D Prakash Rao, who makes a living selling the hot beverage in Odisha's Cuttack, runs a school for children living in slums. Mr Rao says he spends 50 per cent of his earnings to run the school.
PM Modi was in Cuttack on Sunday to address a rally, and he praised the tea seller in his monthly radio broadcast Mann Ki Baat.
"He has opened a school named Asha Ashvaasan, spending 50 per cent of his income for children living in slums and hutments. He ensures education, health and meals for all the children coming to this school," PM Modi said.
The man who has been selling tea for the last five decades is "an inspiration to us, our society and the whole country," PM Modi said.
In October last year, PM Modi had for the first time visited his hometown Vadnagar since 2014 when he took over the top job in the country. It was the same town in east Gujarat where at a railway station PM Modi used to help his father sell tea when he was a child.
The prime minister also spoke about underprivileged girls in Rajasthan's Sikar, who have been stitching clothes for themselves and others. "Our daughters, who were forced to sift through the garbage and beg from home to home in order to earn a living, today are learning sewing and stitching clothes to cover the impoverished," PM Modi said.
"These daughters have become self-reliant today and are living their lives with respect and have become a strong support to their families," he said.
Another person who received a direct compliment from the prime minister recently was Karnataka artist Karan Acharya, who created the 'angry Hanuman' portrait. Earlier this month, Mr Acharya had said that he didn't believe at first that the artwork was appreciated by PM Modi. "...I feel this is the biggest achievement of my life, as my work grabbed the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he had said.
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