Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an interview to Sudhir Chaudhury of Zee News yesterday after the successful bilateral visit of Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Ahead of his important visit to Davos for the World Economic Forum meeting on January 22, the PM spoke about a variety of issues in an interview that lasted close to one hour.
On employment scenario under his government
When asked about the employment scenario in the country, the Prime Minister replied that the Mudra Yojana of his government had been very successful. He also cited the data on new Provident fund accounts. We had done a detailed report on the topic. The Prime Minister said :
In one year, more than 70 lakh provident fund accounts have been added. Over 10 crore people have benefited from Mudra Yojana launched by the Centre has been extremely successful. Government initiatives have empowered small-scale entrepreneurs and informal sectors.
A representative of 1.25 billion Indians
When asked about his confident body language in international fora, the PM said that he always considers himself as a representative of 1.25 billion Indians and draws strength from the people.
Every time I stand beside world leaders such as Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump, all I remember is that I am the representative of 1.25 crore citizens. They have given me the mandate to be here.
On reforms like GST
PM Modi spoke on the path breaking reforms of his government without hesitation. He admitted that these measures had caused temporary hardship to the people.
During UPA time, Gujarat and other states raised issues tax and finance. But none of our concerns were heeded. Hence, we (NDA) were forced to take economic and monetary reforms. GST is the product of that. We worked hard towards building the concept of one nation-one tax.
Financial inclusion under NDA government
The prime minster highlighted that Jan Dhan Yojana had succeeded in bringing a majority of people under the banking system. It is a truly commendable achievement of the government that has benefited close to 30.93 crore individuals. Bringing poor under the banking system will have far reaching consequences.
After nationalisation of banks, about 30-40 per cent of the population was out of banking system. We brought them into the system. Isn’t that an achievement?
Toilets for girls in schools
Paying attention to detail is one of the hallmarks of the PM. During his tenure as CM of Gujarat he had realised that lack of toilets was a key reason for girls dropping out of school. He ensured that this problem was solved throughout the country. While speaking on achievements of his government he said :
Thousands of girls skipped schools because there were no toilets. We built those toilets for them. Isn’t that an achievement?
Showcasing India at Davos
While speaking on his upcoming visit to Davos, Narendra Modi said that India has the advantage of being a democracy and having a high growth rate. He said that it was necessary to showcase this unique combination to the world at Davos.
Davos is a major platform in the financial world. Top business leaders gather there to deliberate upon the economic future of the world. India is the centre of attraction for the entire world. There are two reasons for that. First, our GDP is growing at a fast pace – and this has been accepted by leading agencies like the World Bank, Moody’s etc. Second, due to our strong democratic values. It’s a unique combination of both in India. And that’s what has evoked everyone’s interest. So it’s an opportunity for India to showcase itself on a global platform like WEF in Davos
One nation One Election
PM Modi has been pitching for simultaneous elections in the country to avoid unnecessary waste of time, resources and energy on conducting elections to various state legislatures and parliament at different times. He remarked that India should revert to simultaneous election to save money and manpower.
Logically speaking, holding different elections in different dates creates a burden on the exchequer. Politicians are always under stress. So I think both Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections should be organised simultaneously. It will save money and manpower.
Secret of his high energy level
When asked about the secret of his high energy levels at his age, the PM said that he has acquired these traits from his childhood. Though he admits that working so much may not be a good thing, he confessed that he can’t live without work :
I feel this is my responsibility. I will use the time given to me by god to the maximum extent for my countrymen. I have been taught that every atom of my body and every second of life has to be spent in service of the country. This is the result of my upbringing. I know that my working style is not so good. My doctors and friends have expressed their concerns with me. But I can’t live without work
Draws inspiration from change in lives of poor
While talking about the source of his motivation to work, the PM said that change in lives of poor brings joy. He said that the joy motivates him to do more work.
When I see a difference in lives of poor , I feel good for him. I feel like doing more. I get more energy. I ask for blessings of countrymen to do more work.
Does the Prime Minister get any Philosophical thoughts?
When asked whether he gets philosophical thoughts about his journey to the top elected post of India while looking out of the window, he admitted that he doesn’t think too much about it.
I am a detached person. I don’t give too much of importance to things that I see around me. From the heart I am a very common person.
PM Modi has been accused of one way communication with the people and not holding a singe press conference under his tenure. He has chosen his own way of staying in touch with people by resorting to Mann Ki Baat and social media. This interview comes at a time when he is entering the final year of his 5 year mandate received in 2014.