Business Today

Narendra Modi addresses women entrepreneurs at Ficci meet: Highlights

The Gujarat chief minister's appointment with industry body Ficci comes days after Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi's address to the Confederation of Indian Industry.

BT Online Bureau | April 8, 2013 | Updated 16:35 IST

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday addressed the annual general body meeting of the ladies' wing of industry lobby Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) in the national capital.

The minister's appointment with the Ficci comes days after Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi's address to another industry body, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Gandhi and Modi are both seen as prime ministerial candidates from their respective parties, the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). So, comparisons between their speeches at the two events are inevitable.

Excerpts from the Narendra Modi's 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 navrataras. 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.
  • I didn't have to think much about my speech thereafter.
  • I am happy our women are alive to social issues
  • 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.
  • We need to recognise a woman's power. Till we do that, we as a nation cannot progress.
  • 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.
  • I have seen women take care of parents better than men. Should we not recognise that as a society?
  • 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 (in Gujarat) 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.
  • When given a chance, women have far out-performed men.
  • Empowerment of women is important.
  • Entrepreneurship's stepping stone is empowerment.
  • We (in Gujarat) 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 given special status to women panchayats.
  • We have to break free of regressive attitude.
  • Reduce gender discrimination.
  • 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?
  • Amul, Lijjat Papad are examples of women empowerment; the business models wouldn't have existed had it not been for women
  • 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.
  • We need organised leadership from women
  • Despite measures to empower women, they are still not given importance in decision making
  • We need to change women's involvement level in decision making
  • Takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, cites example of Jasuben Pizza started by Jasu Ben who made pizzas loved across age and class barriers. Says: "For the benefit of the media, I would like to say that Jasu Ben is not another Kalavati. She passed away five years ago... "
  • 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.
  • A woman photographer (Homai Vyarawalla) is admired by everyone for entering a male-dominated bastion of photography. If a woman photographer shoves to find an entry into an event like the one today, imagine how she managed all those years ago.
  • We need to respect women, and their power; this will help the society progress as a whole
  • Request FICCI to constitute an editorial board to showcase Indian women entrepreneurs. We needs to highlight these achievements.
  • Thank you very much for inviting me to interact with you all, I am grateful for the opportunity.
  • On his weakness: I am available on social media platforms; please give me feedback on where I am lacking. I will work towards correcting it.
  • On why men and their achievements didn't find a mention in his speech: They themselves publicise their work so often, leaving me with nothing to say. It's you all (women) who don't find a voice. I, thus, decided to speak about you all. I have done the task of covering potholes right now. There's still so much more to do.
  • On what kind of partnership will augment development and women empowerment in India: We need to respect women power. This will be the first step towards development. Agriculture will drive India's development.
  • On how we can take forward handicrafts sector forward: The sector sees great contribution from women. Some parts are already losing the art. Different governments have their own way of promoting the industries. There are four essentials of promoting handicrafts - innovation, technology upgradation, skill management and marketing. Tourism plays an important role in marketing of India's arts.
  • On what he'll do about the Reservation Bill still pending in Parliament when he comes to power at the Centre: We have passed an Act in Gujarat Assembly, that allows 50 per cent reservation for women in elections of panchayats, nagar panchayats etc. We couldn't implement it because the Governor has held decision on it. Unfortunately, despite being a woman governor, the Bill is lying pending.
  • Closing remarks: Our being, our achievements in life are not singularly borne out of our efforts. If we learn to pay back to the society in kind, we will be working towards the development of the society as a whole. Our attire, our expensive clothing, is not with us because we have money in our pockets. We need to know and appreciate that a poor farmer, in peak summers, would have worked on sowing and reaping cotton; a tailor may have worked without electricity to stitch them together; a widow may have stayed up the entire night to add buttons or helped the tailor put the clothing together to earn some extra money for her daughter's wedding. We have to learn to appreciate that a lot of hard work would have gone into making the expensive piece of clothing that we are wearing. The day we start appreciating this, India will change as a country and no one will be able to stop India's growth as a nation.

  • Print

A    A   A