India’s inclusive development in last 8 years unparalleled in world

New Delhi, July 8 (Mayank Nigam) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the speed and scale with which India has worked for inclusive development in the last eight years has no parallel anywhere in the world. “In the last eight years, the speed and the scale on which India has worked for inclusion, no other example can be found anywhere in the whole world. In the last eight years, India has provided free gas connections to more than 9 crore women. This number is more than the entire population of South Africa, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand,” he said. The Prime Minister was addressing the first Arun Jaitley Memorial Lecture organised by Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance at Vigyan Bhavan. The lecture was organised in recognition of Jaitley’s contribution to the nation. The Prime Minister said that today’s India has moved from reforms by compulsion to reforms with conviction. This will make the growth roadmap for the next 25 years, he said. The Prime Minister said that the government has made over 10 crore toilets in the last eight years.

Over 45 crore Jan Dhan accounts have been opened, 3 crore pucca houses have been made for the poor. This scale is larger than the population of most nations like Germany, Singapore or Japan, he said. He said that the Digital India initiative has been a great example of inclusion where internet has now reached the remotest parts of the country. Elaborating more on the development initiatives of the center, the Prime Minister said that before 2014, average 50 medical colleges were built in 10 years. “While 209 new medical colleges have been built in India in the last 7-8 years alone, more than 4 times as compared to the previous speed,” he said. “In the last 7-8 years, there has been a 75 per cent increase in under-graduate medical seats in India. The number of annual total medical seats in India has almost doubled,” he said. Modi said that inclusion is also about taking education to all. “Through the National Education Policy we are ensuring that those excluded due to language barriers now have access to quality education,” he said. “Is it possible to ensure growth in true sense without inclusion ? Can we think of inclusion without growth ? Real growth is not possible without inclusion.

The goal of inclusion cannot be achieved without growth,” Modi said. He said that Jal Jeevan Mission, Nutrition Programs, UDAN Scheme etc. all are examples of driving growth through inclusion and inclusion through growth. This inclusiveness is improving the quality of life of citizens and helping them grow and prosper, he added. “We have also worked at an unprecedented rate to ensure property rights. Through SVAMITVA scheme, we have mapped rural areas using drones and have helped the poor and marginalized get property cards. This is inclusion that wasn’t seen before,” he said. The Prime Minister said that inclusion is also about the government and the private sector working together and becoming partners in progress. He said that Covid vaccine development and the growth of private participation in the space sector are examples of government and private sector working together.

“Take the example of Covid vaccines. The private players of our country have done a great job. But behind them stood the power of the government as partner in progress,” he said. The Prime Minister began his address paying tributes to former Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “Today is a day of irreparable loss and unbearable pain for me. My close friend and former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is no more with us. He was not just my friend, he was equally a trusted friend of India. During his tenure, India-Japan relations not only got a new height, but we also carried forward the relations of the common heritage of the two countries,” he said. The Prime Minister also remembered former Union Minister Arun Jaitley for his witty one liners, jokes and statesmanship during the event. Delivering keynote address in the Lecture, Senior Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that the risk of escalation of geopolitical tensions and conflicts today is greater than it has been anytime since the end of cold war.

“What is happening in Ukraine is a major rupture and will have ramifications which go beyond just another conflict or war. The ramifications could be catastrophic,” he said. Shanmugaratnam said that higher inflation and slow growth over a period of time will bring in real prospect of a recession in advance countries. “Critically higher inflation and recession will erode political capital at the time when we need political capital within nations and globally to address much larger challenges including climate change, water crisis and sinking biodiversity,” Shanmugaratnam said. The Lecture was followed by a panel discussion by Mathias Cormann (OECD Secretary-General) and Arvind Panagariya (Professor, Columbia University).