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PM Modi touches upon farmers’ agitation, Covid, draws line between criticism & allegations

Talking to the Open Magazine about issues raised by Opposition, PM Modi said he missed critics and that perhaps no one had time for constructive criticism today.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the government is ready to discuss any disagreement regarding the contentious farm laws, and a lot of meetings have been held, but no one has come up with any specific points of disagreement.

In an interview to Open Magazine published Saturday, he also hit out at the Opposition, accusing them of ‘rajneetik dhokhadhadi’ (political betrayal) and “intellectual dishonesty,” saying there are very few real critics in the current times.

Speaking about the farm laws, the PM said, “Many meetings have also been held in this regard but no one till now has come up with a specific point of disagreement that we want this to be changed”.

PM Modi slammed the Opposition saying those criticising his government now were the same people who wrote letters to chief ministers asking them to do the exact same thing that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has done.

These were the same people who wrote in their manifesto that they would enact the same reforms that we have brought (in),” Modi said, adding that this behaviour goes beyond the issue of farm laws and includes topics like the Central Vista, Aadhaar, GST and arming the security forces. 

Underlining how he attaches huge importance to critics and misses them in present times, Modi said: “I, with an honest mind, respect critics a lot. But, unfortunately, the number of critics is very few. Mostly, people only level allegations, the people who play games about perception are more in number. And the reason for this is that, for criticism, one has to do a lot of hard work, research and, in today’s fast-paced world, maybe people don’t have time.”

Also read: Modi seems unassailable, opposition is targeting its own but UP 2022 can change 2024 script

Praising India’s fight against Covid

India’s fight against coronavirus, especially during the second wave earlier this year, and its vaccination drive has attracted a lot of criticism. On 6 May, daily Covid-19 cases peaked in India at over four lakh, while the highest daily deaths were recorded at over 6,000 a month later in June.

However, Modi has remained steadfast in defending India’s fight against the pandemic.

Iterating the same in his Open Magazine interview, the PM said, “When we compare India’s situation in the world, we have done better than many developed countries. However, we have in our midst vested interests whose only aim is to tarnish India’s name. Covid-19 was a global scourge with all countries equally affected. In this scenario, India has done better than its peers and many developed countries, notwithstanding such negative campaigns”.

Modi also lauded the country’s ability to deliver when the need arises, talking about how India went from being one of the net importers of PPE kits to one of the world’s biggest manufacturers. Same goes for India’s domestic manufacturing of ventilators, he said.

The country’s medical infrastructure was crumbling in the second wave, as people fought for beds and oxygen cylinders. However, Modi said that the means to better health infrastructure is not by increasing the number of beds, but through training more personnel.

“From six AIIMS in 2014, we are now building 22 AIIMS. From around 380 medical colleges in 2014, today we have around 560 medical colleges. From around 82 thousand undergraduate and postgraduate medical seats, we now have around 1 lakh 40 thousand undergraduate and postgraduate medical seats,” he said.

As of 1 October, 36,32,00,842 people aged between 18-44 have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine, while 8,49,70,800 have got their second dose as well. In the 45-59 age group, 16,02,17,234 people have received their first dose and 7,74,50,693 their second dose.

Crediting the country’s vaccination success to “atmanirbharta“, Modi said in the the interview that planning for the drive began as early as May 2020, when no vaccine was available. “We made sure that technology formed the backbone of the vaccination process. Our experience shows that it is the poor who get the maximum benefit. Thanks to technology, the poor do not have to pay a bribe or stay behind in the queue to avail of services they rightfully deserve,” he said.

Also read: PM Modi’s US trip successful, had substantial exchange with Quad leaders, says envoy Sandhu


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