Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday took a dig at the Opposition over Rajya Sabha’s lack of productivity and said it is a matter of concern. Addressing the “National Youth Parliament Festival”, he told youngsters to question the members of the Rajya Sabha, where opposition parties have a numerical advantage over his government, of their respective states, asserting it will lead to nationwide pressure on them.
Modi said the productivity of the outgoing 16th Lok Sabha, where the government enjoys a big majority, was 85 per cent (20 per cent more than the previous Lok Sabha) and it passed 205 bills, as he credited the development to the full majority voters gave to the BJP in the 2014 general elections. He expressed concern over only 8 per cent productivity of the Rajya Sabha in the last session where the interim budget was passed.
With the general elections due in April-May, Modi is seeking a renewed mandate to push ahead with the “development” agenda and asserting that a complete majority for the BJP will result in a strong government. Opposition parties have often joined hands to block his government’s legislative agenda in the Upper House of Parliament.
After giving away the National Youth Parliament Festival, 2019, awards, Modi asked youngsters to organise events upon returning home and invite Rajya Sabha members from their states as chief guests and ask questions. The prime minister advised the participants to visit the country’s National War Memorial adjoining the iconic India Gate complex, inaugurated by him on Monday, and the National Police Memorial in central Delhi. “Visit to these two locations will fill you with inspiration and enthusiasm to contribute towards nation-building,” he told the participants.
Asserting that dialogue strengthens democracy, Modi asked the participants to give their feedback and suggestions on how the event could have been made better and what other topics could have been included to make it more creative and innovative in future. He also proposed setting up an online mechanism for receiving those suggestions. Modi expressed hope that the National Youth Parliament Festival platform would provide direction and shape to the energy of the youth and a better dialogue process. He said that such events would aid those aspiring to become Parliamentarians.
Next time, those who want to reach Parliament will think of attending the youth parliament and also mention it in their profile, Modi said on a lighter note. He said the festival represents the image of a New India and asked the youth to connect with the vision of New India. He added that the youth of the country should be prepared to play a bigger role in the development of the nation and society.
Asserting that the youth today is full of new ideas, energy, ambition and ready for multitasking, he referred to the 10 per cent quota given to the general category poor in the education sector and jobs to stress on his government’s attempt to give youths equal opportunities to realise their potential and dreams.
In his speech and during the subsequent question and answer session, the prime minister dwelt at length at his works to curb corruption and empowering the poor. He said the government, in its tenure, initiated several measures to eradicate corruption and in the process garnered the support of people who abide by law and discipline. Modi claimed that for the first time in 70 years, the number of people paying income tax has doubled.
In this context, he also explained how his government ensured that the benefits of various schemes and programmes reached every person even in the far-flung areas. “A scheme can be considered successful only when the last-mile delivery of benefits is made possible,” the prime minister said. On efforts towards empowering the poor, he spoke about the initiative of opening bank accounts of the poor population was opened with zero balance.
When asked what would his advice be to the youth of the country, the prime minister said they should get their names added in the voter list and exercise their right to contribute towards decision making. He also urged them to promote digital transactions and less use of cash.
Prime Minister also released an app “Khelo India”, developed by the Sports Authority of India. The app can be used to locate the sports facilities in the country, their availability, rules of games and for checking fitness level of any person. The National Youth Parliament Festival, 2019, has been jointly organised by National Service Scheme and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan under the aegis of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on the theme of ‘Be the Voice of New India and Find solutions and Contribute to Policy’.