Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed the science community for India’s record satellite launch and successful testing of a missile system as he made another pitch for digital payments.
February 15 was a historic day for India as it launched 104 satellites in one go, Modi said of the record achieved by the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation.
“This cost effective, efficient space programme of Isro has become a marvel for the entire world,” the Prime Minister said during the 29th edition of Mann ki Baat, his monthly radio show.
For the 124 satellites put into orbit, 101 were for foreign countries.
Modi singled out India’s Cartosat 2D, saying it would map resources and infrastructure. It would be of great help to farmers, as it would give a correct measure of water available and help them make the best use of resources at hand.
“It is also a matter of exultation for us that this entire campaign was led and steered by our young scientists, our women scientists. This tremendous participation of youth and women is a major glorious dimension in ISRO’s success.” Modi said.
The country had achieved a milestone in the field of defence as well. India successfully test fired a ballistic interceptor missile, he said.
The missile, test-fired on February 11, is capable of hitting an incoming ballistic missile, a significant milestone in developing a two-layered ballistic missile defence system.
Only four or five countries had this capability, the PM said, as he encouraged the young to embrace science.
“The country needs more and more scientists. Today’s scientist becomes a potent catalyst for enduring change in the lives of our future generations,” Modi said.
Technology, he said, could be used in innovative ways to improve lives of people. Digital payments were getting popular in the country and people were gradually switching over to cash-less transactions.
Modi talked about the success of Lucky Graahak Yojana and Digi-Dhan Vyapari Yojana, programmes aimed at encouraging people and traders to go cashless.
The cashless push came after the government in a surprise move withdrew Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. As these two bills accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation, it led to a huge cash crunch that saw people switch to digital modes of transaction.
But a lot need to be done. As HT wrote on February 26, with money situation easing, many people, even among the winners of the lottery scheme, are going back to dealing in cash. Infrastructure and transaction charges continue to be the biggest hurdles
Modi urged the youth and lottery winners to become ambassadors of the two schemes and encourage people to go cashless that would go a long way in the fight against corruption and black money.
“To me, each and every individual involved in this mission constitute a new anti-corruption cadre in the country. In a way you are a soldier in the cause of cleanliness and purity.”
He asked each of the winners to teach at least 125 people the use of BHIM App in the memory of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar, whose 125 birth anniversary would be celebrated on April 14.
Bharat Interface for Money, or BHIM, is an app developed by the government to further its cashless push.