Narendra Modi says we need to change ‘scam India’ image to ‘skill India’

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Narendra Modi. SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images

IANS

New Delhi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday his government will work for the poor, improve the lot of the weaker sections including Muslims, curb price rise, take all political parties along in its march to progress and seek to change India’s identity from “scam India” to “skill India” .

Speaking extempore in Hindi in hour-long speeches in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in reply to the debate on the motion of thanks on the president’s address, the prime minister dwelt on a range of subjects – from incidents of rapes and violence, development of the northeast and the coastal states, agriculture, cooperative federalism as the way forward, corruption and convicting guilty lawmakers.

Delivering his first speech in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Modi said that good governance needs to be converted into a people’s movement. The prime minister described bad governance “as worse than diabetes in the human body, which destroys the entire system. Last-mile delivery is the biggest problem”.

Modi said that government’s target of providing houses for all by 2022, the 75th anniversary of country’s independence, should be a “movement” and every MP should support this.

He also called for paying fitting tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019 by resolving to create a “swatch Bharat (clean India)”.

Modi said it was government’s responsibility to “live for the poor”.

Seeking the opposition’s support in the government’s endeavours, he said: “We want to take you along, and if needed, we would also seek your guidance.”

Modi, who took oath as prime minister May 26 at the head of a NDA government, said the government would “leave no stone unturned to fulfill” the promises made by it.

In his speeches in both houses, where he spoke forcefully and was heard with rapt attention by members, Modi said there was need to take bold decisions and also make small innovative changes at every level for the country to realise its potential. He spoke of working in spirit of cooperative federalism and said MPs were custodians of the hope and aspirations of millions of Indians.

He said the condition of Muslims has remained unchanged, alluding to the fact that nothing much has been done for them despite all the talk by previous governments.

“A body is not healthy, if any of its part is not healthy,” he said with specific reference to the community for the first time.

Sending a strong message on women’s security, Modi said politicians should stop commenting frivolously on such incidents.

“I want to appeal to the politicians of the country, stop this psychological analysis of incidents of rape. It does not behove of you,” Modi said.

“They are playing with the dignity of our mothers and sisters. Such a commentary is not appropriate at political level. The respect and security of women should be the concern of all 125 crore Indians,” he said

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is among leaders who have commented on the issue – saying “boys will make mistakes” – drawing wide criticism.

On the farm sector, Modi said proper management of agriculture products through modern technology can help control food inflation, adding that there is adequate availability of food products in the country.

“There is enough food in the country. What is required is proper management,” Modi said.

He said efforts should be made to gather “real-time data” of agricultural products that would help regulators take the required action to manage prices.

The prime minister indicated that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) could be restructured for better management of agricultural produce.

On the issue of corruption, the prime minister said the state must be policy-driven and non-discriminatory. He said there should be minimum grey areas in policy and maximum use of technology.

He said FIRs against MPs should be decided within a period of one year with the help of the Supreme Court so that the guilty can be convicted and the innocent absolved – and the stain is removed from the august Houses of Parliament. Indicating his Government’s resolve in this regard, he said an SIT on black money, which had been pending for two years, had already been formed.

Referring to the speeches made during the two-day debate which lasted over 12 hours and saw participation of 52 members, Modi said use of modern technology in farming and proper management with the help of real-time data will help curb food inflation.

Modi said Mahatma Gandhi had converted the urge for freedom among people into a people’s movement.

“There is need to make a people’s movement for good governance,” Modi said and added that everyone should feel that the task he or she was doing was “for the country.”

Dwelling on the need for realising the country’s demographic dividend, he said country should pay attention to skill development as India was a young nation and 65 percent of the country was below the age of 35, but the majority lacked skills.

In a veiled attack on UPA government whose term in office was riddled by controversies related to corruption, Modi said India’s image has become synonymous with “scam-India.”

“We have to make India’s identity as skill India,” Modi said.

Citing the example of Sikkim, which will soon become an organic state, Modi said the goal, if achieved, will transform the lives of those living in the hill states.

Modi also returned fire on some comments made by the opposition, evoking rapturous applause from the treasury benches.

Referring to Congress jibe that even though Kauravas were large in numbers, Pandavas emerged victorious, Modi said the days of Kauravas and Pandavas were over.

Modi’s comment that Duryodhana, the eldest of Kaurava brothers, admitted he knew of dharma but could not act in accordance with it, evoked smiles in the house.

“Victory teaches us a lot of lessons. It teaches us humility,” he said.

Modi also took a swipe at Congress leader Amarinder Singh who had said that government programmes were old wine in a new bottle.

Referring to the Gujarat model, Modi said this has tried to imbibe the best practices.

“India is a diverse country and best practice being followed in any part of India should become our model,” Modi said, expressing satisfaction that states were competing in terms of development.

The motion of thanks was adopted and both houses of parliament adjourned sine die.

IANS 2014-06-11 22:02:14

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