Our future will be technology driven. We need to embrace it: PM Modi

Published By : Admin | July 31, 2016 | 11:36 IST
#MannKiBaat: PM Modi urges nation to send their good wishes to Indian contingent
#MannKiBaat: Ready to become a postman to extend your wishes to Indian contingent, says PM Modi
Share your good wishes for Rio Olympics on the 'Narendra Modi Mobile App' #MannKiBaat
Research and innovation are souls of technology: PM Modi during #MannKiBaat
When we remember Dr. Kalam we think of science, technology. Our future is going to be technology driven: PM during #MannKiBaat
Let us 'aim' for innovation, where aim is 'Atal Innovation Mission': PM Modi during #MannKiBaat
We have to develop an ecosystem of innovators and encourage innovation, experiment, entrepreneurship: PM during #MannKiBaat
Must not consume medicines and antibiotic without recommendation of doctors: PM during #MannKiBaat
Our Govt has initiated Pradhanmantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan: PM Modi during #MannKiBaat
Let us create a mass movement of planting as many trees as possible: PM Modi during #MannKiBaat
#MannKiBaat: My South Africa visit was a 'Tirth Yatra', says PM Modi
With advancing technology, digital threats are also rising. We have to be watchful and alert: PM during #MannKiBaat
Urge people to gift social security schemes on Rakshabandhan: PM Modi during #MannKiBaat

My dear countrymen, Namaskar!

 

Early this morning, I had an opportunity to spend some time with some young people from Delhi. And I believe, in the days to come, the spirit and fervor of sports will envelop every young person in the country. All of us know that in a few days time, the world’s largest sports event, the biggest sports carnival will take place. RIO is going to resound in our ears time and again. The entire world will be at play… every country in the world will keep a close watch on the performance of its sportspersons; you too will be doing the same. All of us harbour a lot of hopes and expectations, but keeping the morale of our sports contingent at RIO high is also the solemn duty of us 1.25 billion countrymen. In Delhi this morning, the Government of India had organised a very good event, ‘Run for RIO’, ‘Play and Live’, ‘Play and Blossom’. In the days to come, wherever we are, let us do our bit to encourage our sportspersons. A sportsperson, who makes it to this stage, does so after putting in a lot of hard work. It’s a kind of severe and dedicated ‘tapasya’. However much one cherishes all kinds of food, one has to sacrifice that. However much one would like to snuggle up in warmth during a harsh winter, one has to just get up and leave for the track and field. And this happens not just to the players. Even their parents leave no stone unturned for the sake of their children. Sportsperson are not made overnight; it takes long and sustained perseverance to attain that stature. Victory and defeat are certainly important, but what is even more important is reaching this level in a game or sports discipline and, therefore, let all of us Indians join hands in wishing our RIO contingent the very best. I’m also ready to do this on your behalf; the prime minister of the country is ready to be a postman to convey your good wishes to these players. Do send your best wishes to our sportspersons in Rio on the ‘NarendraModi App’. I’ll convey these to our contingent. Just like 1.25 billion Indians I too as a citizen would like to join you in encouraging them, cheering them up. Come, over the next few days, let us try to the fullest extent possible to make each one of our sportspersons feel proud, to reward them for their endeavours and exertions; and today, as I speak on the Rio Olympics, I would like to mention the name of a poetry lover, Suraj Prakash Upadhyay a student of the Punjab Central University, who has sent me a poem. It’s possible that many poets would have written poems, some may be planning to write, some may even compose their verses into songs, in all languages. But here I would like to share with you the poem sent by Suraj Ji.

 

”The games bugle’s been sounded

The festivities of competitions

In this mega sporting odyssey

Amidst the melodious chimes of RIO

May India commence on a grand note

May it rain gold, silver and bronze!

May India commence on a grand note

May it rain gold, silver and bronze!

May the turn be ours also this time

May we be amply prepared this time

Set your sight straight at the Gold

But let a loss not deject you

You are a hero to a billion hearts

You are the heartbeat of your sport

March ahead and set records

Let our tricolour flutter with pride in RIO

Let our tricolour flutter with pride in RIO.

 

Suraj Ji, I dedicate your sentiments to all our sportspersons and extend to them the warmest and heartiest wishes from my side and on behalf of us 1.25 billion countrymen, that our tricolour indeed flutters with joy and pride in the skies of RIO.

 

A young man Mr. Ankit has reminded me of the death anniversary of President Abdul Kalamji, which was observed last week. The country, in fact the world paid glowing tributes to him. The mere  mention of Abdul Kalamji’s name brings to mind vivid images of science, technology, missiles - in fact the entire spectrum of strengths and capabilities of India in the days to come. And that’s why Ankit asks me… What is your government doing to ensure that Abdul Kalamji’s dreams come true? You are right. The future is going to be technology driven. And technology is extremely dynamic. Day by day, technology keeps updating, changes form, transforms its impact. You cannot shackle technology. If you strive to hold it still, it would move beyond your grasp assuming new looks and forms. If we have to match its strides and move ahead, research and innovation are the keys, these are its lifelines and moving spirit. In the absence of research and innovation, technology will become a burden, just as still water stagnates and even stinks. And if we go on just using old technology without recourse to research and innovation, we will become outdated in this rapidly changing world and age. And that is why the government too has taken steps to attract the new generation toward science and research & innovation in the field of technology. And that is why I say ‘let us aim to innovate’. And when I say “let us aim to innovate’ my AIM stands for “Atal Innovation Mission’. This Mission is being promoted by the Niti Aayog. The purpose is to create an eco-system in the entire country through the Atal Innovation Mission, to forge a vibrant chain of innovation, experiment and entrepreneurship, which would also enhance the possibilities of new employment generation. If we have to develop the next generation innovators, we shall have to link our children with it. And that is why the Government of India has taken the initiative of ‘Atal Tinkering Labs’. Wherever such Tinkering Labs are established in schools, those would be given 10 Lakh rupees and further 10 Lakh rupees will be provided for maintenance during the period of five years. Similarly, innovations are directly connected to Incubation Centres. If we have strong and well-equipped Incubation Centres, a system comes into place for innovations, for start-ups, for experimentation and to bring these efforts to a certain level. Creation of new Incubation Centres is essential just as it is necessary to strengthen the older Incubation Centres. And when I talk of Atal Incubation Centres, the government has considered allocating the huge sum of 10 crore rupees for this also. India is grappling with diverse challenges. We see problems in daily life. We shall now have to look for technological solutions for these. Through the ‘Atal Grand Challenges’ we have exhorted the young generation of the country that if they see problems, they should search for solutions taking the path of technology, doing research, applying innovations and bring those on board. The Government of India wants to specially reward technology developed to find solutions to our problems. And I am happy that people have evinced interest in these things. When we spoke of Tinkering Labs, about 13 thousand schools applied and when we talked of Incubation Centres, over four thousand academic and non-academic institutions came forward. I firmly believe that the real tribute to Abdul Kalamji will consist of harnessing research and innovation for developing technology to find solutions to problems we face in day to day life, and ridding us of the difficulties we face to make things easier for us all. The more the new generation devotes itself to this task, the greater will be their contribution with immense significance for the modern India of the 21st century. That will be the real tribute to Abdul Kalamji.

 

            My dear countrymen, while some time ago, we were concerned about a drought like situation, these days, on the one hand, we are enjoying the rains, but on the other, reports of floods are also coming in. Central government and State Governments are working hand in hand with their utmost efforts to provide relief and assistance to the flood-affected. Despite causing some hardships, rains make every human heart rejoice since rains, and agriculture, are the focal point of our entire sphere of economic activities.

 

There are times when one has to face an illness that leaves a scar for a lifetime. But if we are aware, alert and active, the prevention is also very easy. Take the case of Dengue. It is preventable. Pay attention to cleanliness, be alert, try and be safe and take special care of children. And the mindset that such diseases strike poor neighborhoods only, is not valid in the case of Dengue. Dengue first enters affluent localities and we should try and understand it. You must be watching advertisements on TV but there are times when we neglect taking proactive and informed action on it. The government, hospitals, doctors will of course do their job, but I urge that we should also be alert in ensuring that Dengue doesn’t enter our homes, locality, family, for that matter, any illness connected with stagnant water.

 

            I would like to draw the attention of my dear countrymen to another menace. In today’s fast paced, rat race of life, at times we don’t have time to think about ourselves. When we fall sick, we want to get well as soon as possible and as a result pop in just any antibiotic that we can lay our hands on. It may give you instant relief, but my dear countrymen, this random pill popping habit can land you in deep trouble. It may give you temporary succor, but we should completely stop taking antibiotics without the advice of a doctor. Avoid it till a doctor gives you a prescription. Do not use the short cut method; it can lead to serious complications. Although random and rampant use of antibiotics gives immediate relief to the patient, but gradually the disease causing bacteria get accustomed to that drug. The drug then loses its efficacy and one has to fight the battle anew, develop new medicines, do new research; it takes years and till then these diseases create other complications. That’s why we have to be very aware about that. One more problem has presented itself. Suppose the doctor advises that brother, take this antibiotic and he tells that 15 tablets of that to be taken over a period of five days. I urge you to complete the entire course of medication as prescribed by the doctor. Because if the treatment is abandoned halfway, it would benefit the bacteria. If the medicine is taken more than what is required, that too would be in the favour of the bacteria. And that is why, it is utmost essential to take the entire course of antibiotic medicine in terms of number of tablets as well as days. If we leave the treatment halfway due to improvement in our condition, we are only helping that bacteria getting more sturdy and difficult to treat. Microbes spreading TB and malaria are bringing about rapid mutations in themselves, rendering medicines ineffective. In medical parlance it is called antibiotic resistance. Hence it is indeed necessary to follow rules in the administration of antibiotics. The government is committed to prevent antibiotic resistance. You must have seen, these days, on the antibiotic medicine strips there is a red line to make you aware. You must pay attention to that.

 

While we are on the subject of health, I would like to talk about one more issue. I feel very concerned about the lives of pregnant women of our country. In our country, close to 3 crore women become pregnant every year but some of these mothers die during childbirth. Sometimes the mother loses her life, at times the infant does. There are times when both die. It is true that in the last decade there has been a decline in maternal mortality rates but even now, we are not able to save the lives of a large number of pregnant women. Anemia during or after pregnancy, pregnancy related infections, high BP, any such complication can have devastating effect. Keeping in view these issues, in the last few months, the Government of India has launched a new campaign ‘Prime Minister Safe Motherhood Campaign’. Under this, on the 9th of every month, all pregnant women will get a check-up at government health centers free of cost. I urge all poor families to ensure that all pregnant women avail of this benefit on the 9th of every month, so that if by the time they reach the 9th month any complication arises, it can be dealt with suitably in time and the lives of both mother and child can be saved. I have specially asked the gynecologists whether they could offer their services free on the 9th of every month, for the sake of under privileged mothers! Can’t my doctor brothers and sisters spare just 12 days in a year for this service to the under privileged? Over the last few days, many have written to me. There are thousands of doctors who have implemented what I said. But India is such a vast country. We need lakhs of doctors to join this campaign. I do believe that you will indeed do so.

 

            My dear countrymen, today, the whole world is concerned deeply about climate change, global warming and the environment. These are discussed collectively in the country and across the world. In India, this has been accorded great importance for centuries. In the battlefield of Kurukshetra too, Bhagwan Shri Krishna talks of trees. Showing concern towards trees even in the midst of a battle, underlines how much importance was attached to trees. In the Gita, Bhagwan Shri Krishna says, ‘ashwatth sarvvrikshanam’ which means amongst all trees, I am  the Peepal Tree. It is proclaimed in Shukracharya Neeti that ‘naastimulam anaushadham’ meaning that there is no plant that does not have medicinal values; the Anushasan Parv of the Mahabharta elaborates this concept at greater length. It is stated in the Anushasan Parv that whosoever plants a tree begets an offspring in the form of that tree. There can be no doubt about this fact. He who donates a tree, that tree in return becomes a ladder to salvation just like children. Therefore it is appropriate that parents desiring their well-being should plant tree and rear them like their own children.

            Our scriptures like Gita, Shukracharya Niti and Anushasan Parv of the Mahabharta contain such lofty ideals. However, there are certain individuals in the present generation also, who live up to these ideals. A few days ago, I came across a mention of Sonal, a young daughter from Pune. It touched my heart. It is mentioned in Anushasan Parv in Mahabharata that a tree is like an offspring and becomes means of salvation in after life, Sonal has not only taken it upon herself to fulfill her parents’ wishes but society’s expectations also. Shri Khandu Maruti Mhatre, a farmer of Narayanpur village of of Junner Taluka of Pune got his granddaughter Sonal married in a very inspiring manner. What did Mhatre Ji do in Sonal’s marriage? He gifted all his relatives, guests and friends with a sapling of ‘Kesar’ variety of mango. I saw a picture of this marriage in social media. I was surprised to see that in the marriage festivities, instead of members of the wedding party, saplings were more visible! That picture really touches one’s heart. I think that Sonal, who herself is an agriculture graduate, came upon this idea. And to present Mango saplings in the marriage, just think, reflects the love for nature in a brilliant manner. In a way, Sonal’s marriage in an everlasting story of love for nature, I congratulate Sonal and Shriman Mhatre Ji for this innovative effort. And such experiments are done by many people. I remember, when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat – the temple of Ambaji there is visited in the month of Bhadrapad by lakhs of devotees travelling by foot. A certain NGO decided to distribute saplings as ‘Prasad’ to the devotees, and the devotees were told that Mata Ambaji will keep on showering her grace, if they took care of the saplings, till their maturity into trees in their homes and villages. And lakhs of such saplings were distributed to the devotees traveling on foot to Ambaji temple that year. Other temples too can start the practice of distributing saplings instead of ‘prasad’ during this rainy season. It can easily grow into a people’s movement for planting trees. I repeatedly tell my farmer brethren that instead of wasting our land in building fences around our fields, why don’t we start planting timber trees there. Today India has to spend billions and trillions of rupees to import timber wood from abroad for construction of houses and furniture. If we plant on the boundaries of our fields timber trees that can be utilised for construction of homes and furniture and which can also be cut and sold after 15 to 20 years with the permission of the government. This way, not only can these become a new source of your income, but can also save India from importing timber.

 

            Some days ago, a few states taking advantage of this weather have started many campaigns in this direction and the Government of India has also passed CAMPA law, under which about 40 thousand crores rupees will go to the states for planting trees. I have been told that the Maharashtra government planted about 2 crores sapling in the entire state on 1st July and next year they have taken a pledge to plant about 3 crores trees. The Maharashtra government has transformed this activity into a people’s movement. Rajasthan, desert area, has celebrated Van Mahotsav in a very big way and pledged to plant 25 lakhs trees. To plant 25 lakhs of sapling in Rajasthan is not a small matter! Those who know the soil conditions of Rajasthan would know how mammoth this task is going to be. Andhra Pradesh, too has decided to increase its green cover by 50% by the year 2029. Under the central government’s ongoing ‘Green India Mission’, Railways too have joined in this endeavour. Gujarat too has an illustrious tradition of observing Van Mahotsav. This year Gujarat has undertaken many projects like ‘Aamra Van’, ‘Ekata Van’ and ‘Shaheed Van’ as a part of Van Mahotsav and launched a campaign to plant crores of trees. I am not able to mention every state but all deserve to be appreciated.

 

            My dear countrymen, I had the opportunity to visit South Africa for the first time some time back. During a foreign visit, diplomacy is practiced, there are trade deliberations, discussions about security and as is customary, many MoUs are concluded. But for me the visit to South Africa was more like a pilgrimage. When we think of South Africa, it is very natural to remember Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Whenever we hear the words -  non-violence, love and forgiveness, the inspiring faces of Gandhi and Mandela appear before us. During my South Africa tour, I visited Phoenix settlement where Mahatma Gandhi’s home is known as ‘Sarvodaya’. I also had the good fortune of traveling from Pietermaritzburg station in the train in which Mahatma Gandhi had travelled, and which was the site of the incidence that sowed the seed of the transformation of a Mohandas into Mahatma Gandhi. But what I want to tell you is the fact that this time I had an opportunity to meet those great men who had devoted their young lives for society fighting shoulder to shoulder with Nelson Mandela for the ideals of equality and equal opportunity; who had spent 20 to 22 years of their lives in prison with Nelson Mandela, effectively sacrificing the entire period of their youth for the society. I had the privilege of meeting these grat personalities, these close associates of Nelson Mandela such as Shriman Ahmed Kathrada, Shriman Laloo Chiba, Shriman George Bizos and Ronnie Kasrils. All were Indian by origin but dedicated themselves to wherever they settled and decided to offer their lives for those amidst whom they lived. So much strength they had! And the greatest thing was that while I was talking to them and listening about the experiences of their imprisonment, they had no bitterness or ill will for anyone. There was not a single trace of desire, to get something, to become somebody even after living such a great life of ‘Tapasaya’. The essence of  performing one’s duty as explained in Gita was embodied in their persona. I will remember that meeting forever. Equality and equal opportunity are the two biggest ‘mantras’ for any society and government. Equality and equal opportunity, compassion and fraternity, these are the paths leading us to a bright future. We all want a good future for our children. Everybody has different needs and different priorities but there is one common path of development, equality, compassion and fraternity. Come, let us be proud about these Indians who have lived their lives in South Africa embodying our highest and fundamental ideals.

 

            My dear countrymen, I have received a message from Shilpi Varma, to whom I am grateful. Her concern is very genuine. She has made me aware of an incident: -

 

            “Pradhan Mantri Ji, I am Shilpi Varma speaking from Bengaluru. Some days ago, I read in a news article that a lady became a victim of fraud and cheat email, lost 11 lakh rupees and committed suicide. Being a woman, I feel an empathy with her family. What is your opinion about such cheat and fraud emails.”

 

            She has pointed a certain incident, and you must also be aware that we get messages on our mobile phones and emails, proclaiming attractive offers that you have won a jackpot of so many rupees; if you pay a certain amount then you become eligible for the greater amount. People get duped by this money trap. These are new methods of technology that are spreading in the entire world for cheating people. And just as technology plays an increasingly bigger role in our economic system, it also invites those who misuse it. A retired gentlemen, who not only had to get his daughter married but also to build his home, one day he received an SMS, that there was a gift that had arrived from abroad and could be obtained if he deposited 2 lakh rupees as custom duty in a bank account and this gentlemen without giving any thought  took out 2 lakh rupees from his hard earned life savings and sent it to some stranger. That too on the strength of just an SMS! And in very little time, he understood that he had been looted! You too must be getting similarly confused sometimes! These people write a letter in such style that it seems perfect. They use fake letter pads while sending these letters. They obtain your credit card number and debit card number and empty your bank account through technology. And this new means of fraud is digital fraud. I believe that we must be aware against such lure, must remain cautious and if such false communications come to our notice, then we must share them with our friends and make them aware also. Shilpi Varma has brought this important thing to my notice, which although even you must have encountered, but may be you did not take it that seriously, but I feel there is need to look at it seriously.

 

            My dear countrymen these days, the Parliament Session is going on, and during the Parliament Session, I get to meet many people from across our nation. Our MPs also bring people from their constituencies and introduce them to me; they tell me many things, their difficulties also. But recently I had a pleasant experience, real pleasant experience! Student from Aligarh had come to meet me. You should have seen the enthusiasm of those boys and girls. They had brought a big photo album with them and their faces were lit with joy. They showed me the pictures of how they had beautified the Aligarh railway station! These were artistic painting done on the station. What is more, they had searched for and collected the plastic bottles and oil cans lying in the garbage in the villages and by filling those with soil and planting saplings, they have transformed those pots into a vertical garden. And by creating this vertical garden on the site of railway station, they have given it a new look. If you go to Aligarh, do visit the railway station. I am receiving news from many railway stations in the country where the local populace has taken to depicting on the walls of the railway stations, their area’s identity, through means of their arts. They have brought about a refreshing feeling. This is a prime example of the great transformation, which can be brought about through people’s participation. I felicitate all such citizens involved in these kinds of activities and especially congratulate friends from Aligarh.

 

            My dear countrymen, with the onset of rainy season, there is also an onset of festival season in our country. There would be fairs everywhere, festivities would be observed in temples and places of worship. You too will become a participant at home and outside during the festive celebrations. The festival of Raksha Bandhan is a festival of special significance. Just like last year, can’t you gift on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna or Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna to mothers and sisters of our country. Think about it, we should gift such a present to our sisters, which really provides her security in future. Not only that, we may be having in our homes a lady making food for us or a lady who cleans our house, a daughter of an impoverished mother! To them also, you can gift Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojna or Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojna on this festival of Raksha Bandhan. And this is what social security in reality is all about; this is the true meaning of Raksha Bandhan.

 

            My dear countrymen there are many among us who were born after independence. And I am the first Prime Minister of this nation who was born in free India. ‘Quit India movement’ started on 8th august, and this year would be the 75th year of ‘Quit Hind -Quit Bharat” and on 15th august, it would be 70th  year of our independence. We are enjoying our independence and are proud to be free citizens, but this is an occasion to remember those who sacrificed their all for winning our independence. The 75th year of Quit India         and 70th year of Independence can be source of new inspiration, source of new enthusiasm and an occasion to take a pledge to do something for our nation. The whole nation should be imbued with the spirit of those great patriots and we should once again experience anew the fragrance of freedom. Let us all create such an atmosphere. Independence Day should not be a government event, it should be the celebration of the entire people. Just like Diwali, it should be our own festival. I hope that you too become inspired with the spirit of patriotism and do something good in that vein. Do send a picture of it on ‘Narendra Modi app. Let us create such an atmosphere in the nation.

 

            Dear countrymen, I have the good fortune to talk to the nation from ramparts of Red Fort on 15thAugust, it is a tradition. You too must be having certain thoughts that you wish were proclaimed from Red Fort. I invite you to write to me about your thoughts that I, as your representative, as your Pradhan Sevak should talk about from the Red Fort. Send me suggestions, your advice and new thoughts, I will try to convey your thoughts to rest of the countrymen. I do not wish that whatever I speak from the ramparts of Red Fort should just be the opinion of the Prime Minister; it should be the collective voice of 125 crores countrymen. Do send me something, either on ‘Narendra Modi app’ or on MYGOV.IN. Today the platforms of technology are such that your message can reach me very easily. I invite you once again, come, let us remember and salute our great freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives for India and let us move ahead with the pledge to do something for our nation. My best wishes to you all and many thanks.

Explore More
୭୭ତମ ସ୍ବାଧୀନତା ଦିବସ ଅବସରରେ ଲାଲକିଲ୍ଲା ପ୍ରାଚୀରରୁ ପ୍ରଧାନମନ୍ତ୍ରୀ ନରେନ୍ଦ୍ର ମୋଦୀଙ୍କ ଅଭିଭାଷଣର ମୂଳ ପାଠ

ଲୋକପ୍ରିୟ ଅଭିଭାଷଣ

୭୭ତମ ସ୍ବାଧୀନତା ଦିବସ ଅବସରରେ ଲାଲକିଲ୍ଲା ପ୍ରାଚୀରରୁ ପ୍ରଧାନମନ୍ତ୍ରୀ ନରେନ୍ଦ୍ର ମୋଦୀଙ୍କ ଅଭିଭାଷଣର ମୂଳ ପାଠ
Flash composite PMI up at 61.7 in May, job creation strongest in 18 years

Media Coverage

Flash composite PMI up at 61.7 in May, job creation strongest in 18 years
NM on the go

Nm on the go

Always be the first to hear from the PM. Get the App Now!
...
PM Modi's Interview to The Statesman
May 24, 2024

In an exclusive interview to The Statesman, PM Narendra Modi underscores the need for a strong government and a clear vision for India’s progress. He discusses plans for the middle class, youth employment, successes in Jammu and Kashmir, and Bengal’s future, highlighting the importance of a significant electoral mandate for effective governance and a Viksit Bharat by 2047.

 

Q. The middle class has been a consistent support block for the national brand of Modi. The opposition alleges that the middle class has not got its due from your government. Would you agree? And what are your plans for the middle class?

A: Over the last 10 years, we have worked tirelessly to ensure progress and prosperity for our middle class.

The first area is expanding the middle class and to lift people from poverty. For a long time since Indian independence, for 70 years, there was a push from the top – where the middle class was being pushed into poverty and the poor into abject poverty. But today, we have effectively reversed this system; since 2014, we have recognised and celebrated the parishram of our madhyam varg. Our government ensured that while your darja in society increased, the kharcha did not – because our policies are not meant to extort, but to support.

Twenty five crore people have risen up to join the neo middle class and most importantly, we have changed the narrative that the middle class is one bill away from slipping into poverty. The growth we have achieved is irreversible and here to stay – the only way to go is to climb upwards.

Rs. 11 lakh crore has been spent for infrastructure development in the country encompassing diverse sectors – from road and rail to education and healthcare infrastructure. People belonging to the middle class are the biggest beneficiaries of this development as new opportunities in jobs, contracts and other avenues open up for them.

We have worked hard to enhance the Ease of Living for the middle class. Be it travel or the day-to-day access that they have when the government is concerned, we have ensured that the entire experience becomes quick, comfortable and hassle-free. As far as travel is concerned, the number of airports has doubled, there are 20 cities with metro rail, there are over 100 Vande Bharat trains, we have state-of-the-art expressways, the EV sector is booming and growing. On the other hand – you see how the process for getting passports, filing income tax, registering grievances or registering new companies has been made transparent, quick and without challenges.

We have ensured that the disposable income for the middle class has increased. Where every GB of internet data cost over Rs. 300, in just 10 years – the per GB cost of internet data is down to under Rs. 10. This is saving thousands of rupees every month.

The women belonging to the middle class have been empowered and are becoming job creators in their own right with MUDRA Loans, Stand Up India, GeM portal and so on.

Additionally, six crore new EPFO subscribers since 2017 and greater participation for the labour class shows that not only has employment generation increased, the absolute percentage of people participating in the nation’s growth has also increased. 5.14 crore person years of employment have been generated every year since 2014, as a recent SKOCH report has also recognised.

While all this is happening, you have to understand that there are other things at work as well – average inflation for the last 10 years has been kept under 5 per cent, income tax rates have been greatly reduced. A significant section of the middle class resides in our cities and towns, and under PMAY-Urban – for over 25 lakh beneficiaries, an interest subvention of more than Rs. 58,000 crore has been provided. So, while there are greater incomes, there is also greater savings and this has led to greater investments. Almost 7 crore beneficiaries are enrolled in the Atal Pension Yojana. Today, the middle class is partnering and investing in India’s growth – there are now over 15 crore DEMAT accounts, is this not a sign of prosperity?


Q. Are you satisfied with your efforts at providing jobs for the youth?

A: India is blessed with a demographic dividend. And this blessing comes with a responsibility of ensuring suitable and sufficient opportunities.

If you look back on the last 10 years, you will notice that we have opened up opportunities in many new and emerging sectors for our youth such as in space, defence, drones, EVs, semiconductors, AI, and much more. In many of these fields, India is now emerging as a key player on the global stage.

Today, India is the world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem. We have gone from a few start-ups in 2014 to nearly 1.37 lakh startups today, generating employment for lakhs of people. We have over 100 unicorns and our start-ups have registered over 12,000 patents. This is also led by the youth who are making the most of the opportunities they are getting.

We have provided lakhs of government jobs as well as opened up self-employment opportunities for everyone on a massive scale. The MUDRA loans sanctioned have given birth to crores of new businesses, which have started a chain reaction of employment addition and expansion of the economy. Initiatives like Stand-Up India, Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat have helped change the mindset at the grassroots level. Today, the youth of the country envision themselves as job creators.

India’s digital economy grew 2.4 times faster than the economy between 2014 and 2019, creating around 6 crore jobs. With the advent of AI and new-age Digital technology, we aim to expand job generation in this area, too.
The roads, highways, houses, and tunnels constructed require people to work. Direct and indirect jobs have been generated through the construction of Infrastructure. Infrastructure and productive capacity investments have a large multiplier impact on growth and employment. In the 2024-25 budget, we proposed increasing capital investment to Rs 11.11 lakh crore, creating additional jobs because of the multiplier impact.

EPFO payroll data shows that over six crore new subscribers have been added in the last 6 years, indicating a surge in youth employment. PLFS data shows that between 2017 and 2023, the participation rate of the Worker Population increased to over 56 per cent, and unemployment is at a low level of 3.2 per cent. So, we have employed more people compared to the population growth rate.

 

Q: Handling of Jammu and Kashmir is hailed as one of the great successes of your government. From a completely peaceful abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 to historic elections in 2024, everything seems to have gone to plan. What next for the region?

A: First of all, I would like to begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Kashmir for their overwhelming participation in the historic Lok Sabha elections of 2024. The record-breaking voter turnouts, be it in Baramulla with a whopping 59 per cent voting, breaking a 4-decade record, or the Srinagar seat witnessing 38 per cent voting in the fourth phase, the highest in 35 years, they clearly show that the decisions we took were in the right direction.

Since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, our government has worked tirelessly to restore normalcy in the region. We have achieved a drastic reduction in terror cases in the valley, thanks to the unwavering commitment of our security forces and the support of the local population. This has laid the foundation for sustainable development and growth in the region.

One of our key priorities has been to deepen democracy at the grassroots level. We have conducted elections at the panchayat and block development levels, which has led to a significant trust-building exercise. The peaceful conduct of the Lok Sabha elections is a clear indication that the people of Kashmir are ready to embrace democracy and participate in the decision-making process.

The next logical step in our plan for Jammu and Kashmir will be to restore the state assembly and statehood to further strengthen democratic institutions and ensure that the people have a greater say in the affairs of their state. We are committed to working closely with the elected representatives to address the concerns of the people and to accelerate the pace of development.

Our vision for Jammu and Kashmir is to enable the region to regain its status as a leader in various sectors. We want Jammu and Kashmir to become an educational hub, a tourism hub, an IT hub, a horticulture hub that exports to the world, and a hub for handicrafts and handlooms. We are confident that with the support of the people and the commitment of our government, we can achieve these goals and transform Jammu and Kashmir into a model of development and progress.

We will continue to work closely with the people and their elected representatives to ensure that the region achieves its full potential and becomes a beacon of hope for the entire nation.

 

Q: Just a century ago, West Bengal was seen as a leader when it came to industry, arts, culture and other sectors. What is your view on the current scenario and what according to you is the way ahead?

A: West Bengal has been a state that the whole nation has looked up to. Whether it is intellectual leadership or industrial activity, science or spirituality, literature or art, music or mathematics, the people of Bengal have played a big role in various sectors, not only nationally but also globally.

There would hardly be anyone who is untouched by the greatness of Swami Vivekananda, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Jagdish Chandra Bose and many such leaders.

When it comes to the freedom struggle, the role of Bengal goes to a different level altogether with a galaxy of leaders and revolutionaries coming from this region.

The excellent foundation that the pre-independence generation of Bengalis had set for the state was squandered completely by the Congress, Communists and Trinamool Congress governments.

Ruling for many decades, each of these parties subjected the state to misrule, mafias, corruption and poverty. Congress was always worried about the welfare of one family. TMC has become very similar. And the Communists were always anti-development. So, the people of West Bengal were subjected to great hardships and the state was turned into a laggard state.

But the core elements that made Bengal a shining star – spirit of its people, culture and ethos – are as strong as ever, just waiting for an opportunity to express themselves. I think that time is coming.

Despite having a hostile state government, we are working to leverage West Bengal’s unique strengths and address its specific challenges.

I am sure that with focused multi-sectoral reforms and good governance, the people of Bengal will make its future even brighter than the glorious past of the state.

First and foremost is that there is a need to focus on law and order. If the crucial foundations of safety and security are ensured, every sector of the economy can make great things happen.

Next, the industrial and agricultural ecosystem needs to be addressed. West Bengal has a rich history in sectors like jute, tea, and textiles. Streamlining regulations and creating a conducive environment for industrial growth can attract new investments and also strengthen the investment climate for existing players. Supporting farmers with policies that help them across things such as soil health, cold storage, irrigation, insurance and market access will give great results.

Additionally, investing in infrastructure, particularly in improving the connectivity of ports, road and rail networks, will further boost trade and industry.

West Bengal’s rich cultural heritage is also a significant asset. Celebrating and promoting the art, culture and festivals of West Bengal can attract domestic and global tourists. When combined with good infrastructure and law and order, this can go a long way in creating opportunities for young people.

The young people of Bengal are some of the brightest in the world. No matter which field they are in, they need no introduction. But due to the TMC’s misrule, today, they are often being forced to go out of the state to find high quality jobs and growth prospects. But with a planned effort to make the state a powerhouse in higher education, services, manufacturing, IT and innovation, their dreams can be fulfilled right here in Bengal itself.

 

Q. Women are acknowledged as the biggest supporters of brand Modi across India. Do you have a special message for the women of Bengal?

A: Bengal is a land blessed by Maa Durga. The Nari Shakti of Bengal, the women, is an embodiment of the divine Shakti. When they decide to bless someone, their blessings are enough to help achieve great heights.

I want the women of Bengal to know that their courage is admired by the whole nation. The way women from the poorest sections of society have stood up to the powerful goons of the ruling party in Sandeshkhali and many other places is inspirational. At the same time, women from the urban areas of Bengal have raised their voices for justice, showing solidarity. It shows that when women unite and decide that enough is enough, no force in the world can stop them.

While I admire the courage of the women of Bengal, I am also deeply pained at what they have to suffer at the hands of an insensitive ruling party that bestows impunity upon those who harass women.

The misdeeds of the TMC are fast adding up and paving the way for an exit from Bengal. The people have decided to punish the TMC, first in the Lok Sabha and later in the state assembly too.

We would like to assure the women of West Bengal that the BJP stands with you. By bringing in Rekha Patra Ji as one of our MP candidates, we have made our intentions clear that we are with the women of Bengal.

Further, we will continue to implement the existing pro-women welfare schemes such as taking tap water and gas connections to poor women for free. We will also implement our new schemes to benefit lakhs of women in Bengal.
Our initiative of creating crores of Lakhpati Didis through Self Help Groups, increased threshold for MUDRA loans, etc., will help women become more and more self-reliant. A number of new sectors like space and defence have now been opened up for women. In line with our vision of ‘Vikas bhi, Virasat bhi’ many new avenues and opportunities have been created for those who have interest in art and culture with the opening of new museums and centres.

So, my message to the women of Bengal is, the dawn of freedom from TMC’s tyranny is near.

 

Q. Kolkata earlier used to be the cultural capital of India. The city also used to be the economic hub for the entire East and North East India. What is your plan for reigniting the economic and cultural activity in Kolkata and also developing other major cities in Bengal?

A: I think the state of Bengal and Kolkata are symptoms of a larger neglect of eastern India that has been seen post-independence. In the priorities of successive Congress governments, there were no specific plans for eastern India and whatever were there, stayed on paper.

However, I have always drawn attention to the fact that eastern India needs focused work and we have worked with an ambitious plan for it.

In our rural electrification initiatives, a majority of the beneficiaries were in Eastern or Northeastern India. Whether it is the work that is going on for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor or the work that has happened for National Waterways along the Ganga, whether it is the operationalization of many airports in eastern India or the record creation of national highways, we have been giving great importance to eastern India’s infrastructure needs.

If we speak of just railways in Bengal, the average rail budget for Bengal, which was around Rs 4,000 crore before 2014, has now increased to nearly Rs 14,000 crore. Vande Bharat Express trains are running across Bengal. Railway stations from Bengal are included under the Amrit Bharat station scheme, which aims to modernize more than 500 stations.

Automatically, such a big infrastructure push across the East will also result in increase in investments, industry and economic activity. As the pre-eminent city of eastern India, Kolkata stands to gain significantly from the overall development of the region.

Further, when it comes to Kolkata specifically, the first focus is on urban infrastructure, cleanliness and ease of living.

Recently, I had the privilege of inaugurating the underwater metro tunnel in Kolkata which is an engineering marvel that is also boosting connectivity between two important economic hubs of Kolkata.

Further, work has recently been completed on the Kavi Subhash – Hemanta Mukhopadhyay Metro section and the Taratala – Majerhat Metro section.

Over the last ten years there have been multiple such works that have happened in Kolkata and many more such works are envisaged in the future as well.

 

Q. In the past 10 years we have seen that Kashi’s infrastructure has transformed completely. Everyone who visits says this is not the Kashi that we saw 10 years back. How did you make this happen?

A: Kashi is a timeless city. It is a city that everyone in India pines to visit at least once because it has such great spiritual and cultural significance.

At the same time, this city and its infrastructure had been taken for granted completely. Over the last many decades, very few efforts had been made to get even basic infrastructure creation or upgrades done. But we decided that this would change.

Since you mentioned the sight of Kashi 10 years ago, I am sure you all remember the massive number of power cables clumsily dangling over all the beautiful streets. We invested hundreds of crore rupees into taking all these cables underground, ensuring a more beautiful view of the city.

Everyone knows about the connectivity and infrastructure troubles Kashi faced 10 years ago. Since then, we have invested almost Rs 1,000 crore to construct or upgrade 15 bridges or flyovers. The road to Babatpur Airport, Varanasi Ring Road, Lahartara-Phulwariya-Shivpur four-lane road, I can give you many such examples of the construction or upgradation of high quality roads across the region.

Further, over 20 road widening projects worth over Rs 3,500 crore are changing the face of Varanasi and the roads that connect it with other cities.

This apart, the upgradation of the airport and railway stations, construction of world class facilities like the Rudraksh Convention Centre, etc. are also making everyone feel this is a new Kashi.

However, Kashi and its soul remains the same. The only thing that has been added is ease of living for the local people as well as tourists.

 

Q. Kashi is an eternal city associated with our glorious past. How do you envisage the place of such cities in the future of Viksit Bharat?

A: Our vision has always been that Vikas and Virasat go hand in hand. So, heritage and modernity go together.

While I spoke of all the infrastructure creation in and around Kashi, the most striking transformation has actually happened in the heritage sections of the city.

The Kashi Vishwanath Dham is there for everyone to see. We have kept in mind the spiritual soul of the temple while building the temple complex. Lakhs of pilgrims are returning happy to see the larger temple complex and its facilities. The streets around the temple are more accessible and cleaner.

The Ganga is cleaner than ever before. Maa Ganga is slowly being restored to her beauty. Sewage treatment plants are being newly built or upgraded.

Many boatmen have been helped to use environment-friendly boats. For those who would like, more cruises have been made available, including the world’s longest river cruise which starts from Varanasi.

The Ghats along the Ganga are spotless and clean. They have become world class spiritual spaces where one can sit with a clean mind, in clean surroundings and connect with the deeper spiritual vibe of Kashi.

At the same time, Varanasi is also being strengthened as a hub for tourism, culture, weavers, farmers and businesses.

So, I see a Kashi which will play an even more important role in the future of India than it did in the past!

 

Q: How do you describe your relation with Kashi?

Sometimes, when I think of Kashi, Maa Ganga and the people of Kashi, emotions overwhelm me and leave me without words.

I have said even earlier that Maa Ganga has adopted me as her son. At the same time, lakhs of families of Kashi have adopted me as their son or brother. I have always been treated like a family member. The love and affection I get is deeply moving.

It has been my firm resolve that I will repay this affection with record development. A lot has been done but a lot more is in store for the wonderful people of this ancient city.

 

Q. Five phases of elections are over. Now only 114 seats remain to go to polls while the fate of 429 seats has been decided. What is your assessment now nationally for the BJP and NDA in terms of seats and vote share and has it changed from your assessment before the elections began?

A: Our target for 400 seats came from the people and hence it remains the same. This time it seems as if it is the people who are fighting the election and supporting us in an unprecedented manner.

After the polling on five phases I can assure you that BJP has comfortably crossed the majority mark on its own and NDA is looking to return with a historic mandate. The way the opposition has collapsed in one phase after the other, the voters have made their decision quite clear.

The way the opposition is acting can be read like an exit poll. A senior leader like Sharad Pawar said that regional parties do not have any future now and should simply merge with the Congress. On the other hand, the Shehzaada of Congress knew that he would lose from Wayanad and so contested from another seat. Mamata Banerjee, who was one of the founders of INDI Alliance has deserted the alliance. She is speaking of supporting the alliance from outside.

 

Q. You have several times talked of a 100-day agenda and now a 125-day agenda. What does it look like?

A: I have divided my plan into 2 phases, 100 days for the entire nation, and the second one, which has 25 days, would be dedicated towards policies for the Yuva Shakti and how they would like the nation’s development to take shape as we move towards building a Viksit Bharat by 2047.

It is not the first time that I have set a 100-day plan as we head for an election. If you go a little back in time, you would find that post elections in 2014 and 2019, we took historic decisions within 100 days of being elected that transformed India’s growth path and, in a way, destiny. In my first term, in the first 100 days, I introduced Jan Dhan Yojana, providing bank accounts to people who never had a bank account and were kept away from formal banking. In my second term, in the first 100 days we abrogated Article 370, and Triple Talaq. In the third term, we will make historic decisions that would serve all sections of the society.

In the 25-day agenda of the youth, we will focus on the aspirations of the youth and giving wings to their ideas.

 

Q: Why do you want a big majority in these elections? Critics argue that coalitions are better.

A: The question has never been about a coalition or a single-party government. Even though we have had a simple majority for the last two terms – we have continued to lead the National Democratic Alliance.

The question is whether we have a strong government with a definitive vision to move forward and support national growth or if we have a mish-mash band of non-cooperative allies devoid of any vision or track record of development.

The difference is between the vision and the confusion – the former is a must while the latter is to be avoided at all costs.

I believe that alliances should be made with conviction and not compulsions, for cooperation and not corruption, for the nation and not for one’s own family.

As far as the big majority is concerned, it is essential for the forward and swift movement of our vision. In the last 10 years we have taken several decisions which have benefited the nation and her people greatly. Today, the entire world respects us because it knows that we have a huge mandate from the people. Whatever India says, it says with conviction and the world listens, because we have a strong majority.

The people have seen the benefits of a strong government over the last 2 terms and are determined to ensure we get a strong government for yet another term.

Following is the clipping of the interview:

Source: The Statesman