Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday led a gathering of more than 30,000 people in a 45-minute yoga session at the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh, on the occasion of International Yoga Day 2016. Speaking on the occasion, he urged the participants to focus on dealing with diabetes till the next International Yoga Day.
"Can we take the next year, until the next International Yoga Day, to focus on diabetes?" he asked the participants, pointing out that diabetes cases were rising each year. He went on to add that the focus could shift every year to a new disease that could be combated with the help of yoga.
Modi, at whose behest the United Nations had on Dec. 11, 2014, notified June 21 would be observed as International Yoga Day, said: "Of the many occasions universally recognised by the UN and observed across the world, there is probably none that can compete with International Yoga Day in terms of how revolutionary it is and the extent to which it has been accepted worldwide."
He urged the common man to make yoga an integral part of their lives. "Make yoga as much a part of your life as your mobile phone," he said.
He also spoke at length of yoga as an industry, dwelling on how yoga institutions were being set up across the world, how some countries have TV channels dedicated entirely to yoga, and how the demand for trained yoga teachers was only growing.
Speaking about the efficacy of yoga, he said it was not for the rich, but for the poor as well. "You do not get zero-budget insurance, but yoga gives you zero-budget health assurance," he said.
On the occasion, Modi also announced two awards that would be given out from the next International Yoga Day. One award would be for excellence in promotion of yoga in the country, while the other would be for similar promotion of yoga worldwide. "Anybody -- be it an individual or an organisation -- will be eligible for it," he said.