Q: You are implementing Prime Minister’s vision of digital India. How do you view the entire campaign?A: Our ministry is providing infrastructure for ‘Digital India’. The UPA government had launched BharatNet known as National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN) in 2012. It was supposed to be completed in two phases. Between 2012 and 2014, only 328km optical fiber lines were laid. However, during three years of Modi government 2.48 lakh km lines have been laid. First phase target was broadband in one lakh gram panchayats, which has been achieved of which 86% work was done by the BSNL. In the second phase, the target is to cover 1.5 lakh gram panchayats by 2019. We are careful in the second phase. Eight states have come forward to do the work and we have signed MoU with four of them. We will definitely achieve the target of providing broadband to six lakh villages.Q: How did you transform BSNL into a profit making PSU?A: BSNL’s growth was hampered due to some reasons but now there is improvement in technology. BSNL is at present there, where no one else is. It is there where money can’t be made. It works in every circumstance and performs its social responsibility. The credit goes to its officials and workers. In the future, BSNL would do even better and fulfill expectations of the country.Q: How will you improve financial health of public sector telecom companies?A: BSNL’s financial condition is not bad. At least in the last three years it has improved. In last one and half year, there is churning in telecom sector. Other service providers have been losing market share but our share is increasing. MTNL has certain problems, which I do not want to discuss here. Merger of MTNL with BSNL will cause problems for the latter. We are discussing about improving MTNL’s condition. Indian telecom industry will turn into black from the next financial year; this is a surprisingly positive news for the country.Q: What is the status of new telecom policy which is in the offing?A: We are working on it. It will be out in March 2018.Q: Do you think Jio’s launch is a big move in direction of PM’s digital India?A: Digital India has benefitted immensely from Jio. Yes, Jio has contributed but there are other factors as well. We welcome new service providers.Q: But Jio has brought cut throat competition in the telecom industry? Other telecom companies are facing the heat and incurring losses? Are they satisfied? Are they thinking of giving incentives to them?A: This happens whenever a new entrant comes. This is business competition but the government is neutral and it will take decision in the interest of consumers. For the government ‘customer is king’.Q: What is your opinion about CBI court’s verdict in 2G spectrum case?A: One should see this judgment from a different perspective. If I kill someone and no one comes up in the court to testify against me, I would be acquitted but this is true that I have murdered a person. The Supreme Court had ruled that there was irregularity in allocating spectrum licence. The apex court said that those who got licence had proximity with those in power. So, their acquittal doesn’t mean that Congress starts giving certificate of honesty. The country is aware that there was huge corruption in it. When the judgement came and the auctions took place for the first time, you just add up the amount: in 2015, Rs 1.09 lakh crore and Rs 65,678 crore in 2016, which comes to Rs 1.76 lakh crore. I think that the country knows that some people escaped for lack of evidence. It is up to investigating agencies to appeal against it. The apex court had said that “first come, first pay” policy was based on valuation of 2001 but spectrum were given in 2000. What it means is that they were served first. Understand this difference, it would have made sense if targets of 2001 and 2009, were set in 2000.Q: Will it be an issue for the Congress in 2019?A: No, we do not want to contest election on this issue. We will go to people with what we have done in five years, which did not happen in 50 years. We will contest on change in lives of the poor. There is prosperity in the country and we will contest in the name of development.Q: What do you feel about forming government in Gujarat for the sixth time?A: A large section in the country wants to see Modi ji as PM. Only Modi ji could have made it possible to win in Gujarat despite being in power for 22 years.Q: After Gujarat and Himachal are you hopeful of regaining power in Karnataka?A: Not just Karnataka but we will form governments in the North-East states wherever we are not in power at present.Q: Do you think that Modi ji is now a global leader?A: Undoubtedly and this is a matter of pride. Modi ji is counted among the strongest leaders in the world.Q: Do you have any godfather in the politics?A: I do not have a godfather. BJP’s policies and principles are my godfather. Other parties may have godfathers. I was an ordinary worker who has reached this stage.Q: How is Yogi government’s performance in the UP?A: The government is doing a good job in Uttar Pradesh. Our government is working as per our ‘Sankalp patra’.Q: What are your thoughts about party president Amit Shah’s work?A: Amit Shah has killer instinct. He works on war footing to ensure victory. We have been performing well even in those areas where the BJP’s support base is weak.
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