NEW DELHI: Hitting back at critics, PM Modi on Friday said his government was taunted as being filled with “average” talent, 

 but India is now shining in the world as a beacon of hope in the post-pandemic era.

During his interaction with students, teachers and parents in the sixth edition of ‘Pariksha pe Charcha’ at Talkatora Stadium here, the PM said it is his “firm conviction” and “article of faith” that criticism is a purification exercise for a robust democracy.

He was responding to questions by students Mannat Bajwa (Chandigarh) and Astami Sen Rangit Nagar (South Sikkim) on how to deal with criticism.

“Criticism is a nutrient that makes us strong. But you don’t need to take those levelling allegations seriously,” he said.

When Jovita Patra of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (Gurgaon) asked how she could focus on studies being an average student, the PM said, 

“Two-three years ago, people used to write that this government doesn’t have an economist and the PM has no knowledge of economics. 

 But this very nation, which is said to be average, is now shining in the world... All average people just need to identify something extraordinary in them.”