Cheetahs, Logistics, Women Empowerment: How Modi’s B’day Celebrated India’s Sustainable Development Goal


African cheetahs returned to India after a long time and India got an ambitious National Logistics Policy – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 72nd birthday celebrations had a unique touch. All four major events he attended on Saturday seemed to advance the cause of India’s sustainable development goal.

After a long and action-packed day, the prime minister said he had attended programmes that covered economy, society and the environment – spheres that collectively furthered the goal of sustainable development.

“I spent the day attending programmes that cover our economy, society and the environment. I truly believe that when we collectively work on these spheres, we will fulfil our goal of sustainable and inclusive development. May we keep working harder and harder in the times to come,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted, adding that he was humbled by the affection he had received on his birthday.

The goal of sustainable development is at the intersection of economy development, societal empowerment and environmental protection while skill development ensures availability of trained human resource.

Four events that the PM attended covered these spheres – with focus on economy at the launch of the National Logistics Policy; on society at the conference with women self-help groups; on environment by releasing African cheetahs from Namibia into the Kuno National Park; and on skill development with his address to 40 lakh students at the ‘Kaushal Dikshant Samaroh’.

Modi not only thanked foreign leaders and prominent personalities for wishing him on his birthday, but reached out to and lauded those who had devoted the day to community service.

Here is a recap of PM Modi’s eventful 72, which he marked by addressing events covering fields as diverse as wildlife to women empowerment and nation-building:

Project Cheetah

Perhaps the highlight for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and an exciting day for all of India, was releasing African cheetahs into the Kuno National Park at Madhya Pradesh. The big cat returned to India seven decades after it was declared extinct. The prime minister said ‘Project Cheetah’ was an endeavour towards environment and wildlife conservation.

Eight cheetahs – five female and three male and aged between 30 to 66 months – arrived in the country from Namibia by a special flight in the morning after a transcontinental journey of over 8,000 km that began late on Friday.

He shared his own excitement with a melange of snapshots from his trip to the national park, calling it an “unforgettable day”. Armed with a camera, the PM donned a safari hat and jacket as he clicked some pictures for his own personal collection.

(Image clicked by PM Narendra Modi)
(Image clicked by PM Narendra Modi)

He said, “A long wait is over, the cheetahs have a home in India at the Kuno National Park. India has shown how a perfect balance between economy and ecology can be achieved. The journey towards sustainable development, protecting our flora and fauna is incomplete without community participation. In Madhya Pradesh earlier today, interacted with ‘cheetah mitras’, who will surely do excellent work,” Modi tweeted.

At the release event, the PM operated a lever from a high dais to slide a door of the special cage open. The first of the cheetahs stepped into the special enclosure at the KNP, located in the Sheopur district of MP, as Modi proceeded to click their pictures with a DSLR camera.

(Image clicked by PM Narendra Modi)
(Image clicked by PM Narendra Modi)

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav were also present. According to forest officials, the cheetahs hesitated a little as they took in the new environment with a look of curiosity mixed with bafflement, but soon found their bearing and began to amble.

After releasing the cheetahs, Modi told the ‘cheetah mitras’ to protect the carnivores and ensure that human-animal conflict is avoided. During his interaction, the PM told them not to allow anyone inside the national park, not even him, until the cheetahs were acclimatised to their new habitat. He also advised them to develop a hobby of photography by clicking photos of not just cheetahs but other wildlife as well, using their mobile phones. “You can share photos with me,” he added.

National Logistics Policy

Prime Minister Modi unveiled the ambitious National Logistics Policy that seeks to address challenges facing the transport sector and bring down logistics cost of businesses from 13-14 per cent to a single digit. At a grand launch event, he said the policy aims to expedite the last-mile delivery, helping businesses save time and money.
He said while the new policy addressed challenges of the logistics sector, together with the infrastructure augmentation plan ‘PM GatiShakti’, it will address gaps.

“From 13-14 per cent (of the GDP), we should all aim to bring the logistics cost to single digit as soon as possible,” the PM said, adding that it was imperative to do so “if we have to become globally competitive”.

According to government officials, the policy will help bring down the cost to 7.5 per cent in the coming years. Elements of the policy like Unified Logistics Interface Platform (ULIP) and Ease of logistics Services (E Logs) would help exporters and industry in enhancing logistic efficiency. The ULIP will bring all digital services of the transportation sector into a single portal, freeing exporters from a host of long and cumbersome processes. Similarly, E-Logs portal industry can enable the industry to directly take up any such matters causing problems in their operations and performance with government agencies.

(With PTI inputs)

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