Criticising Narendra Modi as a Prime Minister, who only “tweets” rather than talking to the people, social activist Aruna Roy today said there appeared to be “more rhetoric but very little action” on his part.
Rejecting the criticism, Union Minister Piyush Goyal, however, said the Prime Minister speaks his heart out and expressed confidence about his abilities to deliver.
“While Modi has been using social media to communicate with the people, the conversation has gone only in one direction. He is there as a representative of all of us. But he can’t just tweet to us. He can’t just have an email address. He has to talk to us,” Roy said.
Roy, Founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana and formerly a member of National Advisory Council, however, said it was an opaque government and “we don’t know what is happening. He has to speak to us and not just tweet to us”.
“I have great faith in people of India… we need systemic changes. Democracy is working in some states, but people are rethinking… The Indian society is divided and you are living the life like an ostrich,” she added.
Roy said there was “the other India that is unhappy and distressed by a whole spate of promises that have not been fulfilled”.
Expressing concern that “Modi is not moving fast enough”, she said there was “more rhetoric but very little action and, in some cases, they are going backwards”.
“We don’t know what the government is doing. It is an opaque government. We don’t have a roadmap,” she said, while speaking at a session on ‘A New India: Free, Fair and Prosperous’ during India Economic Summit, organised by WEF and CII.
Speaking at the same session, Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, said the Prime Minister talks and “he is not a Prime Minister who only talks”.
“The Prime Minister is aware that the whole world is watching and assessing his performance… He will ensure that there is development for all,” Goyal said further, after Roy raised concerns during the summit here that India under the Modi government remains “divided”.
“He does not want to segregate society. Rather than giving lip service, he is on the ground working for justice for all. After years of deprivation, this is a process that won’t happen in a month,” Goyal said.
“He (Modi) has given more interviews than the previous Prime Minister in ten years… You have seen him speak his heart out. He is not the one who is inundated by criticism.
“He is not the one who is looking at pessimistic world. He is an optimist, he is a person who believes in his abilities to perform, and one who is confident on his abilities to deliver.”
The minister also said that the present government is more accessible, but the “sad part of India and India’s development story is that it is only driven by what is happening in the media”.
“This government believes it has to work and deliver to the people. I think what Modi reflects and he is categorical about it is that we want development for all… He does not want to segregate the society.
“I think what Mahatma Gandhi stood for is what he is implementing rather than just paying lip service. He is actually on the ground and is bringing that uniformity in society and justice for all and appeasement for none,” he added.
Participating in the discussion, Bharti Group chief Sunil Mittal said he has “never seen more hard working government”.
“He (Modi) may not wear a skull cap or wear a particular shawl around his neck and that has been done for 67 years and where are we today. He is even-handed,” Mittal added.
Promising better days ahead for the businesses as well as the poor of this country, Goyal said, “We have inherited this Companies Act because it was not passed by the current government nor framed by this government… There could be changes in the rules.”
Goyal said that the country was looking for jobs and a better economic scenario.
“Massive corruption and economic situation deterioration that happened in the past 5-6 years has caused the interest rate to become completely unaffordable. Most infrastructure projects today are stuck because of very high interest rates.
“I think with better management of the economy and softening of interest rates would be one important way of bringing infrastructure back on track. The second is parity between public and private sectors.
“I think this government is more pro-poor… This concept of revenue foregone is a completely erroneous concept. Investor confidence is at an all-time high. The government believes there is no contradiction between being pro-business and pro-poor. When business succeeds, we will improve the lives of the people,”