Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday released Venkaiah Naidu's book, Moving On… Moving Forward: A Year in Office, on his experiences during the first year as the Vice President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha and called him a strict "disciplinarian".
The 245-page book brings out Naidu's "mission of engagement" on four key issues with various stakeholders across the country and its alignment with the mission of a new India in the making.
He identifies these core issues as: unrealised demographic dividend, need for an effective ecosystem for farmers to thrive and bridge the rural urban divide, orienting scientific advancements to better the life of the people, and enhancing public awareness about the rich Indian heritage and inculcating national pride in the country's pluralistic, inclusive, harmonious worldview.
The book also contains a chapter on various initiatives taken by Naidu as the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
At the launch, Naidu said that there is a need for sustained support to agriculture. He said that there has to be a bias towards agriculture in the coming days as people are leaving agriculture because it's not remunerative.
Further, Venkaiah Naidu reiterated that even though the Finance minister has to “take care of everybody”, the ministry should show “bias” towards agriculture. “There is need for sustained support to agriculture. Finance Minister is here, he may not like what I'm saying as he has to take care of everybody, but there has to be biased towards agriculture in coming days otherwise people are leaving agriculture as it's not remunerative,” the Vice President said.
"The very idea of this book is to present a report to the people because I believe in public life hence there should be transparency and accountability," the vice president also said.
The prime minister said that he had the opportunity to work with Naidu for several years and that the vice president "emphasised on karyabhaar more than everything else". Saying that Naidu has performed every duty he has had with the utmost diligence, Modi added that the vice president adapted into every role with ease.
"Venkaiahji is a disciplinarian, but our country's situation is such that it has become easy to call discipline undemocratic. If someone calls for discipline, he is branded autocratic... the whole dictionary is opened. But the discipline Venkaiahji calls for he himself follows it," he said.
Naidu has been in public life for 50 years – 10 years in student politics and 40 years in state as well as national politics, Modi added. He also said that Naidu always provides visionary leadership whenever he gets a responsibility and gets the best experts to ensure justice is done to the work assigned.
Talking about the time when Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to give Naidu a ministry in his government, Modi said that he chose 'rural development'. He also called the vice president a "farmer at heart".
The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana came into being due to the efforts of Naiduji, Modi said while adding that in a time when political discourse was centred around train stoppages only, Naidu ensured that leaders began to think more about roads and other forms of connectivity.
Modi also said that Naidu has a way with words and is a wonderful speaker, in English and Telugu.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh was also present at the book launch event and said Naidu brings political and administrative experience to the Office of the Vice President of India and it is reflected in his one year in office.
Addressing the gathering Singh said, “He (Venkaiah Naidu) brings to office of VP, political and administrative experience and that is amply reflected in his 1 year in office. But best is yet to come. As a poet has said, "Sitaron ke aage jahan aur bhi hain, abhi ishq ke imtehaan aur bhi hain.”
Naidu, in the book, says that his mission of exploring and shaping public discourse over four key issues took him on extensive travels across the country since he was sworn in as Vice President on August 11 last year.
He identifies these core issues as; unrealised demographic dividend, need for an effective ecosystem for farmers to thrive and bridge the rural-urban divide, orienting scientific advancements to better the lives of the people, and enhancing public awareness about the rich Indian heritage and inculcating national pride in the country's pluralistic, inclusive, harmonious worldview.
Naidu records in the book his excitement over the new role; I have assumed the office of the Vice President at what seems like an interesting moment in the country's history. It is indeed a time of daunting challenges and a time of limitless opportunities.
It is a time when the country is moving forward and I feel privileged to be in this position to serve the country and its people in a new role. It is a moment when the resolute political will to transform the country is finding resonance with the people.
Clearly, there are many more miles to go. We must, as a nation, move on. We must move forward with persistence, he says in the book.
Referring to his role as the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Naidu said his dream was to facilitate meaningful debates in which members express their learned and considered views.
The Chairman records his disappointment over the first two sessions of the House he presided but notes with optimism the new tidings witnessed during the monsoon session that concluded earlier this month.
The Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Sumitra Mahajan said that the book on the first year of Shri Naidu is a chronicle of how a person from humble origins could rise to an exalted position and give effective leadership. She further noted that the book was perhaps inspired by Shri Naidu’s quest for an honest introspection to find out if he was on the right course.
Recalling his 45 year long association with Shri Naidu, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said “The unique feature of Shri Naidu is he is 24 x 7 x 365 without even a day’s rest and is intensely committed to farmers. He is more guided by heart and so is emotional. His last one year has been an act of balancing protocol and natural tendency. Shri Naidu has been promoting consensus on issues of national importance”.
Deputy Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma was also on the dais at the book release.
A large number of union Ministers, MPs, MLAs and Mayors, senior serving and retired government officials, diplomats from several countries, officials from armed forces, lawyers, farmers, students, scientists and others attended the event.
The book has 465 illustrations and seven chapters, including a detailed one on various initiatives taken by him as Chairman of Rajya Sabha and refers to the rapidly expanding viewership of RSTV.