For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser.

External forces can't influence mature Indian voters: PM Modi

PM Modi said that India is a mature democracy and boasts of rich and well-established electoral principles and traditions and such “provocation” was a matter of grave concern and calls for a thorough investigation.
12:36 AM May 28, 2024 IST | IANS
external forces can t influence mature indian voters  pm modi

New Delhi, May 27: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday expressed shock and surprise over Pakistani voices of endorsement and praise for a select few Indian counterparts (Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal) in the middle of Lok Sabha elections and asserted that Indian voters were mature enough to see through their gimmicks.


In an interview with IANS at his official residence in the national capital, the PM said that India’s voters were mature in their thoughts and could not be influenced by any external factor.


On questions of Pakistani politicians' support to Congress leader and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal amid polls, he said: “I don’t understand why some select group of people, apparently those who harbour animosity against us, get endorsements from Pakistan, why voices of support emanate from there, for certain individuals."


PM Modi said that India is a mature democracy and boasts of rich and well-established electoral principles and traditions and such “provocation” was a matter of grave concern and calls for a thorough investigation.


He said that he understands the aspirations of the country's youth and considers it a responsibility to provide them with a launching pad so that they can achieve their desired goals.


"I understand their aspirations. Today's youth is very different from the past. They don't want to conform to the previous standards. They want to make a big leap in every field to reach their intended destinations, even if it means bypassing some steps. Our responsibility is to provide them with launching pads and give them a platform to fulfil their aspirations. There is a need to understand youth and their thinking pattern," the PM said.


"When I do Pariksha Pe Charcha, I get to interact with thousands of students. I come across many students who are thinking decades ahead of their time. A major gap will emerge if the government and the leadership fail to understand the aspirations of this new generation," he said.


Stating that his government turned the COVID pandemic crisis into an opportunity, PM Modi said that he completely understands the true potential of technology and how it can be harnessed effectively.

“During the COVID period, I was worried about the country's young generation. I was worried about their youthfulness confined to the four walls of the room. In my video conferencing sessions, I tried to energise them with certain tasks to lift their spirits. That is why we made data very cheap. My logic behind the move was to turn them towards the new digital world, and we succeeded in it,” he said.

The PM said that the digital revolution that was being witnessed right now was a result of India successfully managing to turn around the huge COVID crisis into an opportunity.

“The digital and Fintech revolution in the country owes much to the government's focus on converting the crisis into an opportunity during that time. I fully understand the prowess of technology and the impactful changes that it can bring for generations and therefore want to harness it to full potential," he said.

PM Modi said India’s G20 presidency last year marked a significant milestone in its global leadership role.

He said that this contributed massively to making India “world-ready” and the world “India-ready”.

“We held G20 meetings all over the country because the world should know that India is not just only about Delhi. It is also not enough for my country's tourism industry if people just visit the Taj Mahal. My country has massive potential which needs to be known and understood. We used the G20 as an opportunity to establish India's image in the world,” the PM said.

"We were highly successful in creating curiosity about India among the world community. More than one lakh policy-makers from the entire world attended over 200 G20 meetings and explored first-hand different places of India, most of which they had not even heard of before. They also correlated things with their own country and kept on talking about India after returning home. I am seeing that the tourist flow has increased enormously after India held the G20 Summit," he said.

Emphasising that every city and district of the country has its unique vibrancy and potential, PM Modi said he makes it a point to spread India's culture, traditions, and heritage during his foreign visits.

"India is a land of diversities and any country cannot stand tall on just one pillar. I laid strength on 'One District, One Product' (ODOP) because every district in India is unique and has its strength. I want to bring them to the fore. Now, when I go abroad, I don't have to spend too much time deciding what gift to take along with me. Whether I am going to Africa or Europe, I just have a look at the ODOP catalogue and it is quite easy for me to decide what product to take along with me," he said.

“I have told the External Affairs Ministry that I will measure your success on three parameters. First, how many goods from India are brought in the country you are posted in? Second, which is the best technology in that country which India still does not have, and how can we get it here? And thirdly, how many tourists do you send to India from that country? India and 'nation first' is at the centre of every decision I make," the PM said.

He said that driven by digital public infrastructure (DPI) models like unified payments interface (UPI), the country was now leading the global fintech ecosystem and several countries were ready to embrace the 'India Stack' solutions to empower the masses.

The PM said when he kicked off the 'Digital India' movement, opposition parties made allegations that this was being done to serve the needs of the service providers.

"They could not understand how big this area is and the 21st century is technology-driven. Moreover, technology today is driven by artificial intelligence (AI)," he said.

PM Modi said that UPI had played a huge role in the world of fintech and due to this, "several countries are ready to embrace UPI because this is the era of fintech and India is now leading the fintech ecosystem".

He came down heavily on those objecting to crack down on big fish of corruption rackets and said some people were scripting a fake narrative to save them from the grip of law.

The PM said that, unlike earlier regimes, not the small players but big fish and perpetrators were being brought to book under his watch and this was breaking the backs of their masters.

“The same people who earlier cried foul over no action on big players have started crying hoarse about it,” he said.

PM Modi also expressed dismay over a recent trend, which he said, was the glorification of the corrupt.

“Earlier, people used to stay 100 steps away from the convicted or even those with any corruption taint but today there is a tendency to support and rally behind them,” he said.

The PM said how his government questioned in 2019 for going slow on the corrupt and shady practices, had ensured the prosecution of big fish and racketeers and also stated that this had triggered a wave of protests and backlash from certain sections of the Opposition.

“The same people who demanded that Sonia Gandhi be put behind bars are crying hoarse over action against corruption,” PM Modi said.

He said that the action against the corrupt and the dishonest was based on facts and evidence, and not on perception.

“Before the 2019 elections, we were questioned over our stand and action on graft and why the government was not quick on punishing the perpetrators. Our outright response was that Independent agencies will act against them and it will be done based on facts. Officials worked hard to gather the facts and today, big players are being caught and brought to justice,” the PM said.

“It is the Independent investigative agency which apprehends the accused, and it is the judiciary which decides on his conviction or trial. The Prime Minister has no role in this,” he said.

PM Modi said that his government's approach was comprehensive, integrated, and holistic.

"Nation's fundamental issues can't be ignored. If people in villages and remote locations are facing issues, they call for immediate redressal. They too are important constituents of India's growth story and can’t be looked down upon,” he said.

"I have also briefed the Foreign Department about measuring their scale of success on three counts. First is how much Indian produce is bought by the country where you reside, second is which modern technology can be brought in India and third is how many citizens of that country visit India every year, for tourism," PM Modi said.

He said that their government had transferred about Rs 38 lakh crore directly into accounts of beneficiaries via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), so far.

"If we talk about times of Rajiv Gandhi government (when out of Rs 1, only 15 paise reached the intended beneficiaries), about Rs 25-30 lakh crore could have been gobbled up by the middlemen," the PM said.

Stressing the thrust of technology in his governance, he said that it made records transparent and administration more efficient.

PM Modi elucidated how two factors -- policy-driven governance and saturation of schemes -- worked wonders in containing corruption to a large extent.

“When the policy is laid out in black and white, the grey area is brought down to minimal levels, this reduces the scope for any discrimination. We have focussed on policy-driven governance," he said.

The PM said that saturation of schemes gives a guarantee for corruption-free governance and gives a guarantee of social security.

"We have focused on 100 percent delivery of schemes to targeted beneficiaries. If people are convinced that they are bound to get benefits sooner or later, this leaves no room for corruption. Some mischievous elements may still try to spoil the system but can't befool the beneficiaries for long," he said.

PM Modi said that the government would ensure the country's leadership in the world of gaming in years to come.

He said that there was a huge gaming market waiting for India.

"The irony is that Indians are investing large sums of money while others are making huge profits in the gaming industry. I called young gamers recently to understand their problems. After the interaction, I told my government that I want to cement India’s leadership in the global gaming market,” the PM said. "There is such a big future market. Gaming has come to the Olympics now and I want Indian youth to participate in it."