Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM’s address at Jagran Forum on the occasion of 75th anniversary celebration of Dainik Jagran

Posted On: 07 DEC 2018 4:16PM by PIB Delhi

All the dignitaries present here, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all I offer my best wishes to every reader of Dainik Jagran, all the people associated with the publication and distribution of the newspaper, especially the hawker brothers, on the Diamond Jubilee.

For the last 75 years, you have ceaselessly connected crores of people of the country with information and issues. Dainik Jagran has played an important role in the reconstruction of the country. You have been playing a vital role in creating awareness in the country. The work that you had started in the backdrop of the Quit India movement is today aiding in carrying forward the new hopes, new resolutions and new values of New India. I am one of the readers of Dainik Jagran. On the basis of my experience, I can say that in the last decade, Dainik Jagran has strengthened the campaign to bring about changes in the country and the society.

In the last four years, your group and other media houses of the country have done the best to discharge the responsibilities as strong pillars of nation building. Media had a positive and a crucial role in leading the campaigns like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao or Swachh Bharat Mission and creating a mass movement. Dainik Jagran too has always come forward in making its meaningful contribution. Recently, I had got the opportunity to interact with you all through video conference. At that time I was told how you all were working hard with dedication for cleanliness.

 

Friends,

This role of media will prove to be even more vital in the future. Today digital revolution has expanded the reach of media and newspapers and I believe that new media will further strengthen the foundation stone of New India.

Friends,

Whenever we talk of New India, the basic mantras behind it are - Minimum government maximum governance and 'Sabka sath sabka vikas'. We talk of such a system that can be created as well as implemented with public participation. We have been carrying forward this idea for the last four years. The public on its own initiative is carrying ahead many of the schemes of the central government.

This sense of governance, this sense of belonging and cooperation has been strengthened in the country.

The country's youth is now considering itself as a stake-holder in development. The government schemes have now been seen with a sense of belonging. The youth feels that its voice is being heard and this is the reason why the faith in the government and the system is at unprecedented levels. This faith arises when the people see the government achieving the desired or the targeted goals and working in a transparent manner.

Friends,

You will be discussing several issues on the Jagran Forum. Many questions would be raised and answers searched. Even I am raising one question on your forum. Even though this question is mine, the emotion of the entire country is associated with it. You all must be often wondering that why our nation is still backward? You might have this question in your mind that even after so many years of Independence why is our country still lagging behind? We have a fertile land, our youngsters are talented and hard-working and there is no dearth of natural resources. Why couldn't our country progress despite having everything? What is the reason that smaller countries that are few in number and have negligible natural resources have left us behind in such a short span of time?

 

Chandrayaan could be sent to the moon due to the capability of the people of our country. We could complete a grand mission like the Mars Mission at a very low cost. But what was the reason that roads could not reach the villages of crores of people?

Friends,

The world is glittering with the innovation of Indians but what was the reason that crores of Indians were not able to get electricity? Why did the people of our country have to wait for even the infrastructure for more than 6 decades? Many big shots came to power and went away but for decades even the smallest of the problems of the people could not be resolved.

Friends,

The thing that was lacking was not the goal but intentions, not money but passion, not solution but compassion and not strength but work culture. Some people very easily distort the famous lines of Kabirdas ji and make a mockery of it - 'Kal kare so aaj Kar, aaj kare so ab'. Just imagine what the image of our country could have been if the same expression had been incorporated in the work culture decades ago.

Friends,

Recently, a video showing transmission of electricity through underwater cables in Elephanta went viral. So, even I have seen the video. Hopefully you all too must have seen it. Just imagine the plight of the people of Elephanta when they see the glare of Mumbai but unfortunately have been forced to live in darkness for the past 70 years. A few days ago, someone thanked me through a letter because for the first time Meghalaya was connected with train service. Can you imagine that before we came to power Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura were not even on the Rail map! Imagine how and who must have impacted the lives of the people of these states?

Friends,

The direction and pace at which the country was moving in the past and is moving at present can be a subject of research and study for my friends in media. What was the reason that even after 67 years of independence toilets were constructed in only 38% of the rural households and how 98% of the rural houses were covered with toilets in just four years? What was the reason that even after 67 years of independence only 55% of the villages were connected to roads and how in just four years road network was expanded to connect more than 90% of the villages? What was the reason that even after 67 years of independence only 55% houses had gas connections and now in four years it had increased to 90%? Why after 67 years of independence only 70% rural households had electricity and how within four years electricity reached to more than 95% rural families? Friends, hours will pass if we start asking similar questions. The way our country has progressed in the last four - four and a half years from deficiencies in the system to fulfillment in the system is unparalleled.

Friends,

Why was it that till 67 years of independence only 50% of the families in the country had bank accounts? How today almost all the families are connected to the banking facility? Why till 67 years of independence hardly 4 crore citizens were filing Income Tax Returns? It is a country of 125 crore people. However, within four years, 3 crore new citizens have been added to the income tax network. Why was it that before GST only 66 lakh businessmen were registered with the indirect tax regime? After the implementation of GST, 54 lakh new people have now been registered.

Friends,

Why the previous governments could not accomplish these tasks and how these things are now becoming possible? The people, bureaucracy, institutions are the same, the way files move is also the same, table, chair and pens are also the same. Then why did this change happen? This shows that country can change. And I want to remind you that change can never happen unless decisions are taken and implemented at the ground level.

Just imagine... where our country must have been today if the citizens of the country were provided with the basic amenities decades ago. I am fortunate to have got the opportunity to do these things for the people of my country. At the same time it is unfortunate that the people had to wait for it for so long.

 

Friends,

When the poor, oppressed and deprived classes of our country get all the basic amenities like toilets, electricity, bank accounts, has connection, education and health; they will be able to defeat poverty themselves. This is my belief. They will come out of poverty and so will the country. You have been witnessing this change for the last four years. Statistics are the evidence of the same but these things never happened before. This didn't happen before because if poverty had ended, how they would have raised the slogan of 'Garibi Hatao'? And also, had they provided all the basic amenities, they would not have been able to play vote-bank politics. Appeasement wouldn't have been possible.

Brothers and sisters,

Now that we have provided all the basic amenities to almost all the people of the country, India is now ready to leapfrog into the next era. We are determined to fulfil the aspirations and ambitions of crores of Indians. Today, we are moving towards the journey of 'Sankalp se Siddhi' for New India. The way by which India is using technology in this journey is also turning into a model for the developing and the backward countries of the world.

Friends,

Today efforts are being made to link technology with every aspect of one's life - from connectivity to communication and competition to convenience. Ease of living is being ensured by the power of technology and human sensibilities. Our systems are fast becoming compatible with the needs of the new world. Modern systems based on solar power and biofuel are being developed.

Next generation infrastructure is being developed keeping in mind the needs of the 21st century. Work on the highways, railways, airways and waterway is underway. Recently, you must have seen that a new waterway facility has been started between Varanasi and Kolkata. Driverless train – ‘Train 18’ and its trials were the headlines of your newspaper. As per the current situation of air travel, more and more passengers are now travelling by planes compared to the AC coaches of trains. This is because the government has now added the smaller cities - tier-2 and tier-3 cities with UDAN scheme, new airports and air routes have been developed. It is essential to understand how changes are taking place everywhere in the system. Earlier refill of LPG cylinders used to take several days but now it is being done within 1-2 days. Earlier the refund of income tax returns used to take months but now it takes only a few weeks. Earlier people had to wait for months for getting passports but now it takes only 1-2 weeks. Getting electricity and water connection is now easy. Most of the government services are now online and available on mobile phones. There is just one idea behind it, that is, the common man must not have to face hardship in getting the services, or stand in long queues, gets liberated from corrupt practices, and be free from daily woes.

Friends,

The government is not only committed to bring the services to the people's doorsteps but is also striving hard to deliver the benefits of the schemes to the needy. The government is reaching out to the beneficiaries of the schemes like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for houses, Ujjwala Yojana for gas connections, Saubhagya Yojana for electricity connection and for building toilets. The government is identifying the beneficiaries and encouraging them to take advantage of the schemes. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) i.e. the Ayushman Bharat Yojana that aims at providing health protection to more than 50 crore poor people in the country is the best example of welfare and fair play.

Ayushman Bharat shows how digital technology, automation and human sensitivity can be used for the welfare of the people. The beneficiaries of this scheme were first identified, then that information or data were added with the help of technology and golden cards were issued. Golden card and Ayushman Mitra is like a blend of technology and human sensitivity that is going to provide health benefits to the poorest of the poor free of cost.

Friends,

It has not even been 100 days since the launch of this scheme. In less than 3 months, about 4.5 lakh poor people of the country have already been benefitted or are getting treated in the hospitals. From surgery of pregnant women to treatment of serious diseases like cancer has been possible due to Ayushman Bharat.

So, just think about the people who are away from the glare. Who are these people? They are the workers, labourers, farmers, farm and factory labourers, cart pullers, rickshaw pullers, tailors, or washer-men. There were people in villages and cities who used to postpone their treatment just because there was a big question before them - whether to spend on medicines or on two square meals for the family? Whether to spend on medicines or on children's education? The poor people got the answer to these questions in the form of Ayushman Bharat.

Friends,

The efforts to empower the poor are not limited to this. This will be expanded in the near future. We are trying to remove the middlemen with the help of technology and to bring the producer and the consumer closer. Our laws and policies are clear as well as stringent against corruption at every level. Even the world is witnessing our efforts in this sector. Therefore, India is now considered as a country with immense possibilities.

Friends,

As you are aware that sometime back, during the G-20 Summit in Argentina I had interacted with the leaders there. We placed our ideas before the powerful economies of the world. India had placed a few suggestions before the international community so that economic offenders and fugitives would not be able to find a safe haven in any place around the world. I believe our efforts will definitely fructify one day.

Friends,

One of the reasons for this confidence is that today the world is listening to India and trying to understand her. Today our relationship with many countries of the world has become extremely cordial. And you all as well as the entire nation is witnessing and experiencing the results. You have seen one example about 3-4 days back. All of it has been possible because of our country's self-confidence.

Friends,

Today, all the robust and major decisions were possible because of a strong government. The government was elected by absolute majority. The government is focusing upon strength, resources, values, tradition, culture and security for a New India. The government is moving towards development by keeping these 5 streams of development at the centre - education for children, income for the youth, medicines for the elderly, irrigation for the farmers and addressing people’s grievances.

Dainik Jagran as well as the entire media will play a crucial role in fulfilling the new dreams of New India. Asking questions to the system is your responsibility as well as a right. I have always welcomed your suggestions and criticisms. The Dainik Jagran Group while maintaining its independence and neutrality will relentlessly work towards nation building. With this hope, I end my speech. Once again I congratulate you all for completing 75 years and my best wishes for a bright future. Thanks a lot!

 

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AKT/SH/IG/MG/AK



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