Your life began from a Railway Station, and you are coming to this programme from the Royal Palace. What you have to say about your life journey, asks Prasoon Joshi to PM.
I am thankful to you all to have invited me here and to give me the opportunity to speak here. My invite to Royal Palace is not my success story but result of hard work of 1.25 Bn Indians.
My life at the Railway Station taught me so much. It was about my personal struggles. When you said Royal Palace, it is not about me but about the 125 crore people of India. The person at the Railway Station was Narendra Modi. The person at the Royal Palace in London is the Sevak of 125 crore Indians.
People are equivalent to Gods in a democracy and if they wish even a tea-seller can become their representative and shake hands at the Royal Palace.
Prashant Dixit asks- yes work is happening, but there is still some degree of impatience. What do you have to say to this.
The spirit of learning new things is the motivation to move forward at all ages. I am happy that the motivation within the 125 crore Indians is coming out. ‘Besabri’ is not a bad thing. If a person has a cycle, a person aspires a scooter. If a person has a scooter, a person aspires a car. It is nature to aspire. India is getting increasingly aspirational. Yes, people have more expectations from us because they know that we can deliver. People know that when they say something, the Government will listen and do it. Days of incremental change are over.
I will not be of use to the country, the day I lose my impatience. I want the impatience within me to grow day by day. You will find a huge difference in the kind of governance India had before our government came to power. India has progressed a lot since then. Clear policies, willpower and the intent of ‘sarvjan hitay, sarvjan sukhai’ can deliver development within same constraints of the system.
Priyanka Verma from Delhi asks a question for the PM- we select a Government that works for us. You have tried to change systems, but my question is should all this not have been done earlier.
Since 1857 to 1947, people have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country, people have spent years in jail for Independence. Mahatma Gandhi gave a new direction to the struggle for Independence; he motivated people to do what they want to, and used it as an agitation. During the freedom struggle Mahatma Gandhi did something very different. He turned the freedom struggle into a mass movement. He told every person that whatever you are doing will contribute to India’s freedom.
Today the need of the hour is to make development a mass movement. Post Independence, people think that only the government will transform the country. People need to look at the country as their own. Today the need of the hour is to make development a mass movement. Participative democracy makes good governance possible.
Mayuresh Ojhani from the audience asks a question about the feeling the PM had while taking bold, couragious and historic decision of “Surgical Strike”.
Surgical strikes go back thousands of years in Indian history. India has never tried to capture anyone’s land ever. Even though India did not want to capture any country during World War I and World War II but 1.5 lakh Indian soldiers gave their lives. India is one of those countries that has contributed the most at UN’s peace keeping. There are countries that export terrorism and attacks from behind as they do not have the courage for war. We believe in peace. But we will not tolerate those who like to export terror. We will give back strong answers and in the language they understand. Terrorism will never be accepted.
I am proud of the Indian Army to have 100 per cent successfully implemented the surgical strike strategy and returned home before sunrise. We informed Pakistan about surgical strike before we announced it to Indian press and the world. Those who like exporting terror, I want to tell them that India has changed and their antics will not be tolerated.
No matter how big initiatives we take for the country, we need to assure that the last person in the queue is also receiving the benefits of those initiatives.
Incidents like rape should always be condemned; it is a subject of worry for the country. Parents should not only keep a watch on their daughters, but also teach moral principles to their sons.
I do not need to read books to understand poverty. I have lived in poverty, I know what it is to be poor and belong to the backward sections of society. I want to work for the poor, the marginalized and the downtrodden.
18,000 villages did not have electricity. So many women do not have access to toilets. These realities of our nation did not let me sleep. I was determined to bring about a positive change in the lives of India’s poor. When I came to power, I took an initiative to supply electricity to villages that are still in dark. Authorities told me that it will take almost 7 years, but I told them I cannot wait that long.
There were no toilets in villages and districts, women in such families used to wait for hours to badly affecting their health. I undertook the task to construct toilets for a better life.
Prasoon Joshi asks the Prime Minister- You are working hard but can you change the nation alone?
I am like any common citizen. And, I also have drawbacks like normal people do. I do not belong to a family of politicians and bureaucrats, I am a common man like all other Indians, my hard work is the only pledge that has led me here today. I did not have experience in governance. I told people that I may commit mistakes, but I also assured them that I will never do wrong by my will. I alone cannot transform the nation alone. If India has a million problems, then we have a billion solutions. Demonetization came as challenge for all of us, but I am proud of the people of my country that they contributed to this move to curb black money from the society.
Samuel from the audience asks a question – what are your expectations from ‘Modicare’?
Education for the students, employment for the youth and medicine for the aged is what we should lay emphasis on, for the welfare of a society. ‘Ayushman Bharat’ is one initiative that has been taken by us, to provide the best health facilities to the families of India. Maternity leaves for women have been increased to 26 weeks and this has been done keeping in mind the need for the good health of the child and of the mother.
Santosh Patil from Karnataka asks a question to PM on how Bhagwan Basaveshwara has influenced him.
Unfortunately, there have been efforts to do away with the Indian culture and history post Independence. One of the things I wanted to do in London was to pay homage to Bhagwan Basaveshwara. People of the nation need to realise their potential and do what is best for them.
It’s our country’s misfortune that after independence, attempts were made to erase the culture and history of India. People were kept from anything but one single family. What Lord Basweshwar did for women empowerment, democracy and social causes is an example for the world.
Since many years, the government of India has made people dependent. This has not helped the society. If you will see where we stand in comparison to previous government, I can affirm that we left no stone unturned in doing good for the country on any parameter. Before 2014, newspapers used to have headlines ‘aaj itna gaya’, today’s news is ‘Modi Ji kitna aaya’?.
Answering other questions from the audience Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said the 125 crore people of India are my family. I could not go to the Commonwealth Summit in Malta. This time, Prince Charles came himself to invite me & said you have to attend the summit. Even Queen Elizabeth wrote a letter to me sayingw that you have to come.
What prevented Indian Prime Ministers from going to Israel. Yes, I will go to Israel and I will even go to Palestine. I will further cooperation with Saudi Arabia and for the energy needs of India I will also engage with Iran.
The world’s attitude towards India and its citizens has changed in past few years. Democracy cannot succeed without constructive criticism, the PM said.
I want this Government to be criticised. Criticism makes democracy strong. My problem is not against criticism. To criticise, one has to research and find proper facts. Sadly, it does not happen now. What happens instead is allegations.
I was not born with an aim to be in history books. I request you all- remember our country and not Modi. I am just like you all, a common citizen of India.