With his government completing three years in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said he welcomed the “critical feedback” and in-depth analysis of its work, “tested on every touchstone”, and said constructive criticism strengthens a democracy. Addressing the 32nd edition of his radio programme Mann Ki Baat, Modi said that people had chosen him to be the “Pradhan Sevak (servant-in-chief of the people)” and he firmly believed that governments should be accountable in a democracy. The Prime Minister touched upon his favourite topic, “swachchta”, announced a new campaign, wished the country at the start of Ramzan, and expressed hope that the occasion would further strengthen the values of peace, unity and goodwill. He also urged listeners of the programme to post Yoga Day selfies on the Narendra Modi app or the Mygov website.
He noted that assessments of the government’s performance have been appearing in newspapers, on social media or TV for the last 15 days, ahead of the third anniversary of his government. “There have been many surveys and several opinion polls. I see this entire process as a very healthy sign,” he said. “The work done during these years was tested on every touchstone. It was analysed by every segment of society. And this is a great process in a democracy. I firmly believe that governments must be accountable in a democracy and the public at large must be provided a report card of the work done,” the PM said.
He congratulated those “who took out time for an in-depth analysis of our work”. “There were some praises, some support and sometimes shortcomings were also pointed out. I understand the importance of all these things. I thank those people who provided critical and important feedback. The mistakes and the shortcomings once highlighted can be rectified. Whether something is good, little less effective or bad, whatever it is, one has to learn from it and move ahead in life putting the learning into practice. Constructive criticism strengthens democracy; for an aware nation, an awakened nation, this churning is very important,” he said.
Modi also took on criticism over the Mann Ki Baat programme, saying that while some people saw it as a “monologue” and some viewed it “from a political angle”, he had come to see it as a conversation with families listening in from home. Flagging the multi-faith tradition of India, the PM said, “This is a country where both believers and atheists, idolaters and those loathing idol-worship co-exist. We have adapted ourselves to myriad kinds of ideologies, different ways of worshipping and all types of traditions, and imbibed the art of co-existing. Ultimately, religions, faith, ideology or tradition give us the message of peace, unity and goodwill. This holy month of Ramzan will definitely be helpful in further strengthening these values.”
He also issued a separate greeting for the beginning of Ramzan. Laying emphasis on waste management, Modi announced that the Central government had decided to launch a campaign on waste management from June 5, World Environment Day, along with state governments and municipal representatives. He said there would be litter bins available to collect solid waste and liquid waste in 4,000 towns, and urged people to dispose of dry and liquid waste separately. There was a need to look at garbage not simply as waste but wealth as well, he added.
The Prime Minister hailed the contribution of a resident, “Afroz Shah”, for cleaning Versova beach of Mumbai of thousand of tonnes of waste, and congratulated the people of Reasi block in Jammu and Kashmir for becoming free of open defecation.
The Prime Minister also chose the occasion to pay obeisance to Hindu Mahasabha leader Veer Sarvarkar on his birth anniversary, recalling how Savarkar used to write poems on the walls of Cellular Jail during the freedom struggle and how he had written a book, Majhi Janmathep.
He welcomed a suggestion to make an appeal on the third International Yoga Day on June 21 for three generations of the family to do yoga together, and felt this could work the same way as the Selfie with Daughter campaign that had proved to be “inspiring”. He requested people to post pictures of three generations doing yoga together on the Narendra ModiApp or Mygov.