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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Doubting forces’ action disservice to nation, says Union minister Prakash Javadekar

The BJP’s campaign incharge for Rajasthan Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, spoke about the party’s political vision in the state and nationally, apart from key movements in the education sector.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 18, 2019 07:32 IST
Amandeep Shukla and Rakesh Goswami
Amandeep Shukla and Rakesh Goswami
Hindustan Times
Prakash Javadekar said Narendra Modi has empowered the poor through a slew of measures.
Prakash Javadekar said Narendra Modi has empowered the poor through a slew of measures. (Ravindra Joshi/HT File Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning to rebut allegations levelled against it by the Congress on issues ranging from farm distress to unemployment to the alleged politicisation of the Pulwama terror attacks. This includes bringing out a “black paper” on “how the Congress deceived farmers” , says Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. In an interaction with Amandeep Shukla and Rakesh Goswami, Javadekar, the BJP’s campaign incharge for Rajasthan, spoke about the party’s political vision in the state and nationally, apart from key movements in the education sector. Edited excerpts:

It has been five years of the Modi government which came at the back of huge expectations. The countdown has begun for next Lok Sabha elections. Why do you think people will again vote for you?

People vote differently in different elections. They consider, what is the main issue? This time, the issue is who should lead India. And the answer is very obvious. After all, people will think in terms of what is available. And the leadership that is available… people are definitely voting for [Narendra] Modi to be the leader because they believe he has the capacity to take India to the next level. The second most important question is, who will make India secure? Because security is always a very important consideration. As we have seen in 2008, after the Mumbai attack, the security forces asked permission from the then PM Manmohan Singh ji that they will give a befitting reply to Pakistan. But that was not allowed. And here is a Prime Minister who takes risks for the country and is decisive. There is no policy paralysis. Therefore when the air force suggested we are ready to strike, he allowed them to do so. This is the decisive leadership people want.

You spoke of decisive action. So, Nationalism, terrorism, security etc.— are they going to be your major poll planks?

Is it bad? Every country defends itself and security has always been a major concern. But Modi ji also brings in the major issue of progress. And he has ensured what India can achieve. India was 11th biggest economy of the world when he took over. Today, it is the sixth.

And if we want to move to fourth, the direction taken by the Modi government is the correct direction and therefore that is what people want. Because, unless you create prosperity, you cannot remove poverty. What is the Communist ideology and why do we differ? They want to distribute poverty. We want to distribute prosperity to remove poverty. And we have seen how fast poverty has come down.

It is not only the reduction of number of those living below the poverty line, but more importantly the poor have been empowered. What is the difference between Congress politics and BJP politics? Congress always thought of entitlements— small help on the eve of elections, slogans but not empowerment.

Through a slew of measures Modi ji has empowered the poor people. Like, he is giving homes, jobs, unsecured loans, toilets, gas, Ayushman Bharat and now 12 crore farmers will get Rs 6,000 a year help, instant direct cash transfer, to help them to bring in good agriculture inputs. So Modi represents not only surety of security but also surety of progress and prosperity. Development, development, development is our basic agenda, security of course is also part of development.

The Opposition has accused you of politicising the Pulwama attacks and aftermath?

It is not politicisation. Talking about security is not politicisation. Actually, raising doubts on action taken by our forces in the national interest is a disservice to the country.

Therefore, that goes against the very basic ethos of the country’s security. The Opposition has created doubts on this and they are asking proofs. Now proofs have also emerged. Now, everybody knows how the missiles struck, what are the losses, and people there have already described how they have seen bodies being taken away, and many other things. So, when the whole country is congratulating the security forces, and here is the unfortunate Opposition who are raising doubts.

The Opposition, especially the Congress, has accused your government of not doing enough for farmers.

Actually Modi ji has given complete sapt sutriye-sapt kranti (seven-point revolution) for farmers. Soil health cards for 16 crore farmers so that they understand what is the health of the soil, what fertilizer we should use. So everything you can treat and save your money.

For 40 years farmers struggled for remunerative prices. Atal ji formed the Swaminathan Commission which gave the formula that it will be cost of production plus 50 %.

The report came in 2006. From 2008 to 2014, all six years I raised questions in Rajya Sabha why government has not accepted this recommendation. And every time the answer from United Progressive Alliance-Congress was we have not accepted this recommendation. And here is a Prime Minister who has accepted and given the MSP formula cost plus 50 % to the whole of peasantry which was the demand for 40 years of farmers’ agitation.

The farmers were demanding this only. They don’t want lollipops like loan waivers or something. And loan waivers remind me that every state has a different characteristics. Our state governments like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra have done really good while on the other hand Congress has actually cheated the farmers. They promised loan waiver in Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and they did nothing.

We are bringing out a ‘black paper’ on how Congress has deceived farmers.

Thirdly, we have added Pradhan Mantri Sinchai Yojana. So more irrigation to the farmers, more new technology so that the water can be saved. At the same time, we have also given Fasal Bima Yojana, a first-time comprehensive insurance for farmers, right from farm to market. So it is all-weather protection.

You spoke about a black paper. Can you elaborate?

The Congress cheated farmers in Punjab, in Karnataka, in Madhya Pradesh, in Chhattisgarh, in Rajasthan.

In these last three states, they used to count like the Tezaab song, ‘ek, do, teen, to dus….that on the 10th day the loans would be waived off. For instance in Rajasthan, the total loans of farmers are of ?90,000 crore. What they have declared is only Rs 18,000 crore waivers and what they have provided for is just ?3,000 crore. This is how they are cheating farmers… Actually, the Vasundhara Raje government waived the loans from which 28 lakh farmers already benefitted.

How do you respond to reports that unemployment has been the worst in 45 years?

That is not true. There are certain organisations which are hell bent on showing a negative picture. Let us understand that employment potential and providing employment…See, it is not about government employment. It is about providing employment opportunities. Self-employment is also part of employment. Just see what has happened in five years. If there are 42 lakh trucks and more than 20 lakh passenger vehicles have been produced and sold in last five years. What does this mean? Just an example. This means half may be replacement but half is new.

So it provides millions of jobs. They are not tracked by many other types of surveys. It is a limited survey of organised labour. These are employment opportunities. If we were bringing roads which was just 11km per day and now it is 30km per dayso , employment grows. If we are bringing irrigation faster, employment grows. If we are producing more in agriculture…so jobs are created in each sector. If there are IT-enabled new services on the rise, it creates job opportunities.

You brought the old roster system and also the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) for general category. Many say these steps were taken with an eye on the elections.

No. Basically the 200-point roster was the government’s stand always. We were practising it for so many years. Suddenly the Allahabad High Court gave a decision quashing the 200-point roster and making department and not the college or university as the unit.

We fought against it in the Supreme Court. When Supreme Court also upheld department-wise, we went for a special leave petition.

When we lost the special leave petition we went for a review petition. After review petition option was over, then only we have come out with an ordinance. That ordinance was welcomed by everyone. And we have already started recruitment.

So how many vacancies will be filled?

More than 5,000 assistant professors, associate professors, professors in centrally funded universities. There are many state universities.

I think there will be vacancies throughout the country to the tune of 15,000 to 20,000, which we stopped because of demand from all political parties that till the old system is brought back, you should not recruit. So during the last one year, there was practically no recruitment. But now it is open.

Even on the EWS quota there is criticism that it was brought after the setback in three state polls.

No, EWS is always a cause of concern. The only issue was that many times, many states have taken that direction and passed a resolution which did not stand the test of legal scrutiny. We have done it with utmost care. Therefore, I am very sure that economically weaker sections quota is the best perfect constitutional answer to address the problems of reservation for the classes who are poor but not getting reservation. So all general section students and people will get reservation in admissions and employment based on their economic condition.

First Published: Mar 18, 2019 07:32 IST

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