Interacting with youngsters from all across the nation at the Young Indian Leaders Conclave, Shri Narendra Modi spoke on various issues of Governance and how to bring about a qualitative difference in the lives of the people. Shri Narendra Modi heard questions and comments from the youngsters and then expressed his views on the points raised by them.
The youngsters, who hailed from all parts of the country shared their views on diverse topics ranging from education improvements, need for better healthcare facilities, importance of social indicators, safety of women to electoral reforms, a more proactive foreign policy, ending discrimination on religion, Kashmir issue, agriculture among other things. The youngsters lauded Shri Narendra Modi’s proactiveness on social media. Thanking the youth for their wonderful points, Shri Modi affirmed that in few words the youngsters had expressed a lot of things. He added that the points made by the youngsters would be noted by the officials of the Government.
Talking about education, Shri Modi recalled that when he took over as the Chief Minister Gujarat was placed 20th in girl child education and this was a major issue of concern for them. He said, “We started a movement for girl child education. In June we go to the villages and tell parents to send their children to school. Today we have achieved 100% enrollment in primary schools.” He spoke about the other changes by the Government in the field of recruiting teachers and enhancing infrastructure to improve education. Shri Modi talked about the Gunotsav initiative of the state Government where a policy of self-assessment brought in a big change in education quality.
Shri Modi spoke about the Garib Kalyan Melas and how they have made a marked difference in the lives of the poor. He said, “Once I called my officers and asked them if a poor widow wants to get a sewing machine, how will she get it? None of the officers could say from where. I told them you are in Government for so long, if you do not know how will that poor women know? We conceived the Garib Kalyan Melas. We went to the people, lists were made as to who requires what. Then in full transparency they were given what they need. Villages were told who got what. Transparency came on its own.” He shared that in Gujarat the Government places its draft policies online for people to give their views and suggestions. Shri Modi affirmed that before a debate in the Assembly on the policy, there is a debate among the people.
The Chief Minister opined that in a democracy, no one has the right to thrust things on people and that Governments have to move ahead taking the people together. He recalled how he addressed farmers, showed power point presentations to them while building the Sujalam Sufalam canal due to which the earlier apprehensions in giving the land went away and in two weeks the desired work to give the land was done. “The more the Government in integrated with the people, the better things happen,” he said.
Shri Modi gave an example of the Chief Minister’s Fellowship Programme and how that has drawn young talent to the Government and given the youngsters an opportunity to know about the working of the Government. He said that while this initiative still had a great scope to improve, it is surely a step in the right direction. He shared that youngsters who studied overseas left their plush offices to work in government chambers. He expressed his commitment to take this initiative further and get more youngsters to come and work in Gujarat. Shri Modi pointed that Gujarat is the first state to have an innovation commission.
Responding to the point raised on religious and caste based differences in society Shri Modi said, “When I say 100% enrollment in schools then the secularism debate is automatically settled. There is no scope for such a debate because every section of society is included.” He recalled that he had heard a former Prime Minister address people from Red Fort as Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and said that he was shocked to listen to a Prime Minister speaking like that. “Could the Prime Minister not have said Mere Deshvasiyon (my countrymen)?” asked Shri Modi, who went on to say that he addresses the people not on the basis of the communities but as the people of Gujarat. He affirmed that addressing people as one is a new political connotation that must be accepted.
Talking about a point raised on increasing voting among people, Shri Modi said that the Gujarat Government has come out with a law on compulsory voting but unfortunately, the bill has not received approval from the Governor. He gave an insight into the Samras Gram Yojana of the state that was conceived with a vision to inculcate a culture of consensus among people of villages and at the same time end the acrimony that used to arise during Panchayat Elections. He pointed out that today, there are Panchayats in Gujarat that have all women. Shri Modi opined that it is not that al doors are closed, one has to open the mind and move ahead.
On the point raised about improvement in agriculture, agreed that there is a need to enhance agricultural productivity and he stressed on the need of adopting a modern and scientific approach vis-à-vis agriculture. He shared that Gujarat will host an Agro-Tech Fair next year for the farmers. Shri Modi talked about the importance of small scale industries and reminded about the importance of skill development among the youth.
Shri Modi said that with the changing geo-political scenario across the world, diplomacy would be beneficial among the neighbours but trade and commerce have become very important and that is why we need to change our approach to foreign policy, keeping this element at the centre. He also said, “We should leave this habit of competing with Pakistan…we should stop this. Let us compete with China, Japan.”