THE 1.25 billion people of India have not only become active partners in governance but also started moving one step ahead “because there is mutual trust between the government and the people”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he marked the completion of his government’s third year at the Centre. “There was a time when a sense of despair had engulfed the country. In the last three years, what I discovered is that the people have not only reposed faith and trust in the government, but also become active partners in running it,” he said.
Addressing a rally in Guwahati on Friday, Modi said that people earlier used to elect a government and “fall asleep”. “But this time, three years ago, the people not only voted us to power, but also decided to walk every step with us, so much so that many a time they are one step ahead of the government,” he said.
Claiming that he had decided, from day one in office, to respect the sentiments and needs of common people, Modi said it was this policy, “which has roots in my upbringing”, that started touching the lives of a majority of people.
“When I spoke about toilets and swachhata (cleanliness) during my first address from Red Fort, many laughed. What kind of a PM is this, who is talking about toilets instead of big projects and schemes, they asked. But the majority has become such a trusted partner of the government that hundreds of villages started working towards becoming open-defecation free,” Modi said.
Speaking about the key initiatives taken by his government, the Prime Minister highlighted the move to grant Constitutional status to the OBC Commission. “Earlier, governments never took decisions, they only gave assurances to the people. We have not only given Constitutional status to the OBC Commission, but also raised the income limit of OBC creamy layer candidates by 25 per cent to Rs 8 lakh. This will benefit a large number of OBC students during the admission time,” he said.
Describing demonetisation as a “very important decision”, Modi said it “worked wonders” despite attempts by some quarters to derail the move. “Demonetisation was a very tough decision. Even today, some say that we never ever can think of such tough decisions. What not did some (Opposition) parties do to create anger and set the people’s minds on fire. Numerous attempts were made to derail the effort. The strongest of governments would have been reduced to ashes, but the people stood by us… over 90 lakh people came forward to voluntarily pay their taxes and repose faith in the value of honesty,” Modi said.
“Our appeal to the well-to-do people to give up subsidy on LPG cylinders, too, got tremendous response. With over 1 crore people doing so, we could easily provide LPG connection to 1 lakh poor families. This is called partnership in governance, and the people have for the first time since Independence witnessed this,” he said.
On his government’s attempts to tackle the menace of black money, Modi said, “In our very first Cabinet meeting, we decided to act tough… The common people, who had seen others acquire huge bungalows, costly cars and other property with black money, have stood with us. I know there will be problems, but I will continue to fight against black money. The 1.25 billion people are with me in this fight.”
Hitting out at previous governments for “sitting on legislations” passed by Parliament, Modi pointed to the Benami Property Transaction Act and said while this was passed in 1988, no rules were prepared or notifications issued for 28 years. “What kind of a government was that? The people have started noticing the differences in functioning of our government,” he said.
“We have a dream of creating a new India by 2022. We want to bring about a work culture. The younger generation has realised that this government gives due respect to work. Women have found dignity. People have realised that this government respects honesty,” Modi said.
“This government has for the first time demonstrated what development actually means, and what should be the focus of activities to bring about development. The more you encourage people to work, the more people become partners in governance, faster would be the journey to create a new India by 2022. After all, my Team India comprises of 1.25 billion people of this country,” he said.