Panaji, July 8 (IANS) After Lal Bahadur Shastri, Narendra Modi is the only Prime Minister who has inspired people to change their thinking, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.
Like the diminutive Shastri, Modi too came up with simple solutions to resolve serious and long-standing crises, Parrikar said while speaking at a government function in Margao in south Goa, 35 km from Panaji.
“People responded to the then Prime Minister’s appeal in 1965. I get to see the same thing now,” the minister said.
“The biggest achievement of the Modi government is that people have started changing the way they think. We have coined a slogan ‘Mera desh badal raha hai’,” he said.
He said that Shastri was the kind of Prime Minister who people felt for and could relate to since he (Shastri) spoke from the heart.
“I remember, India was then facing food shortage. Shastri said if every Indian skipped meals for a day, or at least one meal a day, the country’s food demand will drop by 10 to 15 per cent.
“I remember many people skipped meals for a day to honour Shastri’s word and have kept that habit even now,” Parrikar said.
Similarly, the former Goa Chief Minister said, the present government had managed to overcome several crises and turn these into opportunities through innovation.
“There was a perennial urea shortage since urea was being used not only as fertiliser, but also as a raw material in many chemical processes. Urea was being diverted to the chemical industry and thus the government subsidy was being misused.
“Last year, the government saved Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 crore and overcame urea shortage by simply coating urea with ‘neem’. Now it can only be used as fertiliser and not industrially,” the minister said.
Parrikar, a Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh, said the mindset of people living abroad too had changed vis-a-vis India.
“A friend of mine is living in the US for a long time after studying in an Indian Institute of Technology. He called up to say that people abroad initially did not believe that India had technology and smart youngsters… slowly, they began to believe in the change,” Parrikar said.
Modi’s speech in the US Congress in June and the way the US senators queued up for his autograph showed how India’s standing had risen globally, the minister said.