Budget 2019: Gandhi lives on in FM Sitharaman speech

Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget 2019 speech. Photo credit: PTI

Mahatma Gandhi died in 1948. But even 71 years after his death, the 'Father of the Nation' lives on in the consciousness of India, as demonstrated by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. During her Union Budget 2019 speech on Friday, she invoked his name multiple times to drive home her points. Here are the instances:

'Gandhipedia' to be developed to spread positive Gandhian values

She used the term 'Gandhipedia' during her Budget speech. She explained that the National Council for Science Museums is working on compiling the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. Once finished, it will be accessible to all and serve to educate and sensitise the country's youth about Gandhi.

“Vaishnav Jana To Tene Kahiye”

She mentioned Gandhi while explaining India's soft power. She gave the example of International Yoga Day when yoga was shown to be practised in 192 countries. Then she referred to Gandhi’s favourite bhajan 'Vaishnav Jana To Tene Kahiye' to stress its popularity as it has been sung by artists in 40 countries.

150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi

According to Sitharaman, Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary is an apt occasion for India to re-dedicate itself to the ideals of the freedom fighter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had started the Swachh Bharat Bharat Abhiyan. In the Finance Minister's words, "I am very satisfied and happy to report that this (Swachh Bharat) would be achieved by Oct. 2. To mark this occasion, the Rashtriya Swachhta Kendra will be inaugurated at Gandhi Darshan, Rajghat, on Oct. 2, 2019."

“The soul of India lives in its villages”

Gandhi declared this at the beginning of the 20th century. In the second decade of the 21st century, Sitharaman quoted him to suggest that the government would work for the betterment of India's villages that form the backbone of the nation. She said, "This year, even as we are marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, I submit that our government keeps Antyodaya at the core of all its efforts. At the centre of everything that we do, we keep 'gaon, garib, aur kisan'."

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