ماتربھومی کو دیا گیا وزیر اعظم کا انٹرویو

Published By : Admin | April 21, 2024 | 08:13 IST

You are already preparing a road map for India. What are the lessons you have picked from the last 10 years of governance to shape Amrit Kaal 2047? What will be the first five initiatives, especially focussed on Young India?

I would like to correct you here.

My experience as head of government spans 23 years. I have had the unique honor of serving for 13 years as the CM and 10 years as the PM. These 23 years have been a learning experience, and people have taught me a lot. One key learning that I have utilized in Gujarat as well as India is trusting people and making them partners. In Gujarat, I worked on increasing female literacy and decreasing school dropouts by making this a mass movement.

At the national level, be it the Swachh Bharat Movement, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, or Digital Transactions, change was achieved through people-led mass movements. For a long time under the Congress, youth was stymied and not allowed to achieve its full potential. Corruption and nepotism hurt the youth badly. It is my conviction that Viksit Bharat can only be achieved by the power of our youth. We have several initiatives focused on them. In our Sankalp Patra, we’ve outlined how we’re going to strengthen Young India.

In education, we have a qualitative as well as a quantitative change. The NEP revolutionizes education and helps our youth excel in their strengths. In the last 10 years, we’ve built many higher education institutes and will continue to do so in our third term as well. From 2014 to 2024, the pace of growth was remarkable, with more than two colleges opening every day, and one university opening every week. In the last 10 years, we have built 7 new IITs, 7 new IIMs, and 15 new AIIMS.

Record investment is happening in India in manufacturing and infrastructure. This is creating numerous opportunities for the youth. Start-ups will flourish through multiple new avenues as well as access to credit.

We will focus on increasing our tourism, by augmenting the infrastructure at our cultural and other natural landmarks. This will create new opportunities for the youth. The loan amount under PM MUDRA Yojna will be doubled to ₹20 Lakh to encourage small and medium businesses by the youth.

The 21st century is not just India's century, it is also the century of India's youth. To fulfill the aspirations of our youth, we need to make big, positive changes. We are laser-focused on our goal for Viksit Bharat and are working 24x7 for 2047.

You have emphasized technology, A-I, tourism, and health among the top priority areas. How do you plan to connect these dreams with the youth energy of our country?

Today, if India has an advantage in the world, it is because of its Yuva Shakti. Everywhere you look, youngsters are eager to make a difference.

Our smart, young minds are exploring and expanding AI’s possibilities every day. To encourage this, our government’s policies and programs are guided by the motto of ‘AI for All’. We encourage our youth to take giant leaps to ‘solve for India’ using technology and AI. To give you an example, we ask ministries to list down problem areas where they need solutions. Then we compile all such problems and present them to our youth in the form of hackathons. I make sure to participate in these hackathons. Our youth deliver and come up with solutions to all the problems presented to them.

When it comes to health, in the last 10 years, the number of medical colleges in India has increased from 387 before 2014 to 706 as of now. MBBS seats have increased from 51,348 before 2014 to 1,08,940 at present. PG seats have increased from 31,185 before 2014 to 70,645 currently. This means more and more of our Yuva Shakti are becoming doctors and healthcare professionals, which will increase the affordability and accessibility of healthcare.

In the last 10 years, tourism in India has increased significantly. Tourism greatly impacts the local economy as many people across the value chain earn through it. We have focused on ensuring that our tourism sites have good infrastructure.

Kerala has all forms of attractions to draw tourists, from mountains to backwaters, and from heritage to wellness. We aim to make Kerala one of the biggest hubs of tourism. Our Sankalp Patra places special emphasis on further developing our cultural and religious destinations. We will strengthen the Swadesh Darshan program and develop various thematic tourism circuits, including riverine tourism. These initiatives will lead to huge gains for Kerala and augur well for the common man.

You have given the Niti Aayog and other agencies a new template of development which originates from your vision. What are the thoughts that prompt your initiatives?

As someone who has also served as a Chief Minister, I understand how important it is to involve states in the nation-building process. That is exactly what NITI Aayog does: it consults with and works directly with states.

The problem with the Planning Commission was that it employed a 'one-size-fits-all' approach for all states. It did not create plans that were tailored to the specific wants and needs of each state and functioned in a top-down fashion. Funds would often be allocated for one purpose, but the needs of the states would be completely different. There was no flexibility given to states to decide their own set of priorities. Unsurprisingly, many of its plans failed to show tangible results.

The NITI Aayog follows a pro-people, proactive, and participative development agenda. Take the example of the Aspirational Districts Program. The Central Government is working together not only with the State Governments but also with local administrations to bring about change in the lives of people.

Similarly, NITI Aayog is at the center of preparing the roadmap for 2047. Through NITI Aayog, we have reached out to people across the country and received feedback from around 15 lakh people.

Like never before, you are personally leading the fight in Kerala, where the RSS has a tremendous presence. But BJP has not been able to make much political mileage out of this. How do you see this? And how will the scenario change this time?Congress has high hopes from the South especially Kerala. What do you feel?

Karyakartas of the BJP and aligned organizations have been working on the ground for a long time. Be it a social cause or a natural calamity, they are always visible serving the people. In the 2021 Assembly Elections, our vote share rose significantly. This is because the youth of Kerala, the women of Kerala, the poor people of Kerala, and the farmers of Kerala are now starting to see the BJP as a ray of hope. They view the BJP and the NDA as entities that can fulfill their aspirations.

The UDF and LDF have only taken Kerala backward; they have never moved Kerala forward. So yes, the situation is changing, and the scenario is set to change even further. The 2021 results revealed what lies ahead. The BJP is expected to grow even more in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and we are confident that in time, the BJP will have MPs from Kerala and will also eventually form the state government.

Talking about the Congress, in 2019, sensing a defeat in UP, the Yuvraj ran away to contest the elections in Kerala. Over the last 5 years, even the people of Kerala have realized that they have no vision, no governance agenda, and have put in no efforts for the people. But this time, they know that the people of Kerala are also going to reject them. The results of Wayanad will be announced even before the results of the entire country. As soon as the polling in Kerala is over, the Yuvraj will file a nomination from another seat, so confident are they of their defeat.

Youngsters in Kerala are migrating outside the state for education and professional reasons. Across South India, something seems to be lacking for the youth. What is your vision for South India, focusing on skill and technical exposure?

It is unfortunate that the youth of Kerala have been forced to move out of their home state in search of better opportunities. The LDF and UDF governments have repeatedly and willfully ignored the need to develop industries and jobs that create employment in the state.

On the other hand, our Central Government is working towards making the youth future-ready, equipping them with next-generation skills, and creating opportunities for them within the state itself. We have established more than 370 Atal Tinkering Labs in the state to catalyze innovation among the young. Under the MUDRA Yojana, we have enabled the disbursal of collateral-free loans worth 1 lakh crore to the youth of Kerala.

Did you know that in the last 10 years, India has launched over 400 satellites from various countries and earned more than Rs 4000 crores from it? Kerala, home to many ISRO research and launch sites, along with Start-Up India, will ensure a network of indigenous startups and industries focused on space science and defense emerges in Kerala. It is in this context that I inaugurated the country's first Digital Science Park in Thiruvananthapuram to transform Kerala into a knowledge-based economy.

We have also invested lakhs of crores to improve infrastructure in the state, including the upgrading of Kochi harbor, widening of NH-66 to improve connectivity, doubling of railway tracks, and expanding the Kochi Metro. All these initiatives are giving a significant boost to employment opportunities in the state.

The other day, you took on CPM and its leaders by flagging the Karuvannur bank scam and alleged corruption involving the CM's daughter. But CPM is alleging that the Central Government is trying to kill co-operative banks in Kerala through these measures. Your views, please.

First and foremost, I do not believe in the use of the word "killing." If there is any party that indulges in rampant political violence and the killing of opponents, it is the CPM. Therefore, I will not dignify any usage of that term.

Moving on to your question—the fact of the matter is that the LDF in Kerala has transformed into everything we associate with the Congress Party—dynasty politics, corruption, and so on. Regarding the cooperative scam, I have spoken about this on many occasions and I have assured you that those guilty of the scam will not be spared. It is disheartening to see that thousands of poor people have been stripped of their hard-earned money, leaving them in a miserable situation.

The cooperative sector is a very important one, directly linked to empowering people in villages, and empowering women. It is a pity that the CPM has used the cooperative sector to enrich a few leaders.

How do you see the rivalry of the Left & Congress in Kerala? How do you respond to Rahul Gandhi’s statement that Pinarayi Vijayan must be sent to jail?

The Congress and the Left are two sides of the same coin. In Kerala, they engage in a friendly fight, while in Delhi, they are partners. In Kerala, the Congress' Yuvraj wants to put Pinarayi Vijayan in jail, yet in Delhi, they unite to protest action against corruption.

The Congress' approach to corruption is selective. They have no issue with corruption itself; they only use it as a tool to attack those they dislike. I have been constantly and aggressively exposing Pinarayi Vijayan, yet the Congress and its Yuvraj have remained silent throughout.

I spoke about the deal between the Chief Minister and his daughter with CMRL; the Yuvraj was silent. In the gold smuggling case, I raised the issue of links between the Chief Minister's office and the smuggling racket; the Yuvraj was silent. I exposed the looting by CPM-run cooperative banks and promised to return the money to the common people, even considering the attachment of properties of those involved; once again, the Yuvraj was silent.

You and your party are aiming for more than 400 seats. Most of the 303 seats won in 2019 were from North India. But South India seems to be a difficult terrain for the BJP. Do you think this time you can break the pattern of electoral behavior of the region? Congress has high hopes from the South. What do you feel?

Your question is not factually correct. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP was the single largest party in Southern India. Until recently, we had a government in Karnataka. We are a part of the government in Puducherry. We have always been an important force in Telangana. Therefore, I do not agree with the binary view that the BJP lacks a presence in the South. This narrative suits the perspective of a few political analysts, but the facts tell a different story.

You may also know that three of our party presidents have come from South India. In 1984, when we were reduced to only two seats, one of them was from Southern India. Thus, the BJP has a very close link with the South.

Looking at the present, I have been traveling across Southern India, and the response wherever I have gone has been phenomenal. I am confident that South India will bless the BJP in record numbers this time.

Opposition’s narrative on the strong divide between South India and North India is quite intense. They say the South is largely ignored by Modi Govt., especially on financial issues. Kerala Govt has approached the Supreme Court for permission to take loans. How do you plan to reach out to the South Indians?

This narrative of dividing India into north and south propagated by the opposition is utterly shameful, and I categorically reject it. Indians from across South India have also firmly rejected this charge. Both the UDF and LDF aim to divide India along the lines of caste, creed, state, and religion to confuse the voters and cling to power. Despite this, Kerala, with its abundant resources and excellent human capital, is an equal partner in India’s development. We are committed to powering Kerala on its path to development. Unfortunately, both UDF and LDF have perpetuated a culture of misgovernance in the state and have failed to take meaningful steps toward improving and diversifying Kerala’s economy.

This mismanagement has resulted in debt reaching alarming levels, forcing the Kerala government to borrow money even to pay its employees! Instead of utilizing funds for constructing infrastructure, which would create more jobs, the government is focused on spending money on hiring more personal staff for its ministers and paying them lifetime pensions. Meanwhile, they make PSC rank holders wait for years for offer letters because they do not have the capacity to pay these meritorious youth.

However, this has not stopped my government from supporting the Kerala government in every way possible. Under my administration, tax devolution to Kerala has substantially increased from just Rs 46,000 crore under the UPA to more than Rs 1.55 lakh crore under the BJP. This shows our commitment to Kerala.

During the pandemic, we provided an additional borrowing of Rs 18,000 crores, and recently, we provided an additional Rs 13,000 crores to help manage the immediate crisis. Even the Supreme Court has highlighted their misgovernance and financial mismanagement. It is high time those in power realize that instead of creating divisions and distractions, they should focus on governance.

I maintain direct and daily contact with the people and our Karyakartas in the South, and I am grateful that they consider me part of their family too. The response I received during public meetings and road shows, with thousands coming out to support the BJP, is ample proof that the manufactured North-South divide is completely artificial and has no basis on the ground.

Anyone who believes there is a North-South divide is not fully acquainted with the reality of India as a nation, and more importantly, as a civilization that is thousands of years old. The North-South divide theory originates from the political desperation of the opposition, not from reality. Yes, we are diverse and even different in some cultural aspects, but that does not mean we are divergent. We are diverse, not divergent

Bishops and senior pontiffs have met you many times. But the church leaders continue to raise their apprehensions from time to time. How can BJP win their total confidence?

The BJP has established a very close relationship with the Christian community. We have been in government in Goa since 2012, and are also part of the ruling coalitions in Meghalaya and Nagaland, where there is a significant Christian population. As such, the Christian community is well aware of the good work that BJP governments, both at the Centre and in the states, are doing.

I have been interacting with leaders from the Christian community even before I became Prime Minister, and these exchanges have always been very fruitful. Regarding any apprehensions, it's important to recognize that everyone has the right to express concerns when they feel a situation needs attention. We, as the government, are committed to addressing any apprehensions or grievances.

The reality is that the Christian community is fed up with both the LDF and the UDF. These alliances have failed the Christian community because their politics of vote banking do not support the empowerment of the community. Christians have realized this, and as a result, they are now voting for the BJP in large numbers.

You have strengthened our relations with the Gulf. As a result, we even have a Hindu Temple in UAE. Across the Muslim world, you are hailed as a global leader. What message does this give the Indian Muslims?

For decades, our foreign policy was managed without prioritizing our diaspora. One significant change we implemented after coming to power was to recognize that looking after our diaspora’s goodwill is an integral part of foreign policy.

Consider the example of the Gulf countries, where lakhs of our citizens reside. For decades, our governments did not engage with these countries as they should have, seeing them only from the perspective of our neighbor. They viewed the Gulf solely as a venue to export manpower and import fuel products, without investing in deeper relations.

You might be surprised to know that I was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in three decades! Before my visit, there had only been two such prime ministerial visits to Saudi Arabia.

Today, our people residing in the Gulf countries feel there is someone back home they can count on. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I regularly spoke with governments in the Gulf, and they assured me that they would take care of Indians as their own. I also requested the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to increase the Haj quota for Indians.

The strong relationships we have cultivated over time proved crucial in times of crisis. In 2015, when thousands of Indians were stuck in Yemen amidst the bombing, I personally spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia. Bombing was halted daily for a few hours to allow safe passage for our people. During the 2023 Sudan crisis, we worked closely with Saudi Arabia to ensure safe passage for our citizens caught in a war-like situation.

Recently, we brought back 8 Navy veterans from Qatar who were facing death sentences. The entire nation rejoiced.

When our citizens see the results of our improved relations, they naturally feel proud and more secure. This demonstrates that the Modi Government cares for its people, whether Hindu, Muslim, or Christian.

Kashmir is today near normal. But there have been sporadic attacks. Pakistan-based groups still trouble us. Can we feel confident that all such menaces will end in the Modi 3.0 era?

It's undeniable that Kashmir has made significant strides towards normalcy recently. Since the abrogation of Article 370, we've seen a remarkable decline in terror incidents and casualties, demonstrating our government's steadfast commitment to eradicating terrorism.

Historical traditions are being revived; Muharram processions in Srinagar proceeded through the traditional route for the first time in 34 years, and Diwali was celebrated at the Sharda Temple for the first time since the partition in 1947.

From 2004 to 2014, over 7,000 terror incidents claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 security personnel and civilians. In contrast, under the BJP’s leadership in the past decade, there has been a 70% reduction in terror incidents. In 2010, during UPA rule, the region witnessed over 2,600 incidents of organized stone pelting. Fast forward to 2023, four years after the abrogation of Article 370, and not a single such incident has occurred.

Tourism in Kashmir is experiencing a remarkable surge, with visitor numbers reaching record levels since our independence in 1947. This influx not only bolsters the local economy but also promotes cross-cultural exchange and appreciation, fostering greater understanding and harmony.

The youth of Kashmir are being empowered like never before, with abundant opportunities in sports, entrepreneurship, and academia. Young Kashmiris are harnessing their talents and capabilities to forge a brighter future. The recent success of several candidates from Jammu and Kashmir in the Civil Services examination is a testament to the region's rising potential and the government's commitment to nurturing talent.

In our next term, we will continue to build on these developments with even more vigor so that the fruits of growing opportunities in the rest of India also reach our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Somewhere during this campaign, there is an increasing portrayal of elections 2024 as a fight to protect Sanatana Dharma from its vehement critics. Will this redefine democratic exercise totally?

As India experiences a resurgence of its cultural and civilizational heritage, the Congress party and its allies seem to be grappling with a sense of unease. In recent months, we have witnessed INDI Alliance partners liken Sanatan Dharma to diseases like dengue and malaria. This depth of discomfort reveals their animosity, resentment, and shallow understanding of Sanatan values. It is ironic that a party that once prided itself on embodying Mahatma Gandhi's ideals now aligns with those who call for the eradication of Sanatan Dharma.

Today, Congress finds itself at odds with the very essence of India's millennia-old identity. They deny the existence of Bhagwan Ram, reject invitations to the Pran Prathishtha of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, mock Dwarkadhish, and vow to oppose Shakti.

As a proud son of Bharat, I rejoice in our timeless traditions. It was our party that ensured the historic Sengol is placed in our temple of democracy. Our government has helped the ancient science of Yoga gain global appreciation and ensured that Shri Anna—or millets, once a staple in every home in Kerala—receives global recognition. These achievements are witnessed, experienced, and appreciated by the people of our country.

For us, these aspects are not related to elections; they are part of who we are. The initiatives I mentioned were implemented well before election period.

The people of our country are no longer willing to tolerate disrespect toward their ancient culture and vibrant traditions; instead, they take pride in them. The people are also questioning these leaders on matters of governance, delivery, and policies. In their frantic attempts to divert public attention from their continuous failures, these leaders resort to making hateful statements.

You have not taken a day off in the last 10 years and more. Please take us through a day-in-the-life of Modiji? Your favourite food, especially South Indian cuisine?

In the last 10 years, the work we have done is just the trailer of what is to come. I genuinely feel that there's so much more to do, and I don't want to spend even a single moment of my life not devoted to serving the nation. I consider myself to be working for my family of 1.4 billion Indians. This emotional connection with them continues to drive me every day.

I spent many years in spiritual pursuit during my younger years. Since then, I've maintained the habit of waking up during Brahma Muhurat. I start my day early, dedicating time to yoga and exercise. Afterward, I catch up on the day’s news and happenings. I also take time to call friends, karyakartas, and acquaintances, and return phone calls. My official engagements begin at 9 AM and often extend late into the night. My day is filled with meetings, presentations, and events. I normally like simple food and don’t have strong likes or dislikes when it comes to food.

Following is the clipping of the interview published in Mathrubhumi

Source: Mathrubhumi

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PM Modi's interview to News X
May 21, 2024

In an interview to News X, Prime Minister Modi addressed the issue of toxic language in elections, explained why the Opposition frequently discussed him, and shared his views on job creation. He criticized the Congress' tax plans and appeasement politics.

Rishabh Gulati: A very warm welcome to the viewers of NewsX and India News. I’m Rishabh Gulati and with me is Aishwarya Sharma of The Sunday Guardian and Rana Yashwant. In today’s special episode, we proudly welcome a renowned ‘rashtra sevak’, and the Prime Minister of India in this Amrit Kaal, Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi. Mr Prime Minister, you took the time to speak to us, we are very grateful.

Prime Minister: Namaskar, my warm greetings to all your viewers.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, the first question that comes to mind is about the Opposition, and it seems that the biggest item on their poll agenda is Narendra Modi. Why, in your opinion, do they talk so much about Narendra Modi?

Prime Minister: To understand why they discuss Narendra Modi, we must first understand the Opposition. To understand them, one can examine the administration between 2004 and 2014.

The Opposition has not been able to play a strong role. Even as the Opposition, the way they are falling apart, they did not play a constructive role of any kind. Despite deep discussions, they haven’t been able to bring serious issues to the public attention. They thought that by their antics, taking up space in the media, they would be able to keep their boat afloat. Even in this election, I have seen that they make fresh attempts every day to acquire media space, be it by making videos, nonsensical statements, or behaving in a way that people don’t normally behave. So they do this to acquire space in the media. Now abusing Modi is one such antic, where, if nothing else, they are guaranteed publicity. Even a small-time politician, if he bad-mouths me, will get about an hour of media attention. Perhaps they see Modi as a ladder to climb up in their political career.

 

Aishwarya Sharma: Mr Prime Minister, the I.N.D.I. alliance is talking about wealth redistribution. Do you think this is possible, and will the voters of the country be influenced by such a scheme?

Prime Minister: You can’t examine this in isolation. You must look at their overall thought process. When their (Congress) manifesto was released, I had said the manifesto had the imprint of the Muslim League. There was a statement made by Dr Manmohan Singh… I had attended the meeting in which he said that ‘Muslims have the first right to India’s resources.’ Now when I raised this in public, their media ecosystem raised a storm saying that ‘Modi is lying,’. So two days later, I brought Manmohan Singh’s press conference forward and put it in front of them. Then they stopped talking. So this was one example. Now in their Manifesto, they have said that they will give reservation (to Muslims) even when allotting government contracts.

So today, when a bridge is to be built somewhere, what is the criteria for awarding the contract? The company bidding is evaluated based on how resourceful they are, their experience, their capability, their ability to deliver on time, all these things. Now they say that they want to give reservations to the minorities, to the Muslims, in this process as well. It all adds up. Now when they say that they will impose inheritance tax, it means that taxes that go to the government, who will stand to benefit from it? It’s the same people that Manmohan Singh ji talked about. If you join the dots, this is the logic that comes from it. How will the country accept this? Secondly, has any developing country in the world indulged in such madness? Today, India needs to work hard to rise above its problems. We have made this attempt and pulled 25 crore people out of poverty. Where there used to be a few hundred start-ups, there are now over 1.25 lakh start-ups, and there are Unicorns. You must go among the people and work with energy, and that will bring the right result.

 

Rana Yashwant: Mr Prime Minister, the Ram Mandir has been built in Ayodhya, the consecration of Ram Lalla took place and there was joy among the people. In all this, there is Iqbal Ansari, who has fought the legal battle, and is an important person. He comes, holding a placard that says ‘Modi ka Parivaar’. Today, the minority community identifies with your policies and welfare schemes. Your opinion?

Prime Minister: Since you’ve brought up Ram Mandir and Iqbal Ansari, I will narrate an incident. Ram Mandir should have been built right after Independence. In all these years, it wasn’t built because they (Congress) felt it would affect their vote bank. Attempts were made in the Courts till the very end to stop it. It is a fact that Congress hindered the building of the Ram Mandir. Despite this, when the Supreme Court judgment came through, the Court constituted a trust, and the trust members, let go of all past differences and went to invite the Congress Party members to the consecration ceremony. They rejected the invitation. The same people went to invite Iqbal Ansari. The ironic thing is, that Iqbal Ansari, who fought the Babri Masjid case his entire life, respected the Supreme Court’s verdict and attended the ‘Shilanyas’ and the ‘Pran Prathistha’ ceremony as well. This is what I think, as far as Iqbal Ansari is concerned.

Now if you want to talk about secularism, it is my very serious allegation, that for over 75 years, through a very well-crafted conspiracy, a false narrative has been fed to the nation. It has been embedded in the nation from before our birth. Sardar Patel was targeted by this narrative, and maybe, today it may be my turn, tomorrow someone else… Why do they cry out ‘secularism’ over and over again? It’s because they want to divert the world’s attention from their communal activities.

They cry ‘thief’ over and over when they have defrauded the people, and they do this because they think crying ‘thief’ will divert the public’s attention. This is their ploy. I have called them out in front of everyone, that they are the ones who are communal. India’s constitution does not allow you to indulge in such sectarian acts, and I have brought out several such examples, like I mentioned earlier that they called the Muslims the rightful inheritors of India’s wealth. I am exposing them. They (Congress) hide behind their politics of appeasement and instead accuse me of being communal. I am talking about those communal parties that wear the ‘nikab’ of secularism and indulge in hardcore communalism. I find three things common among these people. They are hardcore sectarians, they are extremely casteist, and they are hardcore dynasts. They are so full of these three things that they can’t come out of it.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, you have spoken about lifting 25 crore people out of poverty. 80 crore poor people are receiving ration – it is necessary now and will be so in the future as well. What do you have to say about how crucial it will be in the future?

Prime Minister: When Manmohan Singh ji was the Prime Minister, news was rife with reports of food grains getting spoilt. So, the Supreme Court asked the government as to why the grains were not being distributed among the poor. Manmohan Singh ji, who was the Prime Minister then, stated on record that they could not distribute the grains and that it was impossible to do it. That is the consequence of his thinking. I faced the same issue, especially during COVID-19. My first goal was to ensure that a stove should be lit in every poor household. So, I started working on it. I have stated this for the next five years as well because in the lives of those who come out of poverty…

For example, one returns home from the hospital. The treatment has been done but precaution is necessary. A doctor advises you to take rest for a particular duration after returning home, tells you what to eat and what to refrain from consuming, and what to take care of. Why? The illness has already been addressed, but if anything is jeopardized then the condition of the person would return to what it was. That is why poor people who escape poverty need handholding. They should not return to that state in any condition. Once they escape poverty, they should be empowered to stand strong. In my understanding, in the next five years, those who have escaped poverty should be able to firmly stand on their feet. Any unfortunate incident in their family, should not push them to poverty again. And only then will the country eradicate poverty.

 

Aishwarya Sharma: Mr Prime Minister, our country is the youngest country. Under your tenure, 10 lakh government jobs have been filled. Now, the Opposition has vowed to fill 30 lakh government jobs. In your third term, how do you plan to boost employment opportunities for the youth?

Prime Minister: You must have read the SKOCH report that was released. I hope your TV channel studies the SKOCH report in detail and conducts a TV debate on this. They have analysed some 20 to 22 schemes of the government. They have published statistics about how many person-year-hours have been obtained. They have revealed how many hours it takes to build 4 crore houses and how many people it employs. They have published data for about 22 different parameters.

They have stated that 50 crore people have accrued benefits. Secondly, we brought the Mudra Yojana. We give bank loans without any guarantee. We have disbursed loans worth Rs 23 Lakh Crore. 80% of those who have received these loans are first-timers. Some have started their businesses and have employed a few people in this process. Start-ups used to be in the thousands and now they are in lakhs. People have been employed in this process, right? Consider that a 1000-kilometre road is being built and think about how many jobs are created. So, if a 2000-kilometre road is being built more people will be employed, right? Today, road and rail construction has doubled, electrification has doubled, and mobile towers are reaching every corner of India. All this is being created by people who have received jobs. That is why a lie is being peddled.

 What’s important is that we must move towards creating jobs for ourselves. The youth in this country are in the mood to do something and be productive and we must help them. We must encourage them. Our Mudra Yojana does exactly that. We also run the SVANidhi scheme. There are countless street hawkers, who are poor people. But today, they are taking money from the bank to run their businesses. Due to this, they can save money and expand their business. Earlier, a street hawker would sit on the footpath and now his goal is to buy a lorry. One who would owned a lorry earlier now wishes to provide home delivery services. Their aspirations are rising. This is why I believe that while people receive the benefits of government schemes, which will eventually result in development, we must also focus on several other areas.

 

Rana Yashwant: Prime Minister, your government works on the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. Beneficiaries avail welfare schemes without any discrimination – caste, religion, or community. Yet, the Opposition maintains that Muslims do not accrue the same benefits from these welfare schemes.

Prime Minister: You are the first person from whom I’ve heard this. The unique aspect of my government, in terms of delivering welfare schemes, has not raised any questions regarding discrimination.

 

Rana Yashwant: The Opposition has to say this.

Prime Minister: Even the Opposition does not say this. You are the first person from whom I’ve heard this. I have never heard this from anybody because everyone knows… and Muslims themselves say that they receive all benefits.

The primary reason is that I have two principles. First, 100% saturation. For example, if poor people must be given houses, complete delivery must take place. If 100% delivery is the goal, then where does the scope of discrimination even arise? Whether it is providing gas connections, building toilets, ensuring tap water connections, I believe in 100% delivery. Yes, some people will receive the benefits in January, some in April and some in November, but the scheme will apply to all and 100%. I believe that true secularism is when 100% delivery is done. Social justice is when 100% is done. So, if my mission is 100% saturation… and nobody has made this charge yet. They don’t have the courage to say it. I have lived in Gujarat as well, and on this topic, nobody can prop up any charges against me.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, you have taken out time to sit with us and relay your ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Thank you so much. Best of luck for the polls ahead.

Prime Minister: I thank you all. I have been campaigning day and night…

 

Rana Yashwant: You are constantly on the move. We see you morning until night on the run…

Rishabh Gulati: Today, you had a big rally at 8 in the morning.

Prime Minister: I started my day at 6 am and went to Jagannath Puri temple to offer my prayers. Since then I have been traveling and have at last got time to meet you.

 

Rana Yashwant: Where ever you go, Jagannath or Kashi, there is a sea of people that comes to greet you. You have experienced it yourself.

Prime Minister: I realise that my responsibilities are now increasing. I also see that the public has taken ownership of elections. Political parties are not fighting the elections. The public has taken ownership of this election. And the results will be as desired by the public.

Thank you!