What Modi said in 'Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath'
At the 'Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath' diaspora event in Central Hall Westminster, London, PM Narendra Modi responded to a series of questions. In the two-hour long session, Modi spoke on several issues like Indian politics, women's safety, terrorism, on the aspirational Indian, his own government and more. Here are some highlights from what the Indian Prime Minister had to say.
Commenting on the nature of Indian politics under Congress, Modi praised India's change. Noting a big difference between "then and now", Modi cited his own rise to power as an example of Indians putting more faith in democracy than in nepotistic politics. "When the policy is clear, intention is clear, and the intentions are noble, then you can achieve the desired result," said Modi.
Commenting on his own government, Modi highlighted its focus. "Our focus is on three things: education for students, employment for youth and medicines for the elderly," said the PM. "I want this government to be criticized. Criticism makes democracy strong. Democracy cannot succeed without constructive criticism," added Modi. He also said India would "cooperate" with Saudi Arabia and Iran for India's energy needs.
"I digest 1-2kgs of abuse (gaali) every day," said Modi jokingly, and added, "I never get tired. For me my 1.2 billion people make up my family. I care for them like my family, serve them like my own."
Commenting on the issue of women's safety in India, Modi stressed on the importance of teaching India's sons to respect women. "I have never indulged in counting the number of rape incidents in this government and that government. Rape is rape, be it now or earlier. It is extremely sad. Don't politicize rape incidents," added Modi.
"We will not tolerate those who like to export terror. We will give back strong answers and in the language they understand. Terrorism will never be accepted," said Modi. When "someone has put a terror export factory in place and makes attempts to attack us from the back, Modi knows how to answer in the same language," said Modi on surgical strikes against Pakistan.
Responding to questions on Modicare, Modi said that his government was working towards providing affordable healthcare for every Indian. He explained that the Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission will cover 10 crore poor families in India, with an annual health insurance of Rs. 5 lakh per family. He also expressed hopes of 1,000 new hospitals coming up in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
"If a person has a cycle, a person aspires a scooter. If a person has a scooter, a person aspires a car. It is natural to aspire. India is getting increasingly aspirational," said Modi, emphasizing a change in the nature of Indians. "Earlier, people had adopted a 'chalta hai' attitude but now they have high expectations from us," added Modi, talking about Indians' hopes.