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It doesn’t matter where the Indians are settled, it matters where your heart is: Former Minister Suresh Prabhu

Sunoj Nambiar Thursday, December 21, 2023
It doesn’t matter where the Indians are settled, it matters where your heart is: Former Minister Suresh Prabhu

One of the senior parliamentarian in India and the former Minister who is consistently featured in the list of top five in terms of performance, Shri Suresh Prabhu has been an integral part of India’s growth story. He has played an instrumental role in defining the infrastructure policy landscape, especially in Indian Railway. Credited with many illustrious achievements in diplomacy and governance, Suresh Prabhu, has formerly served the Union Power, Railway, Commerce & Industry, and Civil Aviation Ministries.

Former Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu was in Kuwait to attend an international conference organised by the Kuwait Chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Senior Parliamentarian and Chartered Accountant Shri Suresh Prabhu was the Guest of Honor at the third International Conference titled "Expand your Horizon" by the CAI Kuwait Chapter. In a brief chat with to, Suresh Prabhu shares his ideas of changing India by management the country efficiently.

A practicing Chartered Accountant and the Chairman of one of the largest corporate bank in India, Shri Suresh Prabhu was a politician by accident. His corporate background helped him to understand the issues to find solutions. "In 2014, the Prime Minister Modi invited me to become the Railway Minister. When I looked at it, I realised that the Railway is the only resort for long distance travel for the common people. But still, right from the ticket booking, and till the time they leave the destination station, their experience was not a happy one. This made me to think how to improve it," Shri Suresh Prabhu said.

During my short period in Railway, we changed the whole passenger experience of travelling. We introduced new railway product like Thejus, Humsafar Express, Mahanagar express, etc, Shri Suresh Prabhu said. He made drastic changes to railway budget by focusing more on safety, infrastructure development and railway security. "For the first time, we introduced a 'Clean train' initiative. 'Clean My Coach' SMS service and mobile app allows anyone to request for cleaning his coach and within 15 minutes the cleaning staff will come and clean the coach. The beauty is that until the passenger sends that he is satisfied with the cleanliness, that ticket will not be closed and the respective manager will be accountable," Prabhu explains.

Railways had not maintained its tracks for many years. It was his time, Suresh Prabhu launched a safety budget of 1 lakh crore, which is used only for the safety related task.

"Another area we focused is to transform the food. We introduced an initiative where passenger can order any food from the participating outlet through e-catering system and it will be delivered to your seat," he said.

On the security side also we started CCTV cameras on coaches, launched special training program for railway police. Now passengers can complain online and will get an instant reply. I made every manager accountable so that we take each and every complaint seriously, Prabhu shares how he focused on railway security.

With his broad experience from the corporate world before joining the politics, Suresh Prabhu was able to focus on all aspects of the organisation. "The first ever railway station in India, which is like an airport was in Bhopal called Habeeb Gunj, was done during my period. Now many railway stations are in very good standard," he recalls.

"It was a good experience for me to handle railway and I am happy that we actually implemented lot of initiatives which we can see the result now, including that of Vande Bharat trains," former Minister recalls.

"The whole purpose of development is to make the human development possible and Human development is possible only when you focus on human being itself," Prabhu said. India have a huge potential because we Indians have that potential, he shares his thoughts on future.

On talking about Indians settling abroad, the professional chartered accountant Mr Prabhu expressed that he is not considering it as a bad idea. "It really doesn’t matter where you are working. It matters where your heart is. After all if you are living in India and your heart is not in India, what is the use?" Shri Prabhu asked.

As an NRI you are indirectly helping India with your foreign remittance. "150 billion dollars of remittance are sent by NRIs. If they are not working abroad, imagine what will happen to the rupee? It will go for a toss," he said.

NRIs are also contributing in various other ways. "I got an opportunity to meet many Indians here in Kuwait who came here early part of their life and contributed tremendously in the development of this country. They are in Kuwait for 50 to 60 years and still think about India. In US, there is a huge contribution of Indians working in US towards their foreign policy development." India's interest can be well protected by our people irrespective of where they are living if their heart is in the right place and is beating for India, he said.

Talking about the professionals turned politician, former Chartered Accountant said that the background doesn’t matter for ministers. "Technical expertise is not very important. What matters is your connection with the people," he said. When I was the power minister in first Vajpayee government, I saw there is a power deficit of around 18%. When I connect with the industries, I saw the power deficit. If Industries are not growing, there is no job opportunity for the people. I realised that if I had taken any drastic changes, the power deficit could have reached 40%. It’s the connection with industry and people that give you their real problem and you could make the changes," Suresh Prabhu said.

Talking about Freebies in election also Suresh Prabhu have clear understanding. "When I was the power minister I said you can give free power only if you can generate free power. Otherwise free power is no power," he said. "You cannot generate power from ideology. It needs technology and that involve cost," he said. The government should focus on common people and the policy should be directed for their benefits, he said.

How you manage the government is more important than who own the government. If you don’t manage it well, ideology will not work.

Talking about the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's clear vision and clear future, Shri Suresh Prabhu said that he is confident that in the coming election also Indians will elect Shri Narendra Modi for a third term to lead India. "Prime Minister Modi is the most popular leader in the country irrespective of religion, cast, and politics. We have a stable government, we have a clear vision about the future and we have taken care of all section of the society. In fact it is not surprising to see a bigger mandate this time," he shows his confidence. "I am sure that Indians will work towards the Indian's growth story," he concluded his chat. is now on WhatsApp Channel    Follow Channel

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Sudhir V Menon
Thursday, December 21, 2023
Good interview. Shri. Suresh Prabhu was a Minister with difference.

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