9 nominees of Modi’s Garbage Bucket Challenge have total twitter following of over 20 million


Ever imagined a trend where an ‘Indian’ wielding a broom in his hand would become the poster boy of a campaign for a cleanliness drive. A Prime Minister, who came to power to eradicate the ‘Dirt’ of Corruption from the Indian Politics, has also taken up the humongous task by heralding ‘Clean Revolution’ in India.

Bringing everyone on the same platform for the ‘Clean India’ Campaign requires social outreach rather than a political one. This Prime Minister is one of the most digital and media savvy leaders in the world. He has taken a page out of the Ice Bucket challenge and nominated 9 Indian celebrities to create awareness among Indian followers and spread the message of ‘Cleanliness’. His choice has been very interesting, ensuring that the campaign reaches out to as many Indians as possible through the mass fan following of the nine celebrities that he has nominated. It is no coincidence that they all have a huge social media following. Smartphone apps, social media networks and digital media are abuzz with the ‘Clean India’ campaign and that is what the PM wanted.

With the trend of posting a selfie, don’t be surprised if you see a few pictures of youths wielding brooms. Recreating the magic of Sachin Tendulkar, Modi has tried to bring the Master Blaster into the public community by nominating the most recent ‘Bharat Ratna’ to take up this daunting challenge. It is the same with the other nominated celebrities who have been equally active. Out of the 125 crore Indians, Modi has successfully managed to rope in the youth brigade into the drive through these carefully chosen nominees. As the campaign spreads its wings, more celebrities are volunteering to project awareness and ensure that the mission stays alive. Modi’s vision to see a ‘Clean India’ by 2019 has been successfully crafted, by using the social media, the presence of celebrities and thereby engaging the youth of India.  And, that is really a clever move!

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@PMO: Declare Sainik Diwas as a Public Holiday!


Today is Veterans Day in the USA and it is a public holiday, which is recognized, by the President and other leaders around the country by paying their respects to the sacrifices of approx. 19.6 million Veterans (Source: U.S. Census bureau).  The US has fought twenty-one wars since the end of World War I and it is still engaged in conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and has troops stationed in South Korea and other regions. Which other country comes to mind that has been engaged in so many conflicts and is surrounded by two nuclear armed neighbors with which it has fought wars. India ranks 3rd amongst the largest armies in the World and its Veterans that number around 1,325,000. While most nations across the world celebrate Veterans Day as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, India too will have her own celebration for the veteran soldiers.

This Prime Minister is working hard to bring national pride back to India and I admire his initiative to honor the sacrifices of the founding fathers like Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. However the time has come for the Prime Minister to designate one day where its leaders remember to honor the ones who lay down their lives for the freedom that its people enjoy. This will bring honor to the armed forces and pride in people joining the armed forces as a good career choice. It will also restore pride and honor to the families of the ones who make sacrifices to protect the harsh terrains in India.

India has started celebrating holidays popular in the US like Valentine’s Day, Halloween etc, that were created primarily to prop up retailers in the US but this is one holiday that is truly a worthy where the PM can lead by example. Just like the Swachh Bharat campaign, celebrating the Sainik Diwas on similar lines as Veterans Day, can project the importance of the armed personnel in making India what it is today.

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Come Make in India sounds louder today on Engineer’s Day

MUMBAI_METRO_1938506fProduction of Medical equipments, Sanitation and Defence equipments set to make India a global leader

India ranks highest in the number of Engineers passing out of colleges every year. With over 1.5 million engineers currently playing key roles in the way the world looks at India, PM Modi himself has a huge expectation from the community. The occasion abundantly highlights the need of the hour by asking the ‘evergreen’ battalion of engineers to step into the picture and play a bigger role. As the Indian Prime Minister sets on his next foreign trip to USA, engineers do anticipate a sea of opportunities waving at them. Chances are Indian engineers will get top-grade infrastructure to showcase their skills and deliver high-end products matching the expectations of the Western world.

India observes today, 15TH September, as Engineer’s Day. Celebrating the 154th Birth anniversary of India’s most influential engineer, Sir M Visvesvaraya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the community and delivered an inspiring comment on why Enginner’s Day could mark the revival of excellence in manufacturing of medical devices, defense equipments and sanitary infrastructure.

Sir MV as he was popularly called, Visvesvaraya transformed the face of many cities during his stint in the Public Works Department of the Government of Bombay. Indian engineers derive their inspiration to dig deep into the issues and finding answers from the rural belt from MV. The zeal to find an innovative solution with recyclable capabilities is owed to Sir MV. As India approaches 2020, MV’s mission is as much a driving force as former President Kalam’s vision. Engineers have a definitive role to play in making a reality out of Modi’s Independence Day speech as well. Transforming the infrastructure and making new cities is a huge task that is not possible unless the technical experts step into the scene. Sir MV built drainage systems in Hyderabad that still maintains the city’s lifeline with minimum blocks.  Bihar and Orissa were reeling under floods and droughts when MV stepped in with his rail bridges and water irrigation schemes. The commercial capital of India- Mumbai, then Bombay, saw the most advanced set of water weir gates and automatic sluice gates for a world-class dam irrigation system that still continues to awe many engineering students. Credit goes to MV to put India on the charts of Dam building when he built the KSR dam in Mysore. It was the biggest man-made water holding structure in Asia during that time. Bhakra Nangal, Hirakund and Nagarjuna Sagar dams are all part of his grand design that got their flying wing post-Independence. Narendra Modi has a sure shot agenda and nothing can come between the dreams and reality when the present crop of engineers have their hands full. US is already supplying India with Nuclear power initiatives.

The recent visit to Japan must have made the Prime Minister more ambitious and he rests his confidence in the present league of Indian engineers spanning across various streams. His dream to make Waterway, the most used mode of transport and connecting the river systems will bring the civil engineers and geologists together. China has already pitched in with infrastructure projects that promises to transform the scene of Indian Railways and ports.  Modi’s US Visit will further crank up his economic and academic projections, where it has a huge role for engineers and research technocrats. Same goes with building the world-class Bullet train network linking metro cities. Roaming issues and slower pace continue to bug the industry. Telecommunications and Computer engineers are eyeing faster and more efficient yet cheaper tariffs when it comes to communication. Space research, clean energy initiatives and cheaper medicine and vaccination manufacturing have all their core rested in the fertile sectors of engineering.

PM’s ‘Come make in India’ call can only bear fruit when the engineers get the right direction. We all know they are doing the best of what is available… It can be much better.

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Modi plays Robinhood for the cause of bigger economic ‘good’—PM Jan Dhan Yojna rocks!

modirobin Robinhood to Modihood—the financial inclusion scheme is a great move empowering women and unbanked Indians for the first time in the history of independent India 

Prime Minister Modi has created a record by opening 15-million new bank accounts in a day (August 28th, 2014) and aiming for 75-million in 2 months. This has not just created an tremendous economic stimuli for the under-privileged and un-banked masses of India, but hopefully it will take away the loan sharks and the chit-fund operators who have scammed these masses for over 60 years. The Jana-Dhana scheme aims to accomplish the objective of providing basic banking accounts with a debit card and inbuilt accident insurance. On the eve of Ganesha Chaturthi (Lord Ganesh is worshipped as the god of prosperity and good luck), Modi dedicated the mobile banking facility on the basic mobile phone (USSD) to the nation.

By eliminating the unscrupulous middle-men Modi has become Robinhood by taking money from these loan sharks who have grown rich on taking advantage of the rural poor and giving it back to the people. India’s mobile phone density with over 870 million subscribers makes mobile telephony a lucrative market in the country. Leveraging this technological boon with the use of banking services, the main features of the PM Jana Dhan yojna include Rs 5,000 overdraft facility for Aadhar-linked accounts, debit card with inbuilt Rs 1 lakh accident insurance cover and minimum monthly remuneration of Rs 5,000 to business correspondents who will provide the last link between the account holders and the bank.

The government’s bench-mark scheme will help boost the confidence of un-banked households (men and women) in India with easy mobile banking for instant transfers etc. The scheme under the Jan Dhan Yojana proposes to pass on the benefits of the Government subsidies directly to the accounts of beneficiaries.

The banking network is set ready to open bank accounts of the uncovered households in both rural and urban areas. In fact, the banking sector is likely to expand and set up additional 50,000 business correspondents, more than 7,000 branches and more than 20,000 new ATMs in the first phase. I also see this as a boost to the rural banking sector in India which has been declining since 1991.

It is a big step by the Indian government which has put in resources and political capital to ensure that cash transfers are headed the right way. It is a service which is likely to empower rural and urban women economically and create great economic stimuli since the savings rate in the rural sector is very high, and most of the savings are usually put under the mattress or invested in gold jewellery. Now they can flow to the banking sector, and in turn, allow the Government to use financial resources for spending on infrastructure.

Your thoughts are welcome.

Sanjay Puri

Sanjay Puri has been working on Indian-American issues and facilitating stronger US-India relations through USINPAC (US India Political Action Committee and AUSIB (Alliance for US India Business), two bipartisan organizations that he chairs.

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