Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at News18's Rising India Summit on Friday, spoke on a range of issues — including the government's focus on the eastern region on the country, major social welfare schemes and electrification.
"For me, rising India means the rise of 1.25 billion Indians," Modi said at the beginning of his address. He further said, "Under the new dispensation, the common people lead and the government follows."
"Our government has been able to take big decisions because of the support of the people," he said.
Modi cited the Swachh Bharat Mission and digital payments as examples where citizens led positive change. "The Swachh Bharat Mission has become a popular movement and the media also became a partner in this. In the fight against black money and corruption, Indians have made digital payments a weapon."
The prime minister also laid much emphasis on the Ujjwala scheme, under which gas connections are given to people in rural areas. "The Ujjwala scheme is not just changing kitchens, but also the situation of crores of families."
Modi also made a reference to blackouts experienced in large parts of the country in 2012. "Earlier, the new and renewable energy department did not know what the power ministry roadmap was. This created silos. Today, we are moving towards becoming energy surplus. We are also moving towards our dream of One Nation, One Grid," he said.
The prime minister also touched upon the issue of nutrition and said that the government has launched the National Nutrition Mission on International Women's Day.
'Act East, Act Fast'
While speaking about according priority to the eastern region of the country, Modi took a veiled dig at previous government. "Earlier, hundreds of projects in the eastern region either did not start, or remained stuck. He cited the Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL), popularly known as Assam Gas Cracker Project in the state's Dibrugarh district, which he had dedicated to the nation on 5 February, 2016.
"In Assam, the gas cracker project was pending for 31 years, we started that project," he said.
"There has been a major infrastructure push in the road and rail sector in east India. Twelve new airports are coming up in east India, out of which North East will have six new airports. For the first time, a commercial flight landed in Sikkim," Modi said
In the past, the prime minister has frequently referred to the imbalance between the western region and the eastern region, and the need for the latter to catch with respect to development even in political rallies as well.
Modi's address was marked by numerous short presentations, featuring videos and graphics. He showed a map depicting electrification of villages, which showed that the overwhelming number of villages which were electrified were in the east and North East.
Modi further noted, "When I say east, it also includes Bengal, Odisha and other parts of eastern India. This region has been bereft of development for too long. It has been left behind in the race for development."
High-profile visits of international leaders to India have frequently been the subject of headlines in the recent past and Modi touched upon this subject as well. "Compared to the five years under the previous government, the number of state leaders coming to India has now increased two-fold. This should be a matter of pride for every Indian."
Referring to his oft-repeated slogan, the prime minister said, "When I speak about sabka saath, sabka vikas, it is not limited only to India. It extends to the entire world.
Stating that India's prestige has increased on the world stage, he said, "When anyone talks about India, it is a positive story. It is among the top two emerging economies, and is one of the most popular destinations for FDI."
Modi also touched upon efforts undertaken by India in situations of international crises. "When there is a crisis in Yemen, India evacuates its people. The world also asks India for help. We evacuated citizens of 48 countries."
Updated Date: Mar 16, 2018 22:03 PM