The PM clearly said that Congress never believed in alliances but is being forced to chase allies now in a bid to ensure its survival. He added that there is no grand alliance as it has no ideological glue that binds it. Its leaders are jostling each other for Prime Minister’s office and their only agenda is against Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is training his guns on the Congress. PM Modi said that the Congress has been reduced to a regional party confined to power in merely Punjab, Puducherry and Mizoram. He added that the party’s strength in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is also well known and Opposition has no other common agenda than to remove him.
In part II of his Swarajya magazine interview, PM said there’s nothing like a grand alliance. “Opposition leaders are merely jostling each-other to becoming Prime Minister. Rahul Gandhi wants to become PM but TMC won’t agree. Mamata wants to become PM but Left has a problem. SP thinks their leader more than anyone else deserves to be PM. Opposition’s focus is power politics not people’s progress. Hatred for Modi is the sole gluing force for the Opposition,” he said.
PM said that even after the resounding mandate in 2014, people have time and again backed the BJP and its allies. He added that he has complete confidence that the people will give him another opportunity.
The PM further said that the grand alliance of the present cannot be compared to the ones in 1977 & 1989. “1977 saw the Opposition coming together against the Congress to safeguard democracy after the Emergency. In 1989 record-breaking corruption of Bofors had hurt the entire nation. Today’s alliances are not motivated by national good but are about personal survival & power politics.”
The PM also recalled the Congress’s track record on alliances saying its history is replete with betrayal of allies. He cited the cases of leaders like Chuadhary Charan Singh, H D Deve Gowda and Chandra Shekhar to make his point. He said even V P Singh was betrayed while he was Minister in Rajiv Gandhi’s govt.
The PM further said that the Congress can sacrifice anything for its own selfish ends. In contrast, the PM said that today’s NDA is a big alliance of over 20 political parties with no disputes or differences. He added that it is an old myth perpetuated by a select group of people that BJP has a narrow social base saying the BJP derives its support from all social groups.
Apart from politics, the PM also spoke on other issues such as internal security electoral reforms and foreign policy in the second part of his interview. He said that be it naxalism or insurgency in the North East, the internal security situation in the country is vastly improved compared to what it was before 2014.
India is a force to reckon with in the world because of his foreign policy push and he also weighed in favour of one nation, one election. In his interview to Swarajya Magazine, Prime Minister touched upon a numbers of subjects beyond politics.
Chapter plate- One Nation, One Election
Elections should happen simultaneously in the country. He said there is also precedence for this as post-1947, the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls across states were held together. One election would mean one electoral roll. It will also bring down scope of errors and omissions significantly. Holding Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls together will involve lesser waste of resources and enable a healthy culture of working together in the spirit of cooperative federalism.
Eradicating maoist violence
PM Modi said Maoist violence has declined by 20 per cent in the affected states. In 2015, the government formulated a comprehensive ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ to eradicate Maoist violence. Along with zero tolerance towards violence, we have also focused on a massive push to infrastructure and social empowerment.
About 4,500 kilometres of roads have already been built in 34 Maoist-affected districts. About 2,400 mobile towers have been installed and an additional 4,072 towers have been approved to enhance connectivity. Eight new Kendriya Vidyalayas and five new Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas are imparting quality education to children. Fifteen ITIs and 43 Skill Development Centres have been set up. 430 new bank branches and 1,045 ATMs have been opened in 35 districts most affected by Maoist violence.
First phase of Ayushman Bharat was rolled out from Bastar. 44 out of 126 districts have been removed from the list of LWE-affected areas. About 3,380 Maoists surrendered from 2014 to 2017.
Development of the North East
The security situation in the North East has improved tremendously. 2017 saw the lowest insurgency-related incidents and casualties among civilians and security forces in the last 20 years. Tripura and Mizoram are virtually free from insurgency.
In Meghalaya, AFSPA has been removed from all areas and in Arunachal Pradesh it is remaining only in eight police stations. The surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy has been revised so that more youngsters who turned to militancy come back to the mainstream.
Connectivity gives a big boost to the development of a region. Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya are now on the railway map of India. The first commercial flight in three decades reached Arunachal Pradesh. The road network is being expanded and waterways are being harnessed. The Centre is also devoting resources to harness the potential of the North East in organic farming.
PM Narendra Modi said today centre and states are working together like team India and the pace of work has also increased manifold. The govt is not only bringing in strict laws for empowerment of the weaker sections, it has also increased the budgetary allocation manifold. The govt is also working towards improving the lives of divyangs.
Success of foreign policy
Today India is seen as a bright spot in the world. In 2017, for the first time ever, India registered over 10 million foreign tourist arrivals. The cumulative FDI equity inflows into India stood at about $ 222 billion in May 2014.
By the end of 2017, this had grown to about $ 368 billion. From ‘Make in India’ to ‘Smart Cities’, from ‘Clean Ganga’ to ‘Clean India’, and from ‘Digital India’ to ‘Start-up India’, we have forged unprecedented partnerships across the world.
India is a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement. Today the world is paying attention to India’s views. India has brought the world together through yoga. India’s proposal to create an International Solar Alliance has become a reality. India’s push for combating black money and terrorism has found tremendous support.
PM Modi also brushed aside threat to his security by saying that he just can’t remain seated in his car, aloof from the display of affection and care adding that being among people gives him lot of strength.
On the economy front, PM Modi said the country has come a long way since the days of the fragile five four years ago. In 2014, industry was leaving India and public sentiment one of pessimism. But government has worked hard to make india the fastest growing large economy. PM said, “We tolerated a number of political allegations, we accepted political damage but ensured no damage to our country. The positive results of our approach are for everyone to see. Today, India is the fastest growing large economy of the world with strong fundamentals to propel further growth. Foreign investment is at an all-time high, GST has revolutionised the tax regime, India is an easier place to do business than ever before and, most importantly, we are seeing unprecedented levels of trust and optimism.”
Prime Minister also pointed out that it was the firm actions taken by his government that ended the system of evergreening loans, that had resulted them being shown as NPAs in the books.
On employment, PM Modi answered his critics with a simple question if the States are releasing data showing numerous jobs being created, then how can you say the growth is jobless? PM said the issue is a lack of proper data on jobs.
PM said, “If we look at numbers for employment, more than 41 lakh formal jobs were created from September 2017 to April 2018 based on EPFO payroll data. According to a study based on EPFO data, more than 70 lakh jobs were created in the formal sector last year. India had around 66 lakh registered enterprises from Independence till July last year. In just one year, 48 lakh new enterprises got registered. Will this not result in more formalisation and better jobs? More than 12 crore loans have been given under Mudra. Is it unfair to expect that one loan would have created or supported means of livelihood for at least one person? More than one crore houses have been constructed in the last one year, how much employment would this have generated?”
PM also emphasized his government’s priorities in the agriculture sector.
Prime Minister said, “We have a stated aim of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. To make our farmers prosperous, we need to augment their sources of income and decrease the risks they face. We are following a four-pronged strategy to achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income: decrease input costs, ensure proper prices for produce, ensure minimal harvest and post-harvest losses, and create more avenues for income generation. If you focus closely on our policy interventions, they are aimed at helping farmers at every step – beej se bazaar tak. The previous government allocated Rs 1.21 lakh crore to agriculture while we have allocated Rs 2.12 lakh crore in the five-year period. But unlike them, our initiatives do not stay limited to the files, but enter the field.”
The Prime Minister pointed out that GST’s success can be gauged by the fact that 48 lakh new registrations were made in one year of GST. PM said, “It would have been very simple to have just one slab but it would have meant we could not have food items at zero per cent tax rates. Can we have milk and Mercedes at the same rates?”
PM Modi said the government has done what it had to with Air India, with utmost sincerity, and that a lack of response to one sale offer should not be mixed up with a policy decision. The PM also said the Govt does not want to make a sale for a lower price than it believes it should get.
The Prime Minister clarified that the government needs to maximise productivity and optimise processes, and be an enabler, not an obstructer. He gave examples of self attestation, and the abolishing of more than a thousand archaic laws to make the lives of people hassle-free. Another example was scrapping interviews for Class 3 and Class 4 jobs in the government.
The PM said that FDI has increased after govt abolished the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and most of the FDI approvals are now through the automatic route.
In the detailed interview to Swarajya magazine, PM Modi elaborated on the journey of his development agenda and road ahead.