The Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India Today Group, Arun Puri ji, all the journalist friends of your group, the journalists who are working in the Newsroom right now, stringers associated with you, the other dignitaries present here and my dear friends!
My best wishes to all the people associated with ‘India Today Conclave’. I congratulate you all for your participation in the Swachh Bharat Campaign, and your efforts towards creating awareness in people.
I was asked to share my experiences with you all about my learning during the leadership of the nation.
After 2014 elections, when I came to Delhi, I really didn't have enough experience back then about how the central government worked and how the system functions etc.
And I believe it proved to be a boon to me. Had I been a part of the older system, I would have fitted into the system as it is. But that didn't happen.
I remember that prior to 2014, there used to be discussions in your studio that Modi did not have any knowledge about the foreign affairs. What would happen to our foreign policy?
But after the past incidents, you might have seen where the impact of India's foreign policy has reached today.
Have you seen it or not?
Okay, at least you agreed.
Today's India is a 'New India', a transformed India. For us, the blood of each and every soldier is invaluable. Earlier, even if many used to die or several soldiers used to be martyred, there used to be hardly any counter action. But now, no one dares to do anything to India. Our government is committed to taking decisions for the welfare of the nation. Today, India is working on a new policy and strategy and the entire world is able to understand this.
Today's 'New India' is fearless and decisive because today the government is moving ahead with the hard work and faith of 125 crore Indians.
India's unity has induced fear in a few anti-national people both inside and outside the country.
I would say that this fear psychosis is good. When the enemy is afraid of India's feat, then this fear is good. When the terrorists fear the valour of the soldiers, then the fear is good. When the fugitives are also afraid of the law and seizure of their property, then this fear is good.
When big families get scared of Mama's revelations, then this fear is good.
When the corrupt politicians have a fear of going to jail, then this fear is good.
When corrupt people fear the law, then this fear is good.
The country has suffered a lot in the decades that followed Independence.
Now this New India is moving forward counting on its strengths, its capabilities and its resources and is trying to overcome its basic weaknesses and to reduce its challenges.
But friends, there is one more challenge before this progressive India.
The challenge is - self-satisfaction by talking against our nation and making a mockery of it by some people.
I am astonished that when the entire nation is standing with the Indian army, there are a few people who are suspecting the army itself.
On one hand, the entire world is supporting India in the war against terrorism, while a few parties doubt our fight against terrorism.
These are the same people whose statements and articles are being used by the Pakistani Parliament, radio and television channels against India.
These people have turned into anti-national from being anti-Modi. They are harming the nation.
I want to ask all such people from this forum today that do you believe in the strength of our army or are you skeptical?
I want to know from them that whether they trust our army or trust those people who are promoting terrorism on our soil?
Brothers and sisters,
I want to tell all such people and parties that Modi will come and go, but India will always be there. Therefore, I request them to stop playing with the security of the nation for their political advantage and for satisfying their ego. Kindly, stop weakening the nation.
The nation has felt the need for Rafael today. The nation in a single voice is asking what could have happened if we had Rafael today.
The country has suffered a lot due to self-interests on Rafael earlier and now due to politics on Rafael.
I want to tell these people that they are free to oppose Modi, and to find faults in our schemes, their impact etc.
Criticize the government on this; you are always welcome but do not oppose the country's security interests.
Keep in mind that this obstinacy of opposing Modi is turning these terrorists like Masood Azhar and Hafiz Sayeed into more powerful entities.
Those who ruled the nation for many years had interests in two things - doles and deals.
The culture of doles and deals harmed our nation’s development journey greatly.
Do you know the biggest sufferers of this approach? Our Jawans and Kisans!
Let me talk about the defence sector first.
Why is it that those who ruled the nation for so many years have so many defence scams in their era?
They began with Jeeps and later graduated to weapons, submarines, helicopters.
In the process the defence sector suffered.
If a deal could not happen, defence modernisation could not happen.
Who is every deal maker close to? Who is every middle-man close to? The entire nation knows.
And Lutyen’s Delhi surely knows!
It is common knowledge that one of the things our armed forces regularly need is bullet proof jackets.
In 2009, our forces made a request for one lakh eighty six thousand bullet proof jackets.
You would be ashamed to know that not one, I repeat not one bullet proof jacket was obtained from 2009 to 2014.
In our tenure we bought two lakh thirty thousand bullet proof jackets!
In our tenure, the corridors of power are also free from middlemen because they know this Government will not tolerate any corruption.
Now, let me talk of doles. Those in power loved giving doles.
These doles were not aimed at empowering the poor.
These doles were given so that the poor remain poor and remain at the mercy of the political class.
The best example of this is the farm loan waivers.
No economist or policy expert will ever say farm loan waivers can solve our agrarian issues.
It is a temporary balm at best.
Every ten years, UPA came out with a farm loan waiver idea.
They did nothing in their full tenure but at the eleventh hour, offered a farm loan.
There is nothing tangible in their waivers.
It benefits less than 20% of the farmers.
Yet, they love to fight polls on farm loans.
We have taken a different approach.
The PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, a comprehnsive scheme for farmer welfare.
No dole or deal - only good deed.
Six thousand rupees in three parts to 12 crore farmers of India!
The scheme was announced on 1st February and launched on 24th February. We worked 24 hours non-stop and launched it in 24 days!
Previously, this much time would be taken to decide a very important question - after which member of the family should we name the scheme?
And unlike waivers, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi is a long term and long lasting assistance.
Our other schemes are like this too - be it Soil Health cards, PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana, E-Nam - they are not doles, they are concrete long term measures to increase farmers’ incomes by 2022.
It was the NDA Government that had the honour of bringing a historic hike in MSP for farmers.
When the previous Government was in power, a file for MSP was kept in cold storage for almost seven years.
Thus, while they work for 10% commission, we work with 100% mission and when a Government works with a strong mission, all-round development becomes possible.
Our fifty five months and the fifty five years of the others have given two contrasting approaches to governance.
They had a ‘token approach’; we have a ‘total approach.’
For everything, they had a token to offer. Let me elaborate.
India has been battling poverty but they gave a token slogan- Garibi Hatao.
How to achieve that was not specified and neither did they make any effort to remove poverty.
But, they went place to place saying – Garibi Hatao, Garibi Hatao.
It was known that India needed to work on financial inclusion. For that they gave a token - bank nationalization.
They did this in the name of the poor but none of them bothered to check if the doors of banks are open for the poor or not.
Take the case of One Rank One Pension.
A forty year old demand was left hanging but during their last budget in 2014, a token amount of five hundred crore rupees was added. They knew very well that this was not even close to the amount needed. But then again, token!
And the elections that were approaching!
Before 2014 what was their poll plank - increasing gas cylinders from 9 to 12.
Imagine – such a large national party, with years in government is reduced to fighting a poll on 9 to 12 cylinders.
This way of giving tokens is not acceptable to us.
If work has to be done, it has to be in totality, not with tokenism.
That is why, all our initiatives aim for one hundred per cent.
Jan Dhan – financial inclusion and banking for all.
Housing for All - a house for every Indian by 2022!
And, we are making remarkable progress in this direction.
One Point Five crore homes have already been created, compared to 25 lakh homes made by UPA.
Healthcare for All - Ayushman Bharat - no Indian must be deprived of good and affordable healthcare. 50 crore Indians will benefit from this scheme.
One Rank One Pension - compare their 500 crore to the thirty five thousand crore that was eventually given by the NDA government as a part of OROP.
Ujjwala Yojana - while they were busy between 9 and 12 cylinders, we have worked to give smoke free kitchens to crores of families.
Power for all - every village and every household should have electricity.
The 18,000 villages in darkness for seventy long years have now been electrified and now the focus is on household electrification.
So, you can see, we are working with both speed and scale.
Everything has to be for all, not a select few.
Enough of tokenism, the time has come for a total transformation where the fruits of development reach each and every citizen.
Aaj Tak is known for raising good questions. But today, even I want to raise a few questions from Aaj Tak's platform.
Why were crores of people forced to defecate in the open till date?
Why was the government not sensitive towards the 'Divyangjans' till date?
Why was the water of river Ganga so polluted till date?
Why was the Northeast neglected till date?
Why was there no National War Memorial for the brave warriors of our country till date?
Why was there no National Police Memorial for the heroic and corrageous policemen till date?
Why the flag was not hoisted in the Red Fort in memory of the government of Azad Hind Fauj till date?
If I continue with the series of questions on the stage of Aaj Tak, it can make a 'special' bulletin of several hours.
Whether you launch an attack on the basis of these questions or not, whether you make a special story on these questions or not, but the fact is that earlier no meaningful effort was made to connect the poor, oppressed and the deprived sections of the country to the system. But I have not come here to question only; I would also like to give some of the answers without you asking what we have achieved and what we are achieving.
You call yourself 'Sabse Tez' (the fastest). This is your tagline - Sabse Tez'.
So I thought of letting you know about me and my government that how fast we are!
We are alleviating poverty at the fastest rate in India today.
Today we are the fastest growing economy in the world.
If we look at the GDP growth rate from 1991, it has increased at the fastest rate during the last 5 years by us.
If we look at the inflation rate from 1991, it has been reduced at the fastest rate during the last 5 years by us. Today roads are being constructed at the fastest pace. The development work of the railways is progressing at a rapid pace. We are building houses for the poor at the fastest rate. Today the mobile manufacturing units are being set up at the fastest pace within the country. Laying the optical fiber network is going on at the fastest speed in the country. Today FDI is flowing into the country at the fastest rate. The measure of cleanliness is increasing at the fastest rate in the country today.
So, just like 'Sabse Tez' is your tagline, 'Sabse Tez' is our government's lifeline.
Brothers and sisters,
When I had visited you in 2013, I had narrated a story about two friends. Once two friends had ventured into a forest; it was a scary forest so they were carrying a good quality gun to protect themselves from dangerous wild animals. They wanted to walk through the forest. As they entered the thick forest, suddenly a lion appeared in front of them. Now, what they could have done? They had left the gun in the car. It was a dangerous situation. How to deal with that situation? They couldn't have escaped.
But one of them took out the license of the gun and showed it to the lion.
When I had narrated that story to you all back then, the government was in a similar situation. The previous government had formulated several Acts but there was no action on them.
After we formed the government, we have taken action in implementing the Acts. I want to give a few more examples to tell you the difference between that period and current period.
The Benami Property law was passed in 1988 but was never implemented. That is, the Act had never been brought into action.
Our government has implemented this law and has seized the Benami property of thousands of crores of Rupees.
You must have seen the condition of the Food Security Act during the previous government's regime. It was brought with a lot of pomp and show. But when our government came to power, we were shocked to see that this Act was implemented in only 11 states that too in an incomplete way.
For the first time, our government implemented this law in all the states and Union Territories of the country and ensured that its benefits reached the public.
There were the same government officials, the same files and the same offices earlier too. But everyone knows the results.
We emphasized upon action and look at the pace at which the development work has been going on.
Although this period between 2014 and 2019 is of 5 years, but if you traverse on the path of development to assess the performance of our government, you will find that you have travelled through decades of development.
I say it with confidence because there is 5 years of hard work of our government and blessings of the 125 crore Indians.
2014 to 2019 was a period of fulfilling the needs while the period beyond 2019 will be the period of fulfilling the aspirations.
2014 to 2019 was the period to deliver the basic needs to every household while the period after 2019 is the time to take off for faster development.
The period between 2014 and 2019 and after 2019 is a story of changing dreams, of moving from the situation of despair to the pinnacle of hope, of moving from resolution to accomplishment.
We have read a lot in books that the 21st century will belong to India.
With the hard work of the last 5 years, we have strengthened the foundation-stone of the nation. The magnificent structure of New India will be built on this foundation-stone.
Today I say with certainty that yes! The 21st century will belong to India.
With this belief, I end my speech.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for inviting me to the ‘India Today Conclave’ and to give me the opportunity to put my thoughts forward.