Govt's motto is to reform, perform and transform; no political vendetta against anyone: PM Modi
My first priority after coming to power was to remove the atmosphere of despair: PM Modi.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an interview with a leading television network, broadcast on Friday, spoke on a variety of issues, from the economy, social prejudices to electoral politics, and listed out his government's priorities as well as its resolve to overcome the challenges facing the country.
Here are the highlights of the prime minister's interview:
On Dalit atrocities:
All those who have fed this country the poison of caste divide have destroyed this country. Thousands of years of injustice have kept these wounds open. The slightest of damage will cause a lot of pain.
This is why, it does not matter whether the incident is big or small, what matters is that the incident must not happen in the first place.
From a statistical point of view, whether it is communal violence, atrocities against Dalits or atrocities against tribals, data shows that such incidents have gone down in number as opposed to the previous government.
If you look at Dalit MPs and Dalit MLAs, tribal MPs and tribal MLAs, the BJP has a sizeable presence.
I am devoted to improving the lives of Dalits, tribals and the oppressed. I am telling this to all politicians, including BJP members, if you speak against one community then you are answerable to the nation.
Many had a problem with Modi being a devotee of BR Ambedkar.
As far as a few incidents are concerned, they must be condemned. Law and order is a state subject. It hurts the interests of the country.
On upcoming Assembly elections:
It's unfortunate that everything that we do is immediately linked to elections.
BJP will fight the elections on development issues alone.
Development is our only issue and it will remain so. And this is not a political issue. This is my conviction. If we want to free this country of poverty then we need development. We will need to empower the poor. The biggest tool for empowerment is education.
Our focus will be on welfare of farmers, villages and jobs for the youth.
He strongly pitched for three-tier simultaneous polls for parliament, state assemblies and local bodies. It is high time we keep elections and developmental works as separate entities.
There will be elections in five states in coming days. As far as the BJP is concerned, we will fight on development issues only. Our focus will be welfare of farmers, villages, jobs for the youth and we will stay committed to the cause of social justice. Our focus will be to maintain peace, unity and brotherhood in our country. We will take steps in these regard and move forward.
On youth empowerment:
I started the Start Up initiative to empower the youth. The country has 80 crores of youth. They are below 30 years of age. If the youth has the skill, they can change the fortunes of this country. We have laid a lot of stress on skill development, which is the need of the hour.
On Kashmir unrest:
I always maintain that the people of Kashmir need both development and trust. Want to focus on how to make life easier for the common man.
On nation building and development:
The pace at which roads are being made, railways is expanded, six-fold increase in electronic goods manufacturing, these things show we haven't taken short cuts. And my motto is, as it says on railway platforms, 'short cut will cut you short'.
Ten government and 10 private universities will be freed of all University Grants Commission rules. We will give them money and they must move towards becoming world class universities. If rules were holding them up, we will remove the rules.
Electricity production has gone up and so has the demand. Infrastructure work is also growing rapidly and that happens when there is demand in the economy. From all this, it looks like we have moved ahead to better days.
We have removed 1,700 laws that were from the 19th and 20th centuries. I have asked states also to do so.
Indians, no matter where they are, want their country to progress.
On Black Money:
We have a strong law against black money that will dissuade anyone from stashing money abroad.
He warned those with black money to declare it before the given deadline of September 30, adding that stern action might be taken after that.
The first decision my government took was to make a SIT (Special Investigation Team) on black money. It is working and the Supreme Court is monitoring it. We have also made laws so that no one dares to send black money abroad from India. So more black money will not be generated.
On political vendetta:
History is testimony to the fact that I have never targeted anyone for political reasons.
"I do not think from political perspective... I have been a Chief Minister for 14 years, I never opened a file for political reasons. We have not advised to open any file from political point of view," Modi said.
He said that he wanted to bring a White Paper on the economic condition of the country when his government came into power, but refrained from it in national interest.
He said that he chose to face political damage instead of damaging the economy by revealing the real situation, and alleged the figures were changed in the budget by the previous government.
Many people ask me what has been the biggest mistake we made in two years. When I think about it now, I feel, before presenting the first budget I should have tabled a white paper on the economic condition of the country... We had this thought, he said.
Today, we have the most amount of Foreign Direct Investment after Independence. The entire world says that at 7% growth, we are the fastest growing economy.
Taxation system will also be simplified and this will not only benefit the common man, the revenues will help develop the nation. Today, there are sometimes incidents of mistrust between states. This will end that situation, it will be transparent and strengthen the federal structure.
Ease of doing business has rapidly improved. All this would not be possible without reforms. This time, the rains have been good and this helps agriculture, which is good for the economy.
GST is a major tax reform since independence. It will bring about a big change.
About his government's mantra:
My government's mantra is reform, perform and transform.
Before we came to power, newspapers were filled with stories of corruption and scandals. People had lost hope.
My first priority after coming to power was to remove the atmosphere of despair.
I leave it to the people to evaluate how my government has performed.
On being asked to describe himself:
Narendra Modi, whatever he is, is after all, a human being. Why should I suppress or hide what's inside me? I am what I am. There is nothing like real or fake Modi.
I relax through working only. I never get tired of working. In fact, the opposite tires me. I like Vivekananda's quotations and his style of delivery a lot. I can say Vivekananda's thought has made a huge impact on me.
Media has played a major role in whatever I am today.