In an interview to NDTV, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on a range of subjects. He gave 'Four-S' mantra for the country to achieve big targets. "The scope should be very big, it shouldn't be in parts, and the second thing is scale, which should also be large. The speed should be in sync with these two. So, scope, scale and speed, and then there should be skill. If we can get these four things together, I believe, we achieve a lot," the PM said.

Sanjay Pugalia: A special welcome to NDTV viewers. We have brought this extremely special meeting with India's Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for you. Sir, you took time out from your busy schedule for us, thank you for that.

PM Modi: Namaskar Sanjay ji and Namaskar to all the viewers of NDTV.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Sir, now we have become a big network of six channels and seven digital platforms. We recently launched NDTV Marathi and there's a business channel too. We are now emerging as a new network. We will use this opportunity to distill the things you have said so far. So, my first question to you would be that you said two things, one in Ayodhya that now the foundation of 1000 years is being laid and that a 100 year agenda is being made which will be reflected in the third chapter of the Modi era and you keep talking about 2047. What is going to be your biggest focus this time in governance?

PM Modi: "I don't think in bits and pieces. I have a very comprehensive and integrated approach. Secondly, I don't have the habit of working for media attention. I think in every nation's life, there are some turning points. If we spot them, it can be very beneficial. In personal life as well, we celebrate birthdays because it excites us and marks something new. Similarly, when we were celebrating 75 years of independence, for me, it was not limited to the 75th year, I was thinking about 100 years of independence. Every institute I went to, I asked what will you do when our country turns 100 years old. I went to an event at RBI where they were celebrating 90 years. I asked what they will do for 100 years of RBI and when the country turns 100 years old, I mean 100 years of independence.

Keeping in mind the next 25 years, keeping in mind 2047, we did a lot of brainstorming, we took inputs from lakhs of people. I received some 15-20 lakhs suggestions from the youth. We have done a very big exercise, a mega brainstorming. I have been doing this exercise for so long that some officers who were a part of it have retired. We have taken suggestions from ministers, secretaries and experts. I have segregated that too into 25 years, 5 years, 1 year and 100 days in a stage-wise manner. There'll be additions to it, we might have to drop a thing or two too, but we have a big picture with us. We have added 25 days to this plan because I have seen that the youth is very excited and if we channel that excitement, we can get extra benefit and that's why, I have added 25 days to 100 days. We have launched 'MYBharat'. In the coming days, I want to focus on how to connect the youth, how to instill a habit of dreaming big in them, and how to bring a change in their habit to make big dreams come true. I believe these efforts will bring results.

I take Virasat (heritage) and Vikas (development) together. I said this from the Red Fort too and I am saying this again today. There have been incidents which compelled us to live in a distracted manner in the last 1000 years. What's happening now will take India towards a brighter future for the coming 1000 years. In my mind, it is clear that this is our time, this is India's time and we must not lose the opportunity.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: You are absolutely right and about your building blocks in this direction, one thing that emerged was the work on infrastructure. Over 60 percent more bridges and highways have been built. Airports have doubled and people are traveling a lot. In fact, despite everything being built so fast, it still feels less. So, do you see it as incremental growth now or is there a new focus in your mind in this also?

PM Modi: After independence, we compared ourselves with the countries that became independent at the same time as us. We wonder how they have progressed so much and why are we behind. Secondly, we made poverty a virtue. We didn't think big, we didn't think ahead - maybe due to the burden of slavery or maybe because people were not in that mood. I believe infrastructure has been misused a lot in our country.

Earlier it meant the bigger the project, the more the 'malai' (cream - a metaphor for corruption). So, the 'malai' factor got stuck with the infrastructure and that destroyed the country. For years, I saw infrastructure either on paper or on the foundation stones. When I came, I started a regular programme, PRAGATI, and I started reviewing the projects.

Regarding bureaucracy, Sardar Sahib (Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel) made some efforts and had he lived long enough our government machinery would have been better. But that didn't happen. The government officer should know what is the purpose of his job. It cannot be limited to the next promotion or when I will get a better department. So, our work is on how to bring technology into government for human resource development.

Even in infrastructure, there's physical infrastructure, social infrastructure, and technological infrastructure. There is one more thing in my mind. Firstly, the scope should be very big, it shouldn't be in parts, and the second thing is scale, which should also be large. The speed should be in sync with these two. So, scope, scale and speed, and then there should be skill. If we can get these four things together, I believe we will achieve a lot. In my endeavour, I try to not let any scope go, be it skill, scale or speed.

We saw the need for this in the cabinet. Earlier, it took three months to prepare the cabinet note. I asked them to tell me what are hindrances. Slowly and gradually, I have brought that period to about 30 days. Maybe I will reduce it further in the coming days. To me, speed does not mean the speed of construction, there should also be speed in the decision-making processes as well. I concentrate on all these aspects.

Very few people will pay attention to this thing, And I believe you can do a full program about this on your channel - 'Gati Shakti'. The world talks about our digital infrastructure but not much is said about our Gati Shakti. Be it any infrastructure project in India, we need to reduce logistics spending and increase logistic support. Gati Shakti is one such platform. When I first launched it, the chief secretaries of the states were very happy. The data that is there in our Gati Shakti platform, there are 1,600 layers to them. It's a unique thing. It helps in infrastructure development. I feel we are progressing with speed.

Now UPI. This is a big thing in the fintech world. I think we are spending 10 or 12 lakh crore to strengthen the infrastructure sector. That's a big jump in spending from the earlier government's ₹ 2 lakh crore.

In the railway, we are working towards modernising the railways. Unmanned crossings have been reduced to almost zero. Look at the improvement in the cleanliness of the railway stations. We pay attention to details. We have achieved nearly 100 percent electrification. Then, the use of railway tracks. Earlier, there were either goods or passenger trains. I have added yatri (tourism) trains to that. For example, the Ramayana sector trains- once a passenger goes in, he can avail all the facilities, and undertake the entire journey of 18-20 days. A lot has been done for senior citizens- trains of Dwadash jyotirlinga circuit, Buddha circuit are running. I mean, you can't just build infrastructure and leave it at that. We plan for its optimum utilisation simultaneously too. We are working in that direction.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: You have already made many changes in bureaucracy. You also cited Sardar Patel. So, I think to accomplish all this work, you are going to have to make bureaucratic changes in the governance structure on a large scale.

PM Modi: The first thing is that training is the biggest thing, recruitment process is a very big thing, and I have given a lot of emphasis to this. We have brought about a big change in training institutions. And we are giving technology a lot of focus. Now in recruitment too, I have finished the lower-level interviews in bureaucracy. It had become a den of corruption. The poor man was being looted. Now the computer decides on the basis of merit. Time is also saved. It's possible that 2-3% of people who the system would have been better off without will also come. But due to dishonesty, this percentage becomes 15%.

There is another thing. Nowadays, there is an important thing in my cabinet, whenever any bill of my Parliament comes, a note of global standards comes along with it. In the world, which country is doing best in that field? What are its legal rules? If we want to achieve that then how should we do it? That means now every cabinet note of mine has to match the global standard. And because of this, it got into the habit of bureaucracy. I am not one to talk about what is best in the world, tell me how far away we are from it. What is our plan to get there?

India has approximately 1,300 islands. I was surprised to know that we did not have a record or survey of these islands. With the help of space technology, we surveyed them and some islands are the same size as Singapore. It means for India, building new Singapores is not difficult if put our mind to it. That is, change in bureaucracy, change in decision making, we are working to execute the big plans.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: The Singapore example is very interesting. Then it would not be wrong to guess that, now we are talking about infrastructure or development, so something will happen very soon which perhaps we are not even able to think about right now.

PM Modi: We are actively promoting the vision of a digital embassy. We are witnessing a digital revolution in the country. It's the biggest tool to empower the poor and bridge the inequality gap. Therefore, the digital revolution will play a big role in bringing change. I believe India will lead the world in the field of Artificial Intelligence and we have that talent, our youth can do so much. Also, there is power in data because of India's diversity.

I recently met gaming content creators. I asked them how online gaming is trending in India, and they said the internet is very cheap in India while it's expensive in the rest of the world. They told me if they go to the world's gaming competitions, it is so expensive. When people from outside come to India, they are surprised.

Because of this, a new industry is blossoming in India. Today everything is accessible online. There are over 5 lakh common service centres in India, which means every small village has one and big villages have 1-2 common service centres giving access to people even in the rural area. Nowadays, if even a common man has to make a railway reservation, he gets it done from the common service centre in his village itself. These citizen centric arrangements have been made.

I have my own philosophy in governance, I call it 'P2G2- Pro People Good Governance'. I met Nobel Prize winner Professor Paul Romer in New York, we discussed technology and he suggested that we need software for keeping documents and I showed him DigiLocker (a government to keep digitised versions of documents) on my phone. He was surprised by it and said India has excelled in digital infrastructure even more than the world thinks. You must have seen it in G20 also. There was a discussion in the whole world about India's digital development during the G20.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: You are absolutely right about the public digital infrastructure India has created. Countries around the world are trying to copy from us. And let me tell you my own experience. Nowadays, if you want to give cash to small entrepreneurs, then nine out of ten people refuse that they will not take cash. This is a big change.

PM Modi: Look, these are street vendors. The banks did not give him money. Due to digital infrastructure, they got loans from banks. Their money gets deposited with us only. Every street vendor has a QR code and they trust it. If they're not well-read, now there's an audio system which tells them their money has been deposited. So they have faith in the system.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: The success of PLI in shifting people from agriculture to manufacturing was very good in many sectors. But we feel that a lot of work needs to be done so that people can now produce in India. iPhone is an example and there is a need to extrapolate it. What do you think about this?

PM Modi: People who have studied Baba Saheb Ambedkar, they would know that he used to say Industrial revolution is very important in this country. The politicians of our country have ignored it. But Baba Saheb Ambedkar said that because the Dalit and tribals of our country are not the land owners, they cannot do anything in agriculture. It is very important for them to be a part of the industrial revolution.

And that is why I believe we need to reduce the burden on agriculture. There is a lot of burden on agriculture today. There is a need to reduce that and any law won't do that, diversification will. Diversification happens when you decentralize industrial networks. Like if there are two sons, one son will go to work in the industry and the other son will take care of farming, then the burden on farming will be reduced. So, to make agriculture viable and strong, industrial development is necessary.

The more we grow the industry that evaluates agriculture, it has direct benefit, otherwise if we move towards diversification, it is also beneficial. In my experience of Gujarat, it is a state which does not have any minerals of its own. Gujarat has nothing except salt at best. At such time, Gujarat became a trading state. Firstly, we were poor in agriculture for seven out of ten years. We would take something from someone and give it to someone else and that's how we survived. Out of that came a revolution, in agriculture and in industry. That experience of mine is very useful to me here.

We should 'cluster develop' our industry. I have a small scheme called 'one district one product'. This scheme is becoming an identity of districts and there's value addition and technological addition happening as well.

There is a lot of potential for the automobile industry in India. We have opened up a lot of space for electric vehicles. I saw so many startups coming up in this space and all these startups are leading technology.

We were mobile phone importers, today, we have become the world's second largest manufacturer of mobile phones. We are exporting iPhone across the world today. One in seven iPhones in the world is manufactured here.

Today, eight out of ten diamonds in the world pass through the hands of an Indian. The next stage of the diamond industry is 'green diamond', of lab grown diamond. A very big market is opening in the world. This started when I was in Gujarat and now it's spreading. In the coming days we will progress in this also.

We will bring semiconductor chips in a few days and I believe that we can become a hub in the chip business related to transportation.

We are working very fast in defense manufacturing. Defense production worth about one lakh crore rupees has started in my country today. We have exported defense products worth about 21 thousand crores. We used to bring every small thing from outside. Now, our entrepreneurs also feel we can manufacture things and the world is buying from us. Let me tell you, India is on the take off stage in the industrial revolution.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: You are absolutely right that India is on the take off stage and because of the innovations you have made, now there is a lot of curiosity and interest among global investors to invest in India. But they think that some bold decisions will be necessary from your side and from the new government so that their investment can come and can make disruptions of scale that you have only imagined.

PM Modi: When people from industry come to India, they do not just look at the central government. There should be uniformity in policies at both state and local self- government level.

Suppose the Indian government brings a policy and a foreign industry comes to us. The Government of India does not have land, what will it do, it will tell some state to look into it. Now, the policies of that state must also align with that industry's requirements. Then the laws of the village or city where that industry is going to build should also be favourable. So, my intention behind the movement of ease of doing business was that the policies of the central government, state government and local governments, all three should be favorable for development.

There are still some hurdles but now I am seeing a competition among states. I always believed that federalism should be 'competitive cooperative federalism', there should be a healthy competition between the states. Now gradually. I can see that competition in every state. They are bettering their rules and mobilizing the bureaucracy. If I get the support of the states, then I believe that no person in the world will go anywhere except India.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Yes, that is very important. Now, another thing is you have an image that you are very strict in terms of fiscal discipline. But nowadays there is competition for guarantees, you double down on making people happy for ease of living. So, some investors fear what will happen to fiscal discipline.

PM Modi: Nobody has any confusion regarding me. The people who have seen my work in Gujarat, they know I am a big believer of fiscal discipline. No nation can function without this discipline, it's one of the criteria. When I introduced the budget before elections, every media article speculated that this would be an election-driven budget, Modi will distribute revdi (freebies) but when the budget came, people were surprised that this is not an election budget at all.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: You had fiscal space available to spend but you didn't.

PM Modi: I decided to spend on development because I know that I want to make the country poverty-free. I have to empower the poor, I have to give them opportunities. The poor do not want to live in poverty, they want to get out of that, but they need someone to give them a hand.

Now see, when the UPA government was there, they did not acknowledge the fiscal deficit, and its side effects were big. I believe the fiscal deficit should be followed religiously. Inflation is increasing in the world, people are wondering what has happened. During Covid, everyone thought of printing and distributing money. But inflation was still there. So, we controlled the fiscal deficit.

Another thing I've observed is that as you reduce taxation, your revenue increases. You'll see, the number of people paying income tax is almost doubling. There are many registrations for GST, so there's no deficit of trust in the government. Secondly, there's the topic of welfare. I consider welfare to be a very important part of India's social infrastructure. If we target welfare schemes and integrate them with the quality of life, they become assets. You must have noticed that in every task I undertake, welfare schemes ensure a guarantee to better people's quality of life. If one develops a habit of living a good life, they themselves make efforts for that. So, the essence of my welfare scheme is this.

Now, I give free ration but I put emphasis on nutrition. I want healthy children for my country, a healthy childhood is what will secure a healthy future for my nation.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Yes, this is very important. The focus on nutrition and protein.

PM Modi: Now look at Capex (capital expenditure) also. Earlier, it was around rupees two lakh crore. We have reached around 11-12 lakh crores. How many people have got employment opportunities due to this. How many new people have come to work in the field.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: I don't want to ask you a question on behalf of bookies at all, sir. But the thing is that nowadays a lot of youngsters are also interested in investing. And my own opinion is that this time, the market had already understood the outcome of the election and moved up very fast. Right now there is nervousness in the market as to what the mandate will be, so what would be your comment on that?

PM Modi: See, if I say something, people will think I am trying to influence. Our government has done maximum economic reforms and pro entrepreneurship policies give a lot of boost to our economy. We started the journey at twenty five thousand and have reached seventy five thousand. This in itself is a big achievement and also improves our image in the world.

Secondly, as more and more common citizens invest, it gives a lot of strength to the economy. I believe citizens should have some risk-taking capacity as they become more experienced investors. There is no point in living a life where you're just thinking what to do.

As you said on June 4, when the results of the elections will come, you will see that all those programming for India's stock market will get tired.

See where the share of PSU companies has reached. Earlier, PSU meant it was going to fall.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Yes, this miracle has happened. Now if you go to withdraw from PSU...

PM Modi: Its value is increasing in the stock market, a lot. Now, look at HAL. They (Opposition) tried to create fear among workers, but look how well HAL is doing. Today, HAL has made record profit in the fourth quarter of four thousand crores. That has never happened in the history of HAL. This is a sign of big progress.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Now moving from economic governance to politics and raising the issue of employment, the opposition alleges that employment has not been created. So has employment not been created or has its form changed?

PM Modi: First thing is that so much work is not possible without manpower. Just money can't build roads, just money can't do electrification of railways. There is a need for manpower. This means that employment opportunities are created and there is no issue or truth in the opposition's allegations about unemployment. I believe that these dynastic parties have no understanding of how the youth of this country has changed. Take startups for example. Before 2014, there were some hundreds of startups, now there are 1.25 lakh startups. This means that every startup gives employment to five to seven bright youngsters for years. Today there are a hundred unicorns, which means a business of about eight lakh crore rupees. And people running these are 20 to 25-year-olds, our sons and daughters.

Now, in the gaming field, you see, India is leading the world. All the 20 to 22-year-olds are going to do it. We have pivoted from the entertainment economy to the creative economy. I firmly believe that our creators will be a strong presence in the global market. That is, green jobs are becoming a huge opportunity.

Now, in the aviation sector, we had about 70 airports in our country. Today, there are around 150 airports. The total number of airplanes in our country, I guess, is six hundred to seven hundred, including private and government. Today, there is an order for one thousand new airplanes. One can only imagine how many people will get employment with this. That is why, this narrative..., in the political field, people are walking the same old path as they did 30 years ago, they have not changed, they are still humming the same tune.

Now, the records of PLFS (Periodic Labour Force Survey), according to the data of PLFS, it says that unemployment has been reduced by half. This is authentic data. Six crore new jobs have been generated in six to seven years, as per PLFS data. EPFO (Employees' Provident Fund Organisation) also keeps a record of this, it's not mere speculation. Over six crore new officers have already been registered in seven years.

I had launched a huge campaign for government jobs which included millions of people. These people (opposition) used to shout at me about unemployment. Now, a very interesting report has come out. It says that in the last ten years, every year, five crore jobs have been generated. And they have taken 22 factors into account in the parameter group, calculating how many jobs are needed per year. They have derived these figures based on that. These are derived from academic research. It's not just on paper; these things are visible on the ground. I'm talking about those non-governmental organizations with different arrangements.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: It is important that you mentioned that labour force participation has increased. Sir, this is the first election which is actually quite boring, it is the most historic election in which the mandate is already known. Still, we debate a lot about who will get how many seats. Regarding South India and East India, you have expressed confidence that BJP will get success this time. Are you not overconfident about South India and East India?

PM Modi: First thing is, even when I am confident, I never express it. I don't live in overconfidence. I'm a person who has his ear to the ground. I may think big, I may dream far, but I remain grounded. Whether it's South India, East India, North India, West India, or Central India, it is rooted in the nation's mind this is the government that works, a government that leads the country forward, a government that does good for us, it understands our problems, it's a government that knows our pain even when the citizen is unaware of it. Who is considered a good doctor? You feel that a doctor is good when if you go to him for a stomach ache, he will know there's something wrong with your eye too, some who knows what's going on. Today, the country feels that there is a government that cares about our sorrows, it understands our dreams and always strives to enhance our capabilities and because of this, I believe that in the minds of ordinary people, the Bharatiya Janata Party has made a place.

There was a time when from Pashupati to Tirupati, it was known as the red corridor. That entire Naxal belt had been created. Today, gradually, it has vanished. People have started living in peace. How much joy it brings to a mother that her child will go in the right direction. Even if she has lived in a jungle, she knows that there is someone who worries about the future of her children. Today, look across every corner of India - North East, Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Telugu-speaking states, Karnataka. The Bharatiya Janata Party is progressing rapidly. Now, in Jammu and Kashmir voters are going to vote after 40 years. There is trust in the government. And that's why I say that in this election, the Bharatiya Janata Party is going to set a historic record. It's going to be historic.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: In the Opposition alliance, there are contradictions emerging. Mamata Banerjee said that she won't be part of the alliance, then she said that if the government is formed, she will support the government from outside. We don't know what Akhilesh Yadav's position is. In such a situation, the issue of a stable or an unstable government arises. The voter also thinks about how to make a decisive vote based on which issue. So, what is your opinion on the condition of the Opposition, which guarantees to save democracy?

PM Modi: It is such a big country. Do you know whom you want to give your vote to? Their name, their experience? The nation sees everything. Whether the party names the person or not, the voters assess them. The scales are heavily tilted in our favour. I don't have to say anything about that. We have the upper hand. And everyone knows it

Secondly, tell me about the INDI Alliance. Besides photo ops, does the alliance show any activity? Even in the photo ops, the faces seen in the first INDI Alliance meeting have disappeared, the quality has reduced. Any person now goes there, gets a photo taken and leaves. Is there any common agenda? Is there any campaign strategy? There is nothing. Everyone is playing their own game, so the country cannot trust them. Secondly, the most trusted ally of Congress, the Left, who has the commitment of removing BJP from power, the biggest commitment, they contested against the Congress in Kerala. And the indecent language used in Kerala elections has never been heard in any election in the country so far. The kind of things that have been said against Congress. I'm talking about the people of the INDI Alliance. Also, most of the leaders of INDI Alliance are on bail and they are on bail for their own cases of their own era, not ours. The third thing is if you put them all together, it's clear that someone is someone's son or someone is someone's father, meaning it's clear that they are trying to revive the alliance to ensure the future of their children. You can't see the future of the country's children there and I don't believe they can win the trust of the people of the country.

Also, our government's track record over the past decade is evident, whether it's our work against terrorism, efforts in ensuring security, developmental initiatives, or our foreign policy during crises. I understand that the people of the country observe all these aspects and assess them. Therefore, the common sentiment among the people is that India should progress significantly. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are trusted organizations with trusted leadership, whom the people know, have tried, and measured. Hence, supporting us feels natural and not risky.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Yes, what you said there is correct. The positive atmosphere provides a lot of comfort and the momentum is on your side. In this regard, there are two more questions that the Opposition raises. The first one is you talk against appeasement but you have also played the communal card.

PM Modi: They have been running their politics by saying this over and over again. And sometimes we also thought that we should be careful. But when I look at everything and analyze it, I have observed that apart from disrespecting the constitution, they have not done anything. The constitution talks about the possibility of universal development. These people are deeply communal, the basis of everything they do is communal. And there is vote bank politics even within that. When they try to go beyond this, they talk of caste. That is, on one hand, they cater to the vote-bank of the community, then they talk of caste, this is the game they are playing. Now, even if I get labeled as communal, then let it be, but I will expose their sins openly.

My rule is 'sabka saath sabka vikas'. In a village, if 100 homes are to be given to beneficiaries, then their caste, community is not taken into consideration. My plan is saturation. For me, 100 percent means 100 percent. When I say 100 percent, that's true social justice, that's true secularism. There is no room for complaint for anyone, and there is trust. People believe that if someone has gotten benefits in June, then by December, my turn will come without paying anyone anything. Because of this, there is trust in the governance.

The Opposition's approach is that they don't want to do anything for everyone. I have given free ration to 80 crore people. I could also say that I'll give benefits selectively but I won't do that because my mantra is "sabka saath sabka vikas". They have their eyes on SC, ST, OBC reservation for vote bank politics. That's where their focus is. They are supporting 'vote jihad'. All these things are being done under the guise of secularism but I have to expose this facade of fake secularism in front of the country and show that they are extremely communal people and they will destroy the country for the sake of their power, they can destroy your every dream.

Now, you see their courage. In their manifesto, they say contracts will be given based on religion. If someone has to build a bridge, their expertise, experience, resources, and technical manpower should be taken into consideration. Now, if you give contracts like this, what kind of bridge will be built, what will happen to my country?

 

Sanjay Pungalia: The Opposition expresses another concern, which is that you are aiming for 400 seats because you want to change the constitution.

PM Modi: The first thing is, under the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party, NDA already had 400 seats between 2019-2024. When we won, we had 360 seats and with NDA, we have maintained 400 seats from 2019-2024. So linking 400 seats and the Constitution is stupidity. The issue is they don't want the House to function.

They talk about the Constitution. I ask, what happened to the Congress's Constitution? Does this (Gandhi) family accept Congress's Constitution? (Purushottam Das) Tandon became Congress president (in 1950) as per the Constitution. But (Jawaharlal) Nehruji did not accept this. Nehruji did drama, he said he would not be part of the working committee. Eventually, the Congress had to remove its elected national president to make this family happy.

Sitaram Kesari, he was Congress's president as per the constitution. He was locked in the bathroom, thrown out overnight and Soniaji became Congress president. I want to know, the way they seize control of the Congress Party, how many of the current office bearers of the Congress became members of the party according to their constitution?

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Sir, now that you have mentioned Kesari ji, it would be appropriate to give a disclaimer that I was present there when he was chased away.

PM Modi: Tell me, do they have the right to talk about the Constitution? What did they do with the constitution? I say, the first constitution ever made has a soul, and both the spirit and the words of that constitution matter. The creators of the constitution were wise. They thought that whatever is being written is for the present and the future. But we have a glorious past, what will we do about that? Then the constitution will become very big. So, they added pictures to the constitution. All the pictures depicted India's thousands of years of heritage, whether it's the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, everything was there. What was the first thing Pandit Nehru did? He threw the first draft of the constitution and later, the constitution that was printed, he cut out all these pictures and started the post-August 15 India, to glorify his family.

First, they attacked the Constitution's body then they attacked its spirit. In the first amendment to the Constitution, Pandit Nehru snipped the freedom of expression. This was the first blow to the soul of the Constitution. Then they (Congress) attacked the thought behind the Constitution. By misusing Article 356, they toppled governments a hundred times. They brought Emergency, put the Constitution into the dustbin. First Nehru ji committed this sin, then Indira ji and then Rajiv ji came. Rajiv ji was bringing a law to control the media, meaning he was trying to change the Constitution for the sake of vote bank politics. He threw away the Supreme Court's Shah Bano judgment and amended the Constitution for vote bank politics. Once again, there was a media uproar like during the emergency so he couldn't pass that bill. Then comes their prince (Rahul Gandhi). He is nothing but an MP. He tore up the decisions of the cabinet during a press conference. They talk about the Constitution. Those who are in jail for fodder theft, who are out on bail on health grounds, they talk about the constitution. When the Women's Reservation Bill was introduced, they snatched the copy of the bill inside Parliament and tore it. It was the last day of Parliament. Those who grossly disrespected the constitution are now dancing with it. They are lying.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: India has done amazing work under your leadership in a way that the world has changed completely. Those who thought they ran the world are being defensive. India has come up with an independent and aggressive policy. It is obvious that you have big plans regarding this also, but there are challenges we face in managing relations with our neighbouring countries.

PM Modi: In the world, there is no task which doesn't have challenges. The basis of our foreign policy has been 'neighborhood first', 'Act East Policy'. Earlier, the basis of our foreign policy was about maintaining distances. Now, we see who is close to us, and thus, we have established a place with the world. And there is competition even in the neighbourhood too. Our effort is to move forward with everyone.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: I wanted to ask you a question for a long time. Many policy makers, leaders and politicians are amazed by you, how do you prepare these policies, design them? I feel that you are a rare self-taught leader and the biggest role in that is of your journey of 50-55 years. You have actually undertaken a lot of physical journeys. You have travelled a lot. How much has travel shaped you?

PM Modi: Your assessment is correct. I have been a wanderer. I have travelled through more than 90 percent of districts of India. This was before I entered politics. I have travelled by train without reservations. I have travelled in general compartments, travelled in trucks. So, I have been connected with the ground realities of the world and that's a major experience for me today. Secondly, in our country, most Prime Ministers have emerged from the alleys of Delhi. There are very few Prime Ministers who have worked within the state governments. Those who have, have done so for a very short time. I am a person who has been the Chief Minister of a progressive state for a long time. So, I am familiar with public aspirations. I know where the conflicts between public aspirations and government lie. So, I have a treasure trove of experience. Also, I consider myself a student throughout my life. So, I try to learn from the academic world, what they think. I want to learn from those who have bureaucratic experience. For example, when I make the budget, if it's about infrastructure, I do a workshop on that. If it's on farmers, I do a workshop. So, I get new ideas from that. I do this both before and after the budget. I am an open-minded person.

I visited Japan a few years ago. I was the Chief Minister (of Gujarat) then. I had some time, so I decided to explore the area on foot. I noticed something on the footpath. When I asked around, they told me those were guide paths for visually impaired people. I took pictures of that on my phone. I carried a mobile phone with a camera. As soon as I landed in Ahmedabad, around 10 pm, I called the city commissioner. I asked him to visit me in the morning. Kankaria district's development work was going on then. When he came, I showed him the photos and asked him to use them in a footpath that was then being made in Kankaria. That was implemented there soon after. So, I always have a mind for learning.

When I formulate policies, all this processing starts simultaneously. I remember when Corona arrived, these Nobel Prize winners would come and pressurize me to print more money and distribute it. Those who now curse the rich now, they used to tell me at that time to give money to the rich, otherwise the economy will suffer, there will be unemployment. I didn't do that at all. I didn't want the poor to go hungry. My first priority was to keep the kitchen of the poor running. Secondly, I wanted to empower the small scale vendors. So, I strengthened them in the direction of credit guarantee. Our small and medium-scale industries kept running, and I knew that if I keep doing this for three months then we will get out of that situation and that happened. While the world is still struggling, we emerged out of it with stability. So, you can't judge my policies from an academic perspective, neither within the scope of experience. Secondly, one thing that helps me a lot in my policies is that whatever I do, I do it for my country. There is no confusion. A person whose no personal interest is involved can make the right policy. Whether it will benefit my party, whether it will benefit Modi, whether it will benefit any relative of Modi, I don't consider all this. So, my policies are made straightway that benefits me.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Sir, my final question stems from this. Many young people in India have this dream, although they don't express it, but they also want to become leaders like PM Modi. So, this rare quality of yours, one of self-taught leadership, and the other, as people who have worked with you say that you're an extraordinarily good listener. What would you say to this youth if they want to become like you? What should they do?

PM Modi: I did something during COVID. I used to conduct video conferences where I requested the young people to do this exercise. I asked them to interview their grandparents, record their stories since they were home and had mobile cameras. I asked them to ask their grandparents what was their school life like? How were weddings in their time? In such small houses, how did they accommodate the wedding guests? How did they manage when there were no facilities. What would happen with that was the youth will understand how their family members live their lives to reach this point. They will connect with them.

I believe the youth of our country should explore India's developmental journey post-independence with a curious mind. They should understand how things used to run earlier, how the trains carrying coal operated, and how the coal miners manage to work in such intense heat. Every young person trying to understand this journey of the past 75 years will contribute to shaping the journey ahead. They will become stakeholders in the future journey. It will instill leadership qualities in them, make them feel like they are adding value. What our predecessors have done will inspire them. Also, if they walk with the intention of becoming someone, they might be disappointed. However, if they move ahead with the intention of doing something, that will gradually lead to satisfaction and the expansion of satisfaction becomes the expansion of power. It can make them leaders. I want more leaders to emerge in our country, it will benefit the nation.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: Sir, where you have ended this conversation, we will need another session to carry that forward but we are short on time. Thank You very much.

PM Modi: Thank you and everyone else. I believe that in this festival of democracy, although there is very little time left now, elections are mostly over, but young people should actively participate. Democracy should be celebrated as a festival. Don't think of it like a contract that you have to sign once every five years, but believe that you're playing your part in running the country. It will benefit the country.

 

Sanjay Pugalia: On behalf of the viewers of NDTV, I wish you all the best.

PM Modi: Thanks a lot.

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Cabinet approves development of Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi
June 19, 2024

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today approved the proposal of Airports Authority of India (AAI) for development of Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi including Construction of New Terminal Building, Apron Extension, Runway Extension, Parallel Taxi Track & Allied works.

The estimated financial outgo will be Rs. 2869.65 Crore for enhancing the passenger handling capacity of the airport to 9.9 million passengers per annum (MPPA) from the existing 3.9 MPPA. The New Terminal Building, which encompasses an area of 75,000 sqm is designed for a capacity of 6 MPPA and for handling 5000 Peak Hour Passengers (PHP). It is designed to offer a glimpse of the vast cultural heritage of the city.

The proposal includes extending the runway to dimensions 4075m x 45m and constructing a new Apron to park 20 aircraft. Varanasi airport will be developed as a green airport with the primary objective of ensuring environmental sustainability through energy optimization, waste recycling, carbon footprint reduction, solar energy utilization, and incorporation of natural daylighting, alongside other sustainable measures throughout the planning, development, and operational stages.