Interviews
'We need a long-term strategy to address agricultural distress'
, Ram Vilas Paswan  - Hindu
Days after finalising the seat-sharing arrangement in Bihar for the 2019 general election with allies Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (United), Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan takes stock of the electoral prospects of the National Democratic Alliance and of the proposed Opposition front to take on the NDA, and talks about his impending retirement.
'I don’t think we should be talking to Naxals'
, Bhupesh Baghel, Chief Minister Chhattisgarh  - Hindu
Historically, the Congress has been strong in the State. When Ajit Jogi became the Chief Minister of the newly formed State in 2000, people did not like him, for whatever reasons. This is the first time that we fought without Jogi. That is the first reason.
'Mandir in Ayodhya only solution, it will pave way for vikas'
, Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh CM  - Economic Times
Winning and losing have their significance in a democracy. But there should be no arrogance in victory, nor should there be any despondency in defeat. BJP accepts the results in this perspective, but will do its internal assessments. You must have noticed that for the first time, even though we lost, the Prime Minister and all our leaders congratulated the new chief ministers.
'No confrontation between government & RBI, only difference in views'
, Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister  - Economic Times
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday brushed aside suggestions of any ‘confrontation’ with the Reserve Bank of India, saying instead that North Block and Mint Street have only different views on some aspects of the broader money management.
Joining hands with the Congress was a democratic compulsion
, Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister  - Economic Times
Justifying the alliance entered into with the Congress in Telangana for the ensuing early polls in December, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu has termed it a ‘democratic compulsion’ in the backdrop of current political climate in the country.
‘The government is spending nearly 4% of GDP on education’
, Prakash Javadekar, Union HRD Minister  - Hindu
With the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre completing four years, Prakash Javadekar discusses the achievements of and issues facing the Ministry of Human Resource Development, including the two paper leaks of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in April, the changes to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks, the draft education policy, and the problem of vacant seats in engineering colleges. 
My work will bring me to power again
, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh CM  - Economic Times
To be honest, I have not yet thought about coming to power again. What I have thought about so far in my term is how to properly implement the road map I have drawn for development and welfare of people. The truth is that people vote on performance, especially when there is an incumbent government. If you perform better, you will come to power. Many states are examples of that.
Naxals try to stop development but we continue to work for it
, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh  - Economic Times
The big fight in Bastar is building roads, bridges, schools. Building a road in Bastar is like fighting a war. When I go to Sukma I salute the soil. I place it on my head. This is where recently 11 jawans were martyred for the sake of good roads. The Naxals are trying their best to stop development and we are pushing for it. The Naxals fear this because they know people will shun them completely for development.
‘Bihar alliance very unstable … don’t know why Nitish is doing what he is doing, but it’s not natural’
, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Union Minister  - Times of India
He is misquoting facts. The company in question was registered as a shell company by (former central government minister and RJD leader) Prem Chand Gupta. IRCTC was given the bid after norms were changed and the person who got the contract got a land deal done in lieu of the railway contract.
Troubling That Most Citizens Find Net Transactions Costlier
, N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister Andhra Pradesh  - Times of India
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is perturbed that majority of Indians con sider digital transactions pricier than those done in physical currency, defeating the very objective of one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's biggest initiatives.Naidu, who's Telugu Desam Party is part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, heads the chief ministers' committee on digital payments.
Corruption-free rule, decisive leadership: Hallmarks of Modi govt's three years
, Venkaiah Naidu  - Economic Times
With a transformational and corruption-free government at the helm, accompanied by a sea change in attitudes and behaviour of people, a new, vibrant and aspirational India is on the rise, thanks to several pioneering and game-changing initiatives taken by the NDA regime since it assumed office three years ago.
India should have its own policy on Afghanistan
, Hamid Karzai, Former Afghan president  - Hindu
For years, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has been outspoken in his criticism of U.S. action in the war on terror. But in the aftermath of American forces dropping a massive 22,000-tonne ‘MOAB’ — its biggest non-nuclear bomb — in the country on April 13, he has criticised the Ashraf Ghani government too, the first time he has been this vocally critical of his successor.
No ban, but we don’t see liquor as a source of state revenue
, Trivendra Singh Rawat  - Economic Times
Besides pradhan mantriji, I met several union ministers after becoming CM. They want to make their contribution to develop Devbhoomi (as Uttarakhand is referred to). Uttarakhand has already got three big projects — all weather road network project along Chardham, Rishikesh-Karnaprayag rail project, and an international airport at Jolly Grant.
I sought a meeting with the PM on Kashmir, there has been no response
, Yashwant Sinha  - Indian Express
It was not a delegation, just a group of concerned citizens. There were five of us. Our first visit took place in the third week of October and we met a lot of people in Srinagar during three days. Then, in the second week of December, we went back to Kashmir.
Jairam Ramesh's facts not in order, argument on the basis of 'political convenience'
, Gautam Adani  - Economic Times
Billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani, recently targetted by Congress leaders, told ET there's much more politics than logic behind the Nehru-Gandhi family-led party's critique of him. Adani, in a rare media interaction, also said Congress leader Jairam Ramesh's facts are not in order, and the former minister tends to argue on the basis of "political convenience".
'India is now the most heavily hyped emerging economy'
, Ruchir Sharma, Head, Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley  - Times of India
Ruchir Sharma, Head of Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley, chats with presidents as well as villagers to discern the economic future of nations. His 2012 book Breakout Nations became a runaway international bestseller, and he offers an updated analysis in his new book The Rise and Fall of Nations: Ten Rules of Change in the Post-Crisis World. 
Running buses on electricity will reduce fares by half
, Nitin Gadkari  - Economic Times
Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari has an ambitious plan to operate all state-run buses on electricity. He said the move will not only reduce pollution but also help cut fares by 50%.
'I believe in performance, not dressing up'
, Manohar Parrikar  - Indian Express
No. The word ‘middleman’ may be misunderstood. I would say commission agent, people who make deals for money. These people, through money or through other methods, try to influence decisions. I had heard a lot about them before coming here. Defence was new to me… It took months to gather information on how things are done here.
Public-private partnership is way forward for urbanisation of India
, Venkaiah Naidu  - Indian Express
Government is a continuation. These schemes are very popular and well accepted. Nobody can come tomorrow and say that there won’t be smart cities. Under our federal system, the Government of India formulates the schemes, funds it, and monitors it. Execution and land lie with the state and the final supervision with the urban local body...
‘BJP will win UP … Ram mandir not poll issue … caste quotas stay … Nitish will find JD(U)-mukt Bharat soon’
, Keshav Prasad Maurya, Uttar Pradesh's BJP president  - Times of India
Assam’s victory is historical – and we expected it. We are confident that this will have an effect on UP’s polls too – BJP will repeat this victory in Uttar Pradesh. Congress’s non-performance has got them this result in Assam. People have now voted for development. We have also created history by opening our account in Kerala.
Our spread is now from Kutch to Kamrup
, Amit Shah  - Times of India
The results are a personal boost for BJP chief Amit Shah, and have repaired his reputation as a shrewd tactician. Shah scripted BJP's sweep of Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls and led BJP to a string of electoral successes in Maharashtra, Haryana, J&K and Jharkhand. But the scorecard was stained by debacles in Delhi and Bihar.
Suresh Prabhu
, Big-bang reforms in 6-7 months  - Times of India
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said big-bang reforms, including restructuring of the Railway Board, will happen in 6-7 months. In an interview to Mahendra Singh, he said questions were being raised about the pace of project implementation because he was focusing on implementation unlike his predecessors who just made announcements.
We need healthier PSU banks; wait for a few days
, Arun Jaitley  - Business Standard
Moving away from the “policy paralysis” in the past few years of the preceding United Progressive Alliance government, Jaitley claimed the NDA had plucked low-hanging fruit such as opening up of foreign direct investment, allowing telecom spectrum trading and tweaking the mining and minerals regulatory law to put the economy back on track.
When was the last time telcos did not shed tears on spectrum price?
, Ravi Shankar Prasad  - Financial Express
As the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government completes two years in office, communications & IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad feels that the contours of Digital India are in place. Tele-density at 82.93% and rural tele-density at 50.60% are impressive. Operators have started rolling out 4G services. State-owned BSNL is inching towards a turnaround, posting its first operating profit after around five years.
I can protect the sugar mills but not give them the freedom to loot
, Ram Vilas Paswan  - Business Standard
Ram Vilas Paswan is one of the most experienced ministers in the Narendra Modi government. As the government moves towards a regime of better-targeted subsidies, Paswan, as in-charge of food and consumer affairs, is playing a crucial role in reforming the decades-old public distribution system. In an interview with Sanjeeb Mukherjee, the eight-time Lok Sabha MP says he would ensure that no one in the country dies of starvation, no matter how severe the drought is.
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