The Narendra Modi government does not make policies that appeal to people but rather those that benefit them, Union Home minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday.
Shah was speaking at the launch of the book Modi @20: Dreams Meet Delivery at Vigyan Bhavan. The book, funded by BlueCraft Digital Foundation and published by Rupa, is an anthology of 21 articles written by eminent people, including Amit Shah, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, Infosys’ Nandan Nilekani and Sudha Murty, Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank and shuttler PV Sindhu, among others.
“He is never in a hurry on policy-making. But his determination to implement them amazes even the best. Many wonder how he can stand his ground despite so much opposition. The Modi government does not take decisions that will please people. It takes decisions that are for the good of the people,” Shah said at the event.
The event had Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu as the chief guest and Shah and Jaishankar among the speakers apart from Naidu. It also saw all key cabinet ministers in attendance, apart from senior bureaucrats and Bollywood personalities like Karan Johar, Siddharth Malhotra and Shankar Mahadevan.
While speaking at the event, Naidu said even Modi’s detractors agree he is a phenomenon, whether they like it or not. “Under his leadership, India is respected across the world. Modi gave a three line mantra – reform, perform and transform—which he lives by… Transformation to better the lives of the people of the country. This is what has made him so popular,” he said.
Jishankar said odi had led a foreign policy that was much more “security-focussed” and practised diplomacy that is “development-focussed”.
“He has run the foreign policy of a civilisation state. The eight years of the Modi government have brought terrorism at the centrestage of public debate. He has concentrated on developing the border infrastructure. Because he knows it is essential for security. So it could be Uri and Balakot, it could be Doklam and Ladakh… you can see today that this is not a country that shies away from its hard security challenges,” Jaishankar said.
He added that on his foreign visits, Modi made every possible effort to bring capital and technology to the country to propel development. He said the PM does not see the world as a market but a as a “global workplace”. He also praised government efforts in evacuating people from conflict zones such as Ukraine, and said that today, when an Indian goes abroad, he knows the government has his back.
Naidu said that because of Modi, Yoga and Indian culture had become a fascination for the world. “It is because the leader is practising, propagating and professing faith,” Naidu said.
Recounting his own stint in the government, Naidu said many people criticizing Modi for being impatient. “Yes, he is impatient. He does not like slow progress. He wants everything to be accelerated. It is because even after 70 years of independence, we have problems,” Naidu said.
Shah said Modi had changed both the size and scale of government schemes. “They have been pushed in the direction of complete eradication of the problems. Earlier schemes had targets in every budget. Modi ji’s policy is that every house will get electricity, every house will get gas connection, every house will get tapped water,” Shah said.
Shah said that if one wanted to understand Modi’s success, one should not just look at the past 20 years when he was CM of Gujarat and PM of the nation, but the 30 years before that when he worked in the organization at the grassroots level. Shah said in this period, Modi traveled extensively through the country and worked with ordinary people, understanding their problems. He said that is why Modi’s policies are focused on welfare of the poor and the deprived and making the nation strong.
“Having risen from poverty, Modi ji was aware of the problems faced by the poor. Before becoming CM of Gujarat, he hadn’t even contested a municipal election. When the amalgam of hard work, understanding problems with sensitivity and then finding their solution runs for 30 years, only then a Narendra Modi as a chief minister is made. Unless poverty, problems of the people and waning public confidence in democracy evokes pain in the heart, a Modi is not made,” Shah said.
On a personal note, Shah said that among the many qualities the PM possesses is that he is a great listener. “I have been a (political) worker for the past 40 years and I have not seen a better listener than him. He listens with complete attention. You might forget what you have said to him. But even after five years he will remember and remind you that five years ago you had said this. He always thinks creatively with high goals in mind,” Shah said, adding that Modi had made the society his family and it is difficult to find a leader whose family is not known to anyone.
Shah claimed Modi was instrumental in formulating a space policy and drone policy in the country, which had never been done earlier.
Shah said that Modi’s leadership also stood out for his focus on healthcare and the National Education Policy, which focuses on increasing the capacity of children rather than focusing on jobs, as policies did earlier.
Jaishankar claimed Modi had shaped global agenda on solar power, earthquakes, black money and terrorism. Describing Modi as a visionary, Jaishankar said he was steeped in Indian culture and heritage but was also very modern. “A strong nationalist, but also a diligent internationalist,” he said of Modi.
He also recounted his first brush with Modi in 2011, when he was ambassador to China and Modi was visiting the country. He said Modi’s keen interest in India’s security in relation to China and the economic imbalance between the two countries caught his attention.
Highlighting the government’s thrust on Hindi, Shah said that earlier, leaders harbored an inferiority complex about speaking in Hindi. “But by speaking in Hindi with full confidence across the world, Modi ji made a statement that language is simply a medium of communication and not a barometer of one’s capabilities,” he said.
Naidu praised Modi for bringing public participation in governance and for taking bold decisions. He said Modi was a scientist who believed in experiments first and then implementing them. He said the country’s aim should be Making of Developed India (MODI).