PM Modi’s first town hall meeting: 10 key points
‘Public health is weak because we are ignorant about preventive health measures’
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.