PM Modi’s first town hall meet­ing: 10 key points

‘Public health is weak be­cause we are ig­no­rant about pre­ven­tive health mea­sures’

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DE­VEL­OP­MENT

In­dia’s Prime Minister Modi on Satur­day ad­dressed a town­hall meet­ing or­gan­ised by My Gov - the gov­ern­ment’s cit­i­zen en­gage­ment plat­form - at the Indira Gandhi In­door Sta­dium in Delhi. The PM fielded questions from In­dian cit­i­zens and mem­bers of the di­as­pora com­mu­nity, and spoke about a num­ber of is­sues, in­clud­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, agri­cul­ture, health­care and even Gau­rak­shaks. Here are 10 key points from his an­swers:

1. Anger at self-pro­claimed gau rak­shaks

I am an­gry at peo­ple who have set up shops in the name of pro­tect­ing cows. Cows don’t die be­cause of mur­der, but be­cause they con­sume plas­tic garbage. Peo­ple should stop throw­ing plas­tic items if they re­ally want to do gau-seva. I urge state governments to pre­pare a dossier on self pro­claimed ‘gau rak­shaks.’

2. Com­mend­able growth rate

In­dia is among the fastest grow­ing economies in the world. In spite of the re­ces­sion which has af­fected the en­tire world, In­dia’s growth rate is com­mend­able, and I want to con­grat­u­late all In­di­ans. The coun­try’s econ­omy has per­formed well in spite of fac­ing two droughts. 3. Con­stant eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment Eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment should be con­stant; it shouldn’t go up and down. This is nec­es­sary for us to be at the top. We should tar­get to achieve a growth rate of more than 8% for the next three years. In­dian man­u­fac­tur­ers should tar­get global economies.

4. Par­tic­i­pa­tive democ­racy is essential

The spirit of a democ­racy is in­com­plete if one thinks the cit­i­zen’s role stops at vot­ing. Par­tic­i­pa­tive democ­racy is essential.

Griev­ance re­dres­sal is an essential com­po­nent of democ­racy. Ev­ery cit­i­zen should have his or her prob­lems ad­dressed. Tech­nol­ogy and good gov­er­nance will ben­e­fit farm­ers.

5. Re­spon­si­ble and ac­count­able gov­er­nance

Governments of­ten think only about win­ning the next elec­tion and shape their poli­cies ac­cord­ingly. Re­spon­si­bil­ity with ac­count­abil­ity is the hall­mark of good gov­er­nance. Good gov­er­nance means re­dun­dant pro­cesses don’t ex­ist.

6. Pre­ven­tive and affordable health­care

Public health is weak be­cause we are ig­no­rant about pre­ven­tive health mea­sures. If we are able to de­liver safe and pure drink­ing water, dis­eases will re­cede au­to­mat­i­cally. Be it yoga, ex­er­cise or eat­ing habits, we have to fo­cus on pre­ven­tive and affordable health­care.

7. Agri­cul­ture sec­tor un­der pres­sure

The agri­cul­ture sec­tor in In­dia is un­der a lot of pres­sure. If there’s one sec­tor that can power the econ­omy, it’s the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. We are work­ing to­wards mak­ing water avail­able to farm­ers and their farms. We want to fo­cus on value ad­di­tion within the agri­cul­ture sec­tor via eMar­kets.

8. ‘Smart’ vil­lages

‘Smart city’ is a con­cept for both cities and vil­lages. Facilities avail­able in ur­ban ar­eas should be avail­able in ru­ral ar­eas as well. We have iden­ti­fied 300 places as part of our ‘rur­ban mis­sion’. They can po­ten­tially be­come de­vel­op­ment cen­tres. They will have the soul of a vil­lage but the facilities of a city.

9. Khadi for na­tion, Khadi for fash­ion

If we spend just 5% of our to­tal spend­ing on clothes on hand­loom and khadi, we will transform the lives of the poor. Khadi for na­tion and Khadi for fash­ion - this must be our guid­ing prin­ci­ple.

10. Lever­ag­ing her­itage to at­tract tourists

E-visas have helped boost tourism. If thou­sands of tourists come to In­dia, our cul­tural her­itage will be con­verted into eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. The Taj Ma­hal is a source of in­come for so many peo­ple today. We should use our tra­di­tion and cul­ture to at­tract tourists.

We are work­ing to­wards mak­ing water avail­able to farm­ers and their farms. We want to fo­cus on value ad­di­tion within the agri­cul­ture sec­tor via eMar­kets.

Naren­dra Modi dur­ing the meet­ing.

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