Shri P P Chaudhary is a renowned name in Indian politics. He is one of the strongest knights in the army of Shri Narendra Modi, as the Union Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Justice; and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. He is a man of action who is fully committed to and is actively involved in getting innumerable farmers justice and in improving & uplifting the status of girls & women not only in his Pali Lok Sabha constituency but also in the entire State of Rajasthan and at the national level. His life story is an immense inspiration for youth in general and for people of all ages who have a white heat of desire to do great in life. Please read on for excerpts of his interview with Anam Kumar
Before becoming a Member of Parliament, or a Minister, you were a highly successful advocate, and used to farm with your father on your family land. What are your views on the current issue of farmers’ agitation? How has the government helped farmers as long-term solutions?
Yes. I have been in the law profession for the last 38 years and am also a senior advocate practicing in High Courts and Supreme Court. It is true that I have worked for the causes of farmers. I come from a family of farmers. My father trained me into various aspects of farming while I was young and I have seen farming from close quarters. I can understand the agony of the farmers and can empathize with them because I see they have been wronged both in the pre- and post-British era. The present agitation by the farmers is the result of accumulation of injustices meted out to farmers due to wrong policies in the last 60 years which impoverished the farmer and weakened his economic condition to such an extent that he is not able to withstand even minor disruptions due to market pricing patterns or due to nature’s fury and calamities. There are hardly any surpluses left with him be it in the form of grains, fodder or even savings.
To mitigate the problem of farmers, our PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has taken the right steps in the direction of reducing cost of farming while at the same time doubling the income of the farmers in the coming years. The most important step has been to bring about a scheme by which the Government is assisting the farmer to determine the health of the soil, the outcome of which will determine the amount of manure or fertilizer that is required by the soil. Then there has been emphasis on use of Neem-coated Fertilizers as well as cheaper crop insurance through Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. To me, in the past misaligned incentives have resulted in the overuse of insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This has resulted in soil degradation. The PM’s roadmap of doubling farmer’s incomes through use of technology, integrated agricultural markets (through e-NAM), organic manure, cheaper crop insurance and cheaper loan assistance are steps in the right direction and are being welcomed by the farming community.
You have worked a lot for girl child education in Pali district, Rajasthan and generally in the country. Your wife has also helped you in this cause. Do you think women empowerment needs to be done politically, socially and financially at the same time? Please share with us what all you have been doing for girl child education and women empowerment.
Yes, my wife has been very active in the field of women empowerment and girl education. Women empowerment is the need of the hour. An empowered woman means an empowered family. And yes, as you rightly pointed out, this empowerment has to be multifaceted.
Politically, you need to create an environment where more women enter politics and take policy decisions in the interest of the society.
To make them socially empowered, you need to reduce their working time in the kitchens, provide clean toilets at homes and proper sanitation measures, thereby giving them a clean and healthy environment. To support the higher education of girls from rural areas, we need to provide safe and quality hostels for them in urban areas.
Financially we need to focus on giving them low-cost insurance schemes, essential work skills and better and safe work environments.
I am confident that our Prime Minister’s sincere efforts in introducing well-thought-out schemes such as Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, etc. will create the kind of environment that is beneficial for the betterment of our society in the long run.
I have taken the initiative ever since I have become an MP to provide insurance cover under Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) for 1,31,175 (One lakh thirty-one thousand one hundred seventy five) women of my Lok Sabha constituency, Pali, from my own salary.
“To mitigate the problem of farmers, our PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has taken the right steps in the direction of reducing cost of farming while at the same time doubling the income of the farmers in the coming years”
Please share with us some of your inspiring experiences as a Minister in the government.
I have developed a strong work ethic during my 38 years of law practice. After becoming a Minister, I spend a major chunk of my time in office be it in Shastri Bhawan or Electronics Niketan. Even my personal staff has now understood my habits and works with me late hours. I am encouraged by the motivation of my staff. They are enthusiastic about the work they do and the ideas that the Government wants to implement.
Earlier this year, when I got a chance to interact with the scientists working in the Ministry in the field of nanotechnology, I was extremely delighted to see their enthusiasm and commitment for undertaking pathbreaking research in the niche field. I was convinced that with such a set of dedicated scientists at work, we shall surely attain Hon’ble PM’s dream of creating a New India by the year 2022.
As the Union Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Justice, and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, please share with us the several development works your Ministries are conducting.
In the Ministry of Electronics & IT, we are working on ensuring that Digital India programme of the Government achieves its objectives and transforms India into a digital economy. While at one end, we are enrolling people for Aadhaar, on the other we are encouraging them to open bank accounts, link them with Aadhaar and use it to receive Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) from the Government as well as move towards digital payments. At the same time, we have launched schemes to promote digital literacy such as PMGDISHA. We are also working towards promoting growth of electronics manufacturing in the country as well as promoting start-ups in the Electronics & IT Space. We are also promoting adoption of technology in the education and health sector across the country. Recently, we had a conference with the industry captains on how to make India a Trillion Dollar Digital Economy and everyone was unanimous that this is too small a target if we continue to formulate and implement industry-friendly policies.
In the Ministry of Law & Justice, our focus is on ensuring that vacancies of judges in the higher judiciary are filled at the earliest so to provide timely justice to the people and to reduce pendency of cases in the courts. We are also working on laws, which are the main cause of pendency of cases in courts. We have already repealed around 1,200 obsolete laws. We are also working on promoting alternate dispute resolution mechanisms to ease the burden of courts and to reduce tortuous litigation. Then there is the focus on providing technology in the courtrooms to make it easier for people to interact with the judicial process and reduce the time of litigation.
You are known to be a very grounded political leader. What is your source of inspiration and who is your role model?
I thank you for your remarks! I try my level best to help the people and when in doubt I seek guidance from my seniors and elders. My parents have been the biggest source of inspiration for me during school and college days. I have had to work very hard alongside my father to make both ends meet. It is hard to forget tilling the soil by using oxen and reaping the harvest in the blazing hot sun in Rajasthan. This instilled in me the importance of hard work, which has helped me in my career as a lawyer and now as a Minister.
I am also inspired by the teachings of Swami Vivekanand for he brought spirituality in the realm of modernity in India. He made us realize our cultural and traditional roots and the richness of our heritage.
Role models, there are many.
Presently it is our Prime Minister who continues to inspire me. While I was doing fine in my legal profession all these years, I always had an urge to do something for my country. However, I was always held back by the thought that common people like me with only hard work and legal experience as their forte stood no chance in a system that rewarded the corrupt irrespective of their capabilities. However, inspired by the clarion call of Shri Narendra Modi Ji to provide a clean and transparent governance for the betterment of the country, I decided to take a plunge in politics. I was surprised by the trust Modi Ji has generated amongst our citizens. I witnessed it from close quarters when people voted me over my competitors by over 4 lakh votes in the 2014 General Elections.
You are the Chairperson of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Offices of Profit, and a Member of many other important Committees. What is the role of such Committees?
The work done by the Parliament in modern times is not only varied in nature, but considerable in volume. The time at its disposal is limited. It cannot, therefore, give close consideration to all the legislative, and other, matters that come up before it. A good deal of its business is, therefore, transacted by these Parliamentary Committees. These Committees examine draft Bills as well as the issues assigned to them in great detail, bring together all the stakeholders, assimilate their feedback and advise on the Bills and policy decisions of the Executive. While it is the final product such as an Act or a policy decision that gets greater publicity amongst the public, as it affects the lives of the people directly, the Committees are the ones which would have worked overboard to assist the Parliament and the Executive to get to the final product. These Committees are great tools of the Parliamentary system of functioning.
As Chairperson of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Office of Profit, I, along with other members, did a large amount of work. We examined almost all the Ministries and Departments of the Central Government and reviewed four States. I was in the Committee for around two years, and it has been a satisfying piece of work for me as well as a great learning experience about the functioning of the parliamentary system in India.
You have been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since the age of eight. RSS has both a positive and a negative image in the minds of people. The reason is that people have created their own images based on certain factors. However, if you have to explain RSS and its ideology to the general public, how would you do it?
Yes. I have been associated with RSS since my childhood days as a Bal Sewak. And I must say with my experience that this association has given me a grounding and pride in our cultural tradition and heritage.
I do not feel that RSS can have negative image. It has been working since its genesis for the betterment of our society at the grassroots level sans discrimination on the grounds of caste or religion. You will always find it at the forefront of social service whenever any natural calamity strikes our countrymen. To my mind, negativity towards RSS may stem from lack of awareness about its selfless work.
How do you take success in your stride? What was the happiest and the most rewarding moment of your life?
Success in any sphere means more responsibility and more work. Throughout my career as a lawyer and now as a Minister, I feel satisfied by the virtue of hard work itself.
I am driven by bringing happiness to the poor, the downtrodden and to those who have lost hope from the system. You have to continuously toil with the single goal of betterment of lives of the people of the country.
There have been many rewarding moments in the last three years. Be it providing insurance cover for women in my constituency, or ensuring effective installation of solar lights, which is undertaken through CSR initiatives across my Constituency.
“I am driven by bringing happiness to the poor, the downtrodden & to those who have lost hope from the system. You have to continuously toil with the single goal of betterment of lives of the people”