The first time I travelled back to my state Karnataka after joining the council of Ministers was for Jan Ashirwad Yatra. This Yatra took me through 6 districts and allowed me to meet hundreds of citizens, Social leaders, Karyakartas through the 4 days of the Yatra.
Through the entire journey, there was a singular response from those who came out to bless me and wish me – the trust , faith and pride that people felt in their PM and leader Narendra Modi. From a farmer in Shivamogga thanking me for government’s support to transform his life ; to a housewife beneficiary of Ujwala in Sirsi; to revered Swamijis in the different Mutts I visited for blessings; to the health warriors and Karyakartas I visited to thank for their service – they all saw themselves as participants in PM Narendra Modiji’s vision of a New India and so this outpouring of affection, support and blessings to me was because I was also in Narendra Modi’s team just as each of them were.
September 17 is Prime Minister Modi’s birthday. It is also Vishwakarma day. Nothing describes Narendra Modi life and 20 years in Government as this. His 13 years as CM and 7 years have set new standards in Government leadership, hard work, policy making and raised the bar significantly for all those in public life and public service.
But his impact on Indian politics goes beyond that. He has dismantled myths of permanent political dynasties, corruption and status quoism about our democracy and about many issues including terror response that have prevailed since 1947 when we became an Independent country. He has also reset the confidence, ambitions and aspirations of every Indian. These achievements are particularly significant today and now, as we celebrate 75th year of Independence and set our sights on the future of India.
This year also marks 7th year of PM Modi. On 30 May 2019, he had won a tremendous, unprecedented mandate, the most decisive one by any leader in recent history, an absolute majority for a leader and political party after almost 3 decades. This popular vote after 61crore peoples cast their vote, was a vindication of his first 5 years. This victory was despite being targeted almost continuously with a vicious campaign of lies and calumny by a coalition of vested interests.
His political and governance philosophy has remained consistent – around equal opportunity to all. Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.
In one of his first speeches of his 2nd term he said : “This New India’s vision is motivated by the noble thoughts of Shri Narayana Guru great spiritual figure, social reformer and poet: “Jaati-Bhedam Mat-Dwesham AdumIlladey Sarvrum Sodar-tvain Vaadunn Matrukasthan Maanit”
That is, an ideal place is one where people live like brothers free from the discrimination of caste and religion.
On this path of a New India, the rural India will be strong and urban India will also be empowered.
On this path of a New India, the entrepreneurial India will attain new heights and the dreams of young India will also be fulfilled.
On this path of a New India, all systems will be transparent, and the prestige of honest countrymen will increase further;
On this path of a New India, infrastructure for the 21st century will be built and all resources for creation of a powerful India will be mobilized.”
Narendra Modi delivered in these 7 years, what most Governments weren’t able to do for decades. In areas ranging from Cleaning up Financial sector, expanding economic opportunities to all, National Security, Record high Investments, Technology , Art 370, new State of Ladakh, Citizens Amendment Act, Amicable resolution of Ram Mandir etc. There’s much for all of us to be grateful for.
But it is his leadership, foresight and untiring hard work during this last 18 months of the COVID pandemic that we are truly grateful for.
Throughout CORONA crisis, Modi’s leadership and Governance was on full display. He rallied every citizen to make it the country’s collective resolve to fight and overcome the virus – leading all 1.4 Billion Indians through this difficult Lockdown period with calm.
When COVID pandemic hit us, we had little or no capacity in PPE manufacturing, limited hospital and ICU beds, Patchy healthcare capacity in states, limitations in pharma, vaccine, equipment and healthcare staff. As if these real challenges weren’t daunting enough, PM Modi also had to deal with terrible behaviour of China at our Northern borders and continuing terror by Pakistan and of course some of India’s politicians who seemed to see COVID-19 as a political opportunity rather than a time to serve and inept and/or irresponsible CMs in some states.
But through it all, he led us undaunted. The personal effort put in by PM Modi through this entire time was super-human and would tire out any normal person many times over. The challenges of designing the response even when scientists and experts themselves were struggling to understand cause, consequences and solutions can’t be overstated.
India’s resilience and response during this pandemic was also possible by many far-sighted decisions of Narendra Modi in his first term – unambiguous proof of his foresight. The poor and vulnerable who were the most impacted by the shock were provided the quick financial relief through the decision of Narendra Modi to create Bank accounts for every Indian through the JDY scheme. JDY, PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, PDS and PM Kisan have ensured that rural, farmers and poor are backstopped financially by the Government directly without any leakages. Digital India helped crores of people to connect to Information and for businesses to continue to remotely work. Schemes like Ujala for Cooking cylinders, Jan Aushadhi Yojana and PM Ayushman all came in as great support to the common people during this Pandemic. PM Modis leadership has ensured India could handle the shocks and keep deaths to much lower than most other even more developed nations.
As the past 18 months have shown,India needed strong leadership capable of navigating India through these choppy waters and it is fortunate that we had his leadership and fire-sight – prime movers for our national resolve and achieving important milestones in our fight against Covid like the recent Sep 13th crossing of 75 crore vaccinations being achieved.
The world is seeing deep tectonic changes post COVID. India too is emerging more resilient, Confident and Ambitious about its future – led by PM Narendra Modis vision of AtmaNirbharBharat for the future and his strong belief that India’s time has come. As he said on August 15th this year, Yehi Samai hai, Yehi Samai hai. This is our time. This is our time.
This is also the year I complete 15 years of public service. I consider it a singular honour and privilege that I have had the opportunity to serve at a time of PM Modi’s leadership and be a witness to the irreversible and unstoppable rise of our country and all our people under PM Narendra Modi.
The best way to celebrate PM Modi’s birthday is for all Indians to believe in and work to his dream of a strong, prosperous India for all. Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, SABKA PRAYAS. On this day, I wish him many years of good health and service to our motherland.
(The author is Union Minister of State for Entreprenuership, Skill Development. Electronics & Technology)