Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday his 10-month administration had been able to reverse all that ailed India's economy and government at the end of the UPA's 10 years in power.
"(Our) Achievements have to be seen with reference to the past. In what situation did the people bring us to power? And what is the situation now? Is there a policy paralysis anymore? No. Is there a transparency issue? No. Is there stagnancy in governance? No. Instead, there is dynamism," Modi told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview - his first since storming to power in May last year.
"We have taken a series of measures which have restored faith in our capacity to deliver with transparency, efficiency and speed. We are looking at the interests of the poor of the country and their empowerment," he said. "Good governance with good intentions is the hallmark of our government. Implementation with integrity is our core passion."
Modi said the conclusion of the coal and spectrum auctions established that transparency was possible if there was political will while the distribution of the LPG subsidy through direct bank transfers was an example of the government's strategy to help the poor.
The direction of his government, the prime minister said, was reflected in this year's budget, a futuristic plan for the railways and the pooling of gas for stranded power plants and for fertiliser plants, all of which underscored a "firm commitment towards a prosperous and powerful India."
He also said the NDA government had restored India's global credibility in terms of its politics, governance and economy.
Not so long ago, it was even being said that the letter 'I' might have to be dropped from BRICS (the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), he pointed out.
"Now, the faith has been restored-there is pace in governance, economic progress and global pride. You can see this," he said. "Global institutions like the IMF, OECD and others are predicting even better growth potential in the coming months and years. India is, thus, back on the global radar."
EXCERPTS FROM THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:
ON TROUBLES FACED BY THE PDP-BJP ALLIANCE IN KASHMIR
I myself and my party have made our stand very clear that any lenience towards anti-national elements and terrorists will not be acceptable.However, we should not forget the larger picture. The alliance in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most important developments on the contemporary political scene.
ON RESUMING TALKS WITH ISLAMABAD
Peace can only thrive when the climate is right. We remain open to bilateral dialogue with Pakistan on all outstanding issues in an environment free from terrorism and violence.
ON DELHI POLLS
We respect the verdict of the people of Delhi. However, I find it amusing to hear that those who did not talk about a 'Modi wave' in the context of the outcome of the 2014 general elections are now engaged in intense discussion regarding the 'Modi wave'.
ON EASE OF DOING BUSINESS
A) I would request the media to counterpose two things together: The allegations our Congress friends level against us, and the complaints that businessmen have. The Congress says we are a government of industrialists and industrialists say we do nothing for them!
B) My government is working for the common man. Our priority is the poor of the country. We want good governance through a dynamic and seamless government.
ON CONGRESS CHARGE OF NOT BEING PRO-POOR
A) In the 60-year rule of the Congress, the poor of this country have remained poor or have become poorer. Many countries of the world have surpassed us on all counts, including poverty alleviation. The Congress did incremental work so as to keep the issue relevant for the next elections. And then, they bring some dramatic legislation just when the elections are around, and project that they are pro-poor.
B) The worry of the Opposition, especially the Congress is not that we are not pro-poor. Their worry is that they are being exposed. People are asking them, "If the Modi government can think and do this in six to nine months, why you could not think and do it in 60 years?" The reason is simple - they would have waited for an election for a fraction of each one of them.
ON LPG SUBSIDY
The culture of our country is that of giving; not of cornering something which belongs to others. Thus, I am appealing to people who are well off.
ON THE JUDICIARY
I would not like to analyse the judiciary, the experts should look at it. There have been instances where the judiciary's initiative has resulted in a good outcome and there have been instances when it has resulted in pain.
ON MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS
A) We have taken a series of measures which have restored faith in our capacity to deliver with transparency, efficiency and speed. We are looking at the interest of the poor of the country and their empowerment.
B) Good governance with good intentions is the hallmark of our government. Implementation with integrity is our core passion.
C) The recent conclusion of auction in coal and spectrum establishes that the curse of scam and corruption is avoidable and transparency possible if there is political will.
D) We have restored the global credibility of India in terms of its politics, governance and economy. This is because the growth of the economy has been restored. We have left behind countries like China in terms of our GDP growth. We have left behind the US in terms of steel production.
ON UPCOMING VISIT TO FRANCE, GERMANY, CANADA
I like to combine visits to more than one place when I go on my international tours in order to get more done. I'm from Ahmedabad where we have a saying, 'single-fare, double journey'. These three countries are major economies that have great relevance to our development process and growth.
I had also said that the eight states of the Northeast are the Ashta Lakshmi for the country as they have huge potential. This region can contribute a lot in the development of the whole
More from the interview: