"We had started with the mantra of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas'; but with five years of constant dedication, the people have added another marvelous term to it - that is 'Sabka Vishwas'." –Narendra Modi
After the new public mandate, today for the first time I have got the opportunity to put forth my views before the Hon'ble Members of the Rajya Sabha. We have been given the opportunity by the people of the country with greater faith to serve the nation once again. I am grateful to all. However, at the very beginning of this second term, Madan Lal Ji, an honorable member of this House, is not among us. I pay my tribute to him.
Several Hon'ble Members have placed their thoughts before the House in their own way. All kinds of emotions have been expressed here. There was sourness, bitterness, sarcasm, anger, constructive advice as well as appreciation from the people.
In every session of the Rajya Sabha, Arun ji's eloquence ... Everyone is very much interested in listening to him. But these days, he is recovering his health I am sure, it will be our fortune that after becoming healthy he will return soon in the house. As a leader, Mr. Thawar Chand Ji will guide us all in this august house. I also welcome him. In the discussion that is going on in the last two days, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad Ji, Mr. Digvijay Singh Ji, our friend Mr. D Raja, Mr. Derek O'Brien Ji, Mr. Ramgopal Yadav, Mr. Majid Memon Ji, Mr. Ramdas Athawale, Mr. T.K. Rangarajan, Mr. J.P. Nadda ji, Swapnn Dasgupta ji and nearly 50 other honorable members have made this discussion enriched with.
Everyone has expressed his view in his own way- There was some type of sourness, there was sharpness, there were also some satires, there was some resentment, there were creative suggestions, and there was also some public greeting. Every kind of spirit has appeared here. And some people were also those who did not get the opportunity to go to the ground, and then the anger that was supposed to get out here probably could be found here, so also saw this.
This election was really special. After several decades, once again a government with absolute majority was formed for the second time in succession. It indicates the significance of political stability. This didn't happen only in this election. During all the elections over the past few months, it has been observed that whichever party came into power, the voters had emphasized upon political stability. It is a sign of a strong democracy.
While working for the organization, I have seen and carried out several election campaigns. After getting into politics, I had got the opportunity to fight as well as help others fight elections but there are very few occasions wherein the public fights elections on its own. The 2019 elections were in a way fought by the people instead of parties. The people themselves were taking the information on good work of the government to other people. Those who were not benefited too believed that if the other person was benefited, they too would. This faith plays a significant role in this election. I am fortunate that I have got the opportunity to meet and seek blessings of the public from every corner of the country.
Election itself is extremely crucial for a democratic world. It has a global value. I believe that saying with reference to the huge public mandate - you have won the elections but the country has lost the elections, due to a limited thinking and distortion of thoughts, is a grave insult to the people of India.
This is not an ordinary statement but these things force the people to contemplate seriously. When such statements like ' the democracy has lost and the nation has lost' are given, I would like to ask - did India lose in Wayanad? Did it lose in Raebareilly? Did it lose in Behrampur, Thiruvananthapuram and Amethi? What kind of an argument is it that India lost because Congress lost? Is the nation equivalent to Congress? There is a limit to arrogance. There shouldn't be any arrogance. There is no question of limit. I wish to know that a party governing the nation for 55-60 years could not win a single seat in 17 states. Can we simply say that the nation lost?
I believe that by using such a language we are questioning the conscience of the voters. I can understand our criticism and it is acceptable in a democracy but insulting the voters of the country like this is extremely painful.
We have seen that in 40-45 degree Celsius temperature, people had stood in long queues to cast their votes. 80-90 year old voters had come with their sticks to vote. There were several election officials who despite their recent mother's death had come for their duty. An election concludes after the hard work of innumerable people and we insult the voters of our country in this manner.
We have stooped so low in this politics of insults that we were told that we had insulted the farmers of our country. They even said that the farmers were bribed. They said that the vots of the farmers were purchased with a scheme of Rs.2000. I believe that the farmers of the country should not be insulted like this. The farmers of the country cannot be bribed. Our farmers are the ones who with tremendous labor and hard work produce food grains. He never thinks that the food produced by him will be fed to whom - the poor or the rich? Using such language for these farmers is insulting the 15 crore farmers.
I am astonished that even the media was abused. Where are we? Are elections won due to the media? Can media be bribed? In that case, the same should also apply to Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Things said in the House have importance. Whatever we say might grab headlines in the newspapers but we should also keep in mind the dignity of the Indian democracy. The election process is an opportunity of enhancing India's glory which we should not let go.
You can imagine the enormity of these elections. 10 lakh polling stations, more than 40 lakh EVM machines, 650 political parties and more than 8000 candidates! If we place these facts before the world, the world will be surprised! A crucial aspect has surfaced in this election. Our sisters and daughters have done a commendable job in this election! Usually the voting percentage of males used to be higher than the females. For the first time this gap has become almost zero. This in itself has become an essence of the Indian democracy. It is a matter of great joy that almost 78 women Parliamentarian have been elected this time.
Not only this, the people of Bharatiya Janata Party and NDA have come to victory in this election… It is the specialty of this election that be it the North, South, East or West, in all corners with BJP and NDA winning the majority. It is not that we are only in a corner ... all away, we have got the approval.
Those who have lost their dreams, whose dreams have been shattered, whose ego has been hurt. They may not be able to greet the voters of the country, However, I bow my head and congratulate all the voters and thank them. I also congratulate all the officers, security personnel associated with the election process and the Election Commission.
A lot of discussion is going on here regarding the EVMs. A new trend has started now. EVMs are being questioned. There was a time when our party had only two members in the House. We were mocked at. We had gone through hard times but we had faith in our party workers. We had faith in the intentions. We had faith in the people of the country. We had been preparing with a lot of hard work and sacrifice. From that frustrating situation we once again built our party with a new belief. The generation ahead of us worked but showed it and that is the test of leadership.
It happened at the Polling Booth Camp, at that time, it was so-so, it was soaked ... so we lost, there was not so much crying ... we lost, will work again. We left again to work. And we have come here with the results. We didn't cry over polling booths. People look for excuses when there is a lack of self-confidence. EVMs are blamed so as to console and reassure before their colleagues that they can say that we lost due to the EVMs.
I believe that we cannot help the political cadre in this way and instead upset the cadre. It cannot be useful. If you have the courage, then come forward. Prepare the cadre and then fight in the upcoming elections.
There have been ceaseless modifications in the election process. After the 1952 period, elections used to go on for months. The election officials used to go to every village with the ballot boxes. Modifying that process, we have reached here today. It is a continuous process. Earlier, after the elections, the newspapers used to carry headlines like - number of people killed; amount of violence; and the number of booth captured. Today due to the EVMs, there is the only news about the percentage increase in voting. This is an important aspect. Earlier booth capturing and looting were normal. Only the miscreants had the power in their hands. After the election process has turned more democratic, people have started losing. That is why they want to go back to the era of ballot boxes. The country cannot help in the process of capturing democracy in this way.
Hon'ble Chairman, Today from the House, I want to tell the nation that for the first time in 1977, the discussion on EVMs had started. At that time we were nowhere in politics. It was first used in 1982. We were not there even in 1988. The dignitaries at that time from this very House had approved it lawfully. They had framed the law. Moreover, under the leadership of the Congress in 1992, all the rules related to the EVMs were made. Like they keep saying - we did this, we did that; this too was done by you. Now you have lost. That's why you are crying.
Till date, about 113 assembly elections have been conducted in the country. And almost all the parties present here today have got the opportunity to come to power or share the power with the same EVMs. There have been four General Elections for Lok Sabha. Even in those elections parties had changed and different people had come to power. But after losing today they are blaming the same EVMs. After 2001, several cases related to the EVMs were fought in the various High Courts and the Supreme Court. After all the examination, the Judiciary of all the nations has given positive verdict regarding the EVMs.
In 2017, there was a huge uproar regarding the EVMs. Then, the Election Commission stepped forward and challenged the protesters to come forward and prove the EVMs wrong. Not a single party of those who are crying over the EVMs went to the Election Commission. NCP and CPI went to the Election Commission but they didn't question the EVMs. They just tried to know how the EVM operated. At least NCP and CPI went to the Election Commission. Others who doubted didn't go to the Election Commission even after its invitation.
When a few groups with vested interest started with the uproar regarding the EVMs, some of our people also started believing that there was an issue with the EVMs. Even people from our party started questioning but we honestly tried to seek the truth. We also tried to understand the technology and started walking on the right path.
Then the VVPAT system started. A few people went to the Supreme Court time and again and tried to derail the election process. Every evening they used to go to the Election Commission and create uproar and got the media a few headlines. It was an attempt to create disbelief in the minds of the voters. What happened to the VVPAT? After all the speculation, VVPAT once again enhanced the power of EVMs. Results are here.
I am surprised at Congress party, so I have to say that you have ruled for so many years. You have been the main political stream of the country for a long time… Today from experience I have to say that you have some problem that you cannot even accept the victory. You have won so many elections after years of independence. And since 2014, I am constantly watching that you cannot even accept defeat. I do not believe that this is a healthy growth. In a democracy, every party should have its own position, significance and respect. But neither are we accepting our defeat nor able to accept the victory. Since 1952, there has been a constant reform of the election process and it should continue with similar reforms in the future too.
And I believe that it should also be discussed continuously and it should be discussed with an open mind, there is no need to be with a tied mind. But to say out right that we are not in favor of one country, one election, oh brother, let us first have discussions. I have personally met several MPs and all of them have said that we must get rid of this disease. There should be elections once in five years. The festival of elections could go on for two months and everyone should be engaged with business as usual. Everyone said the same thing. It might be difficult to take a stand publicly. Isn’t it the need of the hour that at least there should be just one voters list in the country? Unfortunately today there are as many voters list as the number of elections. So much money and hard work of the people of the country is going into it.
The State and the Centre together must frame such laws so that there is only one voters list for every election that will be created at the Panchayat level so that no voter is left out because there is a value of every vote. One can lose or win with just 30-40 votes. Similarly, the polling stations of the voters should also be determined so that he/she doesn't have to look for it on the day of the elections. Therefore, reforms in the election process are mandatory. Reforms should continue.
Earlier there used to be One Nation One Election concept in our country and you all have got the benefit of the same. Some people give arguments which have no logic. They say how the voters will decide together. Odisha is the greatest example. There is more rural areas in Orissa. Odisha is not so much developed. It is among the states of India, which still have to work hard to bring them in the way of development. The voters there did cast two votes - one for Lok Sabha and the other for Legislative Assemble. That means our voters can cast two votes at the same time. They have that conscience. There are some regions where all the assembly seats went to the BJD and they gave Lok Sabha seats to the BJP. Our voters have that maturity. We are disrespecting them.
Rumors are being spread that if simultaneous elections take place then regional parties would be finished. Wherever simultaneous elections have happened, in all those regions regional parties have come to power. You can check the history. Regional party came to power in Andhra Pradesh and also in Odisha. Don't doubt the intelligence of the country's voters. Every effort should be welcomed. We should play our role in every effort. But if we shut the doors in the beginning, then how will we bring change? In my opinion we should not doubt the conscience of the voters.
Sometimes I wonder that do they oppose only the EVMs. No? I feel we have taken the term 'opposition party' in letter and spirit. Opposition party is to oppose. I remember that I was sitting in this house and scholars were making such speeches, big-minded themselves, as when God came to disperse the intelligence, they were standing in the first queue. Such people are sitting here. These few scholarly members in this House had said that digital transaction was not possible in the country. How will the poor become digital? How will he hold mobile phone? There were several such speeches. I wonder to hear them. We opposed that.
Some members opposed the Aadhaar. When you were in power, the Aadhaar was great. When we are trying to reduce corruption with Aadhaar, it became a crisis. They went to the Supreme Court and tried to stop Aadhaar. If we want to become a modern India, a New India, can we stay away from technology? Safeguarding is a requirement of Technology but can we keep on running away from these things?
GST, EVM, digital V-map, everything was opposed. Negativity in everything! All the parties that created hurdles for the government in Rajya Sabha during the past five years, the voters have punished them. Today the voters are observing all the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha and while voting they keep the behavior of the parties in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in their minds. It has been observed in this election. This is a lesson to be learnt for the coming five years. It is for everyone that we have to answer where and where we stop the task of the elected government in the Rajya Sabha.
I am astonished that New India is being opposed. What is the reason? You tell us that five of your points are correct and the rest are incorrect. Someone might say that the concept of New India is to develop India but America didn't do it or some other country didn't do it. So we shouldn't do it. Leave what others are doing. The history of our country is 5000 years old. We are the people with great traditions and values. Leave what others are doing. We have to set an example in the world.
Why shouldn't the 125 crores people dream big? We can say that 10 points are not right but at least five points are correct. Let us make an effort towards those five. Let us not commit the sin of pushing the people of our country towards hopelessness. Let us make changes in it. But should we out-rightly say that we want old India? Do we want that old India where the cabinet decision is torn in a press conference? Do we want that old India where the Indian Navy is used for tours? Do we want that old India where the Country becomes tired of news of scams in Navy, Army and Air force or the one that supports the tukde-tukde gang? Do we need that India?
Do we want that old India wherein we had to stand in long queues for hours for rail reservation or the India wherein reservation was not possible without middlemen? Do we want that old India wherein we had to stand in queues outside the homes of MPs for gas connection or waiting for months for Passport? Do we want that old India with inspector Raj or that India wherein interviews are held for the posts of peons, drivers, watchman and carrying our corruption in the name of interview?
I am astonished, the people of the country are not at all willing to go back to old days. They are waiting for New India for their dreams. We must make concerted efforts to fulfil these dreams of every citizen. I am very confident to do so. We have put our efforts.
Earlier, lighting lamps, cutting ribbons and announcing schemes was considered to be government's work. Last mile delivery, as it was not the responsibility of the government, we have changed that culture. We have also changed the policy, we have changed the strategy, and we have also changed the attitude and tendency. The result is ... Now here it is said that we did it, we did it, but homes for the poor were built earlier too - were they not built during the UPA, they were built. You will ask what new thing have we done? The new aspect is - you constructed 25 lakh houses in 5 years while we built 1.5 crore houses in 5 years, this is the change.
And that is why I think that we have tried to create a new environment, by going out of governmentization, we have emphasized simplification. We have seen that lack, influence and pressure were creating hurdles in fulfilling the dreams of the independent India even after so many years of Independence. The government did a few things whereby some people had to live in lack, some were frustrated due to influence and some had to live under pressure and walk on that path.
The government should definitely think of lack for the healthy development of the country but the common man must not be crushed under influence and pressure. We have embraced such a strategy and are working to empower every citizen of the country. Five years ago there was no electricity in crores of houses. There were no gas connections or toilets. They talked of big reform. But the country changes with small reforms. We should not be ashamed of small things. We shouldn't be so lofty. We have come from a small place among the ordinary people. Solving the problems of those ordinary people can bring huge results. That is why we have started working on it.
Fulfilling the aspirations of the people in the next 5 years:
This is certain that we have tried hard to fulfil the needs of the people in the last five years. The results are visible to a great extent. But now the nation's desire is more about fulfillment of aspirations than it needs. I believe that we are fortunate. We are fortunate that every citizen of the country is living with aspirations, be it political, social, business, education etc. When we human beings have aspirations, the work also gains momentum and the development process too speeds up. These are fortunate moments. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all us to take every decision for the aspirations of the common man.
I am surprised, that negativity and opposition have increased to such levels that the issues of toilets and sanitation, Jan-Dhan account, even aspects like Make in India were mocked at. We have to make requests even for these things like going abroad. According to them the country has seen the negativity in everything in a way. Should we not respect each–other.
We know that we don't have majority in Rajya Sabha. Therefore, we shouldn't try to demean the decision taken by the people of India. Hon'ble Chairman, we have tolerated this constantly for 5 years. Therefore, Chairman Sir, we want protection because the people of India have entrusted the responsibility of fulfilling their aspirations to us by complete majority in Lok Sabha. Even the Federal structure of Rajya Sabha suggests that we should receive help and thus it is my request to you that you will do justice regarding the same.
With the expectation of turning into a 5 trillion dollars economy, we are moving ahead with the dream of New India. Has it been told to you that till 2014, India was a 2 trillion dollars economy? Today it has become 2.80 trillion. That is, after so many years of independence, it had become 2 trillion but within 5 years it has almost doubled. If it can increase by half in 5 years, then it can increase further in the coming 5 years. Secondly, we shouldn't have this question that why we are setting the target of 5 trillion dollars for the country's economy but instead we must think of working together to turn it into a 5 trillion dollars economy. Wherever we have state governments, we must try harder to improve the economy. You do it where your state government is. With concerted efforts, India will soon be among the 5 trillion dollars economy club. Everyone will be delighted! Hence, bring out positive thoughts. We are ready to hear you and accept your ideas. We are also ready to learn from you because we have to run the nation and work for its welfare. Thus, I want all of us to move ahead with these ideas.
There are a few more issues that need to be mentioned here. It was said in the House that Jharkhand has become a hub of mob lynching and mob violence. Hon'ble Chairman Sir, We all are deeply saddened by the murder of the youngster. The perpetrators should be given the toughest punishment! But is it right to blame only Jharkhand state? Then we won't find anyone doing any good work there. The miscreants must be isolated and they should be dealt with lawfully. We can play politics by accusing everyone but the situations won't change. Thus, none of us has the right to denounce Jharkhand. They are also citizens of our country, there is also plenty of gentlemen. And so, if there is an offense, the Constitution, law and order are fully capable to deal with it by law and justice. And its remedy is also legal expenditure, judicial process. And for that we should do as much as we can, not back off.
The biggest damage that terrorism has done in the world is good terrorism and bad terrorism, mine terrorism and your terrorism. Anyway, we have also done these incidents of violence - whether that incident happens in Jharkhand, whether it happens in West Bengal, whether it happens in Kerala - we should have the same criteria, only then we will be able to stop the violence. Only then will those who commit violence get a lesson that this country is one on this one issue. All are political parties, everyone thinks, now nothing like this will work in the country. And I agree, let us fulfill that responsibility.
There are many other areas for gaining political brownie points. We can use them. I believe that it is our constitutional responsibility to guarantee the protection of our citizens. At the same time, it is our responsibility to be considerate towards humanity. We cannot deny that. Let us move ahead with the same spirit. We had started with the mantra of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas'; but with five years of constant dedication, the people have added another term to it - that is 'Sabka Vishwas'.
But our Azad Saheb is unable to see clearly. Things will be hazy till the time everything is being seen through the lens of politics. Thus I believe that if we start looking at things by removing those political lenses, we will be able to see a brighter future.
A lot of lecture was delivered here. Sometimes newspapers carry these things. However, during the Tuesday meetings whenever I publicly see things, I express my anger. I try to improve things. We got several complaints and accusations that an independent candidate was turned into our candidate and was helped in winning. That is the history of a few parties. The candidate for the post of President is also made to lose. This is individual politics. They also try to defeat Baba Saheb Ambedkar. Thus, before lecturing, they should look within.
When Sikhs were burnt alive by hanging wires around the streets of Delhi, and the people whose names came out loud, they were discussed in every way, they are still in that party, and they are holding respected posts, constitutional posts. If this is what your ideals and policies used to be, then there is a need to look into your community before preaching. Then you forget all these things, then you forget these and so ... And there will be many such examples. when there is a crisis of political jubilation - you expel from the party for ten days and then embrace, many examples will be found. There are names of great people and hence, please think before giving kindness to preach.
We are not so great in public life that we get the license to speak anything and everything. I also tell the same thing to my party members. We don't have any right to say anything to anyone. We have to be in our limits and follow the rules of public life. They might belong to any party. I want to tell my party members in particular that it is not right to do such a thing. I have said this publicly. But if we try, it will improve at some time, and we keep trying.
The only concern here is credit , it is very heavy. We have given all the credit to you, that is why we have come. It was your courage, which brings us, otherwise who knew this much. But I want to ask, NRC has been discussed here, will you not take its credit? Why are you running, brother? You also take credit for that too.
The Rajeev Gandhi government had accepted the NRC in the Assam Accord. Later the Supreme Court had to step in and we are implementing it on the directions of the Supreme Court. Take the credit for the Accord! You have to collect votes and also take the credit. Then you will tell half-truth to everyone. This is not done. You should tell at least a few things clearly. We are committed to implementing the decision regarding the NRC taken at that time. For us, it is not a vote-bank politics. It is the question of country's unity, integrity and a bright future. And we will do it!
Sardar Saheb was mentioned here. I felt happy. Probably the people from Congress won't agree but we still believe that had Sardar Saheb been the first Prime Minister of India, the issue of Jammu & Kashmir wouldn't have cropped up. We still believe that had Sardar Saheb been the first Prime Minister, the villages of the country wouldn't have faced any problem today. The nation would have a different image today. This is our idea. It could be wrong. But there could not be two opinions about the fact that Sardar Saheb, who was appointed as the first Home Minister of the country by Congress, had integrated more than 500 princely states. He lived and fought for Congress throughout his life. He also gave up his life for Congress.
During elections in Gujarat, Sardar Saheb is seen in posters but he is not seen anywhere during national elections. He was from your party. What issue do you have with him? But today I would like to request the senior leaders of Congress that at least they could go to the world's tallest statue, the Statue of Unity, and pay their tribute to Sardar Saheb. I would like Ghulam Nabi ji to spend a few days in Gujarat.
Let me tell you a very interesting story about how the old rules work here. If there is an airport or a dam, there will be a board saying 'photography not allowed'. Today we have such technology that can click the photo of the number plate of a two-wheeler parked outside the house from space. But old laws are still continuing. When the Sardar Sarovar dam used to overflow, at that time the government of Digvijay Singhji was in power there. They didn't allow the people to go there. When I became the Chief Minister, I asked them to change this rule. The people could come and take photos. Then I decided to charge entry fees so that a good parking lot could be created for the people. Then the 5th lakh visitor was honoured. I am glad that the 5th lakh visitor was a newly-wed couple from Baramullah and we honoured them. See, how things can be changed. That's why I say that you can have a meeting of the Congress Working Committee at the Statue of Unity sometime. You will feel good. We should pay out homage to the national heroes and we will continue to do that.
Publicity versus Awareness Campaign
Mr. Azad, you have been a Health Minister. Sometimes we should differentiate between Publicity and Awareness campaign. The advertisement that talks of behavioral change should not be considered as a government advertisement. If you want to tell the children that wash your hands before eating, you have to run a campaign for that. Although the expenses are borne by the government but that is not a government advertisement. When an epidemic broke out during your tenure as the Health Minister, you too had given advertisement asking people to boil water before drinking during epidemic. You will not be right if you call ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ an advertisement.
But it is really painful when we see that in the name of MGNREGA people are just dumping soil from one place to another. For three long years advertising was done in the country, although MGNREGA was not a behavioral change campaign. Yet advertisements were issued at government cost to establish a leader. The country will never forget it. Asking people to wash hands before eating is behavioral change. We have to understand the difference between Publicity and Awareness Campaign. Otherwise how the country will transform?
Prioritizing immunization and safe motherhood
Questions have been raised against Ayushman Bharat Yojana too. MPs of all the political parties have congratulated me in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on this one issue. Whenever they have written me to help poor sick persons of their constituencies from Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, I have told them do not look at the rule book for the poor; hundred per cent help should be given to them. For this cause MPs from almost all the political parties used to come to me.
The MPs who have written to the Prime Minister to help the poor of their constituencies know the power of Ayushman Bharat Yojana. Now a day, no MP writes such letters to the Prime Minister, because they know that the poor are getting the benefit from Ayushman Bharat Yojana; so there is no need to go to Prime Minister’s Office. This is a huge change. So far 30 lakh people have been benefited from Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
We are public representatives. We meet people. If I come across any negative thing or any deficiency, I tell people that bring it to my notice; together we will set that right. If we make Ayushman Bharat Yojana stronger, it will help the poor of the country in true sense. If a poor man, who is moving towards neo middle class, a disease can snatch away his 20 years savings. This is a humanitarian scheme. So please stop criticizing Ayushman Bharat Yojana. It will be a great work of humanity, so instead of criticizing Ayushma Bharat, and saying that Modi will take credit for it, that is over as the election result has come ... , now we should work together. Don't worry I am going to take new work for 2024, so I would like to do it with a little bit of cooperation.
Here we have discussed Bihar’s Encephalitis. It is a shame and painful thing for all of us. I admit that as a society, as a government whatever failures we have witnessed in the last seven decades, this is one of the biggest failures. I have seen things are slightly better in eastern UP, yet I do not claim that.
We have been stressing on universal immunization and safe motherhood during the last five years. I am constantly in touch with the State Government in this painful situation. I had sent our Health Minister to the State so that the Centre and the state could address the issue at the earliest. Be it nutrition, safe motherhood, or the benefits of Ayushman Bharat Yojana, the more we will publicize these, the more we will be able to avoid the crises. Today a state is plagued with such a disease, tomorrow it may spread to some other state. If we become proactive, we can save people from such problems.
Stress on the development of Aspirational Districts
Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas is not a political slogan. Certain areas of our country are lagging behind in terms of development. We have identified 112 aspirational districts. Certain states became apprehensive about it because of political compulsions. I am surprised, where is politics in this? When I was in Gujarat, if somebody was transferred to Kutch, he used to grumble as if he had been punished. No officer was willing to go there. Now Kutch has become one of the fastest developing districts of the country. In every state of the country there are one or two such districts. To change that psychology we have to engage young officers. I have talked to the states. Young officers have been engaged and a daily monitoring of these 112 districts is being done. Some parameters are being improved. By Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas, I mean, whichever district is lagging behind should be brought to such a level that their confidence is boosted and will try to move ahead.
We have focused on the North-east during the last five years. An environment has been created. We need to emphasize it more. Northeast is a very important unit for the nation and me. Therefore, it has been made mandatory for the Ministers to go there in the last five years. Not only in the state capitals but they have been directed to spend one night in some or the other district. My idea behind this is that ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’ means all the areas of the country should also develop geographically.
Hydro power from Water conservation:
These days I have done water survey. About 226 districts are facing water-related issues. I am mobilizing everyone. I would like you to help in changing water conservation. How can we prioritize water in the MPLAD fund? How to provide funds for that work? Let us pull the country out of this problem. Let us make the society aware of the water related issues and conservation so that the future generations could be saved from the water problems. Therefore, a new Ministry named Jalshakti Ministry has been created that will work in the direction of water conservation.
Like I said before, we have to turn the country into a 5 trillion dollar economy. There had been a lot of discussion here pertaining to the bankruptcy law. The impact of the Fugitives Economic Offenders Act and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is such that just due to the law Rs.3 lakh crores have returned to the banks. We should see the positive in this environment and we should try to find solutions in it. We should work together and I believe that we will soon get results of these efforts. Cooperative Federalism was discussed here. I believe that the framers of our Constitution have provided us with the document with a long vision so that we could move ahead by keeping the nation together.
Cooperative Competitive Federalism- it is essential to create an environment of competition among the states. We have to move ahead with the mantra of NARA - National Ambition with Regional Aspirations. But the question is can't there be such issues on which there is a unanimity? Can't that happen? Can't we create an environment by working on those issues where all of us are in agreement?
Gandhi @150 and independence@75 is one such opportunity. Can't we walk hand-in-hand in these events? Is Rajya Sabha not a part of the Federal structure? Are we an independent unit? No! We are a part of the same system. Lok Sabha has been elected by the people.
But will you keep creating hurdles here because we don't have numbers here? I understand you feel happy by humiliating us but what about the country? I am not criticizing anyone. I am only doing an analysis.
During the last five years, we have suspended several works on the verge of completion. You tell me. Once again the bills that had lapsed as those were not passed in the Rajya Sabha will be placed in the Lok Sabha. Once again, the process will incur so much expenditure; tax payers' money will go into it and so much time of the Parliament will be wasted. Our Rajya Sabha can also pass the bills because it is a part of a healthy federal structure and it is its responsibility to move ahead with the spirit of the Federal structure.
Whether you agree with us or not it's your wish but we all should agree with our former President Pranab da. I should agree and you all should agree. Pranab da had clearly said a very important thing. "It is that the majority has got the mandate to rule and the minority has got the mandate to oppose". I don't think there are two opinions on it. But the former President had further said - "but nobody has got the mandate to obstruct". I believe that we should move forward with the same mantra. Only then will the Federal structure work in its true sense. And the Rajya Sabha is a representative of the states. The aspirations of the states are expressed through you. You should move above your parties and raise your voices for the welfare of your states.
It is true that in a country like India it is difficult to give everything at the same time to every state. Some states might get before while the others later. Probably some states might not get at all. It happens and it has happened before. But is it right to stop the proceedings of the House just because of greater numbers in the House? I know the last time when the House was complete, both Anandji and Ghulam Nabiji were telling me-we have to do something. There is an issue of a few states but if some or the other MP keeps stopping the proceedings of the House; it is not right.
I believe that all of us together have to run the House and to take the nation forward. I also believe that Gandhi@150 and independence@75 is a center of inspiration. It is a date when we all together can take the leadership and ask the people to come forward and do something or the other. We can awaken the spirit of responsibility and duty in the people so that everyone is ready to sacrifice something. It is possible if we teach the students in schools to wash their hands before meals. We can make rules like - on Gandhi@150. I decide to do something new in my life. Someone can take a resolution like - I am a small boy but I will not waste food.
Our farmers can decide to use 10% less urea for the health of Mother Earth. Look at the period from 1942-1947. Gandhi ji had turned everyone into responsible citizens with these small things. We need not do anything new. We can move ahead with the model of Gandhi ji. We can decide to do something for the country. We have to awaken the spirit of duty. Each one of us can have a separate model for building a New India but we cannot keep the nation into the old system. The youth of the country has to make a New India according to its dreams.
I believe that the best points from the discussion can be used and we can take a few steps for the welfare of the country.
Once again I thank everyone who was a part of this discussion. Thanking the Hon'ble President on his speech, and thanking all of you, I end my speech.
Thanks a lot!