Set for a Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi in an interaction with journalists said that he was only “expanding” his cabinet and not “changing” it. This marks the second reshuffle of the 2 year old Modi govt, to which the latter said that the expansion was a natural event after two years.
“It will be according to requirement. The exercise would reinforce the government’s focus as outlined in the Budget this year, said PM Modi. The Budget had focused on the rural sector and development of women and weaker sections.
Asked if the upcoming UP assembly elections in would be considered during the cabinet expansion, Modi said the state had elected 72 BJP MPs even before the party’s government was formed at the Centre.
In an interview with The Indian Express, the Prime Minister said that after two years in office, his greatest “regret” was his failure to “convince or persuade” a section of the media “which strongly hoped that we would not win (in 2014)” to “our point of view”.
Talking about his regret, he said, “as regards regrets, I am not sure if my answer will be to your liking. Before and during the parliamentary elections, there was a section of the media which strongly hoped that we would not win. My regret is that in the last two years, I have not been able to convince or persuade that section regarding our point of view. My challenge is to win over these sceptics and persuade them about our sincerity and good intentions.”
He went on to say that the biggest gain for his government in the last two years has been the people’s “belief” and hope “in the government, he said: “A strong foundation has been laid for a take-off. This transformation from gloom to confidence in the future and from economic decline to sustained growth has the potential to transform India.”
Alluding to his motto of Minimum Government Maximum Governance, PM Modi said, “In Hindu mythology, one would get Moksh if one took a journey to Chardham. But in India a file never used to get Moksh even if it took 20 dhams. This is changing.”
Minimum Government Maximum Governance reflects Modi’s idea that the government has no business to do business and for that a citizen friendly and efficient administration should be implemented.
In reference to the recent Model Shops and Establishments Act, that would allow malls to remain open 24X7, Modi said that a model Bill has been sent to states to allow small shopkeepers to do the same. And in order to do that, the shopkeepers are bound to hire 1-2 people, which in turn will boost employment.
He added, “Among the 3.5 crore beneficiaries of Mudra Yojana, 70 per cent are women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. These people will get into something or the other which will provide jobs to others and some will expand further.r. This sector, I would call, like the private and public sector, the personal sector where there will be prospects for jobs. All our policies in future also will be keeping this sector in mind.”
Censuring the Congress party for “obstructionism” in Parliament, Modi stated his hope on the passage of the GST Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament and said the government’s attempts to build a consensus over it were continuing. He said the the government has been in “comprehensive dialogue” with the Opposition because the government has more “responsibility” in maintaining a working relationship with the Opposition parties.
“The fact is that baring one party, the Opposition has been constructive in pursuing the larger national interest.
The whole nation knows that it is only one party which, unable to adjust to the reality of its defeat, has made obstructionism its response to every issue, regardless of the negative consequences for the nation,” he said.