A year ago, a golden chapter was added to the history of Indian democracy. After decades, the people of the country gave a second opportunity to a government elected with a full majority. You have played a major role in writing this chapter. Today presents an opportunity for me to bow to you and honor you for your commitment to India and Indian democracy.
Had the situation been normal, I would have been blessed to be in your midst. However, the circumstances brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic have led me to write this letter and seek your blessings. In the past one year, your affection, blessings and active participation have given me fresh energy and inspiration. During this period, you have shown to the world democracy’s collective strength, which has become an example before the entire world.
In the year 2014, the people voted for a big change; you voted to change the policy and system (niti & reeti). In those five years, the country saw extricating itself from the quagmire of inertia and corruption. In those five years, the country inspired by Antyodaya has seen the change in governance in easing the lives of the poor.
In that tenure, on the one hand, the country’s prestige before the world grew, and on the other, we raised the dignity of the poor by opening their bank accounts, making available free cooking gas and electricity connection for them; and by building homes and toilets for them. In that tenure, whereas there were surgical and air strikes, there were also works for one-rank-one-pension, one-nation-one-tax GST and fulfillment of decades’ old demands involving procurement of crops under MSP for farmers. That tenure was dedicated to meeting several needs of the country.
In 2019, your blessings meant dreaming big for the country, for high hopes and for meeting the aspirations. The decisions taken in the last one year are the reflections of those big dreams. The people’s power fuelled by the common man is effulgently shining as the nation’s strength. In the past one year, the country had many dreams, many resolves as it also continuously took several steps towards realizing those goals.
In this historic journey, each community, each section and each individual has played one’s part responsibly. ‘Sabka sath, sabka vikas’ with this mantra, the country is forging ahead in all directions — social, economic, global or internal.
In the last one year, some important decisions have been in discussion, and that is why it is natural to for these achievements to linger on in our memory. Whether it was the topic of Article 370 for national unity and integrity, or the happy outcome of age-old conflict over the Ram temple construction, or the factor disrupting the modern social system, the ‘triple talaq’ or the symbol of India’s compassion, the citizenship law – all these achievements you remember.
Amid these decisions which came in quick succession, there are many other decisions and changes that have given new momentum to India’s development journey, have given us new objectives as we have strived to fulfill many expectations of the people. The constitution of the post of Chief of Defence Staff has led to increased coordination among armed forces. At the same time, India has accelerated its preparations for Mission Gaganyaan. In this period, our priority has been to empower the poor, farmers, women and the youth.
Today, each farmer has been covered under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. In the last one year, under this scheme, over Rs 72,000 crore have been deposited in the bank accounts of more 9.5 crore farmers. To make available piped drinking water for the country’s over 15 crore rural population, the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ has been initiated. To ensure better health care for our more than 50 crore cattle, a massive campaign for livestock vaccination is under way. For the first time in the nation’s history, the government has decided to offer the facility of Rs 3,000 monthly pension for farmers, farm labourers, small shopkeepers and workers belonging to the unorganized sector after the age of 60 years.
A separate department has been formed to strengthen ‘blue economy’ and increase the facilities for fishermen. Similarly, it has been decided to constitute National Traders Board to timely resolve issues concerning business enterprises. About 7 crore sisters associated with self-help groups have been given more financial assistance. Recently, the loan amount available without guarantee for self-help groups has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh. Keeping the education of tribals’ children in mind, a campaign is under way to build more than 450 Eklavya Model Residential Schools.
The government has also worked expeditiously towards making better laws linked with common man’s welfare. Our Parliament has broken decades’ old record in conducting legislative business. That’s why several laws – the Consumer Protection Act, amendment to Chit fund law, and laws concerning more security for women and children – have been quickly enacted.
The government policies have led to bridging the gulf between the urban and rural lives. For the first time, the internet users in rural areas have outnumbered the urban counterparts by 10 per cent. The list of historic works and decisions is very long. It is not possible to elaborate on all of them in this letter. But I would surely say that in the last one year, each day round the clock, the government has worked with full awareness, sensitivity, and has taken decisions.
Just when we were moving quickly towards realizing our country’s aspirations, the corona pandemic surrounded India too. On the one hand, there are countries with massive economies and most modern health services, and on the other, there is India with its huge population and so many challenges. Many people had expressed their apprehensions that when corona would attack India, the country itself would become a trouble for the world. Today, all countrymen have changed the way they look at India. You have proved that your collective capability and capacity are unprecedented in comparison with other more resourceful and prosperous countries.
You have shown that India alone holds the guarantee for a greater and better India – whether it was collective clapping or thali-beating or lighting the lamps, whether it was honouring of corona warriors by the armed forces, or following the Janata curfew or following the lockdown rules with sincerity.
In this crisis, no one can claim that nobody has been put to trouble or inconvenience. Our workers, migrant brother and sister labourers, those working in small industries, cart pushers and vendors, our shopkeeper brothers and sisters and those having small businesses have suffered immensely. We all are working together in an attempt to sort out their problems.
But we have to be careful that these inconveniences should not transform into a crisis of life. For that, each Indian has to follow all directives. We have to move forward with the same patience and courage that we shown so far. This is the reason why the situation in India has so far been manageable in comparison with other countries.
This battle will stretch on, but we are on way to victory and, to be victorious is our common resolve. We can draw inspiration from those people who recently faced the Cyclone Amphan boldly. They worked hard to reduce the damage caused by the cyclone.
under the given circumstances, there have been discussions as to how economies of India along with other nations will emerge out of the crisis. At the same time, there is this belief that the way India has surprised the world in facing coronavirus with its unity, the country can present the same example in the economic field — 130 crore Indians can not only surprise the world but can also inspire it.
Today, the time demands that we must stand on our feet, and we will have to move on our own strength. And for this, there is only one path: a self-reliant India (atmanirbhar Bharat). The recent economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore is a big step towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign. This campaign will usher in a new trend of opportunities for every countryman – our farmers, workers and labourers, medium enterprises and the youth associated with startups. India will reduce its dependence on imports with the sweat of its citizens, with their hard work and skills, thus becoming self-dependent.
you have continued to bless me with your affection in the past six years. The country has moved ahead with unprecedented pace with historic decisions and development. But I know there is so much left to be done. The country has many challenges and problems before it. I am making all efforts day and night. I may have some deficiency, but the country does not have any. That is why I place more confidence in you, in your strength and in your capacity. You, your support and your blessings are the energy behind my resolve.
The global pandemic has brought about a crisis situation, but at the same time, for us Indians, this is also the time for determination. We have to remember that no calamity, no crisis can determine the present or future of 130 crore Indians. We will decide our present and, the future too. We will move ahead, we will race ahead to progress and we will be victorious. It is said in our country: “Kritam me dakshine haste, jayo me savya ahita-h” – meaning, in one hand we carry our deeds and duties and in the other, sure success.
Modiji has led this country successfully for the last six years. This is the first year of the Second term which has been completed. This year was eventful. Modis work can be seen as a three-pronged activities. First, some historical national initiatives. Second, fighting COVID19 and, third, laying foundation stone for the future of India through “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.
Abrogation of Article 370, creation of Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill and abolition of Triple Talaq, facilitation of Ram temple, can be grouped into national and historical political initiatives. Kashmir situation has improved thereafter. Now, even the internet has been restored. Our forces are keeping watch on Pakistan’s nefarious designs. A comprehensive agreement to end over 50 years of old Bodo crisis was done and all sections of the society are very happy. Likewise, Bru-Reang refugee crisis has been solved successfully with a tripartite agreement between Tripura, Government of India and Mizoram. Also, in one year, it ushered major social initiatives in the form of six months’ leave in pregnancy; Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 2020; Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020 and amended Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
In fighting COVID, we held the longest and very strict lockdown which ensured minimum damage for the country. We had no capacity in many areas. We had zero COVID hospitals. Now we have more than 800. We had only one lab for testing and now we have more than 300. PPE suit, Mask and even the Swab Stick was getting imported. We became ‘Aatmanirbhar’ and now it is a ‘Make in India’ story. Even ventilators are being produced in India. 165 distilleries and 962 manufacturers were given licence to produce hand sanitisers which resulted in production of 87 lakh litres of hand sanitisers. Government released Rs. 15,000 crore health package and Rs. 11,000 crores for State Disaster Relief Fund to enable the States to take up the challenge and fight it without borrowing. In COVID fight, 3000 trains have ferried nearly 45 lakhs migrant labours back to their homes. Thousands of Indian residents stranded in foreign countries were evacuated successfully.
Modiji cares for masses first. In his very first package, he had given Food Security cover to 80 crore families with 25 Kg. rice / wheat and 5 Kg of pulses free of cost (for five months). It continued with earlier schemes of providing 5 Kg a month rice / wheat at a highly subsidised rate of Rs. 2 – 3 per Kg. For nearly 5 crore non-ration card holders, Government gave 10 Kg free rice / wheat and 2 Kg of pulses for two months. 20 crore Jandhan accounts of women received Rs. 30,000 crores. Each one got Rs. 1,500 (500 x 3) in their bank accounts. 8 crore families got 3 gas cylinders worth Rs. 2,000. Nearly 9 crore farmers received Rs. 2,000 into their bank accounts. 50 lakh Redi-Patriwalas will get Rs. 10,000 each. Lakhs of construction workers got fund from the Construction Workers’ Fund. If somebody calculates, the 10% bottom of our society has received more than Rs. 10,000 in the family.
The third part of the development is, major reforms unleashed through “Aatmanirbhar” package. The five pillars of Aatmanirbhar Bharat are Economy, Infrastructure, Systems, Demography and Demand. It is a Rs. 20 lakh crore package which is 10% of the GDP. It cares for every section of the society. EPI contribution was reduced for both employers and employees to the tune of Rs.2760 crore. 2% interest subvention has been given on small and medium loans. 63 lakh self-help groups will receive collateral free lending upto Rs.20 lakh which was restricted earlier to Rs.10 lakh.
The definition of small and medium industries was changed to accommodate more companies to benefit. They have been provided with Rs.4,45,000 crores for small and medium industries and NBFCs put together. Rs. 1,00,000 crores for agri-infrastructure programmes, plus Rs. 20,000 crores for Fisheries Development and nearly Rs. 15,000 crores for vaccination and treatment of foot and mouth disease in the cattle population have been provided. There is credit link subsidy of Rs. 70,000 crores which is important.
Major reforms have been unleashed in this package. Self-reliance in Defence is a historical initiative. We were importing 100% weaponry, but were not allowing FDI in Defence. Modi ji brought the country out of this hypocrisy and allowed 74% of FDI into defence production and simultaneously banned import of defence spares and weapons which are made in India. 1,00,000 crore rupees for MNREGA is one of the best initiative as it provides jobs to the needy and, as migrant workers are returning, there will be more demand for jobs in the rural areas. UPA never crossed the expenditure on MNREGA by more than Rs. 37,000 crores. Our last five years’ record is an average of Rs. 55,000 crores. Now we have nearly doubled it to Rs. 1,00,000 crores. Modi Government cares for the poor. Many concessions are given to the revamp of industries and tax payers.
Lastly, the headline of this package is the historical reforms in agricultural sector. Farmers have been freed from APMCs. They can sell anywhere by their choice. They can engage with anybody for any period his farm product and its captive marketing and he has been given relief from many anti-farmer provisions of Essential Commodities Act. Now, there will be no restricts on farmers when market offers them more price. “Aatmanirbhar” package will decide the future of India. It is visionary, historical and prudent. (IANS)
Around 60 percent Indians are not happy with the relaxations imposed by the government in the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown, reveals a new survey.
The survey, conducted over 2.5 lakh people by Public, a location-based homegrown social app revealed 86 percent even said that they are not going out for dining, socializing or travelling, after completion of the third phase of lockdown.
The survey which captured 300+ districts, had people giving their opinion on how they are adjusting with the extended lockdown and the ease of restrictions.
With the relaxation announced by Prime minister Narendra Modi for the fourth phase of nationwide lockdown, only 13.2 percent claimed that they are going out for dining, socializing with their friends or travelling. Additionally, 49 percent feared that India is yet to control the spread of coronavirus. Indians might be unhappy with the decision.