“I liked Nehru’s sayings. He said India is not a nation but a population,” Gadkari said at the annual Intelligence Bureau (IB) endowment lecture.
The senior minister referred to Nehru while explaining that if one cannot provide a solution, he/she should not at least create problems.
Without referring to any particular incident, Gadkari said, “Tolerance is the biggest asset of our system and the attitude that ‘I did this because someone else did it (as well)’ is, to me, not right. I am ready to forgive.”
Last week, veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah had also spoken on intolerance and mob violence. He had said, “I feel anxious thinking about my children. Because they don’t have a religion…tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and asks ‘are you a Hindu or a Muslim?’ they will have no answer.”
Gadkari, who spoke for nearly an hour, also recalled Swami Vivekanand and said, “Unity in diversity is our (India’s) speciality. If you speak politely, with due respect to all, it (attaches) a lot of value. You can’t win elections only because you speak well. (Or) you might be a vidwan (learned) but people may not vote for you. One who thinks he knows everything is mistaken – people should refrain from artificial marketing.”
He told the Indian Police Service officers, “Respect is commanded, not demanded. There is a difference between confidence and ego. You should be confident, but keep (your) ego away.”
Gadkari, who also handles the Shipping & Water Resources and River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation portfolios, also said, “It’s good to win elections, but if we cannot bring about socioeconomic changes in the lives of people then it will not make a difference when you come to power, or go out of power.”
Recalling former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said governments will come and go, but the country remains. “This country doesn’t belong to any party or individual but to 120 crore Indians,” he said.
The minister said that 403 projects, worth Rs 3.85 lakh crore, were stuck when he took office in 2014, pending due to reasons of security, environmental clearance, land acquisition and encroachment, among others. “We took 22 Cabinet decisions, and 95 per cent projects were resolved. Among them, 75-80 per cent projects were stuck due to government systems — security, environment clearance and land acquisition (etc),” he maintained.
On the issue of archaic laws, he said, “We are still following the laws of 1860s-1870s. Why are we following these laws? It is a nature of law to change with time.”
Replying to a question, Gadkari said that if the IB wants to reject any proposal, it should do so quickly and not sit on the proposal. Noting that one is neither born evil nor perfect, he said the police can play a key role in converting the incarcerated into contributors for social welfare.
Gadkari also mooted the concept of performance audit as a better alternative to financial audit in evaluating managerial and administrative ability of officials. Although transparency is equally important, it must accompany time-bound decision-making and delivery, he said.
Giving the example of how solid and liquid waste has been recycled, fetching large amounts of cash returns for Pune Municipal Corporation, the Union minister said, “No one is a waste in society. The only thing is to realise and harness an individual’s potential.”
The minister advocated innovation and modernisation, including use of IT tools and e-tendering, to make project implementation process transparent and efficient. He also touched upon the importance of human resource management and drew distinction between what would constitute a bona fide and mala fide mistake.
On the importance of human relationship in the forces, Gadkari said, “It is is very important and you should take care of people who are protecting the border. Holding discussions with your subordinates will help you gain ground information which will help you to formulate better policies,” he told IB officials.