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Amit Shah reiterates India can’t develop with ‘army of illiterates’, says education important

The home minister called Narendra Modi India’s most successful PM since Independence. He also lauded the 2016 demonetisation move.

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New Delhi: People who don’t know their constitutional rights can’t contribute to the nation as much as they possibly can, Union Minister Amit Shah reiterated Wednesday, seeking to justify his earlier comment that “illiterate people could never become a good citizen of India”.

Shah said no nation can develop “with an army of illiterates”.

“For development the most important thing is education. I was trolled for this but I would like to say this again… ki anpado ki fauj le kar koi desh vikas nahi kar sakta,” the minister said.

“Somebody who doesn’t know his Constitutional rights can’t contribute to the nation, as much as it can be done…” he added. 

“They interpreted my comment in a manner that I’m against illiterates. I’m not against illiterate people. The person is in fact a victim of the system. But it is the responsibility of the state to ensure the person is given education. And I feel someone who is not able to fulfil that responsibility is his culprit,” Shah added.

Shah’s comments earlier this month came during an interview with Sansad TV, when he was speaking about how the Narendra Modi government has raised school enrolment.

His latest remarks came during an address at the inaugural session of a national conference on ‘Delivering Democracy: Reviewing Two Decades of PM Narendra Modi as Head of Government’. It was organised by non-profit research body Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini in the national capital.

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Modi India’s most successful PM, says HM

Speaking at the conference, Shah called Narendra Modi India’s most successful prime minister since Independence, who has given a human angle to the economic barometer of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Even though Narendra Modi ji considers himself as a pradhan sevak, this is his belief… But I can say that if there is any successful (safal se safal) PM after Independence, then it is Shri Narendra Modi,” Shah said.

The home minister noted that for the first time a non-Congress party formed the government with an absolute majority.

“For the first time in a way, BJP got an absolute majority and for the first time people outside the ideology of Congress got a chance to power independently,” said Shah.

“Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji‘s government was also formed twice, Morarji (Desai) bhai‘s government was also formed… but most of the people on whom the government was dependent used to come from the same ideology,” he added. 

Referring to the economy, Shah said while the definition of GDP was dry, PM Modi gave a human touch to it.

“Narendra Modi ji has given a human angle to GDP. The GDP should grow, but its beneficiary should be the poor and needy. His reforms have always been based on the needs of the poor. How would you know about the pain of a girl who has to go for open defecation, only a chaiwala’s (tea seller) son can understand it,” said Shah. 

He further said that the PM increased the size and scale of schemes, and ensured they reached every household.

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Shah lauds demonetisation

Shah recounted all the development work undertaken by Modi, first as the three-time chief minister of Gujarat and then as the PM of India from 2014 onwards.

He also praised the demonetisation move of November 2016, saying that while there were political risks, the PM still went ahead with it.

“Modi ji took the demonetisation decision, even though UP elections were looming then, we took the decision. Mamata (Banerjee), Communists, BSP, Congress all of them opposed, but results came and they were wiped out. It took the country towards online transactions,” he added. 

Shah also lauded the law on triple talaq, saying crores of Muslim women were benefitted.

On Article 370, which was scrapped on 5 August 2019, Shah said “even party workers didn’t think it would ever go”.

“The government also ensured no riots took place even after the Ram temple verdict (in November 2019),” the minister said.

Modi’s work on India’s global image

Shah said PM Modi has increased the value of the Indian passport in the world.

Moreover, he lauded the 2018 surgical strikes against Pakistan as a message to countries to not mess with India.

“What is the meaning of holistic development? It is ensuring the security of the country. From a child to the senior-most, (everyone) should be clear that no one can lift a finger on this country. Attacks used to happen earlier a lot of times,” he added.

“In Uri and Pulwama, we carried out surgical strikes and airstrikes which delivered a message to the world that no attack on the border of India will be tolerated,” the home minister said.

“A major change happened on that day… the defence policy of this country… although there was no defence policy earlier. But the defence policy of this country always remained in the shadow of foreign policy. Narendra Modi ji separated defence policy and foreign policy with clarity,” said Shah.

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The Gujarat model and 2014 win

In 2001, when the BJP decided that Narendra Modi will become the CM of Gujarat, it was a rare occasion because he had no real experience of running administrations until then, Shah said. 

He hailed Modi’s ‘Gujarat Governance Model’, saying he transformed the education system in the state.

“After the 1960s and by 2014, people doubted if a multi-party democratic system could be successful. People wondered if the system had failed as it didn’t yield desired results. With great patience they took a decision and gave power to PM Modi with absolute majority,” Shah added.

Targeting the Congress, Shah said before the 2014 elections, the UPA government was busy handling issues of power tussles while the government was in a complete state of “policy paralysis”.

“What government did we have at the time of the 2014 polls? We had a government where cabinet ministers didn’t consider the PM, a PM. Everybody considered themselves the PM. There was no policy for the country, there was no talk on the security of the country, every day new corruption came to the fore,” said Shah.

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