Address by Governor at the release of the book ‘Marching with A Billion: Analysing Narendra Modi’s Government At Midterm’ in Raj Bhavan, Mumbai
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the release of the book ‘Marching with A Billion: Analysing Narendra Modi’s Government At Midterm’ authored by Shri Uday Mahurkar, Deputy Editor, India Today at Banquet Hall (Jal Vihar), Raj Bhavan, Mumbai at 6 pm on Thursday 13th July 2017
Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Vinod Tawde, Hon’ble Minister for Higher and Technical Education, Shri Vishnu Savara, Hon’ble Minister for Tribal Development, Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister for EGS and Tourism, Shri Sambhaji Patil, Hon’ble Minister for Labour Welfare and Skill Development, Hon’ble MPs, Hon’ble MLAs, Shri Madhur Bhandarkar, well-known film maker, Shri Uday Mahurkar, Deputy Editor, India Today, representatives of Penguin Random House, members of the media, invitees, ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset, I extend a warm welcome to each one of you to Raj Bhavan.
I am happy and privileged to have been asked to attend the Mumbai launch of the book ‘Marching with a Billion’ authored by senior journalist Shri Uday Mahurkar.
I would like to compliment and congratulate Shri Uday Mahurkar for taking immense pains to write this excellent and elaborate book that makes a serious attempt to analyse the performance of the 3 – year old Narendra Modi government.
The book has come at the most appropriate juncture. The Hon’ble Prime Minister has completed 3 years in office only recently. The book enables readers and citizens to take an objective look at the immense work done by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and his NDA government during the last three years.
Even though I haven’t met him before, ‘Uday Mahurkar’ has been a familiar name for the readers of India Today where Shri Mahurkar has served as the Ahmedabad – based representative of the weekly for many years.
Uday Ji’s long stint with ‘India Today’ in Ahmedabad has provided him a unique opportunity to watch from close quarters the entire chief ministerial tenure of Shri Narendra Modi from 2001 to 2014. He was witness to the whirlwind campaign undertaken by Modiji in the run up to the general elections.
After the spectacular victory of Modi Ji in the General Elections of 2014, Uday Mahurkar Ji also followed the meteoric rise of Shri Modi in the national as well as international politics and implementation of the agenda of social and economic change by the Prime Minister. Shri Mahurkar is therefore uniquely qualified to write about Shri Narendra Modi.
To his full credit, Shri Uday Mahurkar has done justice to the subject by analyzing and assessing critically the decisions, policies and vision of the Narendra Modi Government. At times, he has also criticized the decisions which according to him were not in the interest of the nation. I congratulate Shri Uday Mahurkar for bringing out this superb volume ‘Marching with a Billion’.
I also congratulate Penguin Random House for publishing this excellent book which I am sure will become one of the global best – sellers in the coming months.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In analyzing the performance of the Narendra Modi government at mid term, it is difficult not to take sides.
Modi Ji has done seemingly difficult things in a short span with remarkable ease.
At every step, the Narendra Modi Ji has marched with a billion. He has taken the 1.25 billion people of the country into confidence while taking every single major decision, howsoever unpleasant or bitter it might be.
This principle of accountability of the Executive to the people is intrinsic to democracy; and yet this cardinal principle of democracy was forgotten. There was a ruling class. And there was the ‘ruled class’. Modi ji has bridged the gap between the ruler and the ruled.
In a time span of little over 3 years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set off a thousand revolutions in different spheres of governance – social, economic and political.
Many of Modi Ji’s revolutionary ideas may not have bore fruition yet, but these have created a deep impact on the minds of the people.
As someone who has been in the thick of public life for more than four decades, I do feel that the biggest achievement of Shri Narendra Modi as Prime Minister is to make every citizen a stakeholder and willing participant in the governance of the nation.
He has instilled a sense of participation in the decision – making process in every citizen.
Not surprisingly, people of the country, rich and the poor, women and men, rural and urban are taking greater interest in the affairs of the State, nation and even in international matters than ever in the past. This upsurge of interest in governance has resulted in a rise in the voter turn-out in almost every election held after 2014.
Two decisions of the Narendra Modi Government, namely the Demonetization and the passing of GST bill were fraught with great risk – risk of losing out the popular mandate of the entire people of the country, risk of incurring the wrath of traders, industry leaders and common people; and risk of disturbing the momentum of the economy, etc. There were many doomsayers to both these decisions.
When demonetization was announced, almost every single individual in the country was affected. There were long queues standing outside banks in rural areas, towns and in cities. Many ATMs went dry and there were instances of people pulling down and destroying ATM machines. Newspaper columns were filled with stories of elderly women fainting in queues and marriages being postponed. However, people of India were convinced that such an exercise was needed to curb the influence of black money, which in some cases was going into the hands of terrorists and other disruptive forces.
Even though they were affected, people were fully convinced about the honesty, integrity and good intentions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Their support to the Prime Minister was evident, as in the very next big elections in UP, they gave him an unprecedented mandate.
In the same manner, Modi Ji has convinced the nation about the need to adopt GST and I am sure, people will support and welcome it wholeheartedly.
Another important achievement of Prime Minister Modi is that he took affirmative steps to bring about the economic integration of India.
The Jan Dhan yojana was a masterstroke with which the objective of financial inclusion was achieved. Nowhere in the world, 27 crore or 270 million new bank accounts were opened in such a short time.
With this a single decision, unscrupulous agents and middlemen who were pocketing subsidies meant for the poor, were rendered jobless. The common man stands empowered.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A monumental shift took place in India’s diplomacy and foreign relations during the three years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has shunned the baggage of the past and charted a new course for the nation in international affairs. Under his leadership, India has forged strategic partnership with the United States, Russia, Australia, Gulf and African countries. The historic visit by the Prime Minister to Israel has opened avenues for strong and robust partnerships between the two great nations.
I am impressed with the Prime Minister for one more thing. Prime Minister Modi Ji has re-connected the 30 million strong Indian Diaspora with India. Thanks to his outreach with NRIs and PIOs, this large and influential group of Indians living in different countries, is willing to contribute to the social and economic agenda of the nation.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister has already received global acclaim for his ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Namami Gange’ and many other programmes. He has received the support of every Indian for his efforts to end the VIP culture in the country and for his efforts in ending corruption and black money.
A lot has been said about the surgical strikes carried out on the enemy country in the recent past. But in reality Modi ji has led surgical strikes in many areas. He has made a serious attempt to change the habit and mindset of the nation and created in them a sense of pride and ambition.
The nation has many challenges before it. We have to raise the standard of living of the billion people. We have new challenges posed by some of our neighbouring countries. Then we have challenges like ensuring the food, energy and water security of the nation.
However, India has united and rejuvenated. The youths of the nation are willing to join hands with the Prime Minister in the task of reforming and transforming India. India has the best chance to emerge as a Super power under his leadership and I am sure we shall grab it.
I congratulate Shri Uday Mahurkar Ji for writing this outstanding analytical book and thank the publishers for the excellent quality of the book.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!