New Delhi: Poverty alleviation was an important focus area of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech on Thursday as he promised permanent homes, access to electricity, connectivity and long-distance education to every Indian citizen in the 75th year of India’s independence.
“For India’s bright future, we will have to be poverty free and over the last five years, many successful efforts have been made to bring people out of poverty," said Modi.
In his speech attended by top Indian dignitaries and cabinet ministers along with the international diplomatic corp at the historic Red Fort, Modi said that the country has to scale new heights and India has to make its place in the world. With income transfers to the poor being a target area of the NDA government, Modi added that the country has to stress on removing poverty and this isn’t a favour to anyone.
The NDA government has articulated its intent to bring millions of people out of poverty. After his historic victory at the end of a long-drawn general election campaign, Modi said in his victory speech on 23 May that according to him, only two castes existed in the 21st century India. One of them was of people who want to come out of poverty. The other, he said, was of those who will lift the poor out of poverty. “We have to empower them both," he said.
On Thursday, he also talked about wealth creation and wealth distribution and spoke of meeting head on the challenges of eliminating poverty.
The prime minister also sought to reassure Indian businesses, stating that “wealth creation is a great national service,'' adding that “let us never see wealth creators with suspicion. Only when wealth is created, wealth will be distributed. Wealth creation is absolutely essential. Those who create wealth are India's wealth and we respect them."
This comes in the backdrop of assuaging investors’ concerns. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in her budget speech also sought to allay fears of firms and investors who have increasingly complained of ‘tax terrorism’ in recent years. She had invoked the analogy of an elephant that is satisfied with a small offering of rice and doesn’t trample upon the paddy fields.
“Our economy was $1.85 trillion when we assumed power (in 2014) and it reached $2.7 trillion (in five years)," said Sitharaman in her maiden budget speech.
The government has set a goal of making India a $5 trillion economy, with the plan to stimulate the economy.