#MannKiBaat: PM Modi congratulates Indian contingent for their performance at Commonwealth Games 2018
Overcoming several challenges, our athletes have achieved their goals at Commonwealth Games: PM Modi #MannKiBaat
Yoga is the most economical aspect of #FitIndia movement: PM during #MannKiBaat
Entire world now marks 21st June as the International Day of Yoga with great enthusiasm. Let us also mobilise people to join it: PM #MannKiBaat
Youngsters spend their time learning something new and that is why summer internships are becoming increasingly popular: PM #MannKiBaat
Take up the Swachh Bharat Summer Internship: PM Modi urges youngsters during #MannKiBaat
Swachh Bharat Summer Internship aimed at furthering the message of cleanliness; best interns to get national level awards & 2 credit points: PM during #MannKiBaat
Conserve water in every possible manner: PM Modi during #MannKiBaat
Efforts have been made in the last three years towards water conservation and water management: PM during #MannKiBaat
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was not only talented but a multi-faceted personality, whose writings left an indelible impression on everyone: PM #MannKiBaat
#MannKiBaat: PM Modi extends Ramzan greetings to people
We must be proud that India is the land of Lord Buddha, who guided the whole world through his messages of service, sacrifice and peace: PM #MannKiBaat
Lord Buddha’s life gives the message of equality, peace, harmony and brotherhood: PM during #MannKiBaat
Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s life was greatly inspired by Lord Buddha, says PM Modi during #MannKiBaat
Lord Buddha's teachings show the way to eradicate hatred with mercy: PM Modi during #MannKiBaat
Laughing Buddha brings good luck; Smiling Buddha associated with Pokhran test demonstrated India’s might to the world: PM #MannKiBaat
Atal ji gave the mantra – ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan’. Inspired by it, let us build an India which is modern, powerful and self-reliant: PM #MannKiBaat
Let us transform our individual strengths into the country’s collective strength: PM Modi #MannKiBaat

My dear countrymen, Namaskar. Just a while ago, from the 4th of April to the 15th of April, the 21st Commonwealth Games were held in Australia. 71 countries, including India, participated therein. With an event of such scale & magnitude, which saw the participation of thousands of sportspersons from myriad corners of the world, can you imagine the mood that must have pervaded the atmosphere there? An air of excitement, zeal, enthusiasm, hope, aspirations, the determination to achieve – who would want to stay away from an atmosphere like that? These were the times when people all over the country pondered eagerly everyday on the line-up of sportspersons, scheduled for their respective performances. How will India’s performance be, what will our medal tally look like? These questions were but natural. Our sportspersons too lived up to the countrymen’s expectations and displayed stellar performances, winning one medal after another. Shooting or Wrestling, Table Tennis or Badminton, it was a record performance for India. 26 Gold, 20 Silver, 20 Bronze, India bagged a tally of around 66 medals. This success makes every Indian swell with pride. Of course, winning medals is a moment of joy & glory for a sportsperson; it is equally so as a festival of laurels for the country & her countrymen. After the conclusion of a match, representing India, when the athletes draped in the tricolor rise, displaying their medals, the notes of the National Anthem being played evoke a sense of joy and fulfillment, glory and honour. This is very, very special in itself. It is a touching moment that fills one’s heart with thrill; it is a moment full of zest & warmth. It is a wave of emotions that engulfs all of us simultaneously. Perhaps, to express those sentiments I’ll run short of words. But I want to share with you what I heard from these heroes. I feel immensely proud; you too will feel so.

India’s performance in the Commonwealth Games was par excellence. At the same time, it was special. Special in the sense that this time there were many pathbreaking ‘firsts’. Are you aware that out of the wrestlers who represented India, each one of them returned with a medal? Manika Batra won a medal in each of the events that she competed in. She is the first Indian woman to win a gold in the individual table tennis category too. India clinched the maximum number of medals in shooting. Deepak Lather of Haryana became the youngest Indian Weight-Lifter to win a medal at Commonwealth games. 15 year old Indian shooter Anish Bhanwala became the youngest sportsperson to win a gold for India. Sachin Chowdhary is the sole Indian Para Power Lifter to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

This edition of the games was special on one more count- a majority of the medalists was women athletes. In squash, boxing, weightlifting and shooting – the performance of women turned out to be par excellence. The final contest in Badminton took place between two Indian Shuttlers, Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu. Everyone was thrilled for the fact that despite there being competition, the ultimate medal winner had to be India. The whole country watched it with abated breath. I too enjoyed watching the match. This year, India fared well in Athletics too. Indian sprinters Mohammad Anas & Hema Das missed a medal narrowly, but their record performance has brought glory to the nation. I congratulate them too… my best wishes to them. Athletes who participated in these games hail from various parts of the country, even from smaller towns. They have reached this pinnacle, crossing a great deal of hurdles and hardships. Today, the positions they have secured for themselves, the targets they have achieved, owes a lot to the efforts & contribution of their parents, guardians, coaches, support staff, schools, teachers, the atmosphere provided by their Schools, during this journey in their lives. Even their friends have contributed by boosting their morale under all circumstances. I also congratulate them along with the sportspersons, my good wishes to them. I feel all these athletes have brought laurels to the country with their stellar performances; the fact is, their performances are not mere displays… they are sources of encouragement for upcoming Sportspersons and the young generation of the country alike.

Last month during ‘Mann Ki Baat’, I had urged our countrymen, especially the youth to espouse ‘Fit India’. I had invited everyone to join ‘Fit India’, lead ‘Fit India’. I was overjoyed to see people getting connected to it with a lot of enthusiasm. Expressing support for this, many people have written to me, sent me letters, shared ‘fitness mantra- Fit India’ stories on social media.
A gentleman Shriman Shashikant Bhonsale, sharing his photo by the swimming pool, has written, ‘My weapon is my body, my element is water, my world is swimming’.
Rooma Devnath writes, “I truly feel happy & healthy through my Morning Walks. She further adds,” For me, fitness comes with a smile and we should smile, when we are happy.
Devnathji, indeed, happiness is fitness, and there’s no doubt about it.
Dhawal Prajapati, sharing a photograph of himself trekking, has written; ‘For me, travelling & trekking is ‘Fit India’.


It was heartening to see many eminent personalities encouraging our youth in interesting ways for Fit India. Cine artiste Akshay Kumar has shared a video on Twitter. Even I have gone through it, you too should view it- it shows him exercising with wooden beads. He has mentioned that this exercise benefits muscles of the back and the stomach, to a great extent. Another video of his has gained popularity; in this he’s trying his hand on the volleyball with others. Many other young people have shared their experiences, having joined the ‘Fit India’ efforts. I feel movements like these are beneficial for all of us, for the entire country. I would additionally like to mention, that the movement of ‘Fit India’, without any expense, is called ‘YOG’. Yog has a special significance in the ‘Fit India’ campaign. You too must be busy with preparations… the significance, the merit of 21st June, International Yog Day has been accepted & welcomed globally. Do begin preparing for the Day rightaway. And not just yourself- your city, village, neighbourhood, school, college, men, women, everyone should make an attempt to connect with yog. Nowadays, the benefits of yog in one’s holistic physical & mental development does not need to be told… neither in India nor elsewhere in the world. You must have viewed an animated video depicting me, that has been widely circulated. I congratulate those from the field of animation for highlighting nuances, just the way a teacher does. You too will benefit from it.

My young friends, you now must be out of the tread mill of exams, exams & more exams; you must be wondering about spending your holidays. You must be contemplating on ways to enjoy your vacations and places to travel to! I would like to talk to you today, to invite you on a new task. I’ve seen a lot of young people these days, spending time in learning new things. The significance of Summer Internship is soaring; as it is, an altogether new experience in itself. One gets an opportunity to experience life anew, away from closeted walls, away from paper & pen and computers. Dear young friends, today I urge you to undergo a special internship. Three Ministries of the Government of India; maybe four- Sports, HRD, Department of Drinking water have come together to launch a ‘Swachch Bharat Summer Internship 2018’. College students, young people from the NCC and Nehru Yuva Kendra, whoever want to do something substantial & learn something for the sake of society, & the country, those who want to get connected with transforming the country and be a reason for it, those who want to do something or the other for society with a positive energy- for them, there is a great opportunity! Even the cause of the cleanliness campaign will get a boost, and when we celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we’ll surely attain a sense of fulfillment. And let me tell you, the best out of the best interns who have strived in schools & colleges with excellent work will be rewarded with recognition at the national level. Not just that, those interns who accomplish their tasks well, will be awarded two credit points each, by the UGC. Once again, I invite students & young people, boys & girls to avail of the benefits of the internship. You can register yourselves for the ‘Swachch Bharat Summer Internship’ on Mygov. I hope our youth will lend a hand in taking this movement of cleanliness forward. I too am eager to know more about your efforts. Do send in your learning experience, do post your stories, photos and videos. Come. Let us turn this vacation into a learning opportunity, for a totally new experience.

My dear countrymen! I try to watch “Good News India” programme on Doordarshan whenever I get a chance and I would appeal to my countrymen that we all should also watch this “Good News India” programme wherein we get to know as to how many people in various parts of our country are doing many good things and that such good things are happening.

Recently, I saw that they were presenting the story of some youth from Delhi who are selflessly working in a dedicated manner to help in educating the poor children. This group of youngsters has started a big campaign in Delhi for providing education to the street children and slum dwellers. Initially, shocked to see the condition of children begging around or doing some menial jobs that this group of youngsters got dedicatedly, selflessly involved into this creative mission. Starting with just 15 children from the slums near Geeta Colony in New Delhi it is now being run at 12 places and two thousand children have been brought under its fold. Young teachers associated with this campaign find out a free time of two hours from their busy schedule and contribute in this stupendous mission of bringing out a social transformation.

Dear brothers and sisters, in this very way, some farmers from hilly areas of Uttarakhand have become a source of inspiration for the farmers across the country. With their collective efforts, they have not only changed their own fortunes but have changed fortunes of the whole region. In Bageshwar in Uttarakhand, main crops sown are Mandwa, Chaulai, Corn or Barley. This being a hilly area, the farmers did not get a fair price of their produce. But, the farmers in Kapkot tehsil decided to come out of this situation and adopted a value- addition process and changed the loss incurring equation into a profit-earning one. What they did was that they started production of biscuits from their agricultural produce and sold those biscuits directly in the market. Consequently, Chaulai which the farmers were forced to sell at Rs. 25 per Kg was now selling at Rs. 50 per Kg as biscuits.
Besides, there is a strong belief that the land in this area is iron-rich and these iron rich biscuits are very good for pregnant women as they overcome the deficiency of iron. These farmers have formed a cooperative society in Munar village and set-up a biscuit factory there. Impressed by the bold initiative of these farmers, the administration has also linked this to the National Livelihood Mission. These biscuits are now being supplied upto Almora and Kousani besides being sold to about fifty Aanganwadi kendras in Bagheshwar district. With the hard work of these farmers, the annual turnover of the society has gone up from 10 to 15 lakh rupees and with more than 900 families getting employment here, people have stopped migrating to other places.

My dear countrymen, we often hear that in, times to come, the world will face a war because of water. Everyone talks about this but do we not have any responsibility towards conservation of water? Do we not feel that water conservation must be a social responsibility? This must be a collective responsibility. How can we conserve each single drop of rain water? And, we all know this. And, water conservation is not a new topic for us; it is neither a part of the academic curriculum nor a part of our languages. Our forefathers have lived this as a way of life for centuries together. They gave due priority and importance to each single drop of water. They found out newer methods in order to conserve every single drop of water. Those of you who might be getting a chance to visit Tamilnadu might have noticed that in some temples in the state, there are carvings on stone depicting irrigation system, water conservation methods and drought management. There are vast stone inscriptions in these temples and devotees get a chance to read these educative messages. May it be Mannarkovil, Chiran Mahadevi, Kovilpatti or Pudukottai – you will get to see massive stone inscriptions to this effect. Several baodis (stepwells) are famous as tourist spots but please do not forget that these are the living symbols of the water conservation campaigns which our forefathers had accomplished.

Adalaj and Patan Ki Raniki Vaav (Baodi) in Gujarat is a UNESCO World Heritage site and its grandeur is to be seen to be believed. Baodis are water temples in a way. If you happen to go to Rajasthan, you must visit Chand Baodi. This is one of the biggest and the most beautiful baodis of India and the point to be noted is that this is situated in a water-scarce area. April, May, June and July is the most suitable time when rain water harvesting can be done and if we make preparations in advance, we can reap a rich harvest. Budget under MNREGA is also utilized for this water conservation activity. During the last three years, everyone in his or her own way has contributed towards water conservation and water management. An average of 32,000 crore rupees have been spent besides the MNREGA budget each year on water conservation and water management. If we talk of 2017-18, 55 percent of the total outlay of Rupees 64 thousand crores, which comes to around rupees 35 thousand crores, has been spent on works like water conservation. In last three years, nearly 150 lakh hectares of land got more benefit through water conservation and water management measures. Some people have really benefitted very well from MNREGA budget provisions made by the Government of India for water conservation and water management works. A project of reviving the rivers which had dried out was undertaken in Kerala. Seven thousand workers under MNREGA worked very hard for seventy days and finally succeeded in reviving Kuttumperoor river there. The Ganges and the Yamuna have plentiful of water but there are many other places in Uttar Pradesh like Fatehpur district where two small rivers namely Sasur-Khaderi got dried out. After receiving the reports of Remote Sensing Imagery and Inter Department Coordination, the district administration took up the responsibility of soil and water conservation on a massive scale. They succeeded in reviving the dried out Sasur Khaderi river with the help and cooperation of people from 40-45 villages of the area. This grand achievement is a big boon for animals, birds, farmers, crops and villages. I emphasis that once again April, May, June and July are before us and we must also take up some responsibility for water harvesting and water conservation, we should also chalk out some schemes, we should also do and show something.
My dear countrymen! When “Mann Ki Baat” approaches I receive messages, letters and phone calls from all sides. Aayan Kumar Banerjee from Devi Tola village of North 24 Parganas in West Bengal in his comment on My Gov has written – “We celebrate Rabindra Jayanti every year but many people are not aware of the Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nath’s philosophy of living peacefully, aesthetically and with integrity. Kindly discuss this point in “Mann Ki Baat” programme so that more and more people may get to know about this.”

I thank Aayanji for drawing the attention of all listeners of “Mann Ki Baat” towards this point. Gurudev Tagore was a personality full of knowledge and intellect whose writings left an indelible mark on everyone. Rabindra Nath was a personality full of talent, a multi – directional personna but a teacher in his inner self can always be felt. He has written in Gitanjali – “ He, who has the knowledge has the responsibility to impart it to the students.”
I do not know Bangla but had the habit of rising early since my childhood and in Eastern India, radio broadcasts start early while in Western India these start a bit late. I have a faint memory that probably around 5:30 in the morning, Rabindra Sangeet used to be broadcast on radio and I had developed a habit to listen to Rabindra Sangeet on radio. And, whenever I got a chance to listen to poems like Anandloke and Aaguner, Poroshmoni, I used to feel as if my mind was being energised. You must also have been impressed by Rabindra Sangeet and his poems. I pay my respectful homage to Rabindra Nath Tagore.

My dear countrymen! Within a few days from now the holy month of Ramazan will dawn upon us. The month of Ramazan is celebrated with full reverence and respect throughout the world. The sociological and collective aspect of fasting is that when a person experiences hunger himself, he comes to realize the hunger of others. When he is thirsty, he realizes the thirst of others. This is an opportunity to remember the teachings of Prophet Muhammad-peace be upon him- and his message. It is our responsibility to follow the path of equality and brotherhood as morals from his life. Once a person asked the Prophet (peace be upon him): "Which is the best thing in Islam?" The Prophet Saab said, "feeding a poor and needy and meeting everyone cordially, whether you know him or not!"

Prophet Mohammad Sahib (peace be upon him) believed in twin principles of knowledge and compassion. He did not possess an iota of ego regarding himself. He preached that knowledge alone defeats ego. Prophet Mohammad Sahib(peace be upon him) believed that if you possessed anything more than your requirement, then donate it to the needy, thus donation or giving alms is important during Ramzan. People donate generously to the needy during this holy month. Prophet Muhammad Sahib believed that a person is rich because of his inherent spirituality, and not materialistic wealth. I wish all the citizens an auspicious month of Ramazan and I hope this opportunity will inspire people to follow the Prophet’s message of peace and goodwill.
My dear countrymen! Buddha Purnima is a special day for every Indian. We must be proud of the fact that India is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the very synonym of power of compassion, service and sacrifice, who guided millions of people around the world. This Buddha Purnima reminds us of all of our obligation to emulate Lord Buddha’s teaching as well as, pledge ourselves to follow his footsteps. Lord Buddha was the fountainhead of egalitarianism, peace, harmony and brotherhood. These are human values, which are most desired in the world today. Baba Saheb Dr. Ambedkar stressed that Lord Buddha has been a great inspiration in his social philosophy. Baba Saheb had said –“My Social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words; liberty, equality and fraternity. My Philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teaching of my master, The Buddha.”

Baba Saheb strengthened the oppressed, exploited, deprived and crores of people standing on the brink of marginalization via the Constitution of India. There cannot be a bigger example of compassion than this. This form of compassion was one of the greatest qualities of Lord Buddha for the alleviation of suffering of the people. The Buddhist monks used to travel to different countries carrying with them the rich ideals of Lord Buddha and this has been occurring throughout the ages. We have inherited the wisdom of Lord Buddha throughout Asia as part of our legacy.
It forges a link between us and many Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar where Buddhist traditions and his preaching are a part of their origins. And this is the very reason that we are developing Infrastructure for Buddhist Tourism, which is going to connect Southeast Asia with the important Buddhist sites of India. I am also very pleased that the Government of India is a partner in the restoration of many Buddhist temples which also includes the centuries old magnificent Anand Temple in Bagan in Myanmar. Today, when there is confrontation and human suffering prevalent everywhere in the world, Lord Buddha's teachings show the way to rid hatred from the world with compassion. I wish people spread all over the world who revere Lord Buddha and believe in the principles of compassion- I wish all of them an auspicious Buddha Purnima.

I seek benediction from Lord Buddha for the entire world, so that we can fulfill our responsibility in building a peaceful and compassionate world based on his teachings. Today, as we remember Lord Buddha, you must have heard about the idols of laughing Buddha, it is said that laughing Buddha brings one good fortune, but very few people know that smiling Buddha is also associated with an important event in India's defense history. Now you will be wondering what is the connection between smiling Buddha and India's military might?
You must remember, 20 years ago today, on 11th May 1998, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said while addressing the nation and his words filled the whole country with pride, courage and elation. The Indian diaspora was infused with new confidence. That day also was the day of Buddha Purnima. On May 11, 1998, at India’s western end a nuclear test was conducted in Pokhran, Rajasthan. It has been 20 years since Pokhranand this test was done on Buddha Purnima with the blessings of Lord Buddha. India's test was not only successful but in a way, India had demonstrated its might in the field of science and technology. We can also say 11 May 1988 is engraved in the history of India as a demonstration of her military power.

Lord Buddha has shown the world- that the power of inner strength or that of the soul is necessary for peace. Similarly, when you are sturdy as a nation, you can be at peace with others. The month of May, 1998 is not just important for the country from the aspect that nuclear tests were conducted this very month, but the manner in which they were carried out is also important. It has revealed to the entire world that India is the land of great scientists and with a strong leadership, India can reach loftier destinations and earn new laurels. On that day, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji had given the mantra - "Jai-Jawan Jai-Kisan, Jai-Vigyan.’

Now that when we are going to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Pokhran test conducted on May 11, 1998, I ask the younger generations of our nation to imbibe the mantra of 'Jai-Vigyan' given by Atalji for enhancing the might and the power of India, to build a modern India, a powerful India and a self-reliant India. Synergize your energy with the strength of India. Witnessing the journey that Atal ji started, we while continuing onwards on that very path with a renewed joy will derive great satisfaction in getting ahead.
My dear countrymen, looking forward to our conversation when we will meet for another episode of Mann Ki Baat. Thank you very much.

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PM Modi's Interview to The Economic Times
May 22, 2024

Q. Prime minister, the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign was strongly anchored in the fight against corruption. In 2019, it was the 'labharthi' model reaching every segment of society, besides the national security imperative that took centre stage. The 2024 Lok Sabha election campaign was expected to be pitched on 'vikas' and 'Viksit Bharat'. But it seems to have turned communal and polarising, your thoughts?

A: Perhaps, you find it polarising because you have not examined the crux of the matter. What is truly communal and polarising is Congress party's manifesto, their issues and their intent. It is my duty to expose them. Just because I am exposing them, you think it is polarising. You noted it correctly that in 2014, corruption was the main issue. In 2019, it was labarthis. In 2024, the main issue is Viksit Bharat. People across the country know that this is an important election which will ensure that we reach Viksit Bharat at the speed of the country's aspirations.

I must point out the difference between the scale of ambition of our government as compared to the UPA government. In 2014, the then finance minister said that India will become the third largest economy in 2043. In our case, we are already the fifth largest economy and will become the third largest economy in our third term. We will be at least 15 years ahead of their promise.

In this election, anti-corruption voter is with us and so is the labarthi voter. Along with it, a large section of the society which wants India to progress rapidly is also firmly backing us, which will ensure us getting a huge mandate on June 4.

Q. Prime minister, you have started a political debate on which section has or should have the 'first right' to national resources. Which segment should have the 'first right' and how would you identify this segment?

A: I have said it before and I am saying it again: the first right to national resources belongs to the poor. Everything we do, every policy we make, has the welfare of the poor at the heart of it. We are committed to ensuring that the fruits of development reach every poor person, regardless of their caste, community or region. Over the last decade, we have focused on a policy of saturation, ensuring that government schemes reach 100% of beneficiaries.

For example, if a village has 20 homes, is it fair that only 15 homes receive all the benefits? No. We are ensuring that all 20 homes are empowered, leaving no one behind. We are moving forward with this motto of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'.

Q. 428 of the 543 parliamentary constituencies have already voted. How is BJP score currently looking against the '400 paar' target? Has BJP crossed the 272-mark?

A: Doing such analysis is the job of experts. However, I have clear signal from the people on the ground that we have crossed the majority mark and the momentum is only getting stronger with each phase.

Everywhere I have gone in the past few weeks, I have received a lot of love, support and enthusiasm for BJP.

On the voting day, our polling booths are brimming with activity. In contrast, the atmosphere on the Opposition side is very grim and hopeless. It shows that we are well on our track to achieve a historic victory in the elections. People also realise this and hence they won't waste their vote on Congress and its allies which have already lost the elections. Hence in the remaining two phases, we will see even greater support for NDA.

Q. Which are the states you expect to score better than 2019?

A: In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, I am confident that BJP will win with a historic mandate. With the support we are getting from people in all states to make India a developed nation, I can confidently say that our vote share will increase everywhere. This time, we have set a more ambitious target: it's not just about winning seats, but about winning each polling booth. Every one of our karyakartas is focused on the strategy of winning the polling station.

I believe we will repeat our strong performance in the states where we won big in 2014 and 2019. South India and east India will bring record new gains. This time, we will vastly improve our performance in states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha. The so-called 'red corridor' will turn entirely saffron this election. Even Uttar Pradesh will see a rise in our seats.

The overwhelming will of the people across India is to bring us back with a historic mandate because they have seen how a strong, decisive and sensitive government has secured the nation and strengthened its position in the world. They are fed up with corruption, dynastic politics, minority appeasement and the mismanagement of states under Opposition governments. That's why they want the NDA again.

The stock markets have been volatile of late amid FII selling while some market participants attribute this to uncertainty around election results. Do you think markets will respond positively post-election results?
Our government has undertaken maximum reforms and managed the economy with fiscal prudence.

The trust the stock market places in us is evident in its remarkable performance over the past decade. When we took office, the Sensex was around 25,000 points. Today, it stands at around 75,000 points, reflecting a historic rise. Recently, we reached a whopping $5 trillion market cap for the first time ever!

Over the past 10 years, if you just take a look at the number of Demat accounts, you will understand how citizens have started to show confidence in Indian economy. The number of Demat accounts has increased from just 2.3 crore to over 15 crore now. The number of mutual fund investors has increased from 1 crore in 2014 to 4.5 crore today. As a result, we have a broader base of domestic investment. Domestic investors have become more active and vibrant and are playing a more substantial role in our markets than ever before. This is a clear indication of the financialisation of savings that has occurred in the last 10 years.

Our investors are well aware of the pro-market reforms we have implemented. These reforms have created a robust and transparent financial ecosystem, making it easier for every Indian to participate in the stock markets. I can say with confidence that on June 4, as BJP hits record numbers, the stock market will also hit new record highs.

Q. What your government calls a fight against corruption is criticised by the Opposition as targeted investigation by enforcement agencies. How do you respond to this?

A: The thing to note here is that even these people are not denying their own corruption. They are not saying that we are not corrupt or we have been falsely implicated. The only thing they are saying is that they are being targeted. So yes, we are targeting all corrupt. I have no hesitation in saying that. Think about it. Last year, hundreds of crores of cash was discovered from a Congress MP in Jharkhand. Dozens of people had to use multiple note counting machines for days to count the mountains of cash. Recently, Rs 25 crore was found from the house of the assistant of a Congress leader. We all saw the piles of cash and the gold bars that ED discovered in a TMC leader's flat. What does this tell us? It tells us that our agencies are on the right track.

Besides, in all the corruption cases investigated by ED, only 3% involve politicians. The remaining 97% involve officials and criminals. This proves that ED and CBI are not acting with political bias. Additionally, before 2014, ED only seized assets worth Rs 5,000 crore, but in the last 10 years, that amount has exceeded ₹1 trillion. These findings show that our investigative agencies are doing their job well. Therefore, it is important to let these agencies work without interference.

These accusations from the Opposition seem to come from a fear of being caught and having their corruption exposed. The fact is that INDI Alliance is a bloc that has been formed to protect each other's corruption, and the money that they looted from the citizens is there for everyone to see each time a corruption scandal is exposed.

Back in 2019, I told the people that your vote has brought corrupt to the doorstep of jail. Your next vote will ensure that they are put behind bars, and I delivered on that promise. This government has taken steps to systematically root out corruption since day 1. Earlier, it was such that out of every rupee meant for the people, only 15 paise reached them. Today, I can proudly say that when a rupee is sent out, the full 100 paise reaches the intended recipients through DBTs. How? Because this government leveraged technology to tackle corruption. We introduced the concept of e-governance, simplified procedures and made India go digital and cashless. We have come a long way in our fight against corruption, and in my third term, it will continue with even greater vigour.

Q. How do you rate your party's chances in Odisha after alliance talks did not fructify? You have often held Naveen Patnaik in high regard among all CMs. But what are your views as you challenge him in the state in a bid to prevent him from securing another term?

A: Over the last few days, I had the privilege of interacting with the wonderful people of Odisha across many rallies. Among the Odia people, especially the youth, women, tribals and farmers, I see a great upsurge of hope and aspiration towards the development-oriented politics of BJP. I am convinced that a big transformation is happening in the electoral landscape of the state, not only at the Lok Sabha level but also at the assembly level.

Odisha is a state that has a lot of untapped potential. It has talented young people and can be a much bigger player in the world of technology and startups. It has hardworking farmers and good natural resources. With an encouraging government, farmers of Odisha will make it an agricultural hub in the country. Odisha is a treasure trove of literature, history, heritage, art and architecture. It has all the elements to make it a much sought-after tourist destination, which can create a number of opportunities for the youth.

Similarly, the state also has a vibrant coastline which helps trade and fisheries. But sadly, many of these sectors have been neglected over the years because of BJD's lethargy and lack of vision. The people of Odisha understand that only BJP can make a difference because they have seen the ten-year track record of our government at the Centre. They have seen how our schemes are designed and implemented with the people's empowerment as their focus. Whether it is foodgrain, gas connections, bank accounts, toilets or tap water connections, these are reaching the people and bringing a transformation in their lives. So, they trust those who actually deliver a better life to them.

Further, BJP is not new to Odisha. We have always got great support in the state, including putting up a strong performance in past Lok Sabha polls.

Q. When we talk states, alliances in Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu have come under strain ahead of Lok Sabha polls. Your thoughts?

A: See, you are focusing on a few parties who are no more part of NDA. In those cases, we have gone with our principles, the wishes of the people and our cadre. We are also sure that we will do well in the elections nevertheless. But what you mentioned is not the complete picture. Across India, there have been many states where we have added so many new partners into the NDA fold. You mentioned Tamil Nadu. In the state, NDA has about 10 or more parties.

There are states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar and many others where we have added new allies over the last few weeks or months. If you look at the larger picture, we have added more parties and our alliance also has momentum on its side. So, I see this as a positive trend that more and more parties want to be with our vision for progress and the people are also supporting us.

Q. India has good relations and strong strategic, economic ties with Israel as well as Iran besides most other gulf nations. How do you see the West Asia crisis impacting us? Do you foresee a bigger role for India in this conflict?

A:The crisis in West Asia is deeply concerning, especially in terms of the human cost of it. India has strong relations with many countries in West Asia. Even if some of these nations find themselves on the opposite side of each other, we have equally healthy relations with each of them. I also have a deep bond with the leaders of many of these nations and am moved by their gestures of friendship. I had sent a special envoy to urge for ensuring a cease-fire during the month of Ramzan. So, along with others, we too are doing our bit for global peace. We have always conveyed to these nations that we are totally on the side of peace and progress. We have always stressed upon the perspective that dialogue is the way forward. And we will continue to do so.

Q. You have been saying India is at a turning point, ready for a quantum leap. What are factors in India's favour and strengths that you intend to leverage to leapfrog?

A: I have said earlier that demography, democracy, demand are with India. These factors were there earlier too but the way we have empowered these crucial factors with our mantra of reform, perform, transform has made an important difference.

The demographic sweet spot that India is in has not been seen in the past and will not be seen in future. To complement it, we have put the nation in an economic sweet spot. We have given an era of historic reforms across various sectors.

Be it banking, foreign direct investment, compliances, corporate taxation, income taxes or even fiscal policy, our reforms have spanned across various sectors.

As a result, from Fragile Five we have reached Top Five Economies. We have been the fastest growing economy for many years now. We have also received record foreign direct investment (FDI) over the years.

All this has resulted in an environment where investment, industry and innovation can thrive, benefiting our talented youngsters in terms of the number of opportunities being created across sectors.

Further, look at the impact of our welfare initiatives. Whether it is bank accounts, toilets, tap water, electricity or health insurance, these facilities are reaching those who were deprived of them for decades.

This helped 25 crore people rise above poverty, creating a neo-middle class that is hopeful and aspirational. These people are driving new patterns of income generation and demand, powering the wheels of the economy even further.

At the same time, India is undergoing rapid digital transformation, with increasing internet penetration and a booming tech and startup industry. Whether it is Digital India or DBT (direct benefit transfer) or digital payments, they are creating a new wave of innovation and empowerment.

And when it comes to physical and social infrastructure, the speed and scale at which we have worked is unprecedented. If the number of our airports has doubled, so has the number of medical colleges.

While we have added thousands of kilometres of national highways, we have also added hundreds of schools, colleges and universities.

These efforts have created momentum for capital and human capital.

Further, India's strategic positioning in the world enhances our trade and diplomatic engagements. As a trusted member of various international forums and trade agreements, India is well-placed to leverage global markets and attract international partnerships.

Many experts across the world are saying this is India's time, India's decade and India's century. Whether it is space or solar energy, sports or startups, the world is seeing India arrive on the global stage across sectors.

More importantly, every Indian, believes this is India's time. This self-belief is like the icing on top of all the strides that our country has taken in the last few years.

Q. What in your vision constitutes 'Viksit Bharat', its contours and parameters?

A: Viksit Bharat is a nation where no one is too small to dream and no dream is too big to achieve. Viksit Bharat is a nation where social circumstances or birth do not limit anyone's growth. Everyone, no matter who they are, can aspire to reach the heights of success.

Viksit Bharat is a nation with sustained high growth, strong manufacturing, services, agriculture and technology. It is a nation where economic growth is inclusive, where poverty is a thing of the past.

Viksit Bharat is a nation where there are high-quality jobs driven by innovation, entrepreneurship and skill development. Viksit Bharat is a nation with a fully digitised economy, widespread high-speed internet access and transparent e-governance services.

Viksit Bharat is a nation which is a hub of research and development, fostering a thriving ecosystem for science and technology.

Viksit Bharat is a nation with world-class transportation networks, renewable energy systems, and smart urban development.

Viksit Bharat is a nation where there is seamless rural-urban connectivity for balanced regional growth.

Viksit Bharat is a nation where high-quality healthcare is affordable, accessible and available to everyone.

Viksit Bharat is a nation with an education system emphasising quality, accessibility, native languages, fostering critical thinking, creativity and lifelong learning.

Viksit Bharat means having comprehensive social welfare systems ensuring the well-being of the elderly, Divyang, and marginalised communities.

Viksit Bharat means commitment to green growth through renewable energy, conservation of natural resources and a reduced carbon footprint.

In the last 10 years, we have been working proactively across all these sectors. The foundation we have laid will help us achieve great heights by 2047.

Q. Creating enough jobs for India's youth is the biggest challenge facing the economy. Do you think high growth will address the issue, or something more is needed? What's the road ahead? What contribution is expected from the private sector?

A: Today, India is blessed with a demographic dividend. Along with this blessing, it is very important to ensure that the youth get opportunities. Today, India's growth momentum, vibrancy and optimism comes from the fact that our youth have these new opportunities and are making the most of them.

Look at the startup sector, for example. We went from just a few startups in 2014 to nearly 1.37 lakh in 2024. We have 100+ unicorns today, and we're the third largest startup economy in the world.

Similarly, in R&D, we're leading the way. Startups themselves have registered over 12,000 patents. And last year, a record 90,300 patent applications were received. India's youth, empowered with opportunities and innovation under this government, have become the driving force behind the nation's remarkable growth trajectory.

While we understand that high growth is important for creating enough opportunities, we are not satisfied with just that. We are actively bringing in reforms. We are looking towards the future and creating future jobs.

We are opening up new sectors, encouraging entrepreneurship, improving access to credit and improving government jobs.

India's digital economy has grown 2.4 times faster than the economy between 2014 and 2019, creating around 6 crore jobs.

Our gig economy is also thriving and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, with over 20% engaged in highly skilled jobs.

With just MUDRA loans, over crores of new businesses have been started and India's entrepreneurial energy unleashed.

I have been regularly attending rozgar melas to interact with our youth. The central government alone has ensured that lakhs of youth receive their recruitment letters through the melas.

Look at the indicators which prove the job generation. The returns filed by individual taxpayers more than doubled from 3.36 crore in 2013-14 to 8.18 crore in 2023-24. EPFO payroll data shows that over 6 crore new EPFO subscribers have been added in the last seven years, indicating a surge in youth employment. PLFS data shows that between 2017 and 2023, the participation rate of the worker population ratio has increased to over 56%, and unemployment is at a historic low of 3.2%.

In the last 10 years, we have not just stressed and worked on the creation of jobs, but also invested our efforts in nurturing and creating job creators.

Q. Jammu & Kashmir has stabilised after the revocation of Article 370. You talked about holding elections in the Union Territory, the Supreme Court too has spoken similarly. What is your assessment on carrying out the next steps?

A: You are right that the region has stabilised after August 2019. The elections in Jammu and Kashmir are an important milestone in its history. The record voter turnout in is one of the most gratifying things I have seen in my tenure.

The people of the region have seen our constant and honest efforts to strengthen democracy. Be it Srinagar or Baramulla, people have expressed great confidence in the electoral process and optimism for the future.

The progress that Jammu and Kashmir has made in the last five years is proof that we are on the right path. We will ensure that these gains become deep-rooted and irreversible.

We are very clear in our intent. We are committed to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Supreme Court has set a date for assembly elections in the region. The Election Commission will take a call on the right time for the assembly elections.

Q. Are you satisfied with the way the defence sector has responded to your call for 'atmanirbharta', to reduce dependency on imports? What more can be done by the government and other stakeholders?

A: During the Covid era, the world realised the importance of self-reliance. Although we were already making progress in this direction, we used the time of pandemic to push this cause with significant momentum.

For years, we used to rely on the world for even small items. Not only did it create dependencies but it also caused loss of precious foreign exchange.

We used the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to create a mindset change to promote self-reliance as well as to create conducive conditions for manufacturing in India. The results and the trajectory of growth have been quite satisfying.

Let us start with vaccine manufacturing. There was a time when India took 20 years to procure polio vaccines and vaccination took another 40 years. We took 32 years for TB vaccination! Today India has produced not one or two but four vaccines. And not only that, we exported it to more than 100 countries. And we also ran the world's largest vaccination programme.

Similarly, previously there was zero production of PPE kits. But during Covid, we witnessed large-scale manufacturing.

In defence sector, we struggled to even produce bulletproof jackets for our soldiers. Today Indian defence exports include helicopters, patrol vessels, coastal surveillance systems and high-end defence equipments to more than 20 countries. And we are exporting bullet proof jackets to more than 100 countries. We are also emerging as a global hub for the production of helicopters. Our defence exports have touched a record high of more than 21,000 crore.

There was a time when India had only two mobile manufacturing units and over 90% of the mobiles were imported. Today 200+ units are manufacturing mobile phones and almost all the mobile phones used are made in India. We are the now second largest exporters of mobile phones in the world.

There were times when the potential of toy manufacturing and local artisans was overlooked. Today local artisans are making for the world. Their talent is getting recognised world over. There has been a decline in toy imports by 52% and rise in exports by 239% since 2014.

We are also focusing on semiconductor manufacturing and are taking rapid strides in this direction.

My vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat aims to position India as a global manufacturing and innovation hub. I believe India, with its demographic dividend, democracy and demand, has the potential not only to meet its own needs but also those of the world. I firmly believe that Aatmanirbhar Bharat will not just fuel India's growth but will also propel global growth.

Following is the clipping of the interview:

 

 

 Source: The Economic Times