Dr. Manu Chandaria OBE, CBS, EBS is a Kenyan businessman of Indian descent. Along with being a senior member of the Comcraft Group of Companies, he is on the boards of several prominent East African companies. In 2003, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.
To define honourable Modi at 70 is a very difficult task. He is a man who built the state of Gujarat as one of the leading states in India from a very low position to become one of the top states. His ideology was to build a base with roots deep enough that the outcome remains there for a long time to come. He changed the shape and structure of Gujarat. He built ports, airports, railways stations, bus stations – a totally new concept never tried to this date in India.
His contribution to revolutionize the health sector, the education sector, the agriculture sector is something that every state should copy. Prime Minister Modi then decided that Gujarat was too small to experiment his ideology. He stood up to run as a prime minister of India and won with a huge majority. A person totally unknown but whose work spoke and impressed the people of India to vote him as the prime minister of India.
Prime minister Modi brought in initiatives to eliminate the social-economic backwardness of citizens of India, which had been undermined or played down by the governments in the past. With his government set to complete its term in office the prime minister has to his credit ten major initiatives which started to change the face of India. They are Mann ki Baat, Swachh Bharat, Make in India, FDI, Startup India & Mudra Yojna, Jan Dhan Yojna & Ujjwal Yojna, affordable healthcare, implementation of GST, expansion of electricity and roads, Triple Talaq bill, push for Yoga and Digital India.
The regular conversation between the leader of the nation and the public was introduced with Mann ki baat – a monthly radio programme. Wielding a broom Modi took to the streets on Gandhi Jayanti to launch Swachh Bharat mission in 2014. Brand India got a boost under Modi’s rule. He launched Make in India to attract global investments in India. He also liberated foreign direct investments in 25 sectors.
In an attempt to bring the majority of the country into the formal economy Prime Minister Modi’s government provided zero balance bank accounts. A total of 132 million new accounts were opened. He also initiated Pradhan Mantri Ujjwal Yojna where 5 crores household got cooking gas facilities. He moved into the health sector to provide economically backward sector of the society with benefit of modern medicine. This was under National Health Protection Scheme. He provided a five lakhs medical insurance cover to 50 crores low income citizens. It was a massive undertaking. He saw in India different states collected different taxes. He brought the bill for a single tax in all the states under implementation of GST. It was the most difficult area but his consultation with all stakeholders enabled him to get the GST bill passed. Like this many other initiatives have been taken by him which improved the lives of the most vulnerable people of India.
His simple life and simple living has attracted many people’s attention. What he believed, what he preached he implemented. First on himself and then on others. His appeal to the vast majority of the country was very well taken by the Indian citizens who voted him again for a second term.
His statesmanship, his various foreign travels put him in the lime light with most of the top statesmen of the world. He was always at ease and very impressive wherever he went. He created a new impression for India and Indians – as a people to be counted for their modesty, simplicity and hard work. He has been the best ambassador of India to date.
I remember his visit to Kenya and the modesty, the simplicity, the charm he displayed. It not only won our hearts but a stadium full of eighteen thousand people did not want him to stop his address. Away from our country he made us feel proud of being Indian. The number of people he met in Kenya was unbelievable. He made himself available to anybody and everybody not only Indians but the local people as well. It was impressive. In short, a simple man with high philosophy, having feelings for the downtrodden, taking action than words. He has set records which will take a long time for any Indian to be able to break.
On his 70th birthday I wish Prime Minister Narendra Modi a very very happy birthday and we wish him many more birthdays to come.