Noting that the BJP-led government decided to reimagine and re-invent every single element of governance after 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that the focus has been to empower the poor and the government has stopped the practice of viewing infrastructure in silos.
Addressing Economic Times Global Business Summit here, the Prime Minister said India has shown the world what it means to be anti-fragile, a system that is not only resilient in the face of adversity but gets stronger using those adversities.
He said that the concept of anti-fragile brought to his mind the collective determination of 140 crore Indians.
The Prime Minister said that during the years of COVID-19 and global challenges, India and Indians have demonstrated tremendous determination.
He took a swipe at Congress which led the UPA government and also took a veiled dig at its leader Rahul Gandhi.
"India has shown the world what it means to be anti-fragile. Where earlier there used to be the talk of Fragile Five, now India is being identified with anti-fragile. India has shown the world how to convert calamities into opportunities. Humanity will also be proud of itself after 100 years by studying the capability shown by India during the biggest crisis in 100 years", the Prime Minister said.
"In our country, most of the opinion makers are busy in relaunch of the same 'product' every six months. And they do not re-imagine." he added.
Referring to the theme of the summit 'Reimagine Business, Reimagine the world' the Prime Minister explained how reimagination came into play when the country gave the BJP-led government an opportunity to serve in 2014.
He recalled the tough times for the country's reputation due to scams, the poor being deprived due to corruption, the interests of the youth being sacrificed on the altar of the dynasty, and nepotism and policy paralysis delaying projects.
"That's why we decided to reimagine, re-invent every single element of governance. We reimagined how the government can improve welfare delivery to empower the poor. We reimagined how the government can create infrastructure in a more efficient way. We reimagined what kind of relationship the government should have with the citizens of the country", the Prime Minister said.
He noted that India's expressways or other infrastructure have also been linked to Artificial Intelligence to decide the shortest and most efficient route.
"PM Gatishakti National Master Plan is not only giving speed to the construction of infrastructure but also giving emphasis to area development and people development", the Prime Minister remarked as he highlighted the 1600 plus data layers of infrastructure mapping available on the GatiShakti platform.
He said population density and availability of schools in any one area can also be mapped and underlined that with the use of technology, schools can be built in areas where needed instead of allotting it on the basis of demand or political consideration.
He elaborated on reimagining welfare delivery and talked about the delivery of bank accounts, loans, housing, property rights, toilets, electricity, and clean cooking fuel. "Our focus was to empower the poor to enable them to contribute to the rapid growth of the country with their full potential", he said.
Giving an example of Direct Benefit Transfer, the Prime Minister remembered former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's remark on leakage that 15 paise out of one rupee reached the intended beneficiaries.
"Our government has so far transferred 28 lakh crore rupees via DBT under different schemes. If Rajiv Gandhi's remark had remained true even today, then 85 percent of it i.e. 24 lakh crore rupees would have been looted. But today it is also reaching the poor," the Prime Minister said.
He said even India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru knew that when every Indian will have a toilet facility, it will mean that India has reached a new height of development.
PM Modi said that 10 crore toilets were constructed after 2014 taking sanitation coverage from below 40 percent to 100 percent in rural areas.
Giving examples of aspirational districts the Prime Minister said in 2014 more than 100 districts were very backward.
"We reimagined this concept of backwardness and made these districts aspirational districts," the Prime Minister said.
He gave several examples such as institutional deliveries increasing from 47 percent to 91 percent in Aspirational District Fatehpur of UP.
The number of fully immunized children in the Aspirational District Barwani of Madhya Pradesh has now increased from 40 percent to 90 percent.
In Aspirational District Washim of Maharashtra in 2015, the success rate of TB treatment has increased from 48 percent to nearly 90 percent. Now the number of Gram Panchayats with broadband connectivity has increased from 20 percent to 80 percent in the Aspirational District of Yadgir, Karnataka.
"There are many such parameters in which the coverage of aspirational districts is getting better than the average of the whole country," the Prime Minister said.
Regarding clean water supply, the Prime Minister said that only three crore tap connections were there in 2014. In the last three-and-half years, the government has added eight crore new tap connections.
Similarly, in infrastructure, political ambition was given precedence over the country's needs and the power of infrastructure was not appreciated.
"We stopped the practice of viewing infrastructure in silos and reimagined infrastructure building as a grand strategy. Today, highways are being built in India at a speed of 38 km per day and more than 5 km of rail lines are being laid every day. Our port capacity is going to reach 3000 MTPA in the coming 2 years. Compared to 2014, the number of operational airports has doubled from 74 to 147. In these 9 years, about 3.5 lakh kilometres of rural roads and 80,000 kilometres of national highways have been built. In these 9 years, houses of three crore poor have been built."
The Prime Minister said Metro expertise was there in India since 1984 but till 2014 only half a kilometre of metro lines was laid every month. That has increased to 6 km per month. Today India is at number 5 in terms of Metro route length and soon India will be number 3.
Throwing light on reimagining infrastructure in India's aviation sector, the Prime Minister informed that earlier, a large chunk of the airspace was restricted for defence which led to aeroplanes taking more time to reach their destination. To find a solution to this problem, the Prime Minister elaborated that the government engaged with the armed forces which resulted in 128 air routes being opened up for civilian aircraft movement today.
This led to flight paths becoming shorter thereby saving both time and fuel. He noted that about 1 lakh tonnes of CO2 emissions have also been reduced with this decision.
The Prime Minister emphasized that India has put forth a new model of development of physical and social infrastructure before the world and India's digital infrastructure is a combined example of this.
Throwing light on the achievements in the last nine years, the Prime Minister informed that more than 6 lakh kilometres of optical fibre have been laid in the country, the number of mobile manufacturing units has increased manifold and the rate of internet data in the country has reduced 25 times, the cheapest in the world.
He noted India's contribution of two percent of the global mobile data traffic in 2012, compared to 75 percent contributed by the western market, but in 2022, India had a 21 per cent share of global mobile data traffic while North America and Europe were restricted to only one-fourth share. He further noted that today, 40 percent of the world's real-time digital payments take place in India.
Referring to the 'mai-baap' culture of the governments of the past, the Prime Minister pointed out that those who ruled behaved like masters among citizens of their own country.
He explained that it is not to be confused with 'parivarvad' and 'bhai-bhateejavad'.
Throwing light on the strange atmosphere at the time, the Prime Minister observed that the situation was such that the government looked at its citizens with suspicion no matter what they did. He further added that citizens had to take permission from the government before doing anything.
The Prime Minister pointed out that it led to an atmosphere of mutual distrust and suspicion between the government and the citizens.
He reminded the senior journalists present on the occasion about the renewable licenses that were required to run TV and Radio or any other sector.
Even though old mistakes from the nineties were rectified due to compulsion, said the Prime Minister, the old 'mai-baap' mentality did not disappear completely.
The Prime Minister elaborated that after 2014, the 'govt-first' mentality was reimagined as a 'people-first 'approach and the government worked on the principle of trusting its citizens.
The Prime Minister gave examples of self-attestation, abolishing interviews from lower rank jobs, decriminalizing small economic offences, Jan Vishwas Bill, collateral-free Mudra loans and the government becoming a guarantor for MSMEs. "Trusting people has been our mantra in every program and policy," the Prime Minister said.
Elaborating on the example of tax collections, the Prime Minister highlighted the country's gross tax revenue was approximately Rs 11 lakh crore in 2013-14, but in 2023-24 it is estimated to be more than Rs 33 lakh crore.
The Prime Minister credited the reduction in taxes for the increase in gross tax revenue.
"In 9 years, the gross tax revenue has increased by 3 times and this has happened when we have reduced the tax rates."
The Prime Minister noted that taxpayers get motivated when they know that the tax paid is being spent efficiently.
"People trust you when you trust them," the Prime Minister remarked.
He also touched upon faceless assessment where efforts are being made to simplify the processes.
Noting that income tax returns were earlier processed in 90 days on average, the Prime Minister informed that the Income Tax Department has processed more than 6.5 crore returns this year where 3 crore returns were processed within 24 hours and the money was refunded within a few days.
The Prime Minister underlined that India's prosperity is the world's prosperity and India's growth is the world's growth.
He emphasised that the theme of 'One World, One Family, One Future' chosen for G-20 contains solutions to many challenges of the world.
He said that the world can become better only by taking common resolutions and protecting everyone's interests. "This decade and the next 25 years make for unprecedented confidence in India.
The Prime Minister said that India's goals can be achieved faster only with 'Sabka Prayas'. "When you associate with India's growth journey, India gives you guarantee of growth", he concluded.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)