New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday showcased his government’s record in promoting inclusive development and its ability to execute long-pending projects.
Contrasting it with the track record of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, the prime minister said his government has walked the talk on the Look East policy. “Act East and act fast for India’s east policy has been this government’s aim," Modi said, pointing out that in the four years that he has been prime minister, he has already made around 29 trips to the North-East.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has expanded its electoral footprint in the North-East and has just formed governments in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya with its allies.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is currently in power in six of the seven north-eastern states, while the Congress is limited to Mizoram, where assembly polls are due later this year.
Modi said the government felt it was important to act fast on the North-East, a long-neglected region, in order to address regional growth imbalances. “We have taken Delhi (central government) to the doorsteps of eastern India with our development projects," the prime minister said.
Modi said the centre took steps to revive many stalled projects in the region, citing the Assam gas cracker project inaugurated in 2016 and the ongoing revival of the sick fertilizer units at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Sindri in Jharkhand, Barauni in Bihar and Talcher in Odisha. These projects are expected to create more industrial activity and stimulate infrastructure creation in the allied sectors.
The prime minister was addressing News18 network’s Rising India summit.
Modi said his vision of a rising India rests on integrating those sections of society and regions which have been ignored in the past. Schemes such as Ujjwala, which gives LPG connections without upfront charges, and Saubhagya, which gives last-mile electricity connectivity, are addressing inequality in society, he said.
Under the prime minister’s Ujjwala Yojana launched in 2016, 34.8 million poor households have already been given cooking gas connections without upfront charges. In the 2018-19 budget, the government widened the scope of the scheme to cover 80 million households, up from the original 50 million. Under Saubhagya, the government is spending Rs16,000 crore to give electricity to all households.
He also talked about the massive strides taken by India to improve sanitation facilities in the country. In 2014, around 50 million houses had toilets, now more than 130 million houses have toilets. Sanitation coverage has also improved to 80% from 37% from the time his government came to power, Modi said.
On the government’s success in implementing key schemes, Modi said it has been the endeavour of his government to ensure that various government departments coordinate their efforts.
“No silos, only solutions" has been the government’s aim, Modi said, pointing out that it has been able to implement many schemes and laws that were conceptualized by previous governments.
Modi also highlighted his government’s strategy for the health sector. “We have been focusing on four pillars—preventive healthcare, affordable healthcare, supply-side interventions and mission mode healthcare," he said.
The centre is trying to make healthcare more accessible and cheap and is trying to address the shortages of doctors and nurses in the rural areas. The ambitious healthcare insurance scheme announced in the budget aims to bring 500 million Indians into the health insurance net.
Modi said the government’s ability to tackle black money and corruption and bring about India’s transformational shift is because of its citizens and their aspirations.
Pretika Khanna contributed to this story.