He arrived in the political corridors of India three decades ago, not in search of an office or accolades but with the purpose of nation-building. And the best way to bring to life his aspirations for his countrymen and women was to strengthen his organisation by changing the political landscape of the nation; brick by sangathan brick, election after election. There were not many who gave credence to efforts that are undertaken to fight a municipal election or for that matter laboriously ensure the success of a countrywide ‘yatra’ pronounced by their political organisation poised to guarantee historical consequences. But then Narendra Modi always found God in those details. No effort was unworthy, no organisational aim too small. It is that eye for detail, that determination to help reach goals which became an intrinsic part of his administrative journey.
Eighteen years, 11 months and counting – the man who was entrusted with the responsibility of becoming the chief minister of Gujarat in the wake of a devastating earthquake ensured the emergence of his home state from the rubbles of those ruins.
Vilified for years by the Congress party, hounded by its media cohorts, Narendra Modi leveraged the quintessential foundations of our democracy of being a CM of the people, by the people and for the people. And it is to the credit of those citizens that Gujarat was acclaimed as the exemplar of good governance.
While programmes like Gunotsav laid the foundations for academic accountability of government schools, Shaala Pravesh Utsav was a unique endeavour that saw citizens joyously participate in order to facilitate enrolment of children, particularly girls, in the school system. In the continuum today, as we witness widespread appreciation for the New Education Policy, are we even surprised that it took a Narendra Modi to reform a dormant policy, to help the nation now keep pace with a dynamic academic ecosystem globally embraced but locally absent? The temperament of balancing the needs of the people unmet for decades with the demand for India to measure up internationally on ambitions both political and social, propelled Narendra Modi to focus early on intertwining economic reform with social justice.
To his credit he is the only Prime Minister who has brought to measure each effort of his government from the prism of both ‘ease of living’ and ‘ease of doing business’. That possibly explains that while he focused on building 11crore toilets for families in need, his government additionally dedicated itself to drafting the first-ever menstrual hygiene protocol of the country.
While he designated a separate ministry to skill our citizenry, he unleashed the Mudra Yojana to ensure access to easy credit to those who were denied their dreams for want of money. His ambition to provide affordable healthcare to the poor gave rise to the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, the first-ever in the nation to give medical cover to 10 crore poor families while making affordable medicines accessible to all under the aegis of over 6,000 Jan Aushadi Kendras.
But then that has been the hallmark of Modi’s politics. He would often say, “We are entrusted with the mandate to bring change. Can we do justice to it by being incremental in our efforts?” It is with that zeal as Prime Minister that Narendra Modi has helped India witness monumental change each month of the last six years. Be it the Give it Up campaign, supported by over one crore citizens, which enveloped in its grace the Ujwala Yojana and its consequent benefits to more than eight crore poor Indian families, or his efforts to open bank accounts of 40 crore citizens under the Jan Dhan Yojana, Narendra Modi has redefined parameters of administrative excellence.
Even the naysayers grudgingly admit that the abrogation of Article 370 and the dignity with which the foundation of the Ram Mandir was laid is a testimony to Narendra Modi’s resolve. Reams have been written about the man and much more will continue to be part of public discourse, for if you are Narendra Modi you will be not only at the centre of many aconversation but also at the fulcrum of history as it unfolds. As he comes to a seven-decade fruition of his life purposes, one can only envisage that a New India will emerge resilient, purposeful, just and glorious, for heralding that change administratively will be Narendra Damodardas Modi.
The author is Union minister of textiles