The Minister of Finance, Shri Yashwant Sinha will release a special commemorative postage stamp in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of National Savings Organisation and the success of the savings movement in Independent India, here tomorrow. The Minister of Communications, Smt. Sushma Swaraj will be present on the occasion. The stamp, in the denomination of Rs.6/-, depicts the theme "Collective Thrift in the March of the Nation".
National Savings Organisation (NSO) has been consistently furthering the Savings Movement in our country. One of the spectacular achievements of the NSO is a record increase in mobilising the gross collections under various small savings schemes and PPF from a small beginning of Rs.243 crores in the First Five Year Plan to about Rs.50,000 crores in the Eighth Five Year Plan. The Organisation could succeed in reaching the investors at grass root level and has 48 million small savers.
The resources mobilised under the various small savings schemes form a part of plan finance of the Union Government and 75 per cent of this collection flows back to the States as loans repayable in 25 years to finance their development projects such as building roads, providing drinking water etc. It is how the common man is made a partner in nation-building. The Headquarters of the Organisation is Nagpur and the National Savings Commissioner is its head.
Though the savings movement in India has a history of 120 years, the organised savings movement began with the Government of India setting up "National Savings Central Bureau" in 1943 with the Headquarters in Shimla. The objective was to promote thrift, counteract inflationary trends in the economy caused by the Second World War and to collect funds to finance the War. This drive did not gain momentum as the people were not enthusiastic about financing an alien war. It was in the year 1948 that the Government of India decided to reorganise the savings movement. To this end in view, the National Savings Organisation was set up in June 1948.
The First Day Cover portrays the various facets of
activities of NSO and the Cancellation shows the NSO logo of honey-bee
which symbolises untiring effort, safety, security and good returns in
small savings activity. The First Day Cover alongwith the Information Sheet
will be available on sale at all Philatelic Bureaux/Counters and at select
The Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee has called for a collaborative effort linking Government and non-governmental organi- sations and others to create a positive and sensitive social environ- ment for people suffering from developmental disabilities which alone he stressed, would help change attitudes in society towards mentally challenged persons.
Inaugurating the National Pilot Project for Early Intervention to Prepare the Mentally Challenged Persons to Integrate with Family and Community here today the Prime Minister said that he was deliber- ataly using the term `mentally challenged' considering it to be more suitable substitute to the description `mentally retarded' since people live on the margins of every section of society including those that are themselves marginalised.
Describing the efforts in reaching up to the people suffering with inequalities as `the satkarma', he said that the Government must work to make a difference in the lives of the most neglected and marginalised sections of our society. Commending the approach in the National Pilot Project at integration of mentally challenged persons not only with the family but also with the community, the Prime Minister emphasised the need for early intervention strategies as the preventive approach would be far more fruitful than cure and costly treatment at a later stage and directed the Ministry of Social Jus- tice and Empowerment to take early action to put into action the proposal to set up a `National Trust for the Welfare of the Mentally Challenged and Persons with Cerebral Palsy and Autism'. The Prime Minister also stressed the need to give major focus in the national effort to reach out to women suffering from developmental disabili- ties and on the role of parents and the active partnership of reli- gious and cultural establishments in the national campaign. The following is the text of the Prime Minister's speech on the occasion :
"I consider it a privilege to be present on this important occa- sion. And I am not saying this in a manner of formality. As Prime Minister of the country, I am invited to attend many functions and inaugurate many programmes. Each one of them is significant in its own way, having a bearing on the social and economic development of our country.
But some programmes carry a greater emotional content in them and give a deeper sense of personal satisfaction. This is because, any degree of success in these programmes directly transforms itself into smile on a child's face, happiness in a suffering family and a sense of accomplishment in the community.
Today's programme is one of them. As I inaugurate the National Pilot Project for early intervention to prepare the mentally chal- lenged persons to integrate with family and community, my heart is filled with a gratifying belief.
It is the belief that here is a good deed - a satkarma - where the Government can indeed show that it has the ability to make a difference in the lives of the most neglected and marginalised section of our society. Independent India has seen many distortions in the developmental process, resulting in different kinds of inequalities in our society. These inequalities have pushed the poor and several other sections of our population to the margins of our national life.
But when we look at the mentally challenged persons in our midst - and I am using the term `mentally challenged' deliberately, as a more suitable substitute to the description `mentally retarded' - we find that they live on the margins of every section of society, including those that are themselves marginalised.
Barring happy exceptions, mentally challenged persons live a life of exclusion as much in a rich community as in a poor community. With exclusion comes apathy and indifference and even callousness. This deepens the distress of those suffering from developmental disabilities.
Here I would like to draw attention to an important difference between the treatment a mentally challenged person receives within their family and in the community. Family is still a strong institution in India, even though it is coming under many negative pressures, especially in cities and towns. Values such as love and care are still fairly deep-rooted in the family structure. Hence, mentally challenged persons receive affection and assistance in many families.
But the same cannot be said about the community. The rapid erosion of a sense of caring and empathy in our community life is the most painful feature of contemporary social life in India. This lack of caring and sensitivity manifests itself most starkly in the treatment given to disabled people as a whole, and to the mentally challenged persons in particular.
I am happy, therefore, to note that the National Pilot Project aims at integration of mentally challenged persons not only with family but also with community. It is especially heartening to know that the project has emphasised early intervention strategies. As in other areas of health care, here too a preventive approach is far more fruitful than cure and costly treatment at a later stage. I congratulate all those in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment who have played a role in designing this worthy project. While wishing them well, let me say that the entire country keenly awaits the positive outcome of this project.
I have reason to believe that the Pilot Project will give a good account of itself. This is because the Ministry has made voluntary and research organisations an integral part of this national effort. It has based the project on the pioneering work done in this sphere by CIMR, Kerala. This NGO has a remarkable performance to its credit through its grassroots activity in the six states of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Similarly, the National Institute of Mentally Handicapped, Secunderabad, is doing excellent work in research, training and providing extension services to the mentally challenged.
Let us give the researchers and volunteers of these organisations a big hand.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has finalised the proposal to set up a `National Trust for the Welfare of the Mentally Challenged and Persons with Cerebral Palsy and Autism'. This Trust would also manage properties bequeathed to it by the families of the mentally challenged. I urge the Ministry to put this noble idea into action at the earliest.
Friends, on this occasion, may I offer some suggestions and thoughts for the implementation of the Pilot Project, as also for the broader approach towards the issue of mental health and developmental disabilities? I am not an expert, but as someone who has seen life long enough from different angles, I think I can offer some useful ideas. First of all, mental and developmental disability is an issue where we in Government simply cannot take a bureaucratic approach. Integration and rehabilitation of mentally challenged persons is basically a societal task. Government should act to facilitate what is essentially a community effort.
This is all the more self-evident, considering the fact that despite the best efforts of Government so far, it has been able to reach out to only a small percentage of the physically and mentally disabled population of our country. In other words, all those in Government who are associated with this effort, should display the same sense of psychological, emotional, intellectual and spiritual involvement in the work as that shown by the dedicated grassroots volunteers.
Secondly, in your sensitisation campaign, you must
especially stress the all-important role of parents in understanding and
practising early intervention methods. Very often, parental ignorance plays
a major role in the worsening of a developmental problem that could otherwise
have been contained at a manageable level. Thirdly, there should be a major
focus in our national effort to reach out to women suffering from developmental
disabilities. Such women are the worst victims of community exclusion.
In the case of disabled girls and women, the very fact of being a woman
constitutes a further social disadvantage. Fourthly, nothing provides greater
strength to a family having a mentally challenged person than religious
and cultural resources. For the integration of such persons in community
too, religion and culture can play an important role. I would, therefore,
urge you to make religious and cultural establishments active partners
in this national campaign to enable mentally challenged persons live a
life of dignity in society. Lastly, we should involve organisations in
the fields of TV, press, films, music, sports, literature, arts and philanthropy
fully in this endeavour. A collaborative effort, linking Government and
NGOs and these organisations, alone can create a positive and sensi- tive
social environment for people suffering from developmental disabilities.
Integration is, after all, a matter of attitude. And it is the attitudes
in society towards mentally challenged persons that must change. My appeal
to you on this occasion is just this : Let us embark on a truly national
effort to prove to ourselves that mentally challenged persons are an integral
part of our families, our communities and our nation. Let us prove to ourselves
that we care for them and that we will do everything for their rehabilitation
and well-being. With these words, I formally inaugurate this great National
Pilot Project and wish it every success. Thank you".
The 13th Meeting of the Steel Consumers' Council will be held here tomorrow to facilitate a tripartite interaction amongst the parties-the Government, the producers and the consumers of steel.
The meeting will be chaired by the Union Minister of Steel and Mines, Shri Naveen Patnaik. The meeting is a forum in which the Government interacts with the producers and the consumers of steel industry so that the problems facing the producers and the consumers of steel can be resolved at the level of policy. The objective of the meeting is to identify, document and propose solutions to the technology and market oriented balance, improve domestic and export competitiveness, gain understanding of market trends and facilitate changes in the product & processes.
Following liberalisation of the Indian economy, Steel Consumers' Council Meeting has become a major annual event. The meeting has continued to add new dimensions as a sequel to increased propensity of Indian steel markets towards globalisation which characterises global management practices . based on effective computer net-working of production and business operations. It is the dedicated efforts of the Ministry of Steel to bring together steel makers, steel consumers, planners & policy makers and all those directly and indirectly related with the steel business, from across the country,in a binding relationship of mutual trust and shared goals and also to build up an environment conducive to the equitable and sustainable growth of iron & steel industry in India.
The Meeting will be attended by nodal Ministries
so that the policies of the Steel Ministry gets coordinated at the national
level, the main steel producers, the associations of the secondary steel
producers and also the associations of the steel consuming sectors so as
to provide wholistic perspective of the industry from all angles.
In order to attract more and more tourists to India, Ministry of Tourism has planned two mega events 'Vishwa Buddha Mahotasav' and 'Visit India Year' during coming days.
Speaking to press persons here today, Minister of Tourism Shri Madan Lal Khurana said that the Buddha Mahotasav will commence from 24th October, 1998. The major event would be an International Seminar on Buddhism from 4th November at Sarnath and continued to 6th November at Bodhgaya. Satellite events are planned at Bodhgaya, Kushinagar and Sarnath to facilitate meeting of Heads of States, Heads of Government, academics, theologists, office bearers of Buddhist associations, Buddhist Monk. The underlying idea is to regenerate flow of Buddist tourists to the Buddist circuit and other Buddist sites in the country. A large number of tourists from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Bhutan, China, Indonesia, Kampuchia, Laos, Mangolia, Mayanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and Buddist scholars are expected at Mahotsav, he said.
Shri Khurana said that it was proposed to invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other Buddist high Priests and to associate societies like the Mahabodhi Society which had taken up the cause of spreading the message of Lord Buddha in the world. Other high dignitaries are also being requested to attend.
A Steering Committee, under the Chairmanship of Union Minister for Tourism has been set to look after arangements. It include Tourism Minister of UP and Bihar as its co-chairman. The two state governments have set up a Reception Committee also co-chaired by their respective Ministers for Tourism.
Efforts were being made to improve facilitation services for the event, which will be sustained thereafter. Request has been made to Ministry of Home Affairs to expedite issue of visa for pilgrims wanting to visit places of Buddhist interest. Efforts will be made to arange visas on arrival at the entry points so that pilgrims do not have to face any difficulties. The Ministry of Railways has been requested to provide special long distancde trains from the South for Sri Lankan pilgrims and from Calcutta and Delhi for others. A special tourist train covering the Buddhist circuit will also be launched. Long distance flights operated by Indian Airlines and Air India to SOuth East Asia would be extended to Varanasi to facilitiate travel to the Buddist circuit. Gaya Airport would also be upgraded to handle Boeing 737 aircraft.
Shri Khurana disclosed that in order to derive permanent advantage from the entire efforts, it was being planned to set up a Buddist Heritage Fund and the Government of UP had already taken up preparation of project reports.
The Ministry of Tourism will publish material on Buddha and the destinations associated with his life. A special brochure will be developed for the event. These brochurs would be printed in Japanese, Yhai, Korean and Chinese language. Government of UP and Bihar have developed videos on the Buddist circuit. A CD Room has also been suggested for dissemination of picutres on Buddhist sites.
On the occasion, Cultural programmes will also be held for the visitors, including dance troupes and signers from countries with the link to Buddha, to make it an international event. An attempt is also being made to arrange a Sound and Light Show on the life of Lord Buddha. Budist Monks speaking various languages would also be tained as Tourist Guides for the event. Through this effort, the Ministry of Tourism hopes to encash on the long term benefits that would accrue through good experiences of the pilgrims and tourists.
The Ministry has also decided to celebrate 1999-2000 as Visit India year, Celebration will start from APril 1, 1998 to bid farewell to 20th Century and will continue to March 31, 2000 to welcome to new century. Special packages are being designed to attract Non Resident Indians specially youth so that they can have the glimpse of progress made by India during last 50 years. Air India, Indian Airlines, Railways, hotel and Travdel Industry are working on the package. Shri Khurana expressed the hope that these eforts would certainly enable India to emerge as popular tourist destination in South East Asia.
The President Shri K.R. Narayanan has asked the teaching community to serve the nation better, now that their economic conditions have improved. He said teaching has to be integrated with culture to make education more meaningful and useful. He said common culture can be imparted to our younger generation teaching them to be tolerant and adhering to basic values, we always cherished. Shri K.R. Narayanan was giving CCRT teachers' award here today. Inspite of various constraints the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training has done creditable work in sensitising the youth about their role in cultural development, he said. Earlier, the Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi presented a set of 8 booklets prepared by CCRT on National Symbols of India, to the President, Shri K.R. Narayanan. He said these booklets aim at making the younger generation understand the historical and cultural perspective related to National Symbols chosen by free India. Today we have turned away from our roots and hence we see degradation of nature resulting in environmental pollution which affects mental, emotional and physical health of the people. He requested teachers in all parts of the country to revive the beautiful tradition of love and respect for nature amongst the youth.
The Award, instituted in 1986, carries a citation,
a plaque, an angavastram and an amount of Rs.10,000/-, and is given to
teachers for their innovative methods of imparting cultural education.
Shriharikota(SHAR) Centre is gearing up forlaunching PSLV-C2 which will carry on board IRS-P4 (Oceansast) along with a Korean Satellite KITSAT and a German Satellite TUBSAT during 1998-99. Another major launch planned is first developmental flight of Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) which will place the communication satellite GSAT-1 in the geo-synchronous orbit.
SHAR Centre provides operational facility for launching Sounding Rockets and Satellite Launch Vehicles. It is equipped with static test facilities for testing large solid booster motors. It has also got solid propellants production facility and tracking systems.
According to the 1998-99 Performance Budget of the Space Department, 1997-98 budget estimate for SHAR Centre was Rs. 38.73 Crore. But the revised estimate went up to Rs. 51.41 crore. Present Budget provides Rs. 62.28 crore for SHAR Centre. It also provides Rs. 20.70 Crore for ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) and Rs. 50 crore for Second Launch Pad and common facilities.