Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman presided as the chief guest over the valedictory session of the National Conclave on 9-Years of the Government held at Plenary Hall, Vigyan Bhawan on Saturday.
The event inaugurated earlier in the day by Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnav, witnessed the three thematic sessions where the panellists from various fields expressed their views and also interacted with the ‘Yuva Shakti’.
The valedictory session also witnessed the presence of Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, and Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Dr L. Murugan, Secretary, Minister of I&B Apurva Chandra and CEO, Prasar Bharati, Gaurav Dwivedi.
Anurag Thakur, while welcoming the Chief Guest and other participants, highlighted that the image of India has transformed in the last decade.
The minister said, “It is only because of the able leadership and good policy decisions of the government that the perception among youth about their future has improved.’
He brought to the attention of everyone about the challenges the country was facing 9 years back.
“But after 9 years, India is no more a staggering economy and has emerged as the fastest growing economy, also surpassing the British economy to become the 5th largest one”, he added.
The Minister recalled how the union government tackled the COVID-19 pandemic in line with the Prime Minister’s adage of ‘Jaan hai toh jahan hai’ &’Jaan Bhi, jahan bhi’.
“The scientists were engaged to develop covid vaccines. Not one but two vaccines were developed and around 220 crore covid vaccine doses were provided free of cost to the public”, he highlighted.
While highlighting the efforts of the government in ensuring food security, especially during the times of COVID-19 pandemic, the minister mentioned that 80 crore people were provided free-of-cost foodgrains for 28 months and around Rs 4 lakh crores were spent by the government in this regard.
Also, to tackle the challenges faced by businesses during the pandemic, various schemes were introduced such as Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme because of which businesses have not only survived but also flourishing now. He also laid emphasis on the efforts of the government in providing impetus to the startup ecosystem and added that India now proudly stands as the 3rd largest Startup ecosystem in the world with 1 lakh startups in the country, including 100 Unicorns.
Anurag Thakur went on to highlight the record achievement of the government in the last 9 years and mentioned that this government not only ensured transparency and accountability through digital technology but also ensured pucca houses to 3.5 crore beneficiaries, constructed 12 crore toilets, provided tap water connection to 11.7 crores households, Ujjwala gas connections to 9.6 crores women, distributed more than 100 crores LED bulbs, quadrupled the pace of road construction in last 9 years and also ensured that all the village are electrified.
He also added that PM GATI Shakti is providing India with the foundational infrastructure thereby ensuring ‘Gati’ as well as ‘Pragati.
The Minister said, “Budget outlay for sports has more than tripled from Rs 864 crores to Rs 2700 crores in last 9 years. Through schemes such as Khelo India, Youth games, University games and Winter games have been initiated in which around 15,000 sportspersons have already participated. In this year’s Khelo India Games, 25 new National Records were created out of which 21 were created by the daughters of India.”
Anurag Thakur highlighted the prowess of India’s digital payment infrastructure and recalled how the same has been appreciated globally, including by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
The minister said, “Because of this robust digital infrastructure only, 21 crore women could get Rs 31,000 crore transferred to their bank accounts.”
“Out of 3.5 core households provided with pucca houses, 75 per cent of the registries have been done in the name of women”, the minister added.
The Minister concluded by saying that the world sees hope in India and with the efforts of the government, India is on a fast track to realising the goal of becoming a viksit (developed) even before 2047.
The Finance Minister started her address by highlighting the intention of the Government through Seva, Sushashan and Garib Kalyan, Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, Sitharaman said, “At the Prime Minister has earned the trust and faith of people by his sheer hard work and it is manifested through his popularity among the people and added that the mindset of the people has also changed.”
Sharing the minutes of her discussion with the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister said, “It was his advice that no new tax should be introduced in the name of COVID and we didn’t charge people right from vaccines to distribution of food. Not only that, even after the COVID-19 pandemic, taxes were not raised.”
Speaking on the issue of reforms, Sitharaman said, “The Prime Minister encouraged continuous reforms by removing 1,500 archaic laws to ensure that such laws do not become an instrument to harass citizens and a tool for corruption.”
Giving an example of One Nation, One Tax under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, the Finance Minister said, “This government not only brought the robust legislation with all states on board, but also created a strong system of GST to provide ease of living to the common and business people.”
Referring to the safety of women, the Finance Minister said, “The Prime Minister addressed the issue of women’s safety through his speech on Independence Day at the Red Fort.”
“The Prime Minister not only spoke about many girls having unhealthy practices, due to want of sanitary pads, he also made it affordable by providing them at the cost of Rs 1. These are not small mindset change issues,” the Finance Minister added.
In reference to the Start-Up ecosystem, Sitharaman said, “Honourably closing business was stigma earlier but with the introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) young people can start a business and in case of failure, also close it honourably.”
Talking about the huge change in the Armed Forces, Sitharaman said, “Earlier Permanent Commission was only available to boys but on the directions of Prime Minster this sector has now been opened for women also; thereby fulfilling their aspirations of getting Permanent Commission on the front line in the Army, Navy, Air Force and even Coast Guard.”
“These changes happen when the leadership works with all the stakeholders to change their mindsets. India is a very complex country and decision-making goes through many layers and levels,” she added.
Citing the examples of the evacuation of students stuck in Ukraine, Yemen and Sudan, Sitharaman said, “This Government is changing the perceptions of people outside India, manifested in a committed and dedicated Government, which puts India’s interest first.”
“This shows that the Prime Minister takes every citizen seriously; every citizen is heard and every citizen is responded to,” the Finance Minister added.
This report is filed by ANI news service.