New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi turns every challenge into an opportunity, a trait which he used to successfully wade the country through the COVID-19 pandemic with the active cooperation of 130 crore Indians.
Addressing a national conclave, organised ahead of the 100th episode of the prime minister’s monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat, Shah said many opposition parties have criticised the government for asking people to light a ‘diya’ in every home or to clap, ring bells during the pandemic but those were ways to involve people in the fight against the Covid.
“Many foreigners asked me what the secret behind India’s success is in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. I will tell you the secret today. Modi is such a leader who turns every challenge into an opportunity. I have seen this since the Gujarat earthquake in 2001.
“In other parts of the world, Covid was fought by the government. In India, Covid was fought successfully under the leadership of Modi with the involvement of the state governments and the active cooperation of the country’s 130 crore people. Mann Ki Baat had a big role in making the fight against Covid successful,” he said.
In a democracy, the home minister said, the stronger and more meaningful the dialogue between the public and the leader, the stronger and more successful the democracy becomes. And through the Mann Ki Baat a great politician like Modi interacted with the public, he said.
He said the beauty of Mann ki Baat is that a political person like Narendra Modi did not mention a single political issue in its 99 episodes. Mann ki Baat’s 100th episode will be broadcast on April 30.
Shah said there were two major contributions of Modi to democracy– the first is ending casteism, nepotism and appeasement from the democratic system and politics and bringing politics of performance.
The second was that he democratised the selection process of Padma awards for the benefits of the common people, the home minister said.
He said the prime minister brought changes in giving the awards. Earlier, they were given on the basis of recommendations and the clout of the recipient.
“Now even a very ordinary person who has achieved a big milestone can be awarded this national honour in a transparent manner,” the home minister said.
Shah said if there was any means of entertainment in the remote villages of the country, it was the All India Radio, but people were forgetting it in the changing times.
“Modi had chosen the AIR for Maan Ki Baat to reach the young generation. The Mann Ki Baat programme stands on the foundation of democracy,” he said.
The home minister said through the Mann Ki Baat, Modi has done small experiments to spread information about the people and organisations that give right and positive direction to the society.
He said the half an hour programme proves to be a ‘Gagar Mein Sagar’ (conveying lots of information in a few words). The programme inspired crores of people to contribute towards the nation, he said.
Shah said the Maan Ki Baat is now telecast in 23 languages, 29 dialects and 11 foreign languages. Seventy-two per cent of its listeners are in the age group of 19 to 34, he said.
He said on an average, 23 crore people listen to the every episode while 100 crore people have tuned into the programme at least once.
The home minister also released a Rs 5 postage stamp and a Rs 100 coin to commemorate the 100 episode of the Maan Ki Baat.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur and Minister for Railways, Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw also spoke on the occasion.