NEW DELHI — In his first interview to the Indian media since he assumed office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has indicated that he is open to resuming dialogue with Pakistan in an environment free of violence and insisted that his government was pro-poor, anti red-tape, and on track to make India grow faster and stronger.
In an exclusive interview to the Hindustan Times, Modi said his government's report card has been excellent and his comment on resuming Indo-Pak ties, suspended since Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit held consultations with Hurriyat leaders on the eve of foreign secretary-level talks, has generated much interest in diplomatic circles.
Here are nine important takeaways from what the PM said.
No Red Tape
Modi said his job was to run a "policy-driven government", which meant if there was no red tape, the rule would hold for anyone — right from Mukesh Ambani to the common man.
His 10 Months Better Than Decades Of Congress?
Modi said since his government came to power, there was no policy paralysis or stagnancy, and greater transparency in government workings. "There is pace in governance, economic progress, and global pride," Modi told HT.
Modi stressed the need to address issues in far-flung parts of the country rather than focus on the capital. "There is a very large Hindustan beyond Delhi," he said, claiming that with his intervention, the central and state governments were working in "the spirit of cooperation rather than giver and taker".
Chai Pe Charcha
Modi said that he regularly interacts with all secretaries in his government over tea. "It is part of my working style," he said. "Teams are made this way."
The 'Real' Pro-Poor Government
"It is the responsibility of the government to take care of the poor," said Modi. Among various schemes unrolled by his government, Modi listed Jan Dhan Yojana, opening of over 12 crore bank accounts, providing toilets in all schools, use of technology to improve the reach of LPG subsidies and MUDRA bank to help small businesses.
According to Modi, India has surpassed China in terms of GDP growth, and bested America's steel production. The PM said the country's growth was expected to improve steadily, and was back on the "global radar".
In four sessions under the BJP government, 36 bills have been passed by both Houses of Parliament. Modi said Lok Sabha had worked 123.45 percent of the scheduled time, while Rajya Sabha's productivity has been at 106.79 percent.
India features "significantly in American geo-political, economic and strategic thinking," he said. "We are a rapidly growing economy and can do a lot for each other," he said.
Uneasy Alliance In J&K
While he said that any "lenience" towards terrorists or "anti-national elements" would be unacceptable, he called the BJP-PDP alliance "one of the most important developments on the contemporary political scene."