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Respected Chairman,

The whole world is going through many challenges. Hardly anyone would have thought that mankind would have to undergo such a difficult phase. Amidst such challenges, the address by our respected President to the both Houses of Parliament in the beginning of this decade generates new hope, zeal and self-confidence in this challenging world. The address by Mr. President paved the way for Atmanirbhar Bharat in this decade.

Respected Chairman,

I stand among all of you today to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. President. Hon’ble members put their valuable views on many aspects for about 13-14 hours in the Rajya Sabha. And, therefore, I also express my heartfelt gratitude to all the hon’ble members for enriching this discussion. It would have been better had everybody listened to the President’s address. It would have further enhanced the dignity of democracy and there would be no regret that we did not hear the speech of Mr. President. But such was the power of Mr. President's speech that they could speak so much despite not listening to him. It was the strength, power, ideals of the speech that it reached across everywhere. And, therefore, I believe the value of this speech is manifold.

Respected Chairman,

As I said, this was the first speech of Mr. President in this decade amidst many challenges. But it is also true that when we look at the entire world, look at the youth of India, it seems that today India is a land of opportunities in the true sense. Many opportunities are waiting for us. And, therefore, the country which is young, full of enthusiasm and is striving to realize its dreams with a resolve can never let these opportunities go. It is also an opportunity for all of us that we are heralding the 75 years of independence. This is an inspiring opportunity in itself. Wherever we are, as the children of Mother Bharati, the 75th anniversary of independence should be a festival of inspiration. There should be a passion to prepare the country for the years to come and we should keep watching the dream again and again how far we will take the country in 2047 when the country celebrates the centenary of independence. Today, the whole world is looking at India, there are expectations from India and there is a belief in the people that if India could achieve this, many of the problems of the world would be solved. This trust has grown for India in the world today.

Respected Chairman,

When I am referring to opportunities, I would like to recite the poem of great poet Maithili Sharan Gupt. He said:

अवसर तेरे लिए खड़ा है,

फिर भी तू चुपचाप पड़ा है।

तेरा कर्म क्षेत्र बड़ा है

पल-पल है अनमोल,

अरे भारत उठ, आखें खोल।।

The opportunity waits for you

Yet you are quiet.

Your field of karma has grown

Every moment is precious

Oh India! Wake up, open your eyes

This has been written by Maithili Sharan Gupt ji. But I was wondering if he had to write in this period, in the early 21st century, what would he have written. I imagined that he would write:

अवसर तेरे लिए खड़ा है,

तू आत्मविश्वास से भरा पड़ा है।

हर बाधा, हर बंदिश को तोड़,

अरे भारत, आत्मनिर्भरता के पथ पर दौड़।

The opportunity waits for you

You are overflowing with self-confidence

Break all the barriers and barricades

Oh India! Run on the path of self-reliance

Respected Chairman,

The global conditions that developed during Corona, it became impossible for anyone to help. One country could not help another country. One state could not help other states, even one family member could not help the member of another family; such was the atmosphere because of Corona. The world had expressed great apprehensions for India. The world was very concerned that if India could not handle itself in this Corona pandemic, it would be such a big crisis not only for India, but for the entire human race. Crores of people would be cornered, millions of people would die. We also had a lot of things to scare. Why it happened is not our question, because nobody had any inkling what an unknown enemy could do. Everyone assessed in his own way. India was not aware of any protocol to deal with it and protect the citizens of its country from an unknown enemy as nothing was known about it.

Everyone had to move in a new way, with a new approach. Some experts and capable people might have some more ideas but the fact is it was an unknown enemy. And we also had to find the ways. Ways had to be found out and save the people. At that time, whatever wisdom, power and potential God gave to this country it did its best to save the country. And now the world is proud that India has really played a very important role in saving mankind. The kudos of winning this battle does not go to any government, nor does it go to a person, but it goes to India. Does one lose anything to feel pride? Why should one not speak with self-confidence before the world? This country has done it. The poorest of the poor have done it. You must have seen in social media an old mother, sitting on the pavement with a small shack, wished for the good of India by burning a lamp outside the house at that time. And we are making fun of it? Making a mockery of her feelings? Even the one who had never been to school lit the lamp for the country. This was his spirit towards the country. He had awakened the collective strength in the country, introduced his ability and potential. And he is also being ridiculed? There are so many issues to oppose, and there should be opposition also. But do not get entangled in issues that destroy the morale of the country, which degrade the country's potential, because it never benefits.

Can you imagine when there was fear all around, our corona warriors and frontline workers were performing their duty and discharging their responsibilities. This is not a small issue; we should take pride in it and honour them. And it is because of their efforts that the country is able to show the results. This is not for criticism, but if we go into the past, we have lived in those situations. There would be fear at the mention of smallpox. How scary polio was, what effort had to be taken to get vaccines? How many difficulties used to be there? When will it be available, how much will be available, how will it be available, how many doses have to be taken, we have seen all those days. In such a situation, if you remember those days, you will find that the countries that are counted in the Third World Countries today have come up with vaccines for the welfare of mankind. In such a short time, our scientists are also engaged in mission mode, which is a glorious saga of India's contribution to the history of mankind. We should be proud of it and it is also inspiration for the new self-confidence. Our country can be proud of the efforts to motivate that morale as the world’s largest vaccination campaign is going on in this country. If there is a rapid vaccination in the world today, it is happening in the lap of India, which is the mother of all of us. And where hasn’t India’s potential reached?

Today, Corona has given India a new meaning in its relations with the world. Initially, when it was not known which medicines would work and there was no vaccine, the attention of the world was drawn towards Indian medicines. India emerged as the hub of pharmacy in the world. This country has also provided medicines to 150 countries during that time. We did not lag behind to protect mankind. Not only that, the world proudly claims that it has received the Indian vaccines. We all know that when resourceful people visit the reputed hospitals in the world for some major operation, their eyes search for an Indian doctor inside the operation theatres before the process starts. He is assured when he finds an Indian doctor in the team. This is what the country has earned. We should be proud of it. And, therefore, we have to move ahead with this glory.

The way India has created its unique identity and has made a name for itself in the global arena during Corona, the same spirit of federalism has been shown by the Centre and states. How can we work together in times of crisis and how can we channelize all the power in the same direction is what the inner strength all about. I would like to congratulate the states which have worked to strengthen cooperative federalism in this House because states also have their own flavor in the House. All the states have worked to transform a crisis into opportunity during the Corona crisis. Therefore, everybody deserves appreciation.

A lot of sermons have been given here on democracy. A lot has been said. But I do not think that any citizen of the country will trust those things. India's democracy is not something that we can rip it apart like this. We should not make such mistakes. I was listening to Mr. Derek who was using very impressive words – freedom of speech, intimidation, hounding. When I was listening to him, I could not make out whether he was referring to Bengal or the country. It is natural what he sees and listens round the clock that he would have perhaps said it accidentally here. Mr. Bajwa of the Congress was equally eloquent and the way he was going overboard, I thought he would go to the days of Emergency soon. I thought there was only one step left and very soon he would mention about 84, but he did not. The Congress always disappoints the country and you have also disappointed.

Respected Chairman,

I would like to present a quote before this House and my special request to all those who doubt our democracy and our fundamental strength to try to understand it. "Our democracy is not a western institution in any sense. This is a human institution. India's history is full of examples of democratic institutions. We get a description of 81 republics in ancient India. It is necessary to caution the countrymen regarding the attacks on India’s nationalism. India's nationalism is neither narrow nor selfish nor aggressive. It is inspired by the values of "Satyam Shivam Sundaram".

Respected Chairman,

This quote is from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the first prime minister of the first government of the Azad Hind Fauj. And, incidentally, we are celebrating his 125th birth anniversary. But, unfortunately, we have inadvertently forgotten this spirit of Netaji, his views and ideals. And the result is that we are bashing ourselves today. Sometimes, I am surprised that we continue to hold on to some word coined by the world. It feels good to listen when people mention India as the world’s largest democracy. Yes, India is the largest democracy in the world. But we have not taught our younger generation that India is the mother of democracy. It is the mother of democracy. It is not that we are just the largest democracy; this country is the mother of democracy. We have to teach this to our future generations and we have to affirm it proudly because our ancestors have given us the heritage. It is not that we are a democratic country because India's governance is democratic. Our system is democratic because the culture, traditions and mind of India is democratic. Basically, we are democratic. And the country has been tried out also.

Remember those days of Emergency, what was the condition of judiciary, media and governance? Everything had been converted into jails, but nobody could shake the people of the country, who were animated with the colours of democracy. He influenced democracy as soon as he was given an opportunity. This is the strength of people, our cultures and the democratic values. The issue is not which government imposed it. I am not discussing that and neither have I been sent here to spend time on such issues. We have to move forward while defending democratic values. There was also a discussion on Atmanirbhar Bharat. Our colleague Dharmendra Pradhan ji has made a detailed statement regarding the direction of Atmanirbhar Bharat. But one thing is for sure that India has established itself in the economic field today. The people of the world are yearning for investment even during the Corona period. Everything is out now. India is the country where record investment is taking place. All the facts suggest that the economic condition of many countries is volatile, whereas the world is estimating double digital growth for India. On the one hand, there is an atmosphere of despair, whereas there is a ray of hope in India, and this is being touted by the world.

Today, India's foreign exchange reserves are at record high. Today, there is a record food grain production in India. India boasts of the second largest country in the world of Internet users. The digital transaction worth four lakh crore rupees is taking place every month in India, through UPI. Remember the speeches in this House about two-three years ago. The issues being raised then were where the mobile phones are for people, how people will do things digitally. Look at the strength of the country. Digital transactions worth four lakh crore rupees every month! India has become the second largest country in the world as a mobile phone manufacturer. There are a record number of start-ups and Unicorns in India which are being cheered across the world. Our young generation is doing it here. We have established ourselves as the five countries in the world in the field of renewable energy and we are going to move up in the days to come. Be it water, land, sky or space, India has positioned with its capability to protect itself in every sphere. The world has witnessed India’s capability of surgical and air strikes.

Respected Chairman,

When I came to the precincts of this House for the first time in 2014 and when I was elected as the leader, I said in my first speech that my Government is dedicated to the poor. I am repeating the same today after being elected for the second time. We have not changed, diluted or diverted our direction, and we are working with the same purpose, because we have to be free from poverty to move forward. We have to go on adding efforts. If there have been efforts earlier, we cannot stop, we have to add more to those efforts. Ensuring the basic necessity for ease of living leads to self-confidence and once the poor becomes self-confident, he will stand with strength to challenge poverty and he will not be dependent on anyone’s help. This is my experience. I am happy that more than 10 crore toilets have been built, 41 crore people's accounts have been opened, more than 2 crore houses have been built for the poor, more than 8 crore free gas connections have been provided, free treatment up to five lakh rupees has become a great force in the lives of the poor. There are a number of schemes which are transforming the lives of the poor and creating new confidence.

Respected Chairman,

There are challenges. Even the prosperous countries in the world have challenges. Their challenges are different and ours are different. But we have to decide whether we want to be a part of the problem or we want to be a part of the solution. It is just a thin line. If we become a part of the problem, politics will go on, but if we become a part of the solution, the national policy makes giant strides. We have the responsibility to think for the present as well for the future generations also. There are problems but I am sure we will work together, work with self-confidence and we will also change the situations and we will be able to achieve the desired results. This is my firm belief.

Respected Chairman,

There has been a lot of discussion on the farmers’ agitation in the House. Most of the debates revolved around the agitation. But all of them were silent regarding the reason behind the agitation. What is the agitation and what is happening with the agitation? All these things are very important, but it would have been good to have a discussion on the basic issue. Our honorable Agriculture Minister asked several good questions, but I know we are not going to get the answers to those questions, but he discussed the issue in a resounding manner. I am very grateful to the respected Deve Gowda ji, who gave seriousness to this whole discussion and also appreciated the good efforts of the Government because he is dedicated to the farmers throughout his life. He also appreciated the efforts of the Government and also made good suggestions. I thank respected Deve Gowda ji from the heart.

Respected Chairman,

What is the basic problem of farming? What is the root of the problem? Today, I want to mention what former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh ji explained in detail. There are many people who take pride in assuming the legacy of Chaudhary Charan Singh ji and they will definitely try to understand it. He would often quote the agriculture census in 1971. This is what Chaudhary Charan Singh ji said: In the census of farmers, it was found that there are 33 percent farmers who own either two bighas of land or less than two bighas of land. Eighteen percent farmers have land between 2 and 4 bighas, i.e., half hectare or one hectare of land. This 51 percent population of farmers can’t live off in honesty with such a small land, no matter how hard they work. This is the quote of Chaudhary Charan Singh ji.

Chaudhary Charan Singh ji was always pained by the pathetic condition of small farmers. He was always concerned about it. Now see what has happened. The farmers owning less than one hectare of land constituted 51 percent in 1971 and which has increased to 68 percent. It means that the number of farmers in the country is increasing who have very little land. If we add the small and marginal farmers, then there are 86 percent of farmers who have less than two hectares of land. The number of such farmers is 12 crores. Do we have no responsibility towards these 12 crore farmers? Does the country have no responsibility? Will we ever have to keep these 12 crore farmers at the centre of our schemes or not? The answer to this question has been left behind by Chaudhary Charan Singh ji for us. We have to find the answer to pay a true tribute to Chaudhary Charan Singh ji. And everyone will have to contribute to this.

Did the small farmer matter to the previous governments? I am not saying this for criticism, but we need to think. When elections approach; there are loan waiver announcements. This is a farmers’ program, but, in fact, it is a program for votes, everybody knows it very well. But when the loans are waived, the small farmers are deprived of it. He does not get anything, because loan waiver is for those who take loans from banks. The small farmer does not even have a bank account and from where will he get a loan. We might have done politics, but we have not done anything for small farmers. The farmer owning one or two acres of land does not have a bank account and he does not take loan and neither does he get the benefit of loan waiver. Similarly, what was the earlier crop insurance scheme? It was a kind of an insurance which used to act as a bank guarantee. And it was not available for small farmers. The scheme was only for those farmers who had taken loans from banks. Only they were insured and the banks were also assured of their money.

Today, how many farmers are there who have less than two hectare of land and take loans from banks? Even the irrigation facility is not available to small farmers. Big farmers would install huge pumps, tube wells and also get electricity and that too free of cost. Irrigation was also a problem for a small farmer. He could not afford to install the tube well. Sometimes, he used to buy water from a big farmer and he used to pay the price as demanded by the big farmer. Big farmers did not have any problem in getting urea. The small farmer was made to stand in a queue throughout the night for urea. Sometimes, he used to be cane charged and he would return home without urea. We know the condition of the small farmers. We made some changes after 2014. We expanded the scope of the Crop Insurance Scheme so that the small farmer could also avail it. We started with a very small amount and in the last 4-5 years, the farmers have got claims worth 90,000 crore rupees under the Crop Insurance Scheme. The figure is much more than loan waiver schemes.

Now, look at the Kisan Credit Cards. Earlier also there were credit cards for farmers but it was meant for big farmers only and who could secure loans from banks at a very low interest. In some states, they got loans at zero percent interest. They used to utilize this money in some other enterprise. It was not in the destiny of the small farmer. Then we decided to provide credit cards to every farmer in the country. Not only that, we also extended its ambit to fishermen so that they could also take advantage of it. More than 1.75 crore farmers have availed of the Kisan credit card. We are also requesting other states to extend it further so that maximum farmers can take advantage of it. More the help from the states, more the help to the farmers! Similarly, we introduced another scheme – Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. Under it, the amount goes directly to the bank accounts of the farmers. These constitute the farmers who were never assured of any help. There are 10 crore families who have benefited from it.

If politics did not come in the way of Bengal, if the farmers of Bengal had joined this scheme, the figure would have been more than that and so far 1,15,000 crore rupees would have gone to the account of these small farmers. The focal point of all our schemes is the Soil Health card. We talked about soil health cards for 100 percent farmers as to help the small farmer know what kind of land he has and is meant for which crop. We worked for a 100 percent soil health card. Similarly, we gave 100 percent neem coated urea. The intention behind 100 percent was that even the poorest of the poor farmers did not have any difficulty in getting urea. Similarly, we came up with the pension scheme for the small and marginal farmers. Now, our small farmers are also becoming part of the scheme. Similarly, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana – it is not confined to roads only, but it is a very important scheme to change the fortune of the farmers of the country and we emphasized on it. For the first time, we decided about Kisan Rail. The small farmer had difficulty selling his produce. Today, the farmers of the villages are selling their produce, fruits and vegetables in the markets of Mumbai because of Kisan Rail. The small farmer is benefiting. Kisan Udan Yojana – earlier our farmers in the North-East could not take advantage of selling their best products in the absence of a transportation system. Today, he is getting the benefit of the Kisan Udan Yojana. Everyone is familiar with the sufferings of small farmers... There has also been a demand for their empowerment from time to time.

Our respected Sharad Pawar ji and everyone from the Congress... every government has advocated agricultural reforms. Everybody has said that reforms should take place. And this is not something that has happened today, it was there in the previous governments also. Sharad Pawar ji has also given a statement that he is in favour of reforms. Agree, he may have questions about the process, but he never objected to reforms. Shri Scindia ji has put forth several aspects of these laws succinctly. All these discussions have been going on for the last two decades. It is not that it started only after our government was formed. Everybody has said that time has come and it will be done. There may be a coma, full stop here and there, but nobody can claim that their thinking on this issue was perfect. Even I also can’t claim that our approach is the best and no new approach can be there after 10 years. This does not happen. Social life is transformatory.

What we felt right in the present circumstances, we decided to improve things. By adding new things is the process towards progress. Where will be the progress if hurdles are put up? And, therefore, I am surprised at the sudden U-turn by some on the issue. Now they corner the government on the issue of agitation and also tell the farmers simultaneously that reforms are very important. Several years have passed and new things have to be introduced. This is how the country moves ahead but now I feel that politics overpowers own ideas. Respected Dr. Manmohan Singh ji is present here and I would like to read one of his quotes. Perhaps, those who are taking U-turn may not agree with me, but will certainly agree with Manmohan Singh ji. “There are other rigidities because of the whole marketing regime setup in the 1930’s which prevent our farmers from selling their produce where they get the highest rate of return. It is our intention to remove.... It is our intention to remove all those handicaps which come in the way of India realizing its vast potential as one large common market.” This is the quote of respected Manmohan Singh ji. Respected Manmohan Singh ji had expressed his intention to give the farmer the freedom to sell the produce, to give India an agricultural market. And that is what we are doing. And you should be proud... Look... Respected Manmohan Singh ji said this ... it is being done by Modi. Take pride in it. And the best part is that those who resort to politicizing the issue have done something or the other in their states as well. All the opposition parties here have done something or the other in the states ruled by them. They also know that this is the way out. I have noticed that the spirit of law was not discussed on the issue. The complaint is that the process was not correct and it has been done in haste. Whenever there is a marriage in a family, you will find an elderly woman complaining about the invite. “Where was I called? It does happen in such a huge family.”

Let us now pay attention to different issues. Take for example milk production. It is not tied up in any bondage. But look at the fun. Both the private and the cooperatives have formed such a strong chain together in the field of milk and both are doing this work together. There is an excellent supply chain in our country. This did not happen in my tenure. You can take pride that this was done before me. We all should be proud of it. Fruit- vegetable-related business has a direct link to most of the markets. There is no interference in the markets and it is beneficial. Do the entrepreneurs, who buy dairy products or vegetables, occupy the land of cattle farmers or farmers or their cattle? No. Milk is sold, but not the cattle. The contribution of the dairy industry is more than 28 percent of the total value of the agricultural economy. That is, we forget this aspect when we discuss agriculture. The contribution is 28 percent. And, there is a turnover of about eight lakh crores of rupees. The value of milk is more than the combined value of cereals and pulses. We never look at this aspect. The cattle farmers have full freedom. Why should the small and marginal farmers, who produce cereals and pulses, not get freedom? If we find answers to these questions, we will move on the right path.

Respected Chairman,

It is true and it reflects in our behavior also. Whenever one has to carry out minor changes in the house, there is tension. Why has the chair or table been kept here? And India is such a vast country and the kind of traditions that we have grown up with, it is natural that there will be a little bit of confusion whenever something new comes. But remember the days, when there used to be debate on the Green Revolution. The agricultural reforms that took place at the time of the Green Revolution; there were apprehensions, agitations. Everything is well documented. When Shastri ji was to take tough decisions for agricultural reforms, none of his colleagues was ready to become the Agriculture Minister. They felt their hands would be burnt, the farmers would be angry, and the politics would be over. These are the events during Shastri ji's time, and finally Shastri ji had to make Mr. Subramaniam the Agriculture Minister. The Planning Commission also opposed reforms proposed by him. There was also a murmur of protest in the entire cabinet, including the finance ministry. But Shastri ji moved ahead for the betterment of the country. The language that the Left parties speak today, they used the same language then. They used to accuse Shastri ji and the Congress party of doing it at the behest of the US. Everybody used to dub the Congress leaders as the agents of the US. The same language was used by the Left parties then also which they are using today. They dubbed the agricultural reforms as something which will destroy the small farmers. Hundreds of protests were organized in the country. A massive movement was launched. In the midst of all these, Lal Bahadur Shastri ji and the governments after him continued with the reforms and it is the result of that what we used to import under the PL-480 program is produced in our country by our farmers. Despite record production, there are problems in the agricultural sector. Nobody can deny it, but we all have to find a solution to the problems. And I believe now the time will not wait.

Ramgopal ji has said a very good thing that our farmers have made record production even in the wake of Corona. The government also ensured that they did not have the shortage of seeds and fertilizer during the Corona period. And as a result of the collective efforts, storage houses were full. Record purchases of crops took place during the Corona period. I believe that we will have to move ahead by finding new solutions. As I said earlier, many laws need amendments after two or five years. We can’t live in a static environment. When there are good suggestions they are followed up with good reforms. And not only my government, earlier governments have also accepted good reforms. This is the democratic tradition. Therefore, we should move ahead with good suggestions. I invite all of you. Let’s take this country forward by finding solutions to the problems in the agricultural sector and convincing the protesters. If not today, whosoever is here will have to do this work in the future. I have done it today. Let the brickbats come to me, but unite for doing this good work. Let the brickbats come to me; let the credit go to you. Let’s move ahead together. Our Agriculture Minister has been regularly talking to the farmers. Continuous meetings are happening. There is no tension. Efforts are on to understand each other. We always urge the protesters that it is their right to protest. But the elderly people who are sitting there is not good. Please send them back. You end this agitation and doors are open for further negotiations. We have said this earlier and I am extending this invite through this House.

Respected Chairman,

It is certain that it is time to take decisions to make our farming prosperous and we should not lose time. We should move forward.. The country should not be taken back. Whether it is the ruling party or the opposition or the agitating colleagues, we should give chance to reforms. And we should see whether these changes benefit us or not. If there is any deficiency, it will be corrected. If there is any laxity, it will be taken care of. It is not that all doors have been closed. Therefore, I assure that there will be more competition if mandis are modernized. We have also made a provision regarding this in the Budget. MSP is there, MSP was there and MSP will remain. We should understand the sanctity of this House. More than 80 crore people who are given cheap ration should continue to get it. Therefore, please don’t spread confusion, because we have been given a special responsibility by the country. We also need to emphasize other measures to increase the income of the farmers. The population is growing, within the family, the number of members is increasing. The land is being fragmented. In such a situation, something has to be done so that the burden on the farmers is reduced, and we can provide more opportunities to the farmers. We have to work to alleviate their sufferings and I believe that we will push the farmers into darkness if we delay any further and get entangled in political equations. Kindly, we should avoid this for the bright future of farmers. I pray to all. We will have to worry about it.

Respected Chairman,

Dairying and animal husbandry need to be promoted with our agriculture sector so that our farmers become self reliant. Similarly, we have launched a huge drive for foot and mouth disease which will also benefit the cattle farmers and the farmers. We have also given a different thrust to fisheries, created a separate ministry and have earmarked Rs. 20,000 crore for the Matsya Sampada Yojana so that the entire sector gets a new thrust. There is also great prospect in Sweet Revolution and it does not require large tracts of land. One can earn between 40,000 rupees to 200,000 rupees by working on one’s field. There is a great demand for honey and bee wax in the world. India can export bee wax. We have created an atmosphere so that a small farmer can make an alternate earning. There is no need for hundreds of acres of land for beekeeping. One can do it comfortably at his place. Our farmers should become solar power producers. He should generate energy in his field through the solar system, run a solar pump and meet his water requirement. With this he can reduce his expenses. He can increase his crop. Instead of one, he can have two crops, instead of two, he can have three crops. He has to change the pattern. We can go in this direction. And one thing is that India's strength has been to solve such problems and find new avenues, and they will open up further. But there are some people who are making efforts so that India remains unstable and disturbed. We have to identify these people.

Let us not forget what happened to Punjab. During Partition, Punjab suffered the most. When the 84 riots took place, most tears were shed in Punjab. Punjab was the victim of the most tragic incidents. What happened in Jammu-Kashmir? Innocents were killed. Guns and bullets rained in the North-East. All these developments have done a lot of damage to the country in some form or the other. What are the forces which are behind all these developments? Every government has seen it, understood it and probed it. Therefore, we have moved fast to solve all these problems. Let’s not forget that some people are poisoning the minds of our Sikh brothers in Punjab. This country is proud of every Sikh. What not they have done for the country? However, much we honour them, it would not be enough. I have had the opportunity to eat the bread of Punjab. I have spent the important years of my life in Punjab, so I know. And, therefore, the language that some people speak for them, those who try to mislead them will not serve any good to the country. And, therefore, we need to be concerned about this situation.

Respected Chairman Sir,

We are very familiar with some words – Shramjivis (those who labour), Buddhijivis (intellectuals). I have noticed that for some time, a new jamaat has been born; a new community has come forward. That is Andolanjeevi (those who live off protests). If there is a lawyers’ protest, they are seen there; if there is a students’ agitation, they will be seen there; if there is a protest by labourers, they will be seen there. Sometimes, they are behind the curtains, sometimes in front of it. There is a breed of Andolanjeevis. They can’t live without agitation and find ways to keep themselves alive through agitations. We will have to identify them who reach everywhere and give an ideological stand, mislead and tell them new ways to protest. The country needs to be aware of these Andolanjeevi people. This is their strength – they can’t do anything for themselves and take credit for something already there. They are parasites. And, here, everybody must be enjoying my words because you must also have experienced such parasitic movements wherever you run governments in the states. And, therefore, in the same way, I have noticed a new thing. The country is progressing; we are talking about FDI which is Foreign Direct Investment. But I see that a new FDI has come into the fray these days. The country needs to be protected from this new FDI. We need FDI i.e., Foreign Direct Investment. But the new FDI is Foreign Destructive Ideology and, therefore, we need to be more alert to save the country from this FDI.

Respected Chairman,

The rural economy has its own value for the development of our country. The rural economy is an important part of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Atmanirbhar Bharat cannot be a program of any government and it should not be. It should be a resolution of 130 crore countrymen. We should be proud of it and there should be no dilemma. And the great men like Mahatma Gandhi showed us this path. If we have deviated a little bit from there, we need to come back to that track and we have to move forward on the path of Atmanirbhar Bharat. If the gap between village and city is to be bridged, we have to move towards Atmanirbhar Bharat. And I am sure, when we are moving forward with those things, the trust of the common man of our country will also grow. During the Question Hour session, there was a debate on Jal Jeevan Mission. In such a short time, drinking water through tap connections has been provided to three crore families. Self-reliance is possible only when everyone is stakeholder in the economy. Our sister Sonal, in her speech, has discussed in detail by focusing on the participation of sisters and daughters.

In the Corona period, whether it is ration, financial assistance or free gas cylinders, the government has taken care of our mothers and sisters in every way, and they have also helped to handle these things by becoming a potent force. Just as the woman power of our country took care of the family with great patience in this difficult situation, the way they handled the circumstances, the mothers in every family have played an important role in this battle against Corona. The more I thank them will be less. It is the spirit of our sisters and daughters and I believe that our mothers and sisters will play an important role in Atmanirbhar Bharat. Today, the participation of our daughters in the war zone is also increasing. The new Labour courts that have been set up give the right of equal pay to the daughters to work in every sector. The 70 percent loan under the Mudra Scheme has been availed by our sisters. In a way, it is an addition. With the participation of about 7 crore women, more than 60 lakh self help groups are today giving a new strength to the efforts of the self-reliant India.

The more emphasis we give to India's youth power, the more opportunities we give them, I think, they will become a strong foundation for our country, for the bright future. The new National Education Policy has also tried to give new opportunities to our younger generation. I am happy that considerable time was spent discussing the education policy, but the way it has been received by the country has created a new trust. And I am sure that this new education policy is the advent of the idea of a new way of education in our country.

Our MSME sector is getting the most opportunity for employment. And when the stimulus was announced during the Corona period, full attention was given to MSMEs and it is the result of the fact that our MSMEs are playing a very big role in economic recovery today and we are taking it forward.

We are moving ahead from the beginning with the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas. It is because of this that our problems in the North-East or Naxal-infested areas are slowing down gradually resulting in the opportunities for our colleagues to return to the mainstream of development. I can see clearly that the Eastern India will play a very big role in the bright future of India.

I was listening to the hon’ble Ghulam Nabi ji. Anyway, it has been the characteristic of Ghulam Nabi ji to speak softly and gently and not use bitter words. And, I believe all the parliamentarians need to learn this from him and I respect him also. He also praised the elections that were held in Jammu-Kashmir. He said that Jammu-Kashmir has a special place in his heart and it is natural also because the same spirit is in the heart of the entire country regarding Jammu-Kashmir.

In order to make Jammu-Kashmir self-reliant, panchayat, BDC, DDC elections were held and Ghulam Nabi ji appreciated it. I am very grateful to you for this compliment. But I'm scared that you praised me. I am sure that your party will take it in the right spirit, and will not reverse it by inadvertently assuming the opinion of the G-23.

Respected Chairman Sir,

There were also attempts to challenge the border during the challenging period of Corona. Our brave soldiers have given a resounding reply through their courage and grit. Every Indian is proud of it. Our jawans stood the guard even during difficult circumstances. I am thankful to many colleagues who have appreciated the valour of our jawans. India's stand on the situation on the LAC is very clear and the country is also looking at it well and is proud of it. There is no question or scope of any relaxation in our commitment to border infrastructure and border security. Those who are aware of our ideas and objectives will never question us in this regard. They know that we are committed people, and, therefore, we are nowhere on the other side on these issues.

Respected Chairman,

I thank everybody for the praiseworthy discussion in the House. Finally, I will pause my voice by mentioning a mantra. We get a great idea from the Vedas. This mantra is a great inspiration for 130 crore countrymen. The mantra of the Vedas says:

"अयुतो अहं अयुतो मे आत्मा अयुतं मे, अयुतं चक्षु, अयुतं श्रोत्रम|"

That is I am not one, I am not alone, I see and experience crores of human beings with me. So my spiritual power is of crores. I have a vision of millions, I have the hearing power of millions, and the karma power also.

Respected Chairman,

With this spirit of the Vedas, with this consciousness, India, with more than 130 crore countrymen, is moving forward with everyone. Today, the dreams of 130 crore countrymen are the dreams of India. Today, the aspirations of 130 crore countrymen are the aspirations of this country. Today, the future of 130 crore countrymen is a guarantee of India's bright future. And, therefore, today, when the country is formulating policies, making efforts, these are not for immediate profit and loss but are far-reaching. And when the country will celebrate the centenary of independence in 2047, the foundation is being laid with the dreams of taking the country to new heights. And I am confident that we will be able to accomplish this work.

I once again thank the respected President for his address. I want to tell you the truth that the way the discussion took place at his address was very good and the atmosphere was also good. It is fine who scored how much and there were attacks on me as well, whatever could be said was said, but I enjoyed it very much that I was somehow helpful to you. See, due to corona, you also don’t visit anywhere and you are struck in the house and there are bound to be some tense moments in the house. Now that you have spit so much of anger here, you must be feeling very light. Now you would be able to spend time at home with happiness. The joy that you got and that I was helpful to you in this regard, I consider it as a privilege and I would like you to enjoy these moments ever. Keep on discussing and keep the House alive. Modi is there, so enjoy the opportunity.

Many thanks.


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महाराष्ट्र के गवर्नर श्रीमान रमेश बैस जी, मुख्यमंत्री श्रीमान एकनाथ शिंदे जी, उप मुख्यमंत्री भाई देवेंद्र फडणवीस जी, अजित दादा पवार जी, इंडियन न्यूज़पेपर सोसाइटी के प्रेसिडेंट भाई राकेश शर्मा जी, सभी वरिष्‍ठ महानुभाव, देवियों और सज्जनों!

सबले पहले मैं इंडियन न्यूज़पेपर सोसाइटी के सभी सदस्यों को बहुत-बहुत बधाई देता हूं। आज आप सभी को मुंबई में एक विशाल और आधुनिक भवन मिला है। मैं आशा करता हूँ, इस नए भवन से आपके कामकाज का जो विस्तार होगा, आपकी जो Ease of Working बढ़ेगी, उससे हमारे लोकतंत्र को भी और मजबूती मिलेगी। इंडियन न्यूज़पेपर सोसाइटी तो आज़ादी के पहले से अस्तित्व में आने वाली संस्‍थाओं में से एक है और इसलिए आप सबने देश की यात्रा के हर उतार-चढ़ाव को भी बहुत बारीकी से देखा है, उसे जिया भी है, और जन-सामान्‍य को बताया भी है। इसलिए, एक संगठन के रूप में आपका काम जितना प्रभावी बनेगा, देश को उसका उतना ही ज्यादा लाभ मिलेगा।


मीडिया केवल देश के हालातों का मूकदर्शक भर नहीं होता। मीडिया के आप सभी लोग, हालातों को बदलने में, देश को दिशा देने में एक अहम रोल निभाते हैं। आज भारत एक ऐसे कालखंड में है, जब उसकी अगले 25 वर्षों की यात्रा बहुत अहम है। इन 25 वर्षों में भारत विकसित बने, इसके लिए पत्र-पत्रिकाओं की भूमिका भी उतनी ही बड़ी है। ये मीडिया है, जो देश के नागरिकों को जागरूक करता है। ये मीडिया है, जो देश के नागरिकों को उनके अधिकार याद दिलाता रहता है। और यही मीडिया है, जो देश के लोगों को ये एहसास दिलाता है कि उनका सामर्थ्य क्या है। आप भी देख रहे हैं, जिस देश के नागरिकों में अपने सामर्थ्य को लेकर आत्मविश्वास आ जाता है, वो सफलता की नई ऊंचाई प्राप्त करने लगते हैं। भारत में भी आज यही हो रहा है। मैं एक छोटा सा उदाहरण देता हूं आपको। एक समय था, जब कुछ नेता खुलेआम कहते थे कि डिजिटल ट्रांजेक्शन भारत के लोगों के बस की बात नहीं है। ये लोग सोचते थे कि आधुनिक टेक्नोलॉजी वाली चीजें इस देश में नहीं चल पाएंगी। लेकिन भारत की जनता की सूझबूझ और उनका सामर्थ्य दुनिया देख रही है। आज भारत डिजिटल ट्रांजेक्शन में दुनिया में बड़े-बड़े रिकॉर्ड तोड़ रहा है। आज भारत के UPI की वजह से आधुनिक Digital Public Infrastructure की वजह से लोगों की Ease of Living बढ़ी है, लोगों के लिए एक स्थान से दूसरे स्थान तक पैसे भेजना आसान हुआ है। आज दुनियाभर में हमारे जो देशवासी रहते हैं, खासकर के गल्‍फ के देशों में, वो सबसे ज्यादा रेमिटेंस भेज रहे हैं और उनको जो पहले खर्च होता था, उसमें से बहुत कमी आ गई है और इसके पीछे एक वजह ये डिजिटल रेवेल्यूशन भी है। दुनिया के बड़े-बड़े देश हमसे टेक्नोलॉजी और हमारे implementation model को जानना-समझने को प्रयास कर रहे हैं। ये इतनी बड़ी सफलता सिर्फ सरकार की है, ऐसा नहीं है। इस सफलता में आप सभी मीडिया के लोगों की भी सहभागिता है औऱ इसलिए ही आप सब बधाई के भी पात्र हैं।


मीडिया की स्वाभाविक भूमिका होती है, discourse create करना, गंभीर विषयों पर चर्चाओं को बल देना। लेकिन, मीडिया के discourse की दिशा भी कई बार सरकार की नीतियों की दिशा पर निर्भर होती है। आप जानते हैं, सरकारों में हमेशा हर कामकाज के अच्छा है, बुरा है, लेकिन वोट का गुणा-भाग, उसकी आदत लगी ही रहती है। हमने आकर के इस सोच को बदला है। आपको याद होगा, हमारे देश में दशकों पहले बैंकों का राष्ट्रीयकरण किया गया था। लेकिन, उसके बाद की सच्चाई ये थी कि 2014 तक देश में 40-50 करोड़ गरीब ऐसे थे, जिनका बैंक अकाउंट तक नहीं था। अब जब राष्ट्रीयकरण हुआ तब जो बातें कही गई और 2014 में जो देखा गया, यानी आधा देश बैंकिंग सिस्टम से बाहर था। क्या कभी हमारे देश में ये मुद्दा बना? लेकिन, हमने जनधन योजना को एक मूवमेंट के तौर पर लिया। हमने करीब 50 करोड़ लोगों को बैंकिंग सिस्टम से जोड़ा। डिजिटल इंडिया और भ्रष्टाचार विरोधी प्रयासों में यही काम हमारा सबसे बड़ा माध्यम बना है। इसी तरह, स्वच्छता अभियान, स्टार्टअप इंडिया, स्टैंडअप इंडिया जैसे अभियानों को अगर हम देखेंगे! ये वोट बैंक पॉलिटिक्स में कहीं फिट नहीं होते थे। लेकिन, बदलते हुए भारत में, देश के मीडिया ने इन्हें देश के नेशनल discourse का हिस्सा बनाया। जो स्टार्ट-अप शब्द 2014 के पहले ज्यादातर लोग जानते भी नहीं थे, उन्हें मीडिया की चर्चाओं ने ही घर-घर तक पहुंचा दिया है।


आप मीडिया के दिग्गज हैं, बहुत अनुभवी हैं। आपके निर्णय देश के मीडिया को भी दिशा देते हैं। इसलिए आज के इस कार्यक्रम में मेरे आपसे कुछ आग्रह भी हैं।


किसी कार्यक्रम को अगर सरकार शुरू करती है तो ये जरूरी नहीं है कि वो सरकारी कार्यक्रम है। सरकार किसी विचार पर बल देती है तो जरूरी नहीं है कि वो सिर्फ सरकार का ही विचार है। जैसे कि देश ने अमृत महोत्सव मनाया, देश ने हर घर तिरंगा अभियान चलाया, सरकार ने इसकी शुरुआत जरूर की, लेकिन इसको पूरे देश ने अपनाया और आगे बढ़ाया। इसी तरह, आज देश पर्यावरण पर इतना ज़ोर दे रहा है। ये राजनीति से हटकर मानवता के भविष्य का विषय है। जैसे कि, अभी ‘एक पेड़ मां के नाम’, ये अभियान शुरू हुआ है। भारत के इस अभियान की दुनिया में भी चर्चा शुरू हो गई है। मैं अभी जी7 में गया था जब मैंने इस विषय को रखा तो उनके लिए बड़ी उत्सुकता थी क्योंकि हर एक को अपनी मां के प्रति लगाव रहता है कि उसको लगता है कि ये बहुत क्लिक कर जाएगा, हर कोई कह रहा था। देश के ज्यादा से ज्यादा मीडिया हाउस इससे जुड़ेंगे तो आने वाली पीढ़ियों का बहुत भला होगा। मेरा आग्रह है, ऐसे हर प्रयास को आप देश का प्रयास मानकर उसे आगे बढ़ाएं। ये सरकार का प्रयास नहीं है, ये देश का है। इस साल हम संविधान का 75वां वर्ष भी मना रहे हैं। संविधान के प्रति नागरिकों में कर्तव्य बोध बढ़े, उनमें जागरूकता बढ़े, इसमें आप सभी की बहुत बड़ी भूमिका हो सकती है।


एक विषय है टूरिज्म से जुड़ा हुआ भी। टूरिज्म सिर्फ सरकार की नीतियों से ही नहीं बढ़ता है। जब हम सब मिलकर देश की ब्रांडिंग और मार्केटिंग करते हैं तो, देश के सम्मान के साथ-साथ देश का टूरिज़्म भी बढ़ता है। देश में टूरिज्म बढ़ाने के लिए आप लोग अपने तरीके निकाल सकते हैं। अब जैसे मान लीजिए, महाराष्ट्र के सभी अखबार मिलकर के तय करें कि भई हम सितम्बर महीने में बंगाल के टूरिज्म को प्रमोट करेंगे अपनी तरफ से, तो जब महाराष्ट्र के लोग चारों तरफ जब बंगाल-बंगाल देखें तो उनको करें कि यार इस बार बंगाल जाने का कार्यक्रम बनाएं, तो बंगाल का टूरिज्‍म बढ़ेगा। मान लीजिए आप तीन महीने के बाद तय करें कि भई हम तमिलनाडु की सारी चीजों पर सब मिलकर के, एक ये करें के एक दूसरा करें ऐसा नहीं, तमिलनाडु फोकस करेंगे। आप देखिए एक दम से महाराष्ट्र के लोग टूरिज्‍म में जाने वाले होंगे, तो तमिलनाडु की तरफ जाएंगे। देश के टूरिज्म को बढ़ाने का एक तरीका हो और जब आप ऐसा करेंगे तो उन राज्यों में भी महाराष्ट्र के लिए ऐसे ही कैम्पेन शुरू होंगे, जिसका लाभ महाराष्‍ट्र को मिलेगा। इससे राज्यों में एक दूसरे के प्रति आकर्षण बढ़ेगा, जिज्ञासा बढ़ेगी और आखिरकार इसका फायदा जिस राज्य में आप ये इनिशिएटिव ले रहे हें और बिना कोई एक्‍स्‍ट्रा प्रयास किए बिना आराम से होने वाला काम है।


आप सभी से मेरा आग्रह अपनी ग्लोबल प्रेजेंस बढ़ाने को लेकर भी है। हमें सोचना होगा, दुनिया में हम नहीं है। As far as media is concerned हम 140 करोड़ लोगों के देश हैं। इतना बड़ा देश, इतना सामर्थ्य और संभावनाएं और बहुत ही कम समय में हम भारत को third largest economy होते देखने वाले हैं। अगर भारत की सफलताएं, दुनिया के कोने-कोने तक पहुंचाने का दायित्व भी आप बहुत बखूबी ही निभा सकते हैं। आप जानते हैं कि विदेशों में राष्ट्र की छवि का प्रभाव सीधे उसकी इकोनॉमी और ग्रोथ पर पड़ता है। आज आप देखिए, विदेशों में भारतीय मूल के लोगों का कद बढ़ा है, विश्वसनीयता बढ़ी है, सम्मान बढ़ा है। क्योंकि, विश्व में भारत की साख बढ़ी है। भारत भी वैश्विक प्रगति में कहीं ज्यादा योगदान दे पा रहा है। हमारा मीडिया इस दृष्टिकोण से जितना काम करेगा, देश को उतना ही फायदा होगा और इसलिए मैं तो चाहूंगा कि जितनी भी UN लैंग्वेज हैं, उनमें भी आपके पब्लिकेशंस का विस्तार हो। आपकी माइक्रोसाइट्स, सोशल मीडिया accounts इन भाषाओं में भी हो सकते हैं और आजकल तो AI का जमाना है। ये सब काम आपके लिए अब बहुत आसान हो गए हैं।


मैंने इतने सारे सुझाव आप सबको दे डाले हैं। मुझे मालूम है, आपके अखबार में, पत्र पत्रिकाओं में, बहुत लिमिटेड स्पेस रहती है। लेकिन, आजकल हर अखबार पर और हर एक के पास एक publication के डिजिटल editions भी पब्लिश हो रहे हैं। वहाँ न स्पेस की limitation है और न ही distribution की कोई समस्या है। मुझे भरोसा है, आप सब इन सुझावों पर विचार करके, नए experiments करेंगे, और लोकतंत्र को मजबूत बनाएँगे। और मैं पक्‍का मानता हूं कि आपके लिए एक, भले ही दो पेज की छोटी एडिशन जो दुनिया की UN की कम से कम languages हों, दुनिया का अधिकतम वर्ग उसको देखता है, पढ़ता है… embassies उसको देखती हैं और भारत की बात पहुंचाने की एक बहुत बड़ा source आपके ये जो डिजिटल एडिशंस हैं, उसमें बन सकता है। आप जितना सशक्त होकर काम करेंगे, देश उतना ही आगे बढ़ेगा। इसी विश्वास के साथ, आप सभी का बहुत-बहुत धन्यवाद! और आप सबसे मिलने का मुझे अवसर भी मिल गया। मेरी आपको बहुत शुभकामनाएं हैं! धन्‍यवाद!