in the Supreme Court.”

Narendra Modi also took a dig at Congress President Rahul Gandhi but without taking his name.

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“Those who are showing concern for farmers must not be knowing what Koel is? They must be confused whether Koel is the name of a bird or something else.”

He also targeted the Congress for launching housing schemes in the name of former Prime Ministers.

“I changed the name of the housing schemes so that the PM Awas Yojna should continue under any Prime Minister. Earlier middlemen were active in the housing scheme… Now everything is done in a transparent manner. The housing scheme beneficiaries are now women.

“In less than five years, we have constructed more than 1.25 crore houses and in five years of the Madam-controlled government only 25 lakh houses were built,” he said, referring to former Congress President Sonia Gandhi. (IANS)

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Know How Grammy Award Winner Inspired by PM Modi to Dedicate Music to Environment

From songs like "Ganga" - depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians - to his Grammy-winning album "Winds of Samara" - which speaks of peace and global harmony

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grammy award winner, modi
"What was to be a photo opportunity with the Prime Minister turned into an hour-long discussion with him on environment. He spoke on the impact music could have on society and inspired me to make music on environment," Kej told IANS in an interview here. Wikimedia

A chance meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2015 in New Delhi inspired Bengaluru-based Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej to dedicate his life and music to the cause of environment.

Since then, Kej, who has represented India on global fora, performing at venues including the United Nations General Assembly in New York and UN Headquarters in Geneva, has been using music to flag ecological issues to policymakers and public the world over.

“What was to be a photo opportunity with the Prime Minister turned into an hour-long discussion with him on environment. He spoke on the impact music could have on society and inspired me to make music on environment,” Kej told IANS in an interview here.

From songs like “Ganga” – depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians – to his Grammy-winning album “Winds of Samara” – which speaks of peace and global harmony – Kej’s music connects with all — from world leaders to the man on the street.

With the aid of compelling visuals, Kej’s music, and collaborations with global music artists, highlights the deleterious consequences of urbanisation, climate change and human-animal conflict.

modi, grammy award winner
From songs like “Ganga” – depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians – to his Grammy-winning album “Winds of Samara” – which speaks of peace and global harmony – Kej’s music connects with all — from world leaders to the man on the street. Wikimedia

“There are so many issues in India like child labour, gender inequality and poverty, which none seem to be reflecting through music. We see that music has lost the identity of being an art form and has become a profession,” he lamented.

Kej, 37, bagged Grammy in 2015 for the ‘Best New Age Album’ for “Winds of Samsara”, created along with South African flautist Wouter Kellerman. He is also recognised as the ‘United Nations Global Humanitarian Artist’ for his music with environmental consciousness.

The subjects of Kej’s music include, the rising air pollution in global cities and towns, the perils being posed to wildlife due to urbanisation and the story of Republic of Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean off Fiji, whose coasts are receding each year due to rising ocean levels due to global warming, among others.

With 15 studio albums released internationally, 3,500 commercials, three feature films in Kannada and over 100 music awards in 20 countries to his credit, the conservationist-musician’s album “Shanti Samsara” was released by Modi and then French President Francois Hollande at the United Nations Conference of Parties (CoP-21) Climate Change Conference in Paris, held from November 30-December 12, 2015.

The album, conceived after his meeting with Modi, had Kej collaborate with about 500 musicians from 40 countries, for songs like “Ganga”, throwing light on the pollution plaguing the river, and on “Earth and Water”.

“Politicians and policymakers are used to statistics and numbers, but when one approaches them through art, it makes a lot of difference. I have seen politicians change their perspectives towards environmental causes after attending my concerts,” Kej asserted.

The element of environment and nature in his work comes from his own experiences. For instance, he composed the song “One With Earth” – which highlights natural farming and the need to give up chemical fertilisers – after he lived with the tribals in Andhra Pradesh’s Araku Valley to understand their lifestyle and traditional farming techniques.

Grammy award winner, modi
“There are so many issues in India like child labour, gender inequality and poverty, which none seem to be reflecting through music. We see that music has lost the identity of being an art form and has become a profession,” he lamented. Wikimedia

Born in 1981 in North Carolina in the US, Kej moved to Bengaluru with family when he was eight, with intense love for music and nature.

“As a child, I felt music and nature were connected and found music in the sounds of nature, birds and animals. I used to look at music as a way of understanding history, cultures and emotions from different parts of the world. A lot of my education was through music,” said Kej, who was part of a rock band “Angel Dust” during his class 12th from Bishop Cotton Boys’ School in Bengaluru.

Even as Kej pursued a dental science course on his father’s advice, he continued to create music and decided to pursue it full-time on completing the degree.

“Like most musicians, I started my career with popular music and later turned to heavy metal and jazz. I finally zeroed in on world music as it connects with the people the world over, irrespective of the language they speak,” Kej recalled.

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As a professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in the renowned Indian Institute of Science (IISc) campus in this tech hub, the musician believes his job is to approach environmental subjects artistically.

“Numbers don’t hit people as hard as visuals and art can. My job as a musician is to drive the numbers and data through emotions,” Kej added. (IANS)