Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM’s address at ET Now Global Business Summit 2024

Posted On: 09 FEB 2024 11:09PM by PIB Delhi

Prime Minister of Guyana, Mr. Mark Phillips, Shri Vineet Jain ji, leaders of the industry, CEOs, other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen,

Friends, the team of the Global Business Summit has chosen a very important theme for this year's summit. I think the theme itself is very significant. Disruption, Development, and Diversification are highly discussed terms in today's era. While discussing disruption, development, and diversification, everyone agrees that this is Bharat’s time – This is India’s time. The belief in Bharat across the world is continuously growing. We have just seen unprecedented enthusiasm towards Bharat even at Davos, which is somewhat like a congregation of Kumbh festival. Something else flows there, not the waters of the Ganges. Even in Davos, an unprecedented enthusiasm towards Bharat was witnessed. Someone said that Bharat is an unprecedented economic success story. What was said at Davos was being echoed by policymakers around the world. Someone said that Bharat’s digital and physical infrastructure is at a record high. A stalwart said that there is no place in the world now where Bharat’s dominance is not felt. A senior official even compared Bharat’s capabilities to that of a 'raging bull'. Today, there is a debate in every development expert group in the world that Bharat has transformed in 10 years. And Vineet ji also mentioned many things. These discussions show how much confidence the world has in Bharat today. There has never been such a positive sentiment in the world regarding Bharat’s capabilities. That's why I said from the Red Fort – “This is the time, the right time”.

Friends,

There comes a time in the development journey of any country when all circumstances are in its favour, when that country becomes strong for many centuries to come. Today, I see that time for Bharat. And when I talk about a thousand years, I do it very wisely. It is true that if someone has never heard a thousand words, if he has not heard a thousand days, then a thousand years seem very long to him, but there are some people who can see. This time period - this era - is truly unprecedented. In a way, the 'Virtuous Cycle' has begun. This is the time when our growth rate is consistently increasing and our fiscal deficit is decreasing. This is the time when our exports are increasing and the current account deficit is decreasing. This is the time when our productive investment is at a record high and inflation is under control. This is the time when opportunities and income are both increasing and poverty is decreasing. This is the time when consumption and corporate profitability are both increasing, and there has been a record reduction in bank NPAs. This is the time when production and productivity are both increasing and... This is the time when our critics are at an all-time low.

Friends,

This time, our interim budget has also received great praise from experts and our friends in the media. Many analysts have also applauded it, saying that it is not a populist budget, and this is also a reason for the praise. I thank them for this review. But I also want to add some more points to their assessment... I want to draw attention to some fundamental aspects. If you discuss our budget or overall policy-making, you will notice some first principles in it. And those first principles are -- stability, consistency, continuity, and this budget is also an extension of the same.

Friends,

When someone has to be examined, he can only be examined during difficult or challenging times. The COVID-19 pandemic and the period that followed it became a major test for governments worldwide. No one had any idea how to deal with the dual challenge of health and economy. During that time … Remember those days, I was continuously communicating with the nation on television. And I stood with the people every moment during that crisis. In those initial days, I talked about prioritizing saving lives. And we said, "If there's life, there's the world." You would remember. We put all our efforts into gathering resources to save lives and raising awareness among people. The government provided free rations to the poor. We focused on Made in India vaccines. We also ensured that the vaccines reached every Indian quickly. As soon as this campaign gained momentum... We said, "There is life and there is world too."

We addressed the demands of both health and livelihood simultaneously. The government sent money directly to women's bank accounts... We provided financial assistance to street vendors, small entrepreneurs, and did everything to ensure that there were no problems in farming. We resolved to turn disaster into opportunity. My media colleagues can screen the newspapers from that time... At that time, the opinion of many top experts was to print money, to issue currency notes, so that demand increases and big businesses are helped. I can understand the people of industrial houses trying to influence me and they will do so even today. Even Nobel Prize winners were telling me the same thing, this was the trend everywhere. Many governments around the world had adopted this path too. But nothing good came out of this step. However, we were able to run our country's economy according to our own decisions and brought the inflation under control. The condition of those countries is such that even today they are not able to control inflation. The side effects of the path they chose are still there. Many efforts were made to put pressure on us too. It was also a very easy step for us to follow what the world is saying and what the world is doing. But we knew the ground realities... We understood... Based on our experience, we made some decisions with our discretion. And the result of that is the world is praising our steps today. The world is applauding it. The policies that were being questioned turned out to be effective. And that's why Bharat’s economy is in such a strong position today.

Friends,

We are a welfare state. Making the life of the common man easy, improving their quality of life is our priority. We created new schemes, but we also ensured that the benefits of these schemes reach every eligible beneficiary.

We have invested not only in the present but also in the future of the country. If you pay attention, you will notice four main factors in every budget of our government. First - Record productive expenditure in the form of Capital Expenditure, second - Unprecedented investment in welfare schemes, third - Control over wasteful expenditure, and fourth - Financial discipline. We have balanced these four aspects, and have achieved the goals in all of them. Some people ask us today how we managed to do it. I can respond to this question in many ways, and one important method has been the mantra of "money saved is money earned". By completing projects quickly and timely, we have saved a significant amount of money for the country. Completing projects in a time-bound manner has become the hallmark of our government. I'll give you an example. The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor was initiated in 2008. If the previous government had worked swiftly, its cost would have been 16,500 crore rupees. However, it was completed last year, and by then, its cost had escalated to over 50,000 crore rupees. Similarly, you are familiar with the Bogibeel Bridge in Assam. It was started in 1998 and was supposed to be completed with a cost of 1100 crore rupees. You would be surprised to know what happened there; many years later, when we came (to power), we expedited it. It was dragging since 1998. We completed it in 2018. Still, what was an 1100 crore rupees project ended up costing over 5000 crore rupees! I can count many such projects. The money that was being wasted earlier, whose money was it? That money wasn't coming from the pocket of any politician; it was the country's money, it was the taxpayers' money, it was your money. We showed regard for taxpayers' money, and we exerted full force to complete projects on time. Look at how quickly the new Parliament building was constructed. Be it the Kartavya Path or the Atal Setu of Mumbai, the nation has witnessed the pace of their construction. That's why today the country says - Modi lays the foundation stone of the project and Modi also inaugurates it.

Friends,

Our government has saved the country's money by bringing transparency in the system and using technology. You can imagine... from the time of the Congress government, there were 10 crore fake beneficiaries in the papers... You would be surprised to hear that 10 crore such names continued for years, who were fraudulent beneficiaries... Beneficiaries who were never born! There were widows who were never born. Ten crore! We removed such 10 crore fake names from the records. We started the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme. We stopped the leakage of money. A Prime Minister once said, if 1 rupee is released (from the Centre), only 15 paise reaches the beneficiary. We implemented Direct Transfer and today if 1 rupee is released (by the Centre), 100 paise reach (the beneficiaries), not even 99 (paise). The result of the Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme is that nearly 3 lakh crore rupees have been saved from going into the wrong hands in the country. Our government has initiated the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal to bring transparency in government procurement. GeM has not only saved time but also improved the quality of procurement. Many people have become suppliers today through it. Approximately 65,000 crore rupees have been saved through GeM. A saving of 65,000 crore rupees! We have also diversified oil procurement, resulting in savings of 25,000 crore rupees. You are also benefiting from this decision every day.  In the past year, we have saved 24,000 crore rupees simply by blending ethanol in petrol. And not only that, some people make fun of the ‘Swachhta Abhiyan’ (cleanliness campaign) that the Prime Minister of the country keeps talking about cleanliness. Under the cleanliness campaign, the cleaning work was carried out in government buildings. And I have earned 1100 crore rupees by selling the scrap from those government buildings.

And friends,

We have also structured our schemes in such a way that the citizens of the country save money. Today, it has become possible for the poor to have access to clean drinking water due to the Jal Jeevan Mission. As a result, their expenses on illnesses have come down. The Ayushman Bharat scheme has saved the country's poor from spending 1 lakh crore rupees and their treatment has been provided. With an 80% discount on medicines in the PM Jan Aushadhi Kendras, and discounts matter a lot in our country. No matter how good the store or the product, if there's a 10% discount next door, all women will go there. With an 80% discount, we provide medicines to the middle class and poor families of the country. As a result of the 80% discount, 30,000 crore rupees has been saved by those who have purchased medicines from Jan Aushadhi Kendras.

Friends,

I am accountable not only to the current generation but also to the many generations to come. I do not want to just live my daily life; I want to secure the future of the generations to come.

Friends,

I stay far away from the politics of emptying the treasury to gain a few extra votes. Therefore, we have prioritized financial management in our policies and decisions. Let me give you a small example. You are aware of the approach of some political parties regarding electricity. That approach will lead to the collapse of the country's electricity system. My approach is different from theirs. You know that our government has introduced the rooftop solar scheme for one crore households. With this scheme, people can generate electricity and reduce their electricity bills to zero, and even earn money by selling excess electricity. By implementing the UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) scheme, we have provided cheap LED bulbs... When the previous government was in power, LED bulbs were available for 400 rupees. When we came to power, the situation changed, and LED bulbs started to be available for 40-50 rupees, with the same quality and from the same company. People have saved nearly 20,000 crores in their electricity bills due to LED bulbs.

Friends,

There are so many seasoned journalists here. You know slogans of ‘Garibi Hatao’ (poverty alleviation) have been echoed in our country day and night for seven decades. Amidst these slogans, poverty was not alleviated, but previous governments did create an industry of giving advice on poverty alleviation. They earned from it. They ventured into providing consultancy services. People from this industry kept suggesting new formulas to alleviate poverty each time, becoming millionaires themselves, but the country couldn't alleviate poverty. For years, debates on poverty alleviation formulas were held in air-conditioned rooms, accompanied by wine and cheese, while the poor continued to remain poor. However, after 2014, when the son of the poor became the Prime Minister, this industry operating in the name of poverty alleviation was shut down. I have risen from poverty to reach here, so I know how the battle against poverty is fought. Our government initiated a campaign against poverty. We started working in every direction, and the result is that in the last 10 years, 25 crore people have come out of poverty. This shows that our government's policies are right and our government's direction is right. Moving forward in this direction, we will reduce poverty in the country and make our nation developed.

Friends,

Our governance model is moving forward on two fronts simultaneously. On one hand, we are addressing the challenges of the 20th century, which have been inherited by us. On the other hand, we are committed to fulfilling the aspirations of the 21st century. We have not considered any task too small. On the contrary, we have confronted even the biggest challenges and achieved ambitious goals. If our government has built 11 crore toilets, we have also created new possibilities in the space sector. If our government has provided 4 crore houses to the poor, we have also established more than 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs. If our government has built more than 300 medical colleges, then work on freight and defence corridors is also progressing rapidly. If our government has launched Vande Bharat trains, we have also operated close to 10,000 electric buses in cities across the country, including Delhi. While our government has connected crores of Indians to banking services, we have also built bridges of convenience through Digital India and FinTech services.

Friends,

There are esteemed thinkers from across the country, as well as renowned figures from the international community and the business world in this hall. How do you set targets for your institution, and what is your definition of success? Many people will say that they set their targets based on where they were last year, aiming to go from 10 to 12, 13, or 15. If there is a growth of 5-10 per cent, it is often considered good. I would say that this is "the curse of incremental thinking." This is wrong because you are limiting yourself. Because you are not pushing yourself forward with confidence in your abilities. I remember when I formed the government; our bureaucracy was also trapped in this mindset. I decided to break the bureaucracy free from this thinking so that the country could move forward with a new mindset. I decided to work at a much faster pace and on a much larger scale than previous governments. And today, the world is witnessing the results of this approach. There are several sectors where as much work has been done in the past 10 years as was not done in the previous 70 years. That is, if you compare 7 decades to 1 decade... Until 2014, electrification was done for nearly 20,000 kilometers of railway lines in seven decades. 20,000 kms in seven decades! In the 10 years of our government's rule, we have electrified more than 40,000 kilometers of railway lines. Now, tell me, is there any comparison? I'm not talking about the month of May (because elections will be held then). Until 2014, approximately 18,000 kilometers of national highways with four lanes or more were built in the seven decades. Only 18,000 kms! We have constructed nearly 30,000 kilometers of highways in our government's 10 years’ rule. In 70 years, 18,000  kilometers and in 10 years, 30,000 kilometers! If I had worked with incremental thinking, where would I have reached?

Friends,

Until 2014, Bharat had a metro rail network of less than 250 kilometers in seven decades. In the past 10 years, we have built a new metro rail network of over 650 kilometers. Until 2014, piped water connections reached up to around 3.5 crore families in Bharat in seven decades... Around 3.5 crore! We launched the Jal Jeevan Mission in 2019. In the past 5 years alone, we have provided piped water to more than 10 crore households in rural areas.

Friends,

In the 10 years before 2014, the country was truly heading towards economic ruin with the policies it pursued. We have also presented a White Paper on Bharat’s economic situation in this very session of Parliament. Today, discussions are ongoing about it. And since there is such a large audience here today, let me also express my thoughts. This White Paper that I have brought today, I could have brought it in 2014 as well. If I had to make political gains, I could have presented those figures before the nation 10 years ago. But when I was confronted with the reality in 2014, I was shocked. The economy was in a very serious condition from all angles. There was profound disillusionment among investors worldwide due to corruption and policy paralysis. If I had exposed those things at that time, even a slight wrong signal could have shattered the country's confidence. People would have lost hope and would believe that recovery was not impossible. Just like when a patient realizes he has a serious illness, he becomes completely shattered. The same would have happened to the country.

It would have suited me politically to expose everything. Politics instigates me to do it, but national interest does not allow me to do so. And that's why I left the path of politics and chose the path of national interest. And in the last 10 years, when the situation across the board has become stronger, and we are geared to withstand any attack, I felt that I should tell the truth to the nation. That's why I presented the White Paper in Parliament yesterday. If you look at it, you will know where we were and how we have reached here today after overcoming many difficult situations.

Friends,

Today, you are witnessing a new height of progress in Bharat. Our government has undertaken numerous initiatives, and I noticed that Vineet ji was repeatedly referring to Bharat as the world's third-largest economy (soon). And nobody has any doubt about it. Vineet ji speaks very humbly, he is extremely soft-spoken. But still, you all have trust in it. Yes, we will reach the third position, why? I was sitting beside him. And I assure you, our country will reach the top 3 in the world economy in our third term. And friends, be prepared for this, I don't hide anything. I give everyone the opportunity to prepare. But what people think is that since I am a politician, I keep talking. But now that I have gained experience, I don't speak without reason. And that's why I say there are even bigger decisions coming in the third term.

I have been working on new schemes for the past one and a half years to eradicate poverty in Bharat and to accelerate the development of the country. I am charting out the entire roadmap of how I will work in each direction and where I will take the country to. I have got suggestions from more than 15 lakhs people in various ways. I am continuously working on the suggestions of more than 15 lakh people. I have never issued a press note about it before; this is the first time I am mentioning it. The work is progressing, and it will also take its final form within the next 20-30 days. The ‘Naya Bharat’ (new India) will work at super speed like this... and this is Modi's guarantee. I hope there will be positive discussions in this summit. Many good suggestions will emerge, which will also help us in the roadmap that is being prepared. Once again, my best wishes to everyone for this event.

Thank you very much. 

 

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

 

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DS/VJ/VK/AK



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