The 15th Finance Commission headed by Sh. N.K. Singh today had a detailed meeting with the State Government Punjab headed by the Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amrinder Singh. The meeting was also addressed by the State Finance Minister Shri Manpreet Singh Badal.

The Commission was informed that:

  • Punjab constitutes 1.53% of total area of the country
  • The State has 2.33% of the total population of the country with an urbanisation rate of 37.48%.
  • Sex ratio of the State is 895 as per Census 2011 as compared to 943 at All India level.
  • Population density of Punjab is very high as against the national average and has grown consistently since 1951, though at a slower pace than the latter. Population density of the State is 551 as compared to the national average of 382.
  • Though comprising of 2.33% of total population of the country, the state’s share in inter-se devolution was 1.577.
  • States contribution to National GDP has been around 2.8-3.1% in the past 5 years (2011-12 to 2016-17)
  • Share of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sector is 29.2, 24.6 and 46.2% in 2016-17.
  • Per capita Income of Rs. 128890 (Rank 13th) in 2016-17 as compared to India’s average of Rs. 103870.

The Commission was also informed that:

  • Punjab is the first State to achieve 100% rural electrification, 100% rural connectivity through all-weather roads, mandi linkages of rural areas and now 24X7 rural water supply.
  • The state has one of the lowest Transmission & Distribution Losses (T&D) in the country 13.6% in 2017-18 down from 16.95% in 2013-14.
  • State has 100% road connectivity and with a road density of 133 per square kilometer, the State is ranked 2nd in the country.
  • The State has made significant development in reducing the poverty, thereby showing its commitment towards SDG 1. The state has a poverty ratio of 8.3 in 2011-12 declining from 20.9 in 2004-05 (Population below Poverty Line Tendulkar Methodology.
  • The memorandum submitted by the State has given a balanced picture of both equity and efficiency indicators. The State has proposed various indicators for performance measurement like in the areas of renewable energy, efficiency in Public Finance Management through IT initiative, Sewerage System in villages, efficient water resource management and solar powered street lights.
  • The State ranks 2nd as per the Health Index 2018, prepared by the NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare &the World Bank.

The Commission was concerned to note about the State’s Rising Outstanding Debt to GSDP Ratio, Declining Tax Revenues, Challenges for the State Finances, Debt Trap Situation, Agriculture Distress & Groundwater Depletion and other issues.

  • The state is exhibiting a rising trend in its Outstanding Debt to GSDP no’s. The Debt to GSDP ratio has increased from 30.99% in 2012-13 to 42.61% in 2016-17.
  • High interest payments coupled with the historical legacy of accumulated debt, which further got augmented due to the additional debt burden on the back of UDAY Scheme (of approx. Rs 15628 cr.) and takeover of the legacy Cash Credit Limit (CCL) gap (of approxRs. 31000 cr.) into long term loan
  • Double Digit Debt growth rate of government of Punjab for the past years violating the norms of fiscal prudence.

 

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Outstanding Debt (in Rs cr.)

74784

83099

92282

102234

112366

129441

182526

AGR(%)

10.02

11.12

11.05

10.78

9.91

15.20

41.01

 

  • As understood from the Principal Accountant General (PAG), Punjab and during the internal deliberations in the Commission, the State has been exhibiting lower growth rate of own tax revenue since 2013-14. This has also led to lower buoyancies of own tax w.r.t to GSDP in the recent years. The buoyancy has declined significantly over a period of five years from 1.70 in 2012-13 to 0.96 in 2017-18.
  • The projections submitted by the state government to XV FC also indicates that the State is projecting its own tax revenues to grow at a mere trend growth rate of 4.13% during 2020-25.
  • As state’s own resources contributes is a significant contributor (around 70%) to the total revenue receipts of the State, this trend is disturbing and would not augur well for the state’s fiscal health.
  • The implementation of the Pay Commission is expected to lead to significant growth in expenditure on Salaries & Wages and put additional burden on the already strained financial resources of the State, constraining its fiscal space further.
  • Committed expenditure comprising Salary, Interest payment, Pension and Subsidies constitutes more than 90% of the Total Revenue Receipts of the State.
  • Punjab Interest Payments/Total Revenue Receipts in 2016-17 is 24.30%, which is highest among general category states.
  • State is in a situation where its gross borrowings are not even enough to meet its expenditure on repayment of principal and interest payment, leaving little scope for the State to spend on developmental works.
  • As per UDAY improvement barometer (June 2018), the State has achieved 100 % progress in Rural Feeder Audit. However, the state’s performance is not satisfactory and is way below the targets for parameters like Rural Feeder Audit, DT Metering Urban and DT Metering Rural. Health Outcomes.

Regarding the third tier the Commission noted that only 13 functions out of 29 envisaged in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution have been devolved to PRIs. According to Pr. AG Punjab, following are the issues pertaining to accounting of PRI and ULB:

  • Accounts from the year 2011-12 to 2017-18 are in arrears.
  • In case of PRI’s as there is no process of consolidation of PRIs accounts at different levels (village accounts to block level to district and finally to state level).
  • Similarly, no provision of consolidation of accounts exists in the accounting manual prescribed for ULBs.
  • Accounting system based on Model Accounting System (MAS) and National Municipal Accounting Manual (NMAM) for PRIs and ULBs respectively are yet to be followed.
  • Examiner, Local Fund and Accounts (ELFA) being a statutory auditor is responsible to certify the accounts of PRIs and ULBs, but this is yet to be initiated.

On the issue of Agriculture Distress& Groundwater Depletion the Commission noted that:

  • Wheat and paddy cover 83 per cent of the cultivable area of the State.
  • The State has the highest percentage of net irrigated area to net cropped area of 99% (71% groundwater and 28% surface water) and highest irrigation intensity of 204% in India.
  • With only 1.53% of India’s geographical area state produced 17.42% of the country’s wheat and 11.30% of the rice in 2015-16 and contributed 29% (P) rice and 46.4% (P) wheat to the Central Pool in 2016-17.
  • The state has provided subsidies for power, water, fertilizer (now the second largest subsidy), seeds, credit, exemption agricultural income from income taxes, and assured MSP has further deteriorated the groundwater situation.
  • Being a pioneer in Green Revolution, Punjab has lost most of its earlier agricultural dynamism. Between 1971-72 and 1985-86, agricultural growth was 5.7% percent compared to the All-India number of 2.3 percent. Since 2005-06, its average agricultural growth has declined to 1.6% compared to India’s 3.5%
  • Consequently, overall dynamism has suffered as its overall growth has slipped from being substantially above the Indian average to well below. Punjab has slipped from being the richest large state (excluding special category states) in 1984 to 4th in 2004-05 and finally at 13th rank in 2016-17.
  • The state is showing a decline in the crop diversification index from 0.710 in 1994-95 to 0.682 in 2005-06 and further declining to 0.658 in 2014-15.
  • According to Central Ground Water Board (2017), the state has the second highest discharge of ground water through irrigation (34.05 bcm) and the estimated ground water availability for future irrigation use is negative.
  • There is a need to diversify into high value crops and horticulture crops for which Government has taken several measures. Crops Diversification Programme is being implemented by the Government in original green revolution states viz. Punjab, Haryana and in Western UP to diversify paddy area towards less water requiring crops like oilseeds, pulses, coarse cereal, agro forestry.

 

Some special demands from the State include:

  • Special package of Rs. 12,000 crore for water cycle management in cities and villages.
  • Special package of 1,000 crore for stubble burning.
  • Special package of Rs. 1900 crore for providing revival to debt stressed farmers.
  • Special onetime infrastructure development package of Rs. 500 crores for improving border area.
  • Special recommendation to address the issue of disaster relief along the lines SDRF to address the issue of crop damages.
  • Special debt relief package to improve fiscal performance.
  • 2694 crore in lieu of payment for security loan during militancy period (1980-95).
  • Waiving of CCL or division amongst stakeholders GOI, GO Punjab & Banks.

The Commission was happy to receive the Agenda of the Punjab Government. It has promised to look into all the issues raised by the State in a fair and just manner. Both Central and State Governments are equal applicants before the Commission. “All the issues, concerns and challenges raised by the Punjab Government will receive the Commission’s serious consideration over the coming months”. The Chairman concluded saying that a “Prosperous India” was not possible without a “Prosperous Punjab”.

 

*****

MC

Read more: 15TH Finance Commission Meets the Government of...

In commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister of India dedicated grand and iconic ‘National Salt Satyagraha Memorial’ constructed by the Central Public Works Department at Dandi, Gujarat to the Nation today. This beautiful Memorial spread over an area of 15 acres near sea coast at Dandi, Navsari, Gujarat, shall be a true honour and tribute to the Father of the Nation - Mahatma Gandhi and the 80 Marchers.  

This State of the Art Memorial has unique features such as 40 metre high crystal tower with crystal made in glass - symbol of importance of salt, resting over hand shaped structure, 5 metre high statue of Mahatma Gandhi standing over granite rock monoliths in natural shape and finish, artificial lake created in an area of about 14000 Sqm and 24 narrative murals supported on blocks of granite monoliths in natural shape and finish, depicting the journey of the Salt Satyagraha Marchers.  

The lush green Memorial will be lighted through the renewable energy resource with 180 KW (Peak) solar power generation through PV modules on 41 trees shaped structure with 12 leaves on each tree. The Memorial has the facilities such as buildings for salt making activities, display of art work, community hall, library, audio visual room, services block with pathways and plantation of 450 trees with beautiful landscape and greenery in an area of about 7 acres.  

This prestigious work entrusted to CPWD by the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India has been completed by the dedicated team of CPWD in 20 months’ time well within the sanctioned amount of Rs. 72.23 crores. CPWD addressed the unique inherent challenges during construction of the National Memorial.  This beautiful Memorial shall be a land mark to inculcate the values of Mahatma Gandhi, a great tourist attraction and bring about valuable transformation of the place, chosen by Mahatmas of the Namak Satyagraha.  

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RJ/KGS

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India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C44) successfully injected Microsat-R and Kalamsat-V2 satellites into their designated orbits. The PSLV-C44 lifted off at 23:37 Hrs (IST) on January 24, 2019 from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota in its 46th flight.

About 13 minutes 26 seconds after lift-off, Microsat-R was successfully injected into intended orbit of 274 km. After injection, two solar arrays of the satellite were deployed automatically and ISRO Telemetry Tracking & Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite.

Subsequently, the fourth stage (PS4) of the vehicle was moved to a higher circular orbit of 453 km after two restarts of the stage, to establish an orbital platform for carrying out experiments. Kalamsat-V2, a student payload, first to use PS4 as an orbital platform, was taken to its designated orbit about 1 hour and 40 minutes after lift-off.

This flight marked the first mission of PSLV-DL, a new variant of PSLV with two strap-on motors.

In the previous PSLV launch on November 29, PSLV-C43 had successfully launched India’s HysIS as well as 30 customer satellites from abroad.

In his post-launch address, Chairman Dr K Sivan said the PSLV-C44 mission was unique as it was for the first time ISRO used the last stage of the rocket as a platform to perform experiments in space.

“I hope the student community will make use of this opportunity being provided by ISRO. This new low cost technology will help students to conduct several inspiring experiments in space by attaching their instruments to the last stage of the rocket,” Dr Sivan said.

He congratulated Kalamsat-V2 team for their perfection in making satellites. “We must strive for science-oriented India. ISRO is open to all students across India. We want students to bring their satellites to us and we will launch them. Young scientists will shape the future of India,” Dr Sivan said.

He also introduced the Kalamsat-V2 team. Mission Director Shri R. Hutton thanked the entire PSLV-C44 team for their relentless efforts in making the launch successful.

Earlier on January 24, 2019, Dr Sivan held the third edition of Samwad with Students (SwS) in Sriharikota. Over 300 students from schools in and around the region had an opportunity to interact with him.

SwS is the newly-launched outreach initiative of ISRO to instill scientific temper among youngsters. The first edition was held in Bengaluru on January 1, 2019 and the second one at Kochi on January 20, 2019.

“Concentrate on the present with full sincerity. Dilemmas will disappear. A good student is not afraid of failure. Failures are important for learning as they open up new avenues,” Dr Sivan told the SwS participants.

 

******

BB/NK/PK/SS

 

Read more: PSLV-C44 successfully launches Microsat-R and...

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the plenary session of the 15th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas at Deendayal Hastkala Sankul in Varanasi today.

Chief Guest of PBD 2019, Prime Minister of Mauritius, PravindJugnauth, ,Governor of Uttar Pradesh Ram Naik, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister of UttarakhandTrivendra Singh Rawat, Union Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs Retd.General V K Singh and several other dignitaries graced the occasion.

 

 

In his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it is the love and affection of the diaspora for the land of their forefathers which has brought them to India. He called upon the NRI community to join hands for building a new India.

PM lauded the role of Indian diaspora in keeping alive the tradition of VasudhaivaKutumbakam. He said the NRIs are not only the Brand Ambassadors of India but also represent its strength, capabilities and characteristics. He urged the diaspora to participate in building a New India specially in research and innovation.

PM said that with its rapid progress, India is being seen on a high pedestal across the world and is in a position to lead the global community. International Solar Alliance is one such example. Mr. Modi added that local solution and global application is our mantra. He termed International Solar Alliance as a step in the direction of One World, One Sun, One Grid.

 

 

Prime Minister said that India is on course to become a global economic powerhouse. It has one of the largest start-up ecosystems and world's largest healthcare scheme to its credit. We have moved on with great strides in Make in India. A bumper harvest production has been our major achievement.

PM lamented that due to lack of will power and proper policies of the previous Government, a large chunk of funds earmarked for them was not available for the Beneficiaries. However today, he said we have plugged the loopholes in the system with the help of technology. The loot of public money has been stopped and 85 percent of the lost money has been made available and transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries. PM said that now Rs. 5,80000 crores has transferred directly into people's accounts over the past four and a half years.PM narrated how 7 crore fake names have been struck off the list of beneficiaries, which is almost equal to the population of Britain, France and, Italy.

PM said these are some of the glimpses of changes ushered in by his Government which reflect the New Confidence of a New India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PM said the diaspora is equally important in our resolve for a New India. He added that their safety is also our concern and cited how the Government took upon the challenge of evacuating more than 2 lakh Indians stranded in conflict zones.

Speaking about the welfare of Indians overseas, Mr. Modi said passport and visa rules have been simplified and e visa had made it much easier for them to travel. All PravasiBharatiya are now being linked to Passport Sewa and efforts are in to issue chip based E passport.

PM said that a Pravasi Teerth DarshanYojana is being taken up. He urged overseas Indian to invite 5 non Indian families to visit India. PM also requested them to spread the values of Gandhi ji and Guru Nanak Dev ji and become a part of their anniversary celebrations. He said that we feel proud that global community joined us in compilation of Bapu’s favourite bhajan, Vaishnava jan.

PM complimented the role of the residents of Kashi in making PBD successful with their warmth and hospitality. PM said that ahead of upcoming School Board examinations, he will interact with the parents and students through NAMO App in ParikshapeCharcha - at 11am on 29th January, 2019.

 

Chief Guest of PBD -2019, Mauritius PM, PravindJugnauth invoked the memories of Indian diaspora and their connect with the land of their forefathers. Speaking in Hindi and English, he said such gatherings reinforce the identity of overseas Indians as the members of one family with shared history and culture. He said, if India is unique, Indianness is universal. The Mauritian PM told that an educated and self reliant diaspora can play a major role in nation building and the Diaspora connect can help multilateralism.

He enthralled the crowd with his Bhojpuri dialect and announced that Mauritius will organise the first International Bhojpuri festival.

In her welcome address, External Affairs Minister said India today feels proud under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi. She thanked Indian diaspora for their linkages with the motherland. Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath said PBD and Kumbh in Uttar Pradesh are a reflection of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.

Prime Minister Modi felicitated the winners of Bharat koJaniye quiz competition. This is a quiz competition on India meant for the young Indian diaspora.

Closing ceremony of PBD will be held tomorrow on January 23, 2019 where President RamnathKovind will confer PravasiBharatiyaSamman to select overseas Indians for their contributions.

After the Convention, on 24th January, the visiting diaspora delegates will visit Prayagraj for KumbhMela. They will then proceed to Delhi on 25th January and witness the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, New Delhi.

 

*****

AKT/PAK/KP

 

Read more: 15th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas...

Follow the laws, rules and regulations of your home country and at the same time cherish the spirit of your motherland: Vice President

Be empathetic to the plight of the less fortunate and generous to the needy;

India is a vibrant democracy, firmly rooted in secularism and values of tolerance, acceptance and peace: Sarva Dharma Sama Bhawa is in every Indian’s DNA;

Interacts with NRI students from Gulf countries who are on a tour to India

“Follow the laws, rules and regulations of whichever country you live in and at the same time cherish and value the traditions and spirit of your motherland. You must act as India’s brand ambassadors and uphold our cultural ethos and values in faraway lands”, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu told NRI students from Gulf countries who are on a tour to India, here today. The students are the winners of the “Proud to Be an Indian 2019” contest conducted by Asianet News.

Stating that the world has shrunk into a global village, Shri Naidu urged the students to be global citizens but at the same time to have a thorough understanding of our glorious civilisation, ancient past, history, culture, traditions, customs and festivals and the wisdom handed down to us from Vedas and Upanishads.

Speaking about India’s great philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ the Vice President said that India never attacked any country and always believed in peaceful co-existence with all. ‘One corollary of the concept of the whole world being seen as one family is the attitude of empathy, of sharing and caring, of a sharp focus on alleviating the agony of fellow human beings’, he added.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi who said that “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”, Shri Naidu expressed hope that India’s commitment to the cause of promotion peace, tackling climate change, harnessing solar energy and conserving nature would result in a better life for people all over the world.

Highlighting Indian economy’s growth trajectory, Shri Naidu said that in spite of the world slowing down, India was surging ahead, powered by a consistent GDP growth rate of over 7% and buoyed by the huge demographic dividend that lay in its burgeoning youth population.

Shri Naidu said that it is time that we give up ‘colonial mindset’ and encourage the talent, skills and craftsmanship inherently present in every Indian. He opined that along with preserving our traditional values which play a strong role in India’s social fabric such as selflessness, peace and respecting elders and teachers, we need to promote gender equality, inclusion and openness.  ‘We need knowledge, but also wisdom’, he added.

Reasoning that India is at a juncture in its history when it cannot be pulled back to the dark ages by abhorrent social practices such as discrimination, bigotry and prejudice, the Vice President urged young people to break free of the regressive dogmas of caste discrimination and gender based violence. ‘Imbibe new and progressive values and build a better tomorrow’, he told the students.

Saying that India has always been a vibrant democracy, firmly rooted in secularism and values of tolerance, acceptance and peace, the Vice President implored the students to have the first and foremost allegiance to the constitutional values of the country, those timeless ideals that have brought our country to the position that it is at today. ‘This commitment to the constitution, to your fellow human beings and the unity and integrity of the nation, is the essence of true nationalism, of true patriotism. 'Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava' is in every Indian's DNA ’, he added.

The Vice President said that the citizens of tomorrow should also be empathetic to the plight of the less fortunate and generous to the needy. Opining that moral science which was a mandatory subject should once again be revived, Shri. Naidu said that students should imbibe ethical values and always remain committed to high morals.

He congratulated Asianet News for providing an opportunity to students to gain exposure and experience by visiting India.

 

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

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‘India is continuously focussing on equitable, inclusive growth and on bridging income inequalities. A number of schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Saubhagya and Ujjwala stand testament to the core values of inclusiveness that India adheres to’, the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said, in Chennai today. He was addressing the gathering at the valedictory function of Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet (GIM)-2019.

 

He urged investors to seize the moment and invest in India.

 

The Vice President quoted the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 which emphasized upon the need for nations to focus more on equitable economic growth and to reduce inequalities and said that the Government of India has embarked on a similar path in the last 4 years by having “Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas” (Assistance to everyone and development of each individual) as the overarching goal.

 

Shri Naidu applauded the dynamic, visionary leadership in India at the national and state levels that is engaged in reforming governance, reaching higher performance benchmarks & transforming the lives of people. Expressing his joy at the captivating growth story that India has been writing, the Vice President opined that India of today is a land of infinite possibilities and tremendous opportunities.

 

Shri Naidu highlighted a number of positive trends the Indian economy has been exhibiting is recent times such as the consistent GDP growth rate and the highest ever growth in FDI inflow. ‘India accounts for about 15% of global growth and it has been estimated that the Indian economy would grow to $10 trillion by 2030’, he said.

 

The Vice President said that measures like demonetization, GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, repeal of outdated laws, giving thrust to road and air connectivity, increased focus on infrastructure, housing and agricultural sectors have enabled the economy to gather momentum.

 

Citing the appreciation showered on India by the World Bank and the IMF for resilient and stable growth and their terming of India as the fastest-growing emerging economy in the world, the Vice President said that these recognitions stood testimony to the efficacy of Government Policies.

 

Pointing out that 2018 was replete with external vulnerabilities, the Vice President lauded Indian economy’s ability to withstand such stresses. He credited the robust Institutions of Indian economy, whose roots run deep and wide, for India’s steady momentum.

 

Underscoring India’s steady ascent in the Ease of Doing Business Index to reach the 77th position, Shri Naidu said that doing business in India has now become much cheaper and faster through GST and other tax reforms as well as through digital processes and single point interfaces and single window clearance systems.

 

The Vice President said that it was a matter of great satisfaction that many of the global corporate giants, are now actively looking for investment opportunities in India with renewed optimism and enthusiasm, encouraged by India’s vast market of more than a billion consumers, increasing purchasing power, rapidly unfolding technology scenario and cheaper labor market. ‘Backed by strong democracy and partnerships, India is all set to be one of the top three economic powers of the world in the next 10 to 15 years’, he said.

 

Speaking about the rich cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu which is home to one of the oldest civilizations of the world, the Vice president applauded the Tamil people’s industriousness, entrepreneurship, work culture and creativity. He congratulated its people and the government for their dedication and hard work which made the state one of the best-performing states of India and one of the most sought-after investment destinations.

 

Applauding the huge amount of investments that the summit garnered, the Vice President said that this investment should not be concentrated in big cities but must reach rural areas and villages so that the fruits of development reaches the last person. Shri Naidu assured the investors that their investments would yield rich dividends in India.

 

Stating that India’s federal structure allows adequate space for states to decide their own priorities and forge their own developmental strategies, the Vice President said that  the states are now more empowered than ever before as a result of greater devolution of funds and increased autonomy, ‘I am happy to see that a healthy competition is unfolding among states to attract investment and develop entrepreneurship. This is truly competitive and cooperative federalism at its best’, he added.

 

He welcomed the delegates of GIM-2019 to India, and said that India believes that cooperation and partnership are the bedrock of shared prosperity. ‘India has a strong desire to deepen economic ties with other countries and wants a just and receptive world economic order’ he said.

 

Naming some of the impediments to progress such as terrorism and corruption as well as unethical business practices, he said that India has been arguing for a consensus and concerted action at global level on these negative forces that negate human progress and prosperity.

 

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri Edappadi K. Palaniswami , the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri O. Panneerselvam, the Minister of State for Finance and Shipping, Shri P. Radhakrishnan, the Minister for Industries, Tamil Nadu, Shri. M.C. Sampath and others were present on the occasion.

 

Following is the text of Vice President's address:

 

"I am happy to participate in this valedictory function of Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet (GIM)-2019. I extend my greetings and good wishes to all the delegates. I congratulate the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and the Government of Tamil Nadu for organising this Investor Meet.

 

Events like this provide an ideal platform to showcase the strengths of a state and the myriad opportunities that it offers to investors.

 

The growth trajectory of Indian economy is now being reshaped by its youth.

 

About 850 million, constituting about 65% of India’s population, is in the age group of 18 to 35. India is likely to have the world’s largest workforce by 2027, with a billion people aged between 15 and 64.

 

We have a dynamic, visionary leadership at the national and state levels that is engaged in reforming governance, reaching higher performance benchmarks and transforming the lives of people.

 

India is at the cusp of a major transformation and is poised to maximize the tremendous demographic dividend in the next few years.

 

For the first time ever, India has registered the fastest growth in FDI in over two decades. The FDI inflows into India were to the tune of $38 billion in 2018, overtaking China and evolving as the favorite destination in emerging markets.

 

India also accounts for about 15% of global growth.

 

India has always been quite receptive to new ideas, technologies and growth opportunities. We believe that we all belong to one big family and we must grow together by capitalizing on the comparative strengths of each country.

 

With greater infusion of capital and knowledge, the aspirational India has hitched its wagon to accelerated, inclusive, environmentally sustainable development.

 

I am hopeful that confluences of investors and entrepreneurs like the GIM 2019 will help open up new opportunities for investment and growth.

 

Dear sisters and brothers,

 

It is indeed heartening to note than India has been writing a captivating growth story. India of today is a land of infinite possibilities and tremendous opportunities.

 

As you all are aware, the liberalization of the Indian economy began in the early nineties under the regime of the then Prime Minister, Shri P V Narasimha Rao.

 

The liberalization process further picked up momentum under the leadership of Shri Vajpayee the then Prime Minister. Shri Vajpayee ushered in a new connectivity revolution in different sectors from telecom to rural roads, giving the much needed impetus to the Indian economy.

 

Now, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi through various measures and reforms has ensured that the fundamentals of the Indian economy remain strong as it continues on the growth trajectory.

 

The reforms taken up by the Government in the past few years have made India the top destination for investments in the world.

 

It would be relevant here to recall that former US President, Barack Obama had described Shri Narendra Modi as ‘Reformer-in-Chief’ in a profile he had written on the Prime Minister for the Time Magazine.

 

The entire world is looking towards India and there has been renewed focus on the country in the past few years.

 

India has achieved a GDP growth of 7.6 per cent in the first half of 2018-19.

 

The size of the Indian economy is expected to touch $10 trillion by 2030.

 

Dr Raghuram Rajan, the former Governor of the Reserve Bank, has recently said, “India will become bigger than China eventually as the latter would slow down, whereas the former would continue to grow. So, India will be in a better position to create the infrastructure in the region which China is promising today”.

 

Measures like demonetization, GST, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, repeal of outdated laws, giving thrust to road and air connectivity, increased focus on infrastructure, housing and agricultural sectors have enabled the economy to gather momentum.

 

Today, India is home to second largest start-up ecosystem in the world.

 

India is expected to emerge as the third largest consumer market, just behind the US and China, the World Economic Forum said, in a report titled 'Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market – India'.

The success of the government policies is further reaffirmed when international organisations of great repute such as the World Bank and the IMF applaud India’s resilient and stable growth and term India as the fastest-growing emerging economy in the world.

Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist at International Monetary Fund (IMF), in an interview to Economic times, has said, “India remains one of the fastest growing large economies of the world and it is one of the few countries for which our estimates actually point to increase in growth rate for 2019.”

 

The World Bank in its latest forecast has said that India will continue to be the fastest growing major economy in the world. It said the GDP is expected to grow at 7.3 per cent this fiscal year and at 7.5 per cent in the following two years.

 

“India will continue to remain the world's fastest-growing large economy in 2019 as well as in 2020, much ahead of China”,according to very recent World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2019 report of UN. It also said the GDP is expected to accelerate to 7.6 per cent in 2019-20.

 

2018 was replete with external vulnerabilities. Oil prices were on the rise, economies were veering towards protectionism and trade wars were brewing between major global trading partners.

 

Yet, India managed to maintain its steady course.

 

One of the reasons for this stability was the robustness of India’s Institutions.

 

Being a vibrant, functioning democracy for the last 70 years, India has the advantage of an institutional structure whose roots run deep and wide.

 

Doing business in India has now become much cheaper and faster through GST and other tax reforms as well as through digital processes and single point interfaces and single window clearance systems.

 

Moody’s, the renowned sovereign rating agency lauded reforms such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) and demonetisation for their potential to reduce informality in the economy.

 

The leveraging of Information Technology through mission mode projects like Digital India has simplified many complicated and multi layered procedures.


As a result, India has recorded a jump of 23 positions and is placed now at 77thrank among 190 countries assessed by the World Bank for Ease of Doing Business.

 

India aims to be among the top 50 nations in the coming year.

India is among top three countries where trust in government remains high. The Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report for 2019, released at Davos, has said that trust in institutions in India rose by four points to 72.

 

Dear delegates,

 

It is matter of great satisfaction that many of the global corporate giants, some of whom are present here today, are now actively looking for investment opportunities in India with renewed optimism and enthusiasm, encouraged by India’s vast market of more than a billion consumers, increasing purchasing power, rapidly unfolding technology scenario and cheaper labor market.

 

With great thrust on building industrial corridors smart cities and housing for all, the government aims to assure holistic development of the nation. The corridors would promote integration, development and create an enabling atmosphere for industrial development, thus taking full advantage of the possibilities of Industrial Revolution 4.0.

 

Backed by strong democracy and partnerships, India is all set to be one of the top three economic powers of the world in the next 10 to 15 years.

 

Dear sisters and brothers,

 

However, a number of challenges still persist.

 

India’s banking sector is effectively grappling with accumulating non-performing assets and bad loans.

 

A major threat to world economy is the rising inequality.

 

The World Economic Forum 2019 has noted that the situation of inequality is getting so bad that it's threatening the very foundation of economic growth.

 

This worries policymakers everywhere for good reason. Research at the IMF and elsewhere makes it clear that persistent lack of inclusion—defined as broadly shared benefits and opportunities for economic growth—can fray social cohesion and undermine the sustainability of growth itself.

 

The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 also emphasize the need for nations to focus more on equitable economic growth and to reduce inequalities and reach out to those populations who have been left out of the development process.

 

The Government of India has embarked on a similar path in the last 4 years by having “Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas” (Assistance to everyone and development of each individual) as the overarching goal.

 

Adopting the Antyodaya approach, the development strategy has been refashioned to include the excluded. Social and financial inclusion has been the main thrust of all the governmental programmes.

 

Along with vertical growth, India is continuously focussing on horizontal growth and bridging of income disparities and other inequalities.

 

I am happy to note that a number of schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Saubhagya and Ujjwala stand testament to the core values of inclusiveness that India adheres to.

 

Let us all work towards ensuring an equitable economic growth.

 

Our ultimate goal should be to achieve the long-lasting development for an inclusive and equitable society whereby the benefits of prosperous growth reaches the last man in the queue.

 

Sisters and brothers,

 

The efficient functioning of any economy depends greatly upon efficient dispute settlements and time-bound contract enforcements.

 

I am glad that alternate dispute resolution mechanisms and tribunals are being strengthened.

Dear sisters and brothers,

 

Tamil Nadu is supremely rich in cultural heritage.

 

One of the oldest civilization of the world, Tamil Nadu has been home to great kings, talented writers, gifted poets and prolific builders.

 

Much has been said and written about the Tamil people’s industriousness, entrepreneurship and creativity.

 

It is a place that is close to my heart as well.

 

I am very happy to learn that it is one of the best-performing states of India and has emerged as one of the most sought-after investment destinations.

 

I am glad to know that GIM-2019 has attracted substantial investments in Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Services.

 

It is worth noting that NITI Ayog has ranked Tamil Nadu as one of the front-runners in India on many socio-economic parameters.

 

Tamil Nadu has emerged as a leader in the manufacture of automobiles and components, electronic hardware, textiles, leather products and renewable energy apart from software development and IT enabled services.

 

It has also become the third largest exporting State in India.

 

I extend hearty congratulations to the people and the government of Tamil Nadu for their dedication and hard work.

 

India, being a federal polity, the country’s governance structure allows adequate space for states to decide their own priorities and forge their own developmental strategies. With greater devolution of funds and increased autonomy, the states are now more empowered than ever before.

 

I am happy to see that a healthy competition is unfolding among states to attract investment and develop entrepreneurship. This is truly competitive and cooperative federalism at its best.

 

Dear delegates,

 

You have travelled a long way to come here today.

 

India’s tradition is to welcome its guests with open hearts; ‘Athithi devobhava ’, is our motto. I welcome you to this ancient land and youthful country, to the land of fascinating diversity and timeless values of peace, coexistence and inclusive growth, a land of expanding opportunities, a land that believes that cooperation and partnership are the bedrock of shared prosperity.

 

India has a strong desire to deepen economic ties with other countries and wants a just and receptive world economic order. We recognize painfully some of the impediments to progress such as terrorism and corruption as well as unethical business practices. We have been arguing for a consensus and concerted action at global level on these negative forces that negate human progress and prosperity.

Together, we can create a more peaceful world that is the foundation for a prosperous world.

 

In the Indian context, we have to constantly remind ourselves that most of the people, especially in the rural areas, are depending on agriculture. This sector, along with industry and small and medium enterprises, needs to be made more profitable and sustainable. We must bridge the rural – urban divide.

 

I would urge each one of you to focus on channelling greater investments and launch innovative projects and practices that can address the livelihood concerns of our large farming community.

 

I hope you will strive to build, during this event as well as later, meaningful and mutually beneficial, long lasting relationships founded on trust and friendship.

 

As our Prime Minister has often said, ‘India is now ready for business as never before.’

 

I welcome each and every one of you to seize the moment and invest in India. I am sure it will be truly rewarding, for you as well as for us.

 

Saha Veeryam Karavaavahai ” (Let us grow together) as the ancient Indian sages had said and transform the lives of people for the better.

 

Jai Hind!"

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

Read more: India is continuously focussing on equitable,...

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has asked young students to work to serve the less privileged and less fortunate. He said that it was very important for the younger generation to be empathetic to sufferings and struggles of fellow citizens and to strive to do something meaningful for their betterment.

Shri Naidu was interacting with a group of Students from Kerala, here today, who are in Delhi as a part of a tour programme being organized by ‘Mathrubhumi’, a Media House from Kerala, in connection with the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Vice President stressed upon the importance of education in bringing social, cultural and economical transformation in the country. He called upon students to imbibe a habit of constant learning and embrace emerging technologies to keep pace with the changing world.

Expressing concern over the rising incidence life style disease, Shri Naidu urged the students to be aware of the hidden dangers of modern life style, comprising of unhealthy food and physically dormant jobs. He asked them to develop the habit of regular physical exercise, especially practicing Yoga and dedicate time for outdoor activities, to stay healthy.  

He wanted students and the younger generation to respect nature and learn to live with nature. ‘You must keep it in mind that nature and culture together work for the betterment of humanity’, he said.

Observing that unity in diversity is India's greatest strength, Shri Naidu asked youngsters to study the History of this great country diligently and to learn to appreciate the uniqueness of Indian culture. ‘They must be aware of our country's great culture and timeless traditions and work to fortify India's spirit’, he said.

Unveiling his vision of building a strong, stable, unified, prosperous and inclusive India, the Vice President encouraged the citizens of this country to perform their duties with utmost sincerity, to the best of their capabilities.

Applauding Mathrubhumi for celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Shri Naidu said that the Mahatma had given us the most powerful weapons of truth and non violence to defeat the greatest of odds. ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of service and humanism has inspired and motivated generations of world leaders’, he added.

The Vice President said that Gandhiji was an inspiration to all mankind.  Speaking of Gandhiji’s deep sense of compassion and inclusiveness that defined his outlook, Shri Naidu said that the Mahatma truly believed that cleansing our inner being of all evils was as important as cleansing our countries of servitude.

Expressing great pride at the Indian civilization that has always considered the world as one family, (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam), the Vice President said that our commitment to the cause of climate change, solar energy and conserving nature, will hopefully, get reflected in educating students and making them globally responsible citizens.

Urging the students to speak only in their mother tongues at home, the Vice President asked them to always remember with love and gratitude the Mother, Mother tongue, Motherland, Birth place and Guru.

 

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

Read more: Young people must strive to serve the less...

PM to visit Surat and Dandi, Gujarat on 30 January 2019

PM to lay foundation Stone for the extension of Terminal Building at Surat Airport. PM to attend the New India Youth conclave in Surat National Salt Satyagraha Memorial in Dandi to be dedicated to the nation

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will visit Surat and Dandi in Gujarat on January 30, 2019.

During the visit, the Prime Minister will lay the Foundation Stone for the extension of Terminal building at Surat Airport. The Terminal building is being constructed at a cost of Rs.354 Crore with an area of over 25,500 square metres. It will be an eco-friendly sustainable building, using solar energy and LED lighting. Once completed, it will have a peak handling capacity of over 1800 passengers. Surat airport is the third busiest airport in Gujarat after Ahmedabad and Vadodara in terms of both aircraft movements and passenger traffic.

Expansion of infrastructure for development has been one of the priorities of the Government. Several initiatives have been undertaken in various sectors and aviation sector is among them. In Gujarat, civil aviation infrastructure has not only been strengthened but also air connectivity has been enhanced. These include connecting Kandla to Mumbai and Porbandar to Ahmedabad and Mumbai through UDAN scheme. Development of Greenfield airport at Hirasar, Rajkot, new ATC tower/technical block at Ahmedabad and Vadodara etc. are among them.

In Surat, PM will interact with the youth at the New India Youth conclave. He will also inaugurate Smt. RasilabenSevantilal Shah Venus Hospital and visit the facilities there.

PM’s next destination will be Dandi in Navsari district of Gujarat. Here, he  will dedicate the National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation, on Bapu’s death anniversary. The memorial has statues of Mahatma Gandhi and 80 Satyagrahis who had marched with him during the historic Dandi Salt March. The memorial also has 24-narrative murals depicting various events and stories from the historic 1930 Salt March. The PM will walk through the memorial and address a public meeting.

The Salt Satyagraha March,well known as the Dandi March of 1930 has been a landmark event in the history of India’s freedom struggle. It was on this day , as a part of the Civil Disobedience Movement against the British rule, 80 Satyagrahis led by Mahatma Gandhi marched 241-miles from Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad to the coastal village of Dandi and made salt from sea water breaking the Salt Law imposed by the British.

It will be the second visit of the Prime Minister to Gujarat this month. Prime Minister Modi earlier visited Surat on 19 January 2019, to dedicate the Armoured System Complex at Hazira. He attended the Vibrant Gujarat summit on January 17 and 18, 2019, at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

 

                                                                         *****

AKT/VJ/SKS

Read more: PM to visit Surat and Dandi, Gujarat on 30...

Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan will be launching three important centre’s set up by Department of Science and Technology (DST), nucleated at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM) on 25th January 2019 at IIT Madras in Chennai.

The first of these is the establishment of DST –IITM Solar Energy Harnessing Centre. The Centre will focus on a wide range of research and technology development activities such as silicon solar cells that promise high efficiency and are suited for Indian conditions. The network of researchers engaged in centre comprise of scientists from IIT Madras, IIT-Guwahati, Anna University, ICT-Mumbai, BHEL and KGDS, which will be further expanded. The objective is to create a platform that can be extended readily to strengthen the knowledge eco-system .The centre is likely to be true change agent in the energy landscape of India. The consortium will be duly poised to address the sustainability requirements in the spirit of ‘Make in India’.

Second in line is the DST-IITM Water –IC for SUTRAM of EASY WATER (DST- IITM Water Innovation Centre for Sustainable Treatment, Reuse and Management for Efficient, Affordable and Synergistic Solutions) which has been established with an aim to undertake synchronized research and training programs on various issues related to wastewater management, water treatment, sensor development, storm water management and distribution and collection systems. This multi institutional Virtual Centre will be looking into a sustainable approach for water resources protection and augmentation through wastewater treatment and reuse and storm water management. The Centre will provide a unique opportunity for the various groups in different premier organizations working in the area of wastewater management, water treatment, sensor development and storm water management to collaborate and work in synergized manner to ensure adequate, safe, reliable and sustainable sources of drinking water for rural and urban India and process water for highly polluting and water intensive industries, through research, technology development and capacity building.

The third one would be the Test bed on Solar thermal desalination solutions which are being established by IIT Madras and Empereal KGDS as solution providers in Naripaaiyur, Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu with the aim to deliver customized technological solutions to address prevalent water challenges in the arid coastal village located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. The development would provide customized technological water solution to provide potable water to coastal areas using solar energy.

 

***

GK/nb

Read more: Government to launch Technology Mission Centre...

Power Minister administers oath of Office to new CERC Member Shri Indu Shekhar Jha

Shri Lalchharliana Pachuau appointed as Member Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for Manipur and Mizoram

Shri R K Singh, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy administered the oath of Office and Secrecy to Shri Indu Shekhar Jha here today. Shri Jha was appointed Member of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) vide Order dated 4.1.2019. Prior to this, he was holding the post of CMD, Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) since 2015.

 

In addition, Shri Lalchharliana Pachuau was appointed as Member, Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for Manipur and Mizoram from Mizoram side. Shri Pachuau has been appointed for a period of five years or till the age of 65 years whichever is earlier in accordance with the provisions in the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the State Governments of Manipur and Mizoram. He has worked as Chief (Engg) in JERC for Manipur & Mizoram since July 2013.

 

About CERC:

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) had been established by the Government of India under the provisions of the Electricity Regulatory Commissions (ERC) Act, 1998. CERC is the Central Commission for the purposes of the Electricity Act, 2003 which has repealed the ERC Act, 1998. The Commission consists of a Chairperson and four other Members including Chairperson, Central Electricity Authority who is the ex-officio Member of the Commission.

Major functions of CERC under the Act, inter-alia, are –

 

  • to regulate the tariff of generating companies owned or controlled by the Central Government,
  • to regulate the tariff of other generating companies having a composite scheme for generation and sale of electricity in more than one State,
  • to regulate the inter-State transmission of electricity and to determine tariff for such transmission of electricity, etc.

 

Under the Act, CERC shall also advise the Central Government on-

 

  • formulation of National Electricity Policy and Tariff Policy;
  • promotion of competition, efficiency and economy in activities of electricity industry;
  • promotion of investment in electricity industry; and
  • any other matter referred to the Central Commission by the Government.

 About JERC:

The Central Government constituted Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) for Manipur and Mizoram in pursuance of provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003 and the Memorandum of Agreement signed by the State Governments of Manipur and Mizoram, authorizing Government of India to constitute a JERC on their behalf.  It is a two-Member Commission, each Member representing the respective participating State. The Central Government appoints the Members of the Commission from Manipur and Mizoram sides under the provisions of the Act and in pursuance of MoA.

 

The major functions of the Commission under the Act, inter-alia, are-

 

  • to regulate the tariff for generation, supply, transmission and wheeling of electricity, whole sale, bulk or retail as the case may be within the State;
  • to regulate the electricity purchase of distribution licensees,
  • facilitate intra-state transmission and wheeling of electricity;
  • issue licenses to transmission licensees, distribution licensees and electricity traders;
  • promote cogeneration and generation of electricity from renewable sources of energy and
  • adjudicate upon the disputes between the licensees and generating companies, etc.

 

 

*****

RCJ/MS

Read more: Power Minister administers oath of Office to new...

The President of the Republic of South Africa,
His Excellency Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa,
Leaders of the corporate world from India and South Africa;

Ladies & Gentlemen.

Namaskar!

I am delighted to be here with you all at the India-South Africa Business Forum. We are deeply honoured to have with us, Your Excellency Mr. President.

It is a matter of great privilege that you will be the Guest of Honour at our 70th Republic Day Parade tomorrow. Our partnership spans the un-breakable bonds of history that have linked the national movements of India and South Africa.

Now, our partnership is about a shared and prosperous future, which realizes the dreams of Madiba and Mahatma for our people. We seek constantly to engage and collaborate for a better future for our people, and also the world.

We sealed a strategic partnership 22 years ago through the Red Fort Declaration. I believe that continuous dialogue between the two old friends and partners has brought us closer in every way. We remain stead-fast in our commitment for closer cooperation, bilaterally as well as multilaterally In recent times, there are new beginnings and interesting growth stories between two old friends.

Trade between India and South Africa is on the up-swing, and has crossed the 10 billion dollar mark in 2017-18. Two major business initiatives in 2018 have helped this along. One was the India-South Africa Business Summit held in Johannesburg in April 2018. The other was Invest in India Business Forum, also in Johannesburg in November 2018.

However, there is great potential still. I call upon all Indian and South African government agencies, investment promotion organizations as well as business leaders of both countries to work pro-actively to realize the true potential. I was pleased to see that there has been significant participation and presence from African countries in our States.

In my earlier role as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, I was happy to welcome prominent participants from South Africa. It is gratifying that the Vibrant Gujarat last week once again welcomed our friends and partners from South Africa in large numbers. One day was specifically marked as 'Africa Day'.

This shows that our bonds are much deeper than we generally realize. It also wonderful for our bilateral economic partnership. Ladies and Gentlemen, India's economy currently at 2.6 trillion dollars is the fastest growing major economy of the world.

And, we are on our way to becoming the fifth largest economy globally. India has jumped to the 77th position in the latest edition of World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report – improving 65 places in last four years.

We are one of the top FDI destinations listed by UNCTAD. But, we are not satisfied. On a daily basis, we are making necessary changes and reforms in important sectors of the economy.

Our special programmes such as Make in India, Digital India and Start-Up India have caught the imagination of the world.

Our industry has progressed towards Industry Four Point Zero and other innovative technologies including Artificial Intelligence, 3-D Printing, Robotics. Our Government is making all efforts to increase the living standards of our 1.3 billion people, who form one-sixth of the humanity.

We are committed to building a ‘New India’ with next generation infrastructure and with emphasis on speed, skill and scale.

May I also take this opportunity to congratulate you,

Excellency,

on the various dynamic initiatives launched by you in 2018 towards your vision of a New South Africa. We wish you well in your efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment into South-Africa, as well as for the creation of over one million jobs for the youth in three years.

I am happy that India is contributing to these objectives. Our investment into South Africa is constantly growing. This has approached 10 billion dollars, creating over 20,000 jobs locally.

As a brotherly nation, India will be happy to share its experience in policy reforms and setting up ground level agencies. We encourage even more investment by Indian companies in South Africa and are confident that more South African companies will also enter the Indian market.

I assure you that New India would welcome you to look at all available opportunities, particularly in Food & Agro processing, Deep mining, Defence, Fin-tech, Insurance and Infrastructure sectors.

Likewise, India could also partner with South Africa in Start-ups, Health care & Pharma, Bio-tech, IT and IT enabled sectors.

We are delighted to be a part of the South Africa skills story through the recent launch of the Gandhi Mandela Skills Institute. This initiative seeks to empower the youth.

Another important collaboration between our two countries could be in the Gems and Jewelry sector. Both countries could explore avenues for direct procurement of diamond.

It will ensure economies of scale, and also reduce the cost for both buyers and sellers. South Africa could also join hands with India in our campaign for New and Renewable Energy, specifically through the "International Solar Alliance”.

Simplification of the existing visa regime for business-men and tourists, and direct connectivity would further ease business and people-to-people exchanges.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is huge untapped potential in the India-South Africa partnership. We must work together for a new era of shared growth and prosperity for the benefit of our two countries and peoples.

The visit of Your Excellency provides us with a vital opportunity to take this relationship forward.

I am committed, Excellency, to work shoulder-to-shoulder with you in this shared endeavor.

Thank you.
Thank you very much.

*****

AKT/SH

Read more: Text of PM’s Address at India-South Africa...

मॉरिशस के प्रधानमंत्री your excellency, प्रवीन्‍द जगन्‍नाथ जी, उनकी पत्‍नी श्रीमती कविता जगन्‍नाथ जी, यूपी के राज्‍यपाल श्रीमान राम नाईक जी, केंद्रीय मंत्रिपरिषद के मेरे सहयोगी सुषमा स्‍वराज जी, मुख्‍यमंत्री श्री योगी आदित्‍यनाथ जी, हरियाणा के मुख्‍यमंत्री श्री मनोहर लाल जी, उत्‍त्‍राखंड के मुख्‍यमंत्री श्री त्रिवेंद्र सिंह रावत जी, मंत्रिपरिषद के मेरे सहयोगी और दुनिया भर से पधारे, और काशी प्रधारे मेरे प्रिय भाईयों और बहनों।

सबसे पहले आप सभी का बहुत-बहुत अभिनंदन, बहुत-बहुत स्‍वागत है। आप सभी यहां अपनी, अपने पूर्वजों की मिट्टी की महक से खींचे चले आए हैं। कल जिन्‍हें प्रवासी भारतीय सम्‍मान मिलने वाला है। उन्‍हें मैं अपनी तरफ से अग्रिम शुभकामनाएं देता हूं। आज का दिन मेरे लिए भी विशेष है। जैसा कि सुषमा जी कह रही थी, मैं आपके सामने प्रधानमंत्री के साथ-साथ काशी का सांसद होने के नाते एक मेज़बान के रूप में उपस्थित हुआ। बाबा विश्‍वनाथ और मां गंगा का आशीर्वाद आप सभी पर बना रहा मेरी यही प्रार्थना है।

साथियों, आज आपसे अपनी बात शुरू करने से पहले मैं डॉक्‍टर श्री श्री श्री शिवकुमार स्‍वामी जी के निधन पर अपना शोक व्‍यक्‍त करना चाहता हूं। तुमकुर के श्री सिद्ध गंगा मठ में मुझे कई बार उनसे आशीर्वाद लेने का अवसर मिला था। और जब भी उनसे मिलता था वो एक बेटे की तरह मुझे इतना स्‍नेह करते थे, इतना आशीर्वाद देते थे। ऐसे महान संत महाऋषि का जाना हम सभी के लिए बहुत दु:खद है, मानव कल्‍याण के लिए उनके योगदान को देश हमेशा याद रखेगा। मैं आदरपूर्वक उन्‍हें नमन करता हूं। उनको श्रद्धांजलि देता हूं।

भाईयों और बहनों, दुनियाभर में बसे आप सभी भारतीयों से संवाद का यह अभियान हम सभी के प्रिय श्रद्धेय अटल बिहार वाजपेयी जी ने शुरू किया था। अटल जी के जाने के बाद यह पहला प्रवासी भारतीय सम्‍मेलन है। इस अवसर पर मैं अटल जी को श्रद्धासुमन अर्पित करता हूं, उनकी इस विराट सोच के लिए नमन करता हूं।

साथियों, आप सभी काशी में है और इसलिए मैं काशी और आप सभी में एक समानता भी देख रहा हूं। बनारस नगरी चिरकाल से ही भारत की सांस्‍कृतिक, अध्‍यात्मिक और ज्ञान की परंपरा से दुनिया में देश का परिचय कराती रही है। आप भी अपने दिलों में भारत और भारतीयता को संजोये हुए इस धरती की ऊर्जा उससे दुनिया को परिचित करा रहे हैं। साथियों, मैं आपको भारत का Brand Ambassador मानने के साथ ही भारत के सामर्थ्‍य और भारत की क्षमताओं, देश की विशेषताओं का प्रतिनिधि भी और प्रतीक भी मानता हूं। इसलिए ही आप अभी जिस देश में भी रह रहे हैं, वहां के समाज को भी आपने अपनापन दिया है। वहां की संस्‍कृति और अर्थव्‍यवस्‍था को समृद्ध किया है। आपने ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्‍बकम’ इस भारतीय दर्शन का हमारे पारिवारिक मूल्‍यों का विस्‍तार किया है। आप सभी जिस देश में बसे हैंवहां के समाज के लगभग हर क्षेत्र में leadership के रोल में नजर आते हैं, मॉरिशस को श्री प्रवीण जगन्‍नाथ जी पूरे समर्पण के साथ आगे बढ़ा रहे हैं इसके अलावा पुर्तगाल, त्रिनाड, टोबेगो और आयरलैंड जैसे अनेक देशों को ऐसे सक्षम लोगों का नेतृत्‍व मिला है। जिनकी जड़े भारत में हैं।

साथियों, आप सभी के सहयोगसे बीते साढ़े चार वर्षों में भारत ने दुनिया में अपना स्‍वाभाविक स्‍थान पाने की दिशा में एक बड़ा कदम बढ़ाया है। पहले लोग कहते थे कि भारत बदल नहीं सकता। हमने इस सोच को ही बदल डाला है। हमने बदलाव करके दिखाया है।   

साथियों, दुनिया आज हमारी बात को, हमारे सुझावों को पूरी गंभीरता के साथ सुन भी रही है और समझ भी रही है। पर्यावरण की सुरक्षा और विश्‍व की प्रगति में भारत के योगदान को दुनिया स्‍वीकार कर रही है। संयुक्‍त राष्‍ट्र के सबसे बड़े पर्यावरण पुरस्‍कार Champions of the earth के साथ-साथ Seoul Peace Prize का मिलना इसी का परिणाम है।  

साथियों, आज भारत अनेक मामलों में दुनिया की अगुवाई करने की स्थिति में है। International solar alliance यानि ISA ऐसा ही एक मंच है। इसके माध्‍यम से हम दुनिया को one world, one sun , one grid उस तरफ ले जाना चा‍हते हैं। ये हमारे उस लक्ष्‍य का भी हिस्‍सा है जिसके तहत हम भारत की समस्‍याओं के ऐसे समाधान तैयार कर रहे हैं जिससे दूसरे देशों की मुश्किले भी हल हो सके।local solution global application के approach के साथ हम काम कर रहे हैं। Reform, perform, transform और सबका साथ-सबका विकास के सूत्र पर चलते हुए देश ने बीते साढ़े चार वर्षों में क्‍या पाया इसकी एक तस्‍वीर मैं आपके सामने रखना चाहता हूं।

आज भारत दुनिया की तेजी से बढ़ती economic ताकत है। तो sports में भी हम बड़ी शक्ति बनने की तरफ निकल पड़े हैं। आज Infrastructure के बड़े और आधुनिक संसाधन बन रहे हैं तो space के क्षेत्र में भी रिकॉर्ड बना रहे हैं।

आज हम दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा strat-up eco system है तो दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी Health care scheme आयुषमान भारत भी चला रहे हैं। आज हमारा युवा make in India के तहत रिकॉर्ड स्‍तर पर मोबाइल फोन, कार, बस, ट्रक, ट्रेन बना रहा है तो वही खेत में रिकॉर्ड अन्‍न उत्‍पादन हो रहा है। आपको मैं एक उदाहरण देता हूं।

साथियों, आप में से अनेक लोगों ने हमारे देश के एक पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री की भ्रष्‍टाचार को लेकर कही एक बात जरूर सुनी होगी। उन्‍होंने कहा था कि केंद्र सरकार दिल्‍ली से जो पैसे भेजती है उसका सिर्फ 15 प्रतिशत ही लोगों तक पहुंच पाता है। अगर दिल्‍ली से एक रुपया निकलता है तो 15 पैसा गांव में पहुंचता है, 85 पैसे छूमंतर हो जाते हें। ये एक भूतपूर्व प्रधानमंत्री ने हमारे देश में कहा था।इतने वर्ष तक देश में जिस पार्टी ने शासन किया, उसने देश को जो व्‍यवस्‍था दी थी उस सच्‍चाई को प्रधानमंत्री रहते हुए उन्‍होंने स्‍वीकार किया था। लेकिन अफसोस ये रहा कि बाद के अपने 10-15 साल के शासन में भी इस लूट को, इस लीकेज को बंद करने का प्रयास नहीं किया गया। बीमारी तो पता चला, बीमारी को स्‍वीकार भी किया लेकिन इलाज करने की दिशा में ने सोचा, न कुछ किया। देश का मध्‍यम वर्ग ईमानदारी से टैक्‍स देता रहा है और 85 प्रतिशत की ये लूट भी चलती रही है।

साथियों, अब मैं आपको आज की सच्‍चाई भी बताना चाहता हूं। हमने टेक्‍नोलॉजी का इस्‍तेमाल करके इस 85 प्रतिशत की लूट को शत-प्रतिशत खत्‍म कर दिया है। बीते साढ़े चार वर्षों में करीब-करीब 5 लाख 80 हजार करोड़ रुपये... यानि करीब-करीब 80 billion डॉलर हमारी सरकार ने अलग-अलग योजनाओं के तहत सीधे लोगों को दिए, उनके बैंक अकाउंट में ट्रांसफर किए हैं। किसी को घर के लिए, किसी को पढ़ाई के लिए, किसी को scholarship के लिए, किसी को गैस सिलेंडर के लिए, किसी को अनाज के लिए ये राशि दी गई है। अब आप अंदाज लगाइए अगर देश अपने पुराने तौर-तरीकों से ही चलता रहता होता तो आज भी इस 5 लाख 80 हजार करोड़ रुपये में से करीब-करीब साढ़े चार लाख से भी ज्‍यादा हजार करोड़... साढ़े चार लाख हजार करोड़ से ज्‍यादा... ये रकम छूमंतर हो जाती, लीक होती, अगर हम व्‍यवस्‍था में बदलाव नहीं लाते होते तो ये राशि उसी तरह लूट ली जाती जैसे पूर्व प्रधानमंत्री ने स्‍वीकार किया था कि लूटी जाती थी।  

साथियों, ये सुधार पहले भी हो सकता था लेकिन नीयत नहीं थी, इच्‍छाशक्ति नहीं थी और नीति की अपेक्षा करना जरा कठिन लगता है। हमारी सरकार अब उस रास्‍ते पर चल रही है कि सरकार द्वारा दी जाने वाली हर मदद Direct benefit transfer scheme के तहत सीधे लाभार्थी के बैंक खाते में transfer की जाए।मैं आपको एक और आंकड़ा देता हूं। पिछले साढ़े चारसाल में हमारी सरकार ने करीब-करीब 7 करोड़ ऐसे फर्जी लोगों को पहचान कर उन्‍हें व्‍यवस्‍था से हटाया है। ये 7 करोड़ लोग वो थे जो कभी जन्‍मे ही नहीं थे जो वास्‍तव में थे ही नहीं लेकिन ये 7 करोड़ लोग सरकारी सुविधाओं को लाभ ले रहे थे। कागज पर वो थे, कागज पर पैदा भी हुए,बड़े भी हुए और फायदा भी उठाते रहे।आप सोचिए पूरे ब्रिटेन में जितने लोग हैं, पूरे फ्रांस में जितने लोग हैं, पूरे इटली में जितने लोग हैं ऐसे अनेक देशों की जनसंख्‍या से ज्‍यादा तो हमारे यहां वो लोग थे जो सिर्फ कागजों में ही जी रहे थे और कागजों में ही सरकारी सुविधाओं का लाभ चला जाता था। इन 7 करोड़ फर्जी लोगों को हटाने का काम हमारी सरकार ने किया है। ये उस बदलाव की एक झलक है जो पिछले साढ़े चार वर्षों में देश में आना शुरू हुआ है।

साथियों, ये देश में हो रहे बड़े पैमाने पर हो रहे परिवर्तन की न्‍यू इंडिया के नए आत्‍मविश्‍वास की एक झांकी भर है। भारत के गौरवशाली अतीत को फिर स्‍थापित करने के लिए 130 करोड़ भारतवासियों के संकल्‍प का ये परिणाम है। और मैं आज बहुत गर्व से कहना चाहता हूं इस संकल्‍प में आप भी शामिल हैं।

साथियों, सरकार का पूरा प्रयास है कि आप सभी जहां भी रहें सुखी रहें और सुरक्षित रहें। बीते साढ़े चार वर्षों के दौरान संकट में फसे 2 लाख से ज्‍यादा भारतीयों को  सरकार के प्रयासों से दुनिया के भिन्‍न-भिन्‍न देशों में मदद पहुंचाई गई है। आपकी सोशल सिक्‍योरिटी के साथ-साथ पासपोर्ट, वीजा, पीआईओ और ओसीआई कार्ड को लेकर भी तमाम प्रक्रियाओं को आसान करने की कोशिश सरकार कर रही है। प्रवासी भारतीयों के लिए कुछ महीने पहले ही एक नया कदम भी उठाया गया है। दुनिया भर में हमारी एम्‍बेसिस और कांउसलेटस को पासपोर्ट सेवा प्रोजेक्‍ट से जोड़ा जा रहा है। इससे आप सभी के लिए पासपोर्ट सेवा से जुड़ा एक centralize system तैयार हो जाएगा। बल्कि अब तो एक कदम आगे बढ़ते हुएchip based E-passport जारी करने की दिशा में भी काम चल  रहा है।  

साथियों, पासपोर्ट के साथ-साथ वीजा से जुड़े नियमों को भी सरल किया जा रहा है। ई-वीजा की सुविधा मिलने से आपके समय की बचत भी हो रही है और परेशानियांभी कम हुई हैं। अभी भी कोई समस्‍या इसमें है तो उसके सुधार के लिए भी कदम उठाए जा रहे हैं।आप में से अनेक इस बात से भी परिचित होंगे कि हमारी सरकार ने पीआईओ कार्ड को ओसीआई कार्ड में बदलने की प्रक्रिया को भी आसान बनाया है। साथियों आप अपनी मिट्टी से भले ही दूर है, लेकिन New India के निर्माण में आपकी सक्रिय भागीदारी में.. और बढ़ोतरी होइसके लिए लगातार प्रयास चल रहे हैं। भारत में जो बदलाव आ रहा है, जो नये अवसर बन रहे हैं, उसमें आपका योगदान बहुत ज्‍यादा महत्‍वपूर्ण है। बदलते हुए इस भारत में आप Research and Development और innovation में बड़ी भूमिका निभा सकते हैं। सरकार यह भी कोशिश कर रही है कि भारत के स्‍टार्ट अप और NRI mentors को एक साथ एक प्‍लेटफॉर्म पर लाएं। Defense Manufacturing भी आपके लिए एक अहम सेक्‍टर हो सकता है।

भाईयों और बहनों मां भारती की सुरक्षा अर्थव्‍यवस्‍था के साथ-साथ अपनी आध्‍यात्मिक और सांस्‍कृतिक विरासत से भी आपका जुड़ाव और मजबूत होइसके लिए प्रवासी तीर्थ दर्शन योजना की भी शुरूआत की जा रही है। मैं इस मंच पर पहले भी कह चुका हूं, और आज फिर दोहराना चाहता हूं कि आप जिस भी देश में रहते हैं वहां से अपने आसपास के कम से कम पांच परिवार और वो भी non-Indian पांच परिवारों को भारत आने के लिए आप प्रेरित करिये। आपका यह प्रयास देश में टूरिज्‍म बढ़ाने में अहम भूमिका निभाएगा। इसी तरह आप इस वर्ष गांधी जी की 150वीं जन्‍म जयंती पर अपने देश में रहते हुए कैसे उनकी बातों को, भारत की बातों को अन्‍य लोगों तक पहुंचाएंगे। इस पर भी विचार कीजिए। पिछले दिनों सुषमा जी के नेतृत्‍व में दुनिया के कई देशों में एक अच्‍छा प्रयोग हुआ। वहां की हमारी सभी embassiesने गांधी 150 जयंती पर उस देश के कलाकारों को वैष्णव जन तो तेने कहियेगांधी जी का प्रिय भजन उनको गाने के लिए request की। you tube पर इसकी सारी video available है। आप भी हैरान हो जाएंगे कि विदेश के नागरिक, विदेश के कलाकार कितनी भक्तिभाव से वैष्णव जन तो तेने कहियेयह गा रहे हैं। एक प्रकार से गांधी ग्‍लोबल है, यह अनुभूति हम सब इसको सुनते कर सकते हैं। और इसलिए कुछ विशेष कार्यक्रम अगर आप करना चाहे तो भारतीय दूतावास embassy द्वारा भी आपकी हर संभव मदद की जाएगी। इस वर्ष हम सभी गुरूनानक देव जी की 550वीं जयंती भी मना रहे हैं। गुरुवाणी को हम कैसे दूसरे देशों के लोगों तक पहुंचाए, उन्‍हें भारत की समृद्ध सांस्‍कृतिक विरासत से उसे कैसे परिचित कराए, इस बारे में भी मैं चाहूंगा कि आप जिस भी देश में हो, कुछ न कुछ योजनाएं बननी चाहिए, कुछ न कुछ प्रयास होना चाहिए। साथियों, यह बातें सिर्फ सुझाव के तौर पर आपके सामने रख रहा हूं। मुझे पता है कि आप में से बहुत से लोग पहले से ऐसा करते आ रहे हैं, लेकिन आपसे स्‍नेह ऐसा है कि मैं खुद को रोक नहीं पाता हूं।

मैं विशेष रूप से आज उत्‍तर प्रदेश सरकार को भी बधाई देना चाहता हूं आमतौर पर किसी राज्‍य में प्रवासी भारतीय दिवस का इतना बड़ा कार्यक्रम लेना हो, दुनिया के इतने मेहमान आने वाले हो, तो उस राज्‍य को बहुत मेहनत करनी पड़ती है, बहुत योजना करनी पड़ती है। करीब-करीब एक साल उसमें लग जाता है। और एक कार्यक्रम करने के बाद एक साल थकान उतरने में चला जाता है। मैं उत्‍तर प्रदेश को इसलिए बधाई देता हूं कि कुंभ जितना बड़ा कार्यक्रम चल रहा हो, इतनी बड़ी व्‍यवस्‍था लगी हुई हो, कुंभ मेले की तैयारी में 2-3 साल लगातार काम करना पड़ता है। और मुझे संकोच हो रहा था कि कुंभ के मेले की जिम्‍मेदारी उत्‍तर प्रदेश के पास है, सारी सरकारी मशीनें उसमें व्‍यस्‍त हैं। 10 करोड़ लोग वहां आने की संभावना है। ऐसे में काशी में यह कार्यक्रम करें या न करें। मेरे मन में झिझक थी लेकिन मैं योगी जी को, उनकी पूरी टीम को, उत्‍तर प्रदेश के प्रशासन और शासन को हृदय से बधाई देता हूं कि उन्‍होंने एक साथ दो इतने बड़े कार्यक्रम इस बात ने दुनिया को इस बात का परिचय करा दिया है कि उत्‍तर प्रदेश की Government, उत्‍तर प्रदेश की bureaucracy, उत्‍तर प्रदेश के मुलाजिम यह भी दुनिया में किसी से कम नहीं है। और इसलिए मैं उनका विशेष अभिनन्‍दन करता हूं।

मैं काशीवासियों को सिर झुका करके प्रणाम करना चाहता हूं, क्‍योंकि मैंने प्रवासी भारतीय दिवस को गुजरात में भी किया हुआ है। और शायद गुजरात के मुख्‍यमंत्री कहो या आज प्रधानमंत्री के पद पर देखो, शायद हिन्‍दुस्‍तान में एक ऐसा इंसान हूं जो करीब-करीब सभी प्रवासी भारतीय दिवस के कार्यक्रम में उपस्थित रहा हूं। जब मुख्‍यमंत्री थातब भी आता था, प्रधानमंत्री के बाद तो दायित्‍व बना है। एक बार सिर्फ मैंने वीडियो कॉन्‍फ्रेंस से शरीक हुआ था, otherwise मैं physically ही जाता हूं। मैंने इतने कार्यक्रम देखे हैं। गुजरात में भी मैं मेज़बान था, लेकिन काशी ने जिस प्रकार से इस कार्यक्रम को सरकारी कार्यक्रम नहीं बनने दिया, जनता जनार्दन का कार्यक्रम बन गया, हर काशीवासी ने इसे अपना कार्यक्रम बना लिया। करीब-करीब चार सौ लोग परिवारों में ठहरे हैं और यहां की tent city का नजारा ऐसा है कि मुझे बताया गया कि कई लोग जो होटल में ठहरे थे, वो होटल छोड़ करके tent city का मजा लेने चले आए हैं। एक नया अनुभव करने के लिए चले आए। मैं समझता हूं और पिछले दो महीने से मैं लगातार देख रहा था। काशीवासियों ने काशी को एक प्रकार से ग्‍लोबल Headquarter बना दिया हो ऐसा माहौल बना दिया था। यहां आया हुआ हर मेहमान काशीवासी को लग रहा है उसके खुद के परिवार का मेहमान है। ऐसा वातावरण प्रवासी भारतीय सम्‍मेलनों में इसके पहले मैं कभी देख नहीं पाया हूं, जो काशीवासियों ने दिखाया है। और इसलिए मैं काशीवासियों को विशेष रूप से प्रणाम करता हूं। मैं स्‍थानीय administration को भी, यहां के अधिकारियों को भी हृदय से बहुत-बहुत बधाई देता हूं कि उन्‍होंने अपने बलबूते पर इतनी बड़ी व्‍यवस्‍था को चलाया, बढ़ाया और आगे बढ़ाया। और इन सबके पीछे सुषमा जी का नेतृत्‍व और उनकी पूरी टीम यह तो अभिनंदन के हकदार है ही है। काशी का गौरव बढ़ा तो यहां के सांसद के नाते मेरी खुशी जरा चार गुना ज्‍यादा बढ़ जाती है।

मेहनत आप लोगों ने की, योजना आप लोगों ने बनाई, पसीना आपने बहाया, दिनरात बिना सोये, बिना थके आप लोग चलते रहे, लेकिन लोग पीठ मेरी थपथपा रहे हैं। यह आपका प्‍यार है, आपकी मेहनत है, जिसके कारण यह संभव हुआ है और इसलिए काशी की सांसद के नाते मेरी इस कर्मभूमि के नाते मैं आज एक विशेष संतोष की अनुभूति करता हूं और मुझे विश्‍वास है कि मेरी काशी आपके माध्‍यम से फिर एक बार दुनिया के हर व्‍यक्ति के दिल में जगह बनाएगी और हर किसी को काशी आने का मन करे । मैं अंत में फिर से एक बार आप सभी का काशी में पधारने के लिए हृदय से बहुत-बहुत आभार व्‍यक्‍त करता हूं। भारत में आपका यह प्रवास सुखद रहे, इसी कामना के साथ बहुत-बहुत धन्‍यवाद करता हूं, मैं व्‍यक्तिगत रूप से प्रधानमंत्री के रूप में नहीं, सांसद के रूप में नहीं, व्‍यक्तिगत अपने आनंद के लिए पिछले एक-दो साल से कार्यक्रम कर रहा हूं। भारत में मार्च महीना एक प्रकार से exam का महीना होता है और 10वीं, 12वीं की परीक्षा यानि परिवार में सालभर एक तनाव का माहौल होता है। हर किसी को लगता है बच्‍चे को 10वीं में ज्‍यादा Marks मिले, 12वीं में ज्‍यादा Marks मिले, एक तनाव का माहौल होता है। तो मैं हमेशा कोशिश कर रहा हूं कि exam के पहले सभी बच्‍चों से, उनके parents से, उनके Guardian से, उनके अभिभावकों से, उनके teacher से मैं संवाद करूं और परीक्षा को बड़ा संकट न माने लोग इसके लिए जो भी बातें समझा सकता हूं मैं समझाऊं। मुझे खुशी है इस 29 जनवरी को मैं देशभर के और इस बार तो विदेश के लोग भी जुड़ रहे हैं। उनके बच्‍चे भी, उनके family के लोग भी नरेंद्र मोदी App के माध्‍यम से, video के माध्‍यम से जुड़ने वाले हैं। करोड़ों-करोड़ों परिवारों के साथ exam warriorsके संबंध में मैं संवाद करने वाला हूं। बच्‍चों से बातचीत करने वाला हूं और परीक्षा का तनाव बच्‍चों का न रहे इसके लिए जो भी तौर-तरीके बता सकता हूं, मैं बताने वाला हूं, 29 जनवरी, 11 बजे, मुझे विश्‍वास है कि आप भी अपने परिवार के लोगों को सूचना करेंगे कि वहां आपके परिवार के लोग भी अगर इस exam के इस कालखंड में हो तो वे भी उसका फायदा उठा सकते हैं।

मैं फिर एक बार इस भव्‍य योजना के लिए और हमारे मित्र प्रवीन्‍द जगन्‍नाथ जी का परिवार के साथ यहां आना, समय देना, इसका कार्यक्रम की शोभा बढ़ाना मैं इसके लिए उनका बहुत हृदय से आभार व्‍यक्‍त करता हूं। उनके पिता जी ने मॉरिशस को बनाने में बहुत बड़ी भूमिका अदा की है। एक प्रकार से आधुनिक मॉरिशस के वो architecture हैं। उनका भी उतना ही प्‍यार हम सब बना हुआ है। पिछले दिनों उनके पिता जी विशेष रूप से परिवार के साथ काशी की यात्रा के लिए आए थे, आज प्रवीन्‍दजी का आना हो गया, परिवार के साथ कविता जी को ले करके आए गए। मैं मानता हूं उनका भारत के प्रति जो आपार स्‍नेह हैं। वो दिनों-दिन बढ़ता चला जा रहा है। उन्‍होंने समय दिया, शोभा बढ़ाई, उनका भी आभार व्‍यक्‍त करता हूं। मैं फिर एक बार आप सब को अनेक-अनेक शुभकामनाओं के साथ बहुत-बहुत धन्‍यवाद।

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अतुल तिवारी/शाहबाज़ हसीबी/बाल्‍मीकि महतो/तारा/ममता

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‘Development of rural areas should not erode their unique identities but must fortify their spirits. The facilities in villages must resemble those of a city but the soul and the values of Indian villages, must be preserved’, the Vice President of India Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu said today. He was addressing the gathering at the presentation ceremony of AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards and AICTE- SAGY Initiative awards in New Delhi today.

 

Shri. Naidu said that the Awards would challenge young students to come up with novel ideas that have great potential to impact life in villages through technological interventions at the grass root level. Expressing his agreement with Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that ‘the future of India lies in its villages’, the Vice President said that development of villages is an essential precondition to development of the nation.

 

The Vice President said that educational institutions must re-orient their curricula to ensure that students spend time in rural areas, interacting with people and understanding their problems.

 

The Vice President opined that by steering itself towards eco friendly industrialisation, sustainable urbanisation, and inclusion of the rural economy, India has the potential to not only become the world’s fastest growing economy, but also to serve as an inspiration, a model to the world

 

Expressing disappointment that our vision for development is still largely urban centric, Shri. Naidu lamented that rural India still lagged behind urban India in terms of crucial development indicators.

 

Highlighting the importance of redeeming our agriculture sector which is still the main stay of rural economy, the Vice President said that we have to constantly innovate and reinvent our agricultural practices to make farming much more rewarding, profitable and sustainable.

 

Shri. Naidu said that 'One size fits all' approach will not ensure development in a vast and diverse country like India. ‘Every village has its own individuality, its own industries & its own developmental needs. Our plans should capture aspirations of the people, leverage their strengths & mitigate their weaknesses’, he reasoned.

 

Expressing his firm conviction that development and environmental conservation are not mutually exclusive goals but are complimentary, the Vice President urged young technocrats to consider the environmental cost of their innovations on a priority basis while calculating feasibility. ‘We can no longer afford to neglect our ecological footprint’, he warned.

 

Expressing his anguish at the dual challenges of malnutrition and hidden hunger on one hand and obesity and lifestyle diseases on the other, that India faces today, Shri. Naidu urged young people to maintain a balanced diet and lead a healthy life style. ‘Only a healthy nation can be a wealthy nation’, he added.

 

Calling for balanced development, the Vice President said that our approach to development must have a dual focus, it must be comprehensive and must keep both urban and rural realities in view. He added that our urban spaces were becoming increasingly congested and suggested that distress migration could be prevented by providing livelihood, connectivity, health services, infrastructure and avenues for recreation in rural areas.

 

The Vice President said that 3 ‘D’s - Demography, Demand and Democracy are making the India of today outshine other countries in the world and added that he had full faith in the vision and capabilities of India’s youth who make up 65% of the country’s population.

 

He congratulated the All India Council of Technical Education’s endeavour to catalyse rural development in association with the Engineering Council of India (ECI) and the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE).

 

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AKT/BK/MS/RK

The following is the full text of the speech:

I am delighted to present the AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards and AICTE SAGY Initiative awards to those passionate young students who have showcased their ideas in tune with the theme of ‘Empowerment of villages through Technologies’.

I am also delighted to know that faculty mentors have worked hard to counsel these students to convert their brilliant and innovative ideas into feasible, functional prototypes.

I am happy to note that AICTE, in association with ECI and ISTE, have conceived the Chhatra Vishwakarma awards for challenging our young students to come up with novel ideas that have great potential to impact life in our villages through technological interventions at the grass root level.

In the Rigveda, the most ancient of all Vedas, Lord Vishwakarma is revered as the deity who is the original creator, architect and divine engineer of the universe.

I hope that this event, named after the creative genius Vishwakarma, will inspire each and every one of you to conceive ingenious new ideas and technologies and create inventive and innovative solutions to pressing problems at hand.

My dear young friends,

Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation once remarked that the future of India lies in its villages.

I am in full agreement with this statement.

Development will be a distant and unfulfilled dream, until we realize that the development of villages is an essential precondition to development of the nation.

I am immensely pleased to know that our educational institutions have begun to realize that the key to India’s prosperity lies in our villages.

I have always maintained that students should be encouraged to spend time in rural areas, interacting with people and understanding the problems that they face.

Interventions from educational institutions which are often the fountainheads of innovation can dramatically transform the rural landscape and find solutions to the most crucial issues.

I have been personally associated with the welfare of villages and villagers all through my public life.

The development of villages is an issue that is very close to my heart.

I applaud the efforts of those Institutes which have been awarded the AICTE-SAGY Initiative award.

I congratulate AICTE for having taken this momentous step at time when we are working tirelessly to improve the plight of our villages.

It is heartening to note that AICTE, which is the regulator for technical education in India, is spreading its wings to become a facilitator for the development of the nation.

Dear Students,

I believe that India has the potential to not only become the world’s fastest growing economy, but also to serve as an inspiration, a model to the world.

But in order to achieve this coveted goal, India must steer itself towards eco friendly industrialisation, sustainable urbanisation, and inclusion of the rural economy.

According to census 2011, nearly 69% of our population lives in rural areas.

The socio-economic census data, 2011 says that almost 73% of the households are in rural areas.

Yet unfortunately, our vision for development is still largely urban centric.

Rural India still lags far behind urban India in terms of crucial development indicators.

Rural economy is still characterized by lack of sufficient amenities such as clean water, health, education and a dearth of employment opportunities.

Insufficient banking, communication, technology, market and warehousing facilities continue to plague rural agriculture and industry.

Rural society still faces challenges of poverty, gender inequality and rampant discrimination.

Though we have made considerable progress in the sphere of rural development, much more needs to be done to make rural India economically, socially and politically empowered.

Since agriculture is still the main stay of the rural economy, we have to constantly innovate and reinvent our agricultural practices in tune with the realities of diminishing natural resources and changing weather and rainfall patterns.

Students of agriculture, engineering and allied sciences must spend more time in agricultural fields to device solutions to improve productivity and sustainability of our agriculture.

There is nothing more important than ensuring food security for our people.

Your innovations need not be ground breaking and transformative, they could very well be incremental and basic.

If they are able to solve real problems I am sure that they will survive, sustain and flourish.

Our Government is doing its best to promote innovations through a variety of programs and schemes. I hope that these initiatives serve as launch pads for young, budding inventors and scientists such as yourself.

My dear young friends,

India is a vast and diverse country. One size fits all programs and policies will not ensure development in India.

Every state, every village, has its own individuality, its own traditional crafts and industries and its own very special set of developmental needs. The people in villages have a certain unique set of skills and capabilities.

When we plan for development, these factors must be taken into consideration. In essence, the plan should capture the aspirations of the people, leverage their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses.

Development is not necessarily building sky scrapers. It could very well be empowering the local craftsmen and entrepreneurs and enabling small and medium industries.

It has been found that small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) account for 45% of industrial value addition and 40% of the workforce.

Thus development of rural areas should not erode their unique identities but must fortify their spirits.

The amenities in villages must resemble those of a city but the soul and the values of Indian villages, must be preserved.

My dear students,

There is a lot of indiscretion and arbitrariness in the way we consume natural resources today.

It has been found that at our current population and rate of resources consumption, we need 1.5 Earths to survive.

Therefore, I urge each and every one of you to consider the environmental cost of your inventions and innovations on a priority basis when you measure their feasibility.

We can no longer afford to neglect our ecological foot print.

I do not believe that development and environmental conservation are mutually exclusive goals.

With focus on green and clean sources of energy, reduction in consumption and efficient waste management, we can very well make our villages hubs of progress as well as sanctuaries for thriving ecosystems.

Let me remind you that our country is on a relentless quest to maximize our renewable energy potential and has recently increased its previous 2022 capacity target for renewable energy from 175GW to 227.6 GW.

The brunt of global warming and changing weather patterns including unseasonal rains, flood and drought are borne mostly by the poor and the marginalized, especially the farmers.

I therefore urge you to give clean energy a place of paramount importance in your technological innovations.

Ours is a vast country with complex challenges but infinite opportunities.

Urban India is witnessing Industrial revolution 4.0. However, I must impress upon you that in the hinterlands of the country one can find industry 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 co-existing.

You as technocrats must be flexible enough to adapt your innovations to suits the needs of all these various phases of the Industrial Revolution.

My dear young friends,

I must not fail to impress upon you that in our bid to develop rural India, we must not falter in our attempts to facilitate the development of urban India.

With 34% of the population living in cities, urban India is already the world’s second largest country.

Hundreds of millions more migrate to India’s cities.

Yet, only 10 cities have metro rail and 15 more have metro construction in the pipeline.

Much more investment is needed for improved mobility, connectivity and ease of living in urban areas.

Our approach to development must have a dual focus.

It must be comprehensive and must keep both urban and rural realities in view.

At this point in time, India as a Nation stands at cross roads of resurgence.

While most developed nations are aging, India stands out with its rich demographic dividend having 50% population below 25 years. In terms of sheer number, it translates to 65 Cr young and energetic citizens.

We are an emerging market and we are deeply committed to upholding our constitution and democratic values.

These three ‘D’s - Demography, Demand and Democracy- is what is making the India of today outshine other countries in the world.

My dear friends,

It was heartening to know that more than 1600 teams from across the India participated in this event with contribution of nearly 1700 girl students across all teams.

I have been informed that this event was conceptualized in year 2017 and this is the second year of its execution. I am extremely happy to note that the number of teams that have been shortlisted for the national convention has already doubled this year.

The AICTE –SAGY Initiative award will definitely inspire all the higher educational institutions in the country who wish to participate in Unnat Bharat Abhiyan.

I would only like to re-iterate that the collective vigour and energy of our young minds is the force that is  catalysing the resurgence of India.

Excellence should be our goal- our Mantra. We owe it to the billion dreams that propel our country forward to be a global leader in all respect.

I hope that you will keep learning, innovating and inspiring.

I have great faith in your vision and in your capabilities.

I wish you all great success in your endeavours to make India the world capital of knowledge, wisdom and wealth.

Jai Hind!

 

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