Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spoke to a hairdresser from Tamil Nadu as part of his 'Mann Ki Baat' programme and lauded his initiative to encourage reading by converting a portion of his salon into a library.

Hailing Tamil classic 'Tirukkural', Modi said it was a guide for life and one must read it. The book is available in all Indian languages, the prime minister said in his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio broadcast.

Tirukkural or Kural in short is an ancient Tamil didactic literature having 1,330 couplets, offering guidance to people from all walks of life.

Beginning his conversation in Tamil with 'vanakkam' and 'nalla irukkeengala' (how are you), the prime minister asked the salon owner, Pon Mariyappan, as to how he got the idea of setting up a library.

Mariyappan, hailing from Tuticorin in southern Tamil Nadu, said since he did not get the opportunity to study beyond class 8 due to family circumstances, he established a library for the benefit of others.

When Prime Minister Modi asked him what book he liked, the hairdresser said 'Tirukkural'. Modi, who continued to speak in Tamil, said he felt happy to have spoken to him and Mariyappan too said he was extremely happy.

After conversing with him, the prime minister said: "We just spoke to Pon Mariyappan ji. See how he dresses people's hair, he gives them an opportunity to dress up their lives too".

"It felt nice to learn about the popularity of Tirukkural. All of you too heard about the popularity of Tirukkural. Today, Tirukkural is available in all languages of India. Given an opportunity, one must read it. In a way, it is a guide for life," he said.

Modi had quoted Tirukkural on a number of earlier occasions too.

In his Independence Day address last year, while speaking on the 'Jal-Jeevan' Mission, he had quoted a couplet "Neer indri Amayadhu," to underscore the importance of water.

In July, he quoted verses from the ancient text to reinforce that Indian armed forces had always followed the time honoured traditions of valour and honour.

Addressing party workers, BJP chief J P Nadda had last November said, "Thirukkural is a great source of inspiration for humanity."

Last year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had quoted another Tamil classic "Purananooru", to assert that the government was for judicious taxation.

Let the Truth be known. If you read VB and like VB, please be a VB Supporter and Help us deliver the Truth to one and all.



Washington, Nov 30: US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday named Janet Yellen as his Treasury Secretary and Indian-American Neera Tanden as Director of Office of Management and Budget, as he announced key members of his economic team.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Yellen, 74, will be the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its 231-year history, and the first person to have served as Treasury Secretary, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Chair of the Federal Reserve. She has previously been confirmed by the Senate on four separate occasions.

Tanden, 50, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first woman of colour and first Indian-American to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Tanden's career has focused on pursuing policies designed to support working families, foster broad-based economic growth, and curb rampant inequality.

"Another proud day for Indian Americans to see Neera Tanden be nominated for a Cabinet level position in the next administration. This position at OMB is a wide-ranging role with broad powers to manage trillions of dollars of the US budget. If anyone had any doubts that our community has arrived politically, this election cycle is proof enough," Indiaspora founder M R Rangaswami, and an eminent philanthropist and venture capitalist, told PTI.

Announcing key members of his economic team, Biden also named Wally Adeyemo, as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury; Cecilia Rouse as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; and Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, as members of the Council of Economic Advisers. Biden would formally introduce his team on Tuesday.

This crisis-tested team will help Biden administration lift America out of the current economic downturn and build back better creating an economy that gives every single person across America a fair shot and an equal chance to get ahead, the transition said.

These choices reflect the president-elect's commitment to building an administration that looks like America, drawing on the diverse backgrounds and lived experiences of some of our nation's foremost economic experts, it said.

"As we get to work to control the virus, this is the team that will deliver immediate economic relief for the American people during this economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than ever," Biden said in a statement.

This team is comprised of respected and tested groundbreaking public servants who will help the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and address the structural inequities in our economy, he said.

"They will work tirelessly to ensure every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead, and that our businesses can thrive and outcompete the rest of the world. This team looks like America and brings seriousness of purpose, the highest degree of competency, and unwavering belief in the promise of America. They will be ready on day one to get to work for all Americans," Biden said.

According to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, this outstanding economic team will help the Biden administration deliver on its commitment.

"They are not only some of America's most brilliant economic minds, they are also proven leaders who reflect the very best of our country," she said.

"And they share a fundamental commitment to ending this economic crisis and putting people back to work, while rebuilding our economy in a way that lifts up all Americans. With the selection of these crisis-tested public servants, the American people are getting the economic team they need and deserve," Harris said.

Adeyemo, a veteran of the Executive Branch and expert on macro-economic policy and consumer protection with deep national security experience, has previously served as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, Deputy National Security Advisor, and the first Chief of Staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

If confirmed, Adeyemo would be the first African-American Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Rouse is a leading labour economist and the Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. She has previously been confirmed by the Senate as a member of the CEA in 2009. If confirmed, she will become the first African-American and just the fourth woman to lead the CEA in the 74 years of its existence.

Bernstein had previously served as Chief Economist to President-elect Biden in the first years of the Obama-Biden administration. Heather Boushey is a distinguished economist focused on economic inequality and the President, CEO, and co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.