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"I am happy to note that the BJP as an organization is looking to creatively harness Power of Social Media"
"Social media is a medium of equals. No single individual or organization can control it or manipulate it."
"Our conduct at home, schools, offices based on mutual respect & dignity. Same should be conduct on Social Media"
"There is sentiment, aspiration to do something & make a difference, expressed on SocialMedia. We have to appreciate that emotion"

New Delhi, July 28 (ANI): In an exclusive interview with Asian News International (ANI), Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has revealed the importance of social media in creating awareness among voters in the country.

Question: Modi-ji there has been a lot of buzz in recent days on the use of Social Media by you as well as by the BJP as an organization. What role do you see Social Media playing in this campaign?

If one would recall, during one of my recent speeches I had observed that this is the Age of Knowledge and Information. No single individual or organization enjoys a monopoly on possession and dissemination of knowledge and information. It is imperative to listen and learn as much as pronounce, in this Digital age. Thus it becomes requisite for every Indian Leader to be able to have a two-way communication with the people, especially our Youth.  Social Media to me is the most powerful channel for accomplishing this. I was recently in Pune to meet with the students of Fergusson College. I was pleasantly surprised over the seriousness with which Youth responded to my request through Social Media for ideas and suggestions for that speech. I am happy to note that the BJP as an organization is looking to creatively harness Social Media to crowd source ideas on how we can change and transform India for the better. 

Question:. Modi-ji could you share instances where you have been able to experience the power of Social Media the most?

It is important for us to expand our definition of what constitutes Social Media. To me it is not just about Twitter and Facebook. For instance, I am amazed at how YouTube as a medium of video sharing has made e-Learning accessible to so many people. Or when I look at an application like WhatsApp and how simple it is to use, one begins to appreciate the power of this medium. Often the first reports when a disaster strikes or an unfortunate incident happens, are received via one of these Social Media channels. I see the real power of Social Media come through, during such moments of crisis. Recently during the Uttarakhand disaster I was pleasantly surprised at the positive role played by Social Media in bringing home news of the missing to their loved ones. 

Question: Modi-ji many of your critics allege that you have a massive PR machinery that manages your Social Media presence to carry out your propaganda. What would you say to them? 

My humble request to everybody is to not insult and insinuate the common man, the youth of India, who have found a medium through which they are able to make their voice heard. It is important for us to understand the nature of this medium. It is a medium of equals. No single individual or organization can control it or manipulate it. We must respect this basic nature of this medium. Let me give you the example of a recent incident when a restaurant in Mumbai had to suffer due to rank intolerance of the Congress party. The Sales Receipt of that restaurant was shared on Social Media by some conscious citizens. It soon went viral. It came to the attention of one newspaper, which published a story on it. I merely added my voice to express solidarity on this issue, with all those venting their frustration and despair on it, through Social Media. This is the nature of the Medium. It is essentially about listening, sharing and dialoguing. 

Question: Modi-ji one of the biggest complaints of Social Media is what many people call "trolling". Abuse in Social Media has become a big problem. Recently there have been personal attacks on eminent people and their families. What is your suggestion on how to deal with this menace? 

Our Culture is known for its long standing traditions of respecting our elders and our scholars. In the same vein, we worship and celebrate Women's Power as Shakti. Expressing one’s opinion on Social Media, does not imply, that we abandon our Culture and value systems. Our conduct at home, offices and schools, is based on certain well appreciated norms of mutual respect and dignity. The same ought to apply to our conduct on Social Media as well. 

This is what I mean by the need for Modernization, and not Westernization. We must embrace modern technology and harness its Power. But our use of modern technology must not come at the expense of us forgetting our values and ethics. 

What was the word you mentioned just now ... ah yes "trolling". It reminds me of how disinformation would be used by Nations against each other, by planting false stories and creating havoc during Wars. It is unfortunate that some vested interests are misusing the power of Social Media to indulge in a similar effort. Recently I had come across an instance where a morphed digital image was circulated with a malicious and slanderous intention. Technology makes it quite easy to accomplish this. We however, have to guard against this sort of disinformation, peddled through fake sites and fictitious accounts. We have to use our judgement on Social Media on what sources to trust just as we would do in real life where we are able to differentiate between genuine news and rumours. 

Quetion: Modi-ji there is a lot of debate on how representative Social Media is of India's realities. How seriously should we take Social Media ? How many of these individuals on Social Media will actually vote? 

You would recall in a recent speech I had alluded to the need for Electoral Reforms like Online Voting and the option to reject Candidates. We have to ensure our Youth stays engaged in our Democratic process. We have to make our Democratic process accessible to them through a medium, which they use and comprehend the most. Social Media in my opinion, is a tool that can help in this. I can tell you there are real voices, serious voices that want to be heard. For instance, my request for ideas and suggestions on the problems of our Education System elicited serious response. Similarly, solicitation of ideas towards my upcoming speech in Hyderabad has brought forth responses on the state of the economy, jobs, roadmap for Andhra Pradesh and much more. There is real sentiment out there, full of veritable emotions and legitimate aspirations to do something, to make a difference. We have to listen, appreciate and respect that sentiment, which is being expressed through Social Media. Today scores of Indians have mobile phones. Even a simple thought expressed through the mode of a SMS can travel far and wide, in a matter of minutes, through multiple sharing. We must harness all possibilities that are out there in the public domain. 

Elections and campaigns will come and go, however, our mission to make our Democracy, more deliberative, and consequently purposeful should remain uncompromised.  It should be responsive to our Youth, who today constitute a significant part of the population.

 

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PM to inaugurate India's longest bridge in Assam
May 25, 2017
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Road connectivity in the North-East will see a major transformation: PM to inaugurate India’s longest bridge
Dhola-Sadia Bridge to provide efficient road connectivity to remote and backward areas which have poor road infrastructure
Dhola-Sadia Bridge to give a major boost to overall economic development in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh

Road connectivity in the North-East will see a major transformation when Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurates the country’s longest river bridge –the Dhola- Sadiya Bridge in Assam tomorrow. This new, three lane, 9.15 kilometre bridge has been built over river Lohit, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, linking Dhola in Assam to Sadiya in Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge will fill a huge connectivity gap that has existed in the region. Till now, the only means to cross the Brahmaputra at this location has been by ferry only in day-time and even this is not possible during floods. The last bridge over the Brahmaputra was the Kalia Bhomora Bridge at Tejpur. This will however change from tomorrow with the Dhola-Sadiya bridge ensuring 24X7 connectivity between upper Assam and Eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh.

The bridge will also reduce the distance from Rupai on NH- 37 in Assam to Meka/Roing on NH-52 in Arunachal Pradesh by 165 KM. The travel time between the two places will come down from the current six hours to just one hour – a total five hour reduction. This will result in saving of petrol and diesel worth Rs 10 Lakh per day.

The Dhola-Sadiya bridge promises to usher in prosperity in the North-East. It will provide efficient road connectivity to remote and backward areas which have poor road infrastructure. This bridge will also give a major boost to overall economic development of the areas north of Brahmaputra in upper Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. It will also cater to the strategic requirements of the country in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh, besides facilitating numerous hydro power projects coming up in the state , as it is the most sought after route for various power project developers.

The total length of the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge project, including the approach roads on each side, is 28.50 km. The length of the bridge itself is 9.15 Km. It has been constructed on BOT Annuity basis at a total cost of Rs 2,056 crore, as part of the Arunachal Package of Roads and Highways under the Ministry’s SPECIAL ACCELERATED ROAD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME for NORTH EAST (SARDP-NE). The objective was to bring the people of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh closer to each other.