Narendra Modi's address to women entrepreneurs at FICCI: Highlights

Narendra Modi's address to women entrepreneurs at FICCI: Highlights

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New Delhi:  After Rahul Gandhi's debut performance before a fawning India Inc, seasoned speaker Narendra Modi is interacting with women entrepreneurs in Delhi today. Mr Modi spoke at FICCI, the rival of industry body CII, that hosted Mr Gandhi last week. (Read)

Here are the highlights of his speech:

  • Firstly, sorry I could not make it on the 11th when the programme was originally scheduled for. I could not come because of the navratras. Apologies for the inconvenience.
  • I am happy that our sisters and mothers are so pro-active on social agendas.
  • So many women have connected with me on Twitter and Facebook and have given me suggestions.
  • Our culture gives the highest status to mothers.
  • The word 'ma' evokes reverence - that is our tradition.
  • Sometimes I think we have gone back further than the 18th century. At least in the 18th century, the girl child could see her mother's face.
  • But in the 21st century, the foetus is killed.
  • This exists in my state too.I had goosebumps when I saw the 2001 census... What could I have said or done?
  • If we have to create a modern India, we have to take pride in our women and their power.
  • I know of families where women have decided not to marry so they can dedicate their lives to looking after their parents in their old age.
  • When given a chance, women have far out-performed men.
  • I have seen women take care of parents better than men. Should we not recognise that as a society?
  • Women say "I have been burnt" to get their husbands' attention.
  • That same woman  will concentrate on buying a saree from a sale - but will drop everything when her house is on fire - if her child is stuck inside, she will try and get the child out of a burning house - that same mother who was singed by a roti. That is the power of a woman.
  • Why is only the father's name used when a child is being admitted to school? The mother takes all the pain is giving birth to a child, raising the child.
  • We have said first register the mother's name, do the other processes after that.We have to tackle the gender issue in a scientific way.
  • Tell me if I am taking too long. My next engagement is only at 4 pm (his usual joke)
  • We decided to give the villages to women. No men put their name. Those women met me, said they want to run villages. They weren't that educated either. I asked them what did they want to do for the villages. "We have five years; we don't want anybody to remain poor in the village." This was their agenda. What an agenda! I was impressed.
  • We have to connect women with our development.
  • In the west, there is a perception that women in our country sit at home. They are home-makers. I don't agree.
  • Amul is such a huge brand. Who runs it?
  • The sad part is women are not part of the decision-making process. That has to change.
  • In Ahmedabad, there is a place called Jassu Behn's pizza. If she has a stall right next to pizza hut, people will go for Jassu Behn's pizza. Now media will go to Ahmedabad to see if Jassu Behn is like Kalavati. So I must tell, you she died in Pune five years ago.
  • In five-star hotels, the name of the brand is never mentioned in the menu expect when it comes to Lijjat Paapad. FICCI should study Lijjat Paapad.
  • A group of tribal women from Gujarat who started as a cooperative on a loan of Rs 80. Today their business has gone to crores.
  • Indu behn - Khakra - there was a TV series inspired by that.
  • Sometimes, when you talk of new avenues, how professionalism is coming in, the examples I am giving you has nothing to do with the government. Narendra Modi or the Gujarat government has no role in the success of these women entrepreneurs, we are facilitators at best.
  • There are norms on CSR spending ; and each company takes benefit of that. If that is given to women, they will do an excellent job, because they have compassion.
  • In 19th century, a woman, Ganga Baa became a widow at 14. She started working. Mahatma Gandhi invited her to his Sabarmati Ashram. The Gandhi charkha we talk about was given to him by Ganga Baa.
  • We have so many examples about women like that.
  • Request FICCI to constitute an editorial board to showcase Indian women entrepreneurs. We needs to highlight these achievements.

    Narendra Modi attended a Q&A round. Here are the highlights of some of his answers (
  • (On his weakness) Nobody is perfect. Each of us has some deficiencies. I have every human fault, but my values have taught me to play to my strengths, so that my deficiencies are left behind and the strengths have become my driving force. I may have many weaknesses that I don't know of. My Facebook and Twitter are open to you. Like you can tell me if my apparel is not right, or if I eat too much or if I get angry sometime. (Read)
  • (On not talking about men) What should I say? They say enough for themselves. And this occasion is about women.
  • (On Gujarat's development) We have just filled the holes left by the Congress government in Gujarat. We have just brought it to a level-playing field. Imagine what the Congress had done. We still have a lot to achieve. Take Gujarat to new heights.
  • (On what kind of partnership will empower women of India): We first have to accept that it is a big power. Say in agriculture, we have to connect with science there will be huge change. We have a vaari project in Gujarat for the tribals. Aadivaasi have 1-2 acres of land for tribals, they used to earn Rs 12,000. Men weren't that involved. We trained the women, they grew kaaju and are earning in lakhs. Sold in Bombay in packs.
  • (On reservation bill stuck in Parliament): I can do things only in Gujarat. I brought a bill that gave 50 per cent reservation to women in panchayats and civic bodies, but sadly it was not passed. It was stopped by the Gujarat Governor, who is incidentally a woman.
  • We have not  got the  fancy clothes we wear because we have money, but because some poor farmer in the month of June tended to this cotton farms. Some labourer worked in a mill, some tailor fitted it out for you.
  • If we are mindful of even this much and recognise the efforts of  others, this country will change. Thank you everyone.
  • If we are mindful of even this much and recognise the efforts of  others, this country will change. Thank you everyone.

    (Gets a standing ovation)

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