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Business News/ Economy / ‘Petty politics’ delaying rollout of key govt policies, says Goyal

NEW DELHI : Petty politics have delayed the implementation of many crucial central government policies, such as the Ayushman Bharat Yojana and foodgrain distribution programme in certain key regions of the country, Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said at the India Public Policy Summit hosted by Mint.

“In many instances, the prevalence of petty politics hampers the swift implementation of public programmes that are meant for the welfare of the citizens. We could have achieved much more in these areas. For instance, Ayushman Bharat has not been fully implemented in some states," he said.

The Supreme Court, in 2020, had issued a notice to Odisha, Telangana, Delhi, and West Bengal governments on a petition claiming non-implementation of the Centre’s healthcare initiative in the three states and union territory.

The petitioners claimed that while a majority of states in India have implemented the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, residents of Telangana, Delhi, West Bengal and Odisha are being denied of the health insurance benefits provided by the Union of India by the respective state governments in contravention of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

“When I am trying to modernize the fair price shop, I face resistance. When I am introducing one nation, one ration card, or a modern and better implementation of the foodgrain distribution programme, or we are trying to ensure legal metrology concepts are implemented honestly across the country, I wish there was more cooperation and collective wisdom that prevailed," the minister added.

India has become the world’s second-largest mobile phone manufacturer, and exports of electronic products are on the rise, Goyal said. Electronic goods exports were at $25.3 billion in FY23, up 49% over FY22, that too, in a year when overall exports grew at just 6.5%. The category alone contributed around 30% to India’s export growth.

The minister also talked about the government’s initiatives around child and women empowerment at the Mint India Public Policy Summit.

Goyal recounted incidents of deprivation faced by the underprivileged sections of society, especially women and children. Goyal said the government was working hard to empower women and children. He also highlighted the plight of the girl child, especially in rural areas, who had to give up education due to a lack of proper sanitary arrangements such as toilets and the availability of sanitary napkins. “Women present at the summit come from a section of society where they would not know the pains of children having to drop out from school, especially for a girl child only because there was no toilet within the school premises." “It is only a leader (like Prime Minister Narendra Modi), who comes from a humble background, and has seen poverty from very close quarters, who can understand the difficulty of a minor girl trying to pursue her dreams," he said.

To drive his point further, Goyal said the ‘very first’ policy introduced by the Narendra Modi-led government was to make separate toilets available for girls and women in every educational institution in the country.

Minister Goyal said that PM Modi was allegedly ridiculed for talking about building toilets from the ramparts of the Red Fort during his Independence Day speech on 15 August.

He also highlighted the fact that the present government made sure that a woman or girl is not deprived of a basic amenities like sanitary napkins. The minister claimed that the Modi government had made efforts to make “500 million sanitary napkins available for 1 a pack, to ensure that annual expenditure for a woman or a girl needing sanitary napkins does not breach the $1 mark annually."

India has emerged from the shadows of the past and is being looked upon as a bright spot by the world today, and it is incumbent upon the central government to educate and enlighten the population as the demographic dividend with its technological and managerial talent is a treasure for the country, the Union minister signed off.

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Updated: 30 May 2023, 11:07 PM IST
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