PM impressed by Sai Baba’s role in education, healthcare (Lead)

November 22nd, 2010 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh), Nov 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said he was deeply impressed by the services rendered by spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba in education, healthcare, water supply and other areas.

Addressing the 29th convocation ceremony of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, the prime minister said the works were an example for others.

“I am also deeply impressed by the work that is being undertaken here to help the people of the surrounding areas. A water supply scheme that Baba has undertaken has helped no fewer than 731 villages in drought-prone Anantapur district. Another scheme has provided reliable water supply to some 500 hamlets, mostly inhabited by tribal people in East and West Godavari districts,” he said.

Manmohan Singh was all praise for the work done by the super-specialty medical centres and general hospitals as well as mobile medical vans that take medical care to the poorer sections of society.

“What is heartening is that all these services — water supply, education, medical and health — are rendered totally free based on Baba’s commitment that the basic requirements of every civil society should not be a burden on recipients. This is a commendable commitment, and a determination to alleviate the sufferings of the poor and the needy with a spirit of giving that is unfortunately all too rare,” the prime minister said.

“Such benevolence and philanthropy should be an example to the many in our country who have the means, but are yet not able to emulate it.”

Stressing the need for value-based education to youth, the prime minister said the Satya Sai Institute was breaking new grounds.

“Today, we cannot succeed without providing value based education to our youth. In this endeavour, you are breaking new ground; others would do well to follow in the path that you have charted, to make both learning and character building universal in the realm of education.”

Manmohan Singh said that as India was modernizing, growing and playing a larger role in world affairs, it needed “an ever-expanding pool of human resources, the quality of which will have to be second to none”.

“We will need global leaders in education, entrepreneurship, technology and management. We are a nation of young people. We must create systems and opportunities where they will acquire the skills to enable them to excel not just in India, but also increasingly on the global stage.”

The convocation of the institute, a deemed university, was part of the 85th birthday celebrations of Baba.

The prime minister later met Baba at Prashanti Nilayam, his ashram, greeted him on his birthday and sought his blessings.

Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, former chief minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan and prominent personalities attended the convocation.

This pilgrim town is decked up for Baba’s birthday celebrations Tuesday. Devotees from different parts of the country and abroad have gathered in large numbers to seek the blessings of the spiritual leader.

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