Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat Saturday asked the government to not allow informal sectors such as small and medium enterprises, self-employing cottage industries, and agriculture to suffer. Bhagwat called for “sensitivity” and “efficiency” on the part of the administration in reaching benefits to the last man. While claiming that the economy has progressed well over the past three years, he called for a model based on India’s “socio-economic and cultural conditions”.
“Employment means work for every hand and enough remuneration,” Bhagwat said in his Vijayadashami speech. “On these parameters, the biggest contribution is made by small, medium and handicraft industry, retail or small self-employed businesses, cooperative sector and agro and agro-allied sector. Crores get employment in these sectors and most of the people standing in the last line of society are also from these sectors,” he said.
“Although some tremors and instability is expected, it should be kept in mind that these sectors should feel the minimum heat and ultimately they should get the maximum strength,” Bhagwat said. He called for “remunerative prices for agricultural produce based on cost of production” to insulate farmers from the vagaries of nature as well as market fluctuations in prices, and insisted that everybody would have to accept these prices without complaint.
Bhagwat, however, accepted the “inevitability” of continuing with some of the existing “faulty” parameters such as GDP to be able to remain in tune with the global economy. Breaking from his earlier three Vijayadashami speeches delivered during the tenure of the Narendra Modi government, the RSS chief combined praise for the government with caution — and asked the government to ensure that its “well-intentioned” schemes are implemented, and that a feedback mechanism is incorporated.
Bhagwat lauded the government’s efforts to enhance India’s international prestige, in particular the very “courageous and restrained” handling of situations like the Doklam standoff with China, and the choking of funds to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Bharat’s strong and determined stand has been visible in incidents like Doklam, on the borders as well as in the international standing of Bharat,” he said. In an unusual gesture, however, Bhagwat also called for handling Kashmir in a manner that would create “affinity” in the minds of the people in the Valley for the country.
“While firmness towards separatists and stifling of funds to them is yielding good results and should be continued, the people in the Valley must get a sense of India’s affinity,” he said. “Their mindset must gel with the mindset of the rest of India. For this, if need be, some old provisions will have to go and some new provisions will have to be ushered in. If the government, administration and society put their heads together and move in that direction, the Kashmir problem can be resolved very soon.”
Bhagwat also referred to the “incomplete” task of rehabilitating Kashmiri Pandits, and of “ensuring equitable development” of the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The RSS chief strongly criticised the calls for asylum to the Rohingya. “The Rohingya are being driven out of Myanmar mainly due to their continuous violent and criminal separatist activities and links with terrorist groups. Any decision regarding them should be taken keeping in mind that they will definitely be a threat to national security and integrity,” he said.
Bhagwat also called for continuing the campaign for cow protection without caring for the “play of words” like “vigilantism”, which he said were being used to demonise the campaign. “Our Constitution mandates cow protection. But nowadays, some people have embroiled it in controversial language,” he said.
“It is unfair to link cow protectors or the entire activity of cow protection with violent incidents or communal feelings. Cow protectors and promoters who are piously involved in the activity should not worry or get distracted with well-intentioned statements from highly placed persons in the government, or by remarks made by the Supreme Court,” Bhagwat said. “Many activists who were peacefully involved in cow protection were attacked and killed. This issue is neither discussed nor being inquired into,” he added.
Former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani, Union Surface Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were present at the function; however, the chief guest, Dalit spiritual leader Baba Nirmaldas, could not attend “due to ill-health”, the audience was told.
Bhagwat also called for strengthening the armed forces by providing them with more and sophisticated resources, and exhorted countrymen to send more and more of their children to the armed and security forces.