School toilets are not just about cleanliness but women's dignity, PM Modi tells PTI in interview

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New Delhi, May 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to news agency PTI on Thursday in an interview that covered various issues related to his one-year-old governance, criticism by the opposition parties, GST bills, his much-talked about foreign tours and others. [Read full interview here]

Experience as PM in 1 year

When asked about his experience as the prime minister over the last one year, Modi said the civil service was completely demoralised and hesitated to take decisions when he took over. He said the cabinet system was in a disarray because of operation of "extra-constitutional authorities from outside and group of minister from inside". It was a challenging task and he faced many difficulties in rectifying the situation and restore faith, the PM told PTI. [What PM Modi told UNI]

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About Delhi's power corridors

On understanding the power corridors of Delhi, PM Modi said they were "littered with lobbies of various kinds" when he took over. He said it was important to clean the power corridors so that the government machinery could be improved.

On his pet projects like Swachh Bharat or toilet schools

On his pet projects like Swachh Bharat or provision for toilets in schools, Modi said they are not just about cleanliness. He said the provision of school toilets ensures dignity of our womenfolk. He said it is unfortunate that such issues have not been given any importance for so many years after independence.

On key reform bills

To a question that some key reform bills like Land Acquisition and GST have faced problems and what he thought about these obstacles, PM Modi said both these bills are in the interest of the country and he is optimistic that it is only a matter of time before these two laws get passed in the Lok Sabha.

Future focus on P2G2

Modi said his government's future focus will be on issues like P2G2 (Pro-active, Pro-people Good Governance reforms) and strengthen the relation between the states and the Centre so that reforms can be made more effective.

Govt, Finance Ministry respect RBI

The prime minister said there is no communication gap between the Reserve Bank of India and the Finance Ministry when the interviewer asked him that certain remarks made by the RBI governor indicate at a disconnect with the ministry. Modi said the RBI has its functional autonomy which the government and the Finance Ministry respect.

On foreign trips and the Opposition's criticism

Replying to a query over his frequent foreign trips and the Opposition's criticism, PM Modi said an isolated India is not what one would look at. He said India can not afford to be arrogant and ignore others just because it is a big country.

Replying to the Opposition's criticism, Modi said the former lacks any specific issue to critcise his trips and focuses on the number of days and countries. He said the recent surveys show that it is his government's foreign policy which has got the highest approval rating.

On Rahul Gandhi's turning proactive

On Rahul Gandhi's turning proactive in recent days and taking up farmers' issues and the land bill, PM Modi said the Congress is still not able to digest the crushing defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. He said the people of the country have punished them for their "sins of omission and commission".

On Sonia Gandhi's charges of 'one person' governmment

On Sonia Gandhi's sharp attack on the NDA government whereby she accused it of showing 'obstinate arrogance' in Parliament and working to scuttle administrative transparency, PM Modi said extra-constitutional authorities wielded powers earlier while it being used by constitutional means now and the Congress chief was perhaps referring to that fact.

On bringing back the black money

One of the questions posed to the prime minister was how his government was progressing on taking action on the black money issue. Modi said his government set up a special investigation team to pursue the illegal money stashed abroad and then brought a new bill to combat the black money held abroad. He thanked his government for the efforts that led to an agreement at the G20 Summit last November to curb tax evasion and exchange information between countries.

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