New Delhi: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu Sunday said political parties should focus on development instead of doling out freebies during the time of elections. 

Addressing a function organised by the Ministry of Textiles, he said, “Rather than focusing on freebies that too at the time of an election, we should focus on long-term growth stories, developmental stories so that the people can stand on their own. These temporary things will be temporary lollipops only.”

Talking about the functioning of Parliament, particularly Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Winter Session, the Vice President and the Chairman of the Upper House said he is “pained by our inability to ensure convergence of different agendas into a national agenda”.
“Parliamentary institutions cannot be held captive to the competitive agenda. The Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha, could not function for 14 days because of competition between two parties,” Naidu said. 

The Vice President noted that civility of proceedings in the parliamentary institutions is a parameter of an aspiring nation finding its feet and fulfilling its quest. 

Stressing that, before electing their political representatives, people should look if “4 Cs” — character, calibre, capacity and conduct — are available, Naidu said, unfortunately, some politicians have brought in four other “Cs”: “Caste, community, cash and criminality. If these things influence society, it’s a gone case. We must bring back the agenda to development,” he said.

Observing that discrimination on the basis of gender and social identities is prevalent even now, the vice president called for a change in the mindset and commitment and go back to “our original roots where we used to give respect to women”.

Talking about the role of the agriculture, Naidu said a huge population of the country is engaged in the sector. He observed that the colonial rule created problems for India and the countrymen must let go of the colonial mindset. The Vice President exhorted people to go back to their roots and practice physical exercise while promoting Indian heritage through their dressing sense.

“Our forefathers had so much knowledge. Years of civilisation have taught us so many things. Our dress, our food habits, our lifestyle and so many things. Unfortunately, because of a colonial mindset, we have abandoned them. Now the time has come to go back to roots,” he said. 

Observing that yoga has now become an international attraction and brings unity between the body and the mind, Naidu said, “unfortunately, we have cynics in our country. What is Yoga, they are trying to connect it with religion, Yoga has no connection with any religion at all.”

Citing an example, Naidu said a boy told him yoga was very good but he had a problem with doing Surya Namaskar. Naidu said he told the boy to do “Chandra Namaskar” if he had a problem doing “Surya Namaskar”.

“We have to change attitude. Bringing legislation, bringing new schemes alone will not suffice,” Naidu said. 
Naidu said the continued growth of the textiles sector can drive the economy to new heights. However, he said, the sector has to improve supply chains and internal systems, focus on research and development, cost optimisation and command a higher share in export of top items traded in global markets. 

“I would like the sector to focus on improving quality and then tapping the opportunities in the global market to increase India’s share in exports,” Naidu said. He urged the industry to discard outdated technology and focus on creating global brands.

“I understand that India’s export performance has not been up to expectations for a variety of reasons. It cannot be business as usual and the industry has to rise to the occasion and ensure that the share of India’s exports reaches double digits,” the vice president said.  He urged the industry to diversify its products and tap newer markets, observing that the Indian textile industry is expected to reach USD 223 billion by 2021.