Union minister Piyush Goyal had to face questions about India's citizenship law in Switzerland, where protests over the law have become a talking point. There has been concern at the World Economic Forum in Davos as India dropped 10 places in the Democracy Index 2019 - a slide that was attributed to, among other things, the protests over the citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens.
Asked by one of the youth representatives why India was not taking advantage of its diversity and secular constitution and improving its economy, Mr Goyal said Muslims in India are safer than anywhere in the world "in terms of equal opportunity".
"There is absolutely no discrimination in any of the programmes. When we take electricity to every home, we don't ask their religion. When we take toilets to every home, we don't ask anyone what their religion or background is. When we take digital technologies, when we take bank accounts, when we take cooking gas, when we take development to every home, when we provide income support to farmers, all programs are equal for all," he said.
The minister also pointed out that citizenship is an area "every nation protects".
There are 57 Islamic nations in the world, he pointed out. "Save probably one or two, every other country respects that what India is doing is for the welfare of the people of India across all religions," the minister added.
Yesterday, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev -- whose video in support of the citizenship law was tweeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month - told NDTV that the continuing protests could impair India's image and keep away much-needed foreign investment.
"No one would want to invest in a place where buses are burning on the streets," he said.
Mr Goyal, who is in charge of the commerce portfolio, had made headlines last week with his snub to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, who promised to invest $1 billion in India.
Scoffing at the announcement, Mr Goyal had said Mr Bezos had done "no great favours".
"They may have put in a billion dollars. But then if they make a loss of a billion dollars every year, then they jolly well have to finance that billion dollars. So it's not as if they are doing a great favor to India when they invest a billion dollars," the minister said while Mr Bezos was still in India.