Text of the Prime Minister’s address to the Joint Session of U.S. Congress

This is the speech of Prime minister Modi Ji addressing the the Joint Session of U.S. Congress, before him five Indian prime minister’s gave such speeches. Here is the full speech .

Mr. Speaker,

Mr. Vice President,

Distinguished Members of the U.S. Congress

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am deeply honoured by the invitation to address this Joint Meeting of the U.S. Congress.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker for opening the doors of this magnificent Capitol.

This temple of democracy has encouraged and empowered other democracies the world over.

It manifests the spirit of this great nation, which in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

In granting me this opportunity, you have honoured the world’s largest democracy and its 1.25 billion people.

As a representative of world’s largest democracy, it is indeed a privilege to speak to the leaders of its oldest.

Mr. Speaker,

Two days ago, I began my visit by going to the Arlington National Cemetery -the final resting place of many brave soldiers of this great land.

I honoured their courage and sacrifice for the ideals of freedom and democracy.

It was also the seventy-second Anniversary of the D-Day.

On that day, thousands from this great country fought to protect the torch of liberty on the remote shores of a land that they did not know.

They sacrificed their lives so that the world lives in freedom.

I applaud …India applauds, the great sacrifices of the men and women from ‘The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’ in service of mankind.

India knows what this means because our soldiers too have fallen in distant battlefields for the same ideals.

That is why the threads of freedom and liberty form a strong bond between our two democracies.

Mr. Speaker,

Our nations may have been shaped by differing histories, cultures, and faiths.

Yet, our belief in democracy for our nations and liberty for our countrymen is common.

The idea that all citizens are created equal is a central pillar of the American constitution.

Our founding fathers too shared the same belief and sought individual liberty for every citizen of India.

There were many who doubted India when, as a newly independent nation, we reposed our faith in democracy.

Indeed, wagers were made on our failure.

But, the people of India did not waver.

Our founders created a modern nation with freedom, democracy, and equality as the essence of its soul.

And, in doing so, they ensured that we continued to celebrate our age old diversity.

Today, across its streets and institutions, in its villages and cities, anchored in equal respect for all faiths; and in the melody of hundreds of its languages and dialects.

India lives as one; India grows as one; India celebrates as one.

Mr. Speaker,

Modern India is in its 70th year.

For my government, the Constitution is its real holy book.

And, in that holy book, freedom of faith, speech and franchise, and equality of all citizens, regardless of background, are enshrined as fundamental rights.

800 million of my countrymen may exercise the freedom of franchise once every five years.

But, all the 1.25 billion of our citizens have freedom from fear, a freedom they exercise every moment of their lives.

Distinguished Members,

Engagement between our democracies has been visible in the manner in which our thinkers impacted one another, and shaped the course of our societies.

Thoreau’s idea of civil disobedience influenced our political thoughts.

And, similarly the call by the great sage of India Swami Vivekananda to embrace humanity was most famously delivered in Chicago.

Gandhi’s non-violence inspired the heroism of Martin Luther King.

Today, a mere distance of 3 miles separates the Martin Luther King memorial at Tidal Basin from the statue of Gandhi at Massachusetts Avenue.

This proximity of their memorials in Washington mirrors the closeness of ideals and values they believed in.

The genius of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was nurtured in the years he spent at the Columbia University a century ago.

The impact of the U.S. constitution on him was reflected in his drafting of the Indian constitution some three decades later.

Our independence was ignited by the same idealism that fuelled your struggle for freedom.

No wonder then that former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee called India and the U.S. ‘natural allies’.

No wonder that the shared ideals and common philosophy of freedom shaped the bedrock of our ties.

No wonder then, that President Obama has called our ties the defining partnership of the 21st century.

Mr. Speaker,

More than fifteen years ago, Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee stood here and gave a call to step out of the ‘shadow of hesitation’ of the past.

The pages of our friendship since then tell a remarkable story.

Today, our relationship has overcome the hesitations of history.

Comfort, candour and convergence define our conversations.

Through the cycle of elections and transitions of Administrations the intensity of our engagements has only grown.

And, in this exciting journey, the U.S. Congress has acted as its compass.

You helped us turn barriers into bridges of partnership.

In the fall of 2008, when the Congress passed the India-U.S. Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, it changed the very colours of leaves of our relationship.

We thank you for being there when the partnership needed you the most.

You have also stood by us in times of sorrow.

India will never forget the solidarity shown by the U.S. Congress when terrorists from across our border attacked Mumbai in November of 2008.

And for this, we are grateful.

Mr. Speaker,

I am informed that the working of the U.S. Congress is harmonious.

I am also told that you are well-known for your bipartisanship.

Well, you are not alone.

Time and again, I have also witnessed a similar spirit in the Indian Parliament, especially in our Upper House.

So, as you can see, we have many shared practices.

Mr. Speaker,

As this country knows well, every journey has its pioneers.

Very early on, they shaped a development partnership even when the meeting ground was more limited.

The genius of Norman Borlaug brought the Green Revolution and food security to India.

The excellence of the American Universities nurtured Institutes of Technology and Management in India.

And, I could go on.

Fast forward to today.

The embrace of our partnership extends to the entirety of human endeavour-from the depths of the oceans to the vastness of the space.

Our S&T collaboration continues to helps us in cracking the age-old problems in the fields of public health, education, food, and agriculture.

Ties of commerce and investment are flourishing. We trade more with the U.S. than with any other nation.

And, the flow of goods, services and capital between us generates jobs in both our societies. As in trade, so in defence. India exercises with the United States more than we do with any other partner. Defence purchases have moved from almost zero to ten billion dollars in less than a decade.

Our cooperation also secures our cities and citizens from terrorists, and protects our critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

Civil Nuclear Cooperation, as I told President Obama yesterday, is a reality.

Mr. Speaker,

Our people to people links are strong; and there is close cultural connect between our societies.

SIRI tells us that India’s ancient heritage of Yoga has over 30 million practitioners in the U.S..

It is estimated that more Americans bend for yoga than to throw a curve ball.

And, no Mr. Speaker, we have not yet claimed intellectual property right on Yoga.

Connecting our two nations is also a unique and dynamic bridge of three million Indian Americans.

Today, they are among your best CEOs; academics; astronauts; scientists; economists; doctors; even spelling bee champions.

They are your strength. They are also the pride of India. They symbolize the best of both our societies.

Mr. Speaker,

My understanding of your great country began long before I entered public office.

Long before assuming office, I travelled coast to coast, covering more than 25 States of America.

I realized then that the real strength of the U.S. was in the dreams of its people and the boldness of their ambitions.

Today, Mr. Speaker, a similar spirit animates India.

Our 800 million youth, especially, are particularly impatient.

India is undergoing a profound social and economic change.

A billion of its citizens are already politically empowered.

My dream is to economically empower them through many social and economic transformations.

And, do so by 2022, the seventy-fifth anniversary of India’s independence.

My to-do list is long and ambitious. But you will understand.

It includes:

• A vibrant rural economy with robust farm sector;

• A roof over each head and electricity to all households;

• To skill millions of our youth;

• Build 100 smart cities;

• Have a broad band for a billion, and connect our villages to the digital world;

• And create a twenty-first century rail, road and port infrastructure.

These are not just aspirations; they are goals to be reached in a finite time-frame.

And, to be achieved with a light carbon foot print, with greater emphasis on renewables.

Mr. Speaker,

In every sector of India’s forward march, I see the U.S. as an indispensable partner.

Many of you also believe that a stronger and prosperous India is in America’s strategic interest.

Let us work together to convert shared ideals into practical cooperation.

There can be no doubt that in advancing this relationship, both nations stand to gain in great measure.

As the U.S. businesses search for new areas of economic growth, markets for their goods, a pool of skilled resources, and global locations to produce and manufacture, India could be their ideal partner.

India’s strong economy, and growth rate of 7.6% per annum, is creating new opportunities for our mutual prosperity.

Transformative American technologies in India and growing investment by Indian companies in the United States both have a positive impact on the lives of our citizens.

Today, for their global research and development centres, India is the destination of choice for the U.S. companies.

Looking eastward from India, across the Pacific, the innovation strength of our two countries

comes together in California.

Here, the innovative genius of America and India’s intellectual creativity are working to shape new industries of the future.

Mr. Speaker,

The 21st century has brought with it great opportunities.

But, it also comes with its own set of challenges.

Inter-dependence is increasing.

But, while some parts of the world are islands of growing economic prosperity; other are mired in conflicts.

In Asia, the absence of an agreed security architecture creates uncertainty.

Threats of terror are expanding, and new challenges are emerging in cyber and outer-space.

And, global institutions conceived in 20th century, seem unable to cope with new challenges or take on new responsibilities.

In this world full of multiple transitions and economic opportunities; growing uncertainties and political complexities; existing threats and new challenges; our engagement can make a difference by promoting:

• Cooperation not dominance;

• Connectivity not isolation;

• Respect for Global Commons;

• inclusive not exclusive mechanisms; and above all

• adherence to international rules and norms.

India is already assuming her responsibilities in securing the Indian Ocean region.

A strong India-U.S. partnership can anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa and from Indian Ocean to the Pacific.

It can also help ensure security of the sea lanes of commerce and freedom of navigation on seas.

But, the effectiveness of our cooperation would increase if international institutions framed with the mindset of the 20th century were to reflect the realities of today.

Mr. Speaker,

Before arriving in Washington D.C., I had visited Herat in Western Afghanistan to inaugurate Afghan-India Friendship Dam, a 42 MW hydro-electric project built with Indian assistance. I was also there on the Christmas day last year to dedicate to that proud nation its Parliament, a testimony to our democratic ties.

Afghans naturally recognize that the sacrifices of American have helped create a better life.

But, your contribution in keeping the region safe and secure is deeply appreciated even beyond.

India too has made an enormous contribution and sacrifices to support our friendship with Afghan people.

A commitment to rebuild a peaceful, and stable and prosperous Afghanistan our shared objective.

Yet, Distinguished Members, not just in Afghanistan, but elsewhere in South Asia, and globally, terrorism remains the biggest threat.

In the territory stretching from West of India’s border to Africa, it may go by different names, from Laskhar-e-Taiba, to Taliban to ISIS.

But, it’s philosophy is common: of hate, murder and violence.

Although it’s shadow is spreading across the world, it is incubated in India’s neighbourhood.

I commend the members of the U.S. Congress for sending a clear message to those who preach and practice terrorism for political gains.

Refusing to reward them is the first step towards holding them accountable for their actions.

The fight against terrorism has to be fought at many levels.

And, the traditional tools of military, intelligence or diplomacy alone would not be able to win this fight.

Mr. Speaker,

We have both lost civilians and soldiers in combating it.

The need of the hour is for us to deepen our security cooperation.

And, base it on a policy:

• that isolates those who harbour, support and sponsor terrorists;

• that does not distinguish between “good” and “bad” terrorists; and that delinks religion from terrorism.

Also, for us to succeed, those who believe in humanity must come together to fight for it as one, and speak against this menace in one voice.

Terrorism must be delegitimized.

Mr. Speaker,

The benefits of our partnership extend not just to the nations and regions that need it most.

On our own, and by combining our capacities, we are also responding to other global challenges including when disaster strikes and where humanitarian relief is needed.

Far from our shores, we evacuated thousands from Yemen, Indians, Americans and others.

Nearer home, we were the first responders during Nepal’s earthquake, in the Maldives water crisis and most recently during landslide in Sri Lanka.

We are also one of the largest contributors of troops to UN Peace Keeping Operations.

Often, India and the U.S. have combined their strengths in science, technology and innovation to help fight hunger, poverty, diseases and illiteracy in different parts of the world.

The success of our partnership is also opening up new opportunities for learning, security and development from Asia to Africa.

And, the protection of environment and caring for the planet is central to our shared vision of a just world.

For us in India, to live in harmony with mother earth is part of our ancient belief.

And, to take from nature only what is most essential is part of our civilizational ethos.

Our partnership, therefore, aims to balance responsibilities with capabilities.

And, it also focuses on new ways to increase the availability and use of renewable energy.

A strong U.S. support for our initiative to form an International Solar Alliance is one such effort.

We are working together not just for a better future for ourselves, but for the whole world.

This has also been the goal of our efforts in G-20, East Asia Summit and Climate Change summits.

Mr. Speaker and Distinguished Members

As we deepen our partnership, there would be times when we would have differing perspectives.

But, since our interests and concerns converge, the autonomy in decision making and diversity in our perspectives can only add value to our partnership.

So, as we embark on a new journey, and seek new goals, let us focus not just on matters routine but transformational ideas.

Ideas which can focus:

• Not just on creating wealth but also creating value for our societies;

• Not just on immediate gains but also long term benefits;

• Not just on sharing best practices but also shaping partnerships; and

• Not just on building a bright future for our peoples, but in being a bridge to a more united, humane and prosperous world.

And, important for the success of this journey would be a need to view it with new eyes and new sensitivities.

When we do this, we will realise the full promise of this extraordinary relationship.

Mr. Speaker,

My final thoughts and words would reiterate that our relationship is primed for a momentous future.

The constraints of the past are behind us and foundations of the future are firmly in place.

In the lines of Walt Whitman,

“The Orchestra have sufficiently tuned their instruments, the baton has given the signal.”

And to that, if I might add, there is a new symphony in play.

Thank you Mr. Speaker and Distinguished members for this honour.

Thank you very much.

Eight Threats to Freedom of Expression – Ramachandra Guha

India, I have long maintained, is a fifty-fifty democracy. In some respects—such as free and fair elections, free movement of people—we are as democratic as any other country in the world. In other respects we lag noticeably behind. One such area is the freedom of expression.

The Eight threats:

  • Archaic colonial laws
  • Imperfections in the judiciary
  • Rising importance of identity politics
  • Police forces’ support lumpen forces
  • Active connivance of all political parties
  • Dependence of regional media on government advertising
  • Dependence of English media on corporate advertising
  • Careerist or ideologically driven writers

Seven Threats To Freedom Of Expression, The Telegraph

Presidnet’s Speech to Joint Session of Parliament

Address by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee to the Joint Session of both houses of Parliament ,we have updated the post with relevant links.

You can read all the schemes and details from India Year book 2016, which is very important for prelims and mains.Buy India year book EnglishHindi

Honourable Members,

1.In this Basant season of renewal and growth, I welcome you all to the Joint Sitting of the Two Houses of the Parliament. I am confident that your deliberations will live up to the trust reposed in us by our fellow citizens, and going forth, we will all be partners in the progress and development of our great country.

2.During my address to the Joint Sitting last year, I had outlined the visionary initiatives undertaken by my Government towards building an India that strides into the future with confidence. A strong and forward-looking India that places within the reach of its people the opportunities and development promised by our Constitution.This development philosophy is captured in Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas,the fundamental tenet, which guides my Government.

3.Deen Dayal Upadhyaya spoke of Ekatma Manavata Darshan which envisages Antyodaya,where the empowering rays of opportunity reach the last person. This principle guides all the programmes of my Government. My Government, in particular is focused on “Garibon ki Unnati” (Poverty Eradication), “Kisaano ki Samriddhi” (Farmers’ Prosperity) and “Yuvaon ko Rojgaar” (Massive Employment Generation).

Honourable Members,

4.The overriding goal for my Government is poverty eradication. Gandhiji said and I quote

“Poverty is the worst form of violence” (unquote).

The essence of progress lies in bringing a sense of fulfillment to the poor and the deprived, the marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society. The poorest of the poor are entitled to the first charge on the nation’s resources. Removing the scourge of poverty and destitution is our most sacred moral responsibility.

5.My Government is pledged to making this goal possible through financial inclusion and social security, the two wings on which human aspiration takes flight. To this end, my Government has placed great emphasis on food security, Housing for All and subsidies that reach those who need them the most, when they need them the most. Last year, I had spoken of the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna. Today, I am proud to say that it is the world’s most successful financial inclusion programme. Under the programme, out of over twenty one crore accounts opened, fifteen crore accounts are operational with an aggregate deposit of over Rupees thirty two thousand crore. The programme has gone beyond mere opening of bank accounts, to becoming a platform for poverty eradication, by offering basic financial services and security to the poor.

6.To universalise social security, my Government has launched three new insurance and pension schemes; namely, the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and the Atal Pension Yojana, which afford insurance cover to hitherto uncovered sections of society.

7.Government is committed to provide Housing for All by 2022. The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, launched on June 25, 2015, envisages construction of about 2 crore houses to benefit primarily slum dwellers, urban poor and people from economically weaker sections and lower income groups of society. The Mission intends to cover all 4041 statutory towns in coming 5 years. In its first year alone, 2011 towns/cities in 27 states have been included under this Mission. A total of over four lakh twenty five thousand houses have been sanctioned with a project cost of over rupees twenty four thousand six hundred crore.

Update :

All places with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee, etc. so declared by a state law are called statutory towns.

Places which satisfy the following criteria are called census towns:

  1. A minimum population of 5,000;
  2. At least 75 per cent of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits; and
  3. A density of population of at least 400 persons per sq. km. (i.e. 1000 per sq. Mile)

Towns are further classified into different classes based on the size of population:

  • Class I: 100,000 and above;
  • Class II: 50,000 to 99,999;
  • Class III: 20,000 to 49,999;
  • Class IV: 10,000 to 19,999;
  • Class V: 5,000 to 9,999 and
  • Towns with population of 1,00,000 and above are called cities.

8.Targeted subsidies ensure that benefits reach the deserving. Direct Benefit Transfer has so far been extended to 42 schemes funded by my Government. PAHAL has become the largest direct cash transfer program of its kind in the world, with nearly 15 crore beneficiaries. Since June 2014, the food security coverage has more than doubled to cover over 68 crore persons.

9.The Give-It-Up campaign in tandem with the Give Back programme has released subsidized fresh connections to 50 lakh BPL families. More than 62 lakh LPG consumers have voluntarily surrendered their LPG subsidy under the campaign. The highest number of new cooking gas connections to the rural poor were distributed in 2015.

10.Dr. Ambedkar had said and I quote

“Political Democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it a social democracy”.

Social justice with inclusion is the first promise of our Constitution and the poor and the backward are the focus of my Government. The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been further strengthened by suitable amendments. The 125th Birth Anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is being celebrated across the country to foster the spirit of social inclusion. 26th of November, the day on which the Constitution was adopted, is now celebrated as Constitution Day to deepen Constitutional values amongst the citizens of the country. My government is working to preserve the Panchatirthas, the five sites of Dr. Ambedkar’s legacy.

11.Education empowers people and to serve this end, my Government has allocated more than 50% of the Ministry of Minority Affairs budget to scholarship funds. Two new schemes; Nai Manzil and USTAAD aimed to empower the minorities, have been launched. Currently about 20,000 madarasa children are undergoing skill training under the Nai Manzil scheme.Everlasting Flame, an exhibition to showcase the life, history and the culture of the Parsi community is being organized next month.

Read India Year book education chapter.

Honourable Members,

12. Kisaano ki Samriddhi”, the well-being of farmers is vital to the nation’s prosperity. Acknowledging this fundamental reality, my Government has renamed the ‘Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation’ as the ‘Ministry of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare’ and taken several measures for the same. My Government has recently launched the farmer-friendly Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, with the biggest-ever Government’s contribution to crop insurance and with lowest-ever premium rates for farmers. It has many firsts to its credit like national coverage of post-harvest losses due to inundation and unseasonal rains, no capping on Government subsidy, and use of technology for early and accurate settlement of claims. Assistance to farmers afflicted by natural calamity has been increased by 50% and eligibility norms have been relaxed.

13. Soil Health Cards will be distributed to all 14 crore farm-holdings by March, 2017 and will result in judicious application of fertilizers, lowering input costs and bettering soil health. To promote organic farming, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana is being implemented under which 8,000 clusters have been developed so far.

14. The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana promises assured irrigation, expanding cultivated areas by improving water use efficiency and enabling drought proofing. My Government is committed to the philosophy of “Per Drop More Crop” and “Jal Sanchay for Jal Sinchan”.

15. To provide the best market price to farmers, the unified National Agriculture Market is working towards setting up a common e-market platform to connect 585 regulated wholesale markets, thereby making India One food zone, One Country, One Market. This will immensely benefit our farmers in getting fair and remunerative prices. Targeted policy interventions in the last year have brought down sugarcane arrears from over Rs.21,000 crore to Rs. 720 crore.

Suggested : The need for unifying agricultural markets

16. My Government notified the New Urea Policy-2015 with the objective of maximizing indigenous production and improving energy efficiency. The policy will lead to additional production of 17 Lakh metric tonnes annually in the next three years. Providing 100% neem-coated urea has not only improved efficiency but has also helped in plugging subsidy leakages by preventing illegal diversion of subsidized urea to non-agricultural use. The highest ever urea fertilizer production was achieved in 2015.

17. My Government recognizes the important role of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries sectors in the socio-economic development of the country. India continues to be the biggest milk producing country with an impressive growth rate of 6.3%. Implementation of Poultry Venture Capital Fund and Rural Backyard Poultry Development has led to highest ever egg production. A Blue Revolution is underway to ensure the integrated development and management of fisheries, with a central outlay of Rupees three thousand crore.

18. To fully harness the agricultural potential of eastern States, the government is taking several steps to usher in Second Green Revolutionin the region. My Government has taken steps for strengthening agricultural higher education, setting up 109 new KVKs and three new Agricultural Technology Application Research Institutes. A 24×7 Kisan Channel has been launched to provide information on policy initiatives, prices and other agriculture related subjects for the benefit of farmers.

19. The food processing sector helps increase farmers’ income. The Food Processing Fund has been operationalized last year to provide affordable credit to designated Food Parks. In the last 19 months, five new Mega Food Parks have been operationalized. Under the Cold Chain Scheme, 33 projects have been made operational during the last 18 months.

20. Rural development is one of our top priorities. The grant of over Rupees two lakh crores by the 14th Finance Commission over a five year period from 2015-16, exclusively for Gram Panchayats has been received with great enthusiasm by the States. This will move development activity closer to the people and enable them to decide how they want to improve their villages and wards. Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission has also been launched for 300 rural growth clusters for developing skills & local entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities.

Honourable Members,

21. Youth are the future of our country and ensuring Yuvaon ko Rojgaar through massive employment generation is a top goal for my Government. We are driving job creation through an integrated set of initiatives including Make in India, Start up India, Mudra, Skill India, etc.

22.My Government’s innovative initiatives have helped India jump up 12 places in the latest rankings by the World Bank on Ease of Doing Business. Notably, the Make in India initiative has achieved a 39% increase in FDI inflow despite an adverse global investment climate.

23. My Government has fostered competitive cooperation among various States to enhance Ease of Doing Business. State Governments are being encouraged and supported to simplify procedures, introduce e-enabled processes and invest in infrastructure to improve investment climate. Procedures have been simplified to enhance ease of approvals/clearances. Dedicated Commercial Courts and Commercial Division in High Courts have been established. For speedy resolution of commercial disputes, the long overdue amendments to the Arbitration Act have been made.

24. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises provide large-scale employment. Banks have cumulatively disbursed over Rupees one lakh crore to more than 2.6 crore borrowers under the PM’s Mudra Yojana, of which 2.07 crore are women entrepreneurs. Udyog Aadhar Portal has been set up to facilitate online registration of MSMEs. My Government has decided to set up rural livelihood and technology business incubators to boost entrepreneurship in the agriculture and rural sector. The Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme is a new vertical to strengthen the livelihoods of artisans and weavers. In its first phase, about 1.82 lakh village enterprises will be created and strengthened in 125 Blocks across 24 States creating employment for about 3.78 lakh persons.

25. To strengthen the employment intensive segments of textile industry,my Government has launched an Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme with an allocation of about Rupees eighteen thousand crore over a 7 year period.

26. A series of reforms have been initiated to help convert job seekers into job creators. My Government has launched the Start-Up India campaign which would deepen, expand and support the innovation eco system in the country.

27.The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has been revamped to ensure the efficient disbursements of wages, increased transparency and creation of productive assets. Mission Antyodaya – an intensive Participatory Planning Exercise has reached 2569 most backward blocks, to identify the kind of assets to be created.

28. My Government’s mission of skilling India has gained momentum and during the last year about 76 lakh people have been trained.

Honourable Members,

29. My Government aims to create a Shikshit Swasth Swachh Bharat, an educated, healthy and clean India.In a reflection of how the spirit of Swachh Bharat has manifested in our primary schools, over four lakh seventeen thousand functional toilets for girls and boys have been constructed.

30. New Institutes of excellence in higher education have been set up. Two Indian Institutes of Technology, six Indian Institutes of Management, one Indian Institute of Science Education and Research and one National Institute of Technology have started functioning. My government has given impetus to research through the launch of IMPRINT India whereby scientific goalposts have been identified in 10 fields of research ranging from Defence to Sustainable Living. To enable increased interaction between foreign faculty and our students, under the aegis of GIAN, my government has in the first cycle invited 400 foreign academicians to’Teach in India’. National Institutional Ranking Framework has been launched for higher educational institutions. The National Scholarship Portal provides a one-stop platform for applications of all scholarships.

31.Sports is the best way to Swasth India. My Government successfully hosted the 12th South Asian Games from 5-16 February, 2016 at Guwahati and Shillong, in which more than 3500 sports persons from all the SAARC countries participated. The games were the biggest ever sporting event in North East India.

32. I am happy to inform that we have successfully eliminated Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus well before the global targeted timeline of December, 2015. The largest number of children ever fully immunized in a single year was in 2015.

33. My Government is leveraging KAYAKALP, an inter-institution ranking system to bring about extensive improvement in cleanliness in our health institutions, reduction of hospital-acquired infections and better service delivery.

34. My Government has placed strong focus on holistic healthcare, strengthening Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy systems of medicine. The first International Day of Yoga was celebrated on 21st June, 2015 world over with immense enthusiasm.

35. To address the problems of malnutrition in a holistic manner, my Government is ensuring convergence of the actions of various Ministries and programmes with a clear focus on measurable outcomes. Infrastructure required for effective implementation of the Integrated Child Development Scheme is being strengthened in convergence with other programmes. Two lakh Anganwadi buildings are being constructed in 2,534 most backward Blocks under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme over a period of four years.

36. My Government has launched the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyanas a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for ensuring that persons with disabilities(divyang)participate in all areas of community life. During the last year, 342 camps were conducted, aids and assistive devices have been distributed to over 1.7 lakh persons with disabilities(divyangs).

37. The Swachh Bharat Mission, with its focus on behavioral change is becoming a community movement to herald an overall change in the quality of life and well-being of the people, particularly the poor. Focusing on generating wealth from waste, my Government has formulated policies on mandatory procurement of power from waste to energy plants, co-marketing of compost by chemicals and fertilizer companies, and use of construction and demolition waste.

38.My Government firmly believes that economic development and environmental protection can co-exist. At the crucial Climate Summit in Paris, India’s position for climate justice, sustainable lifestyles and clean development was widely supported. Real time online monitoring of 1487 industries and industrial units in seventeen highly polluting categories and of Ganga Water Quality has started. To reduce air pollution, target for emission standards for motor vehicles have been drastically brought forward to achieve Bharat Stage – VI norm by 2021. The Project Tiger coverage has been expanded and the latest estimation shows an increase of 30% over the last count.

39. My Government has launched Jal Kranti Abhiyan, a people-centric program to spread awareness on water conservation and management involving all stakeholders including Gram Panchayats. As part of theNamami Gange Programme, my Government is implementing several projectsin all 118 cities and complete sanitation solutions for 1,649 gram panchayats, on the banks of the holy Ganga.

Honourable Members

40. My Government has taken several measures to improve the quality of governance. Significant steps have been taken to reform institutions, simplify procedures and repeal obsolete laws. Close to 1800 obsolete legislations are at various stages of repeal. NITI Aayog is actively engaging with States in policy formulation in the true spirit of cooperative federalism. People’s participation in policy making through initiatives like MyGov has now taken firm roots. My Government has taken up an initiative for providing 500 e-governance services through Public Private-Partnership in 12 states of the country. My Government has dispensed with interviews for posts at junior levels in Government of India to ensure absolute transparency in recruitment to Government jobs.

41. While on the one hand, my Government has taken measures to eliminate the scopefor corruption, on the other hand, it has been unsparing in punishing those who are found guilty of corruption. Stringent amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act are also on the anvil to address the perceived gaps in anti-corruption law.

Honourable Members

42. Robust infrastructure development unlocks opportunities for all. My Government has initiated the Smart Cities programme, envisaging city development in achallenge mode. In the first phase of the Smart City program, twenty cities havebeen selected after intense competition among ninety eight cities. Second and third phases of the programme are on the anvil.

43. To enhance the availability of clean energy, my Government has envisaged increasing the renewable energy capacity manifold to 175 GW by 2022 by encouraging various initiatives, including offshore wind energy policy, bundling of thermal power with solar power, setting up solar parks in States, etc. Installed solar capacity has almost doubled in the last 20 months and crossed 5000 MW. Today under my Government, solar power is affordable and accessible to thousands of people.

44.Since the Government assumed office, energy shortages have been reduced from 4 to 2.3%. My Government is committed to providing electricity to all the census villages by May 2018. My Government has launched the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) for financial turnaround of Power Distribution Companies of States/ UTs. Eighty-three per cent of the capacity addition target of 88,537 MW for 12thPlan period has already been achieved.

45.My Government has focused on commissioning major transmission projects for reducing congestion in transmission. I am happy to share that Available Transfer Capacity for South India has increased by 71% from May, 2014 to December, 2015. This has resulted in cheaper and abundant power in South India, finally moving towards the goal of One Nation, One Grid, One Price. To revive gas based power generation capacity, my Government implemented a new initiative of supply of Refined LNG. This has ensured revival of stranded gas plants with installed capacity of 11,717 MW. In the year 2015 India witnessed the highest ever generation of electricity.

46. My Government has introduced critical amendments in the Tariff Policy for ensuring availability of electricity to consumers at reasonable and competitive rates. Two ambitious National LED Programmes have been launched for cities for Street Lighting and LED bulbs for Domestic Lighting. Over 6 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed. Through a bulk procurement strategy, the cost of LED bulb has been brought down from Rs.310 in January 2014 to Rs.64 in January 2015.

47.My Government has introduced dynamic and comprehensive reforms in the Coal sector and conducted transparent auction/ allocation of over 70 coal blocks.These will immensely benefit the eastern States in the years to come. Strong emphasis on increasing coal production has resulted in a record 9.8% growth in CIL’s coal production and highest ever output of coal. This has also led to reduced imports of coal.

Honourable Members,

48.To give a boost to the mining sector and to bring in transparency in the allocation of mineral resources, the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957 was amended and auction of mines has commenced. For systematic exploration in potential mineral bearing areas using state-of-the-art techniques, National Mineral Exploration Trust has been established. Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana will implement developmental and welfare projects in mining affected areas for minimizing adverse impacts and ensuring sustainable livelihoods for the affected people.

49.My Government has recently dedicated to the nation the Assam Gas Cracker Project with an estimated cost of more than Rupees nine thousand nine hundred crore. The project is expected to generate employment for about one lakh persons, both direct and indirect.

Honourable Members,

50. My Government has initiated several ambitious measures for improving sanitation standards at Railway Stations and Trains. “Samman” guides us in our endeavor to phase out the open discharge of sewage from trains and combat manual scavenging. All new coaches are now being fitted with bio-toilets. Focus has also been on Doubling, Gauge Conversion and capacity enhancement works in Railways. Commissioning of Broad Gauge and electrification have been at all-time record levels. The highest ever increase in railway capital expenditure was achieved in 2015.

51. A landmark agreement with Government of Japan will make the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail corridor a reality. My Government also awarded two mega projects for setting up diesel and electric locomotive factories at Marhaura and Madhepura, respectively.

Honourable Members,

52. By March 2019, under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, one lakh seventy eight thousand rural habitations will be connected with all weather roads.My Government has revived a majority of the 73 stalled road projects, completed construction of 7,200 km of highways and awarded 12,900 km of highway projects which is the highest ever number of new highway kilometers awarded.

53. My Government has formulated an umbrella scheme, Bharatmala at an estimated cost of over Rupees two lakh sixty seven thousand crore for development of national highways. To ensure connectivity to Chardham during all seasons, a project of over rupees twelve thousand crore has been taken up. A special Green Highways Policy 2015 has been launched for making highways green and a pilot policy for conversion of diesel buses into electrical buses has been taken up. The country recorded the highest ever production of motor vehicles in 2015. Guidelines have been issued for protection of Good Samaritans from harassment in road accident cases.

Honourable Members,

54. To rejuvenate the Shipping sector with focus onMake in India, my Government has launched a scheme for financial assistance to domestic shipyards. Several steps for improving the operational efficiency of major ports and for simplifying rules and processes have been initiated. In 2015, India achieved the fastest average turnaround time in ports and the highest ever quantity of cargo handled by major ports. My Government is keen on promoting extensive use of inland waterways and coastal shipping as an alternative mode of transport.

55. My Government is also working on a new Civil Aviation Policy with thrust on connectivity to small cities. Domestic Air Passenger traffic has registered a substantial growth during the year.

Honourable Members,

56. Setting up world-class infrastructure for Electronics manufacturing across the country remains a priority for my Government. Twenty nine Electronic Manufacturing Clusters are under development. The recent interventions and subsequent rationalization of duty structure in mobile handset manufacturing industry has led to near doubling of mobile handset production in the current year. Transparent and efficient auction of spectrum has fetched highest ever price of about Rupees one lakh ten thousand crore. Policies like Spectrum trading and sharing have been finalized for optimum utilization of resources.

57. The country recorded the highest ever software exports during 2015. Under BharatNet, the architecture and design of the National Optical Fiber Network is being revamped to rapidly take broadband connectivity to our villages. By spreading the network of Common Service Centers and setting up BPOs in small towns and linking land record modernization with the use of space technology, my Government is taking the benefits of Digital India to common citizens. The Digital India Programme will give a big boost to citizen empowerment and knowledge economy.

58. The IT Modernization Project involving computerization and networking of 1,55,000 Post Offices in the country, will be completed by 2017. The proposed Postal Payment Bank of India will further boost financial inclusion.

Honourable Members,

59. My Government has embarked on several significant projects such as National Supercomputing Mission, Improving Fuel Efficiency and Controlling Emissions. My Government has launched Science & Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) initiative to explore the modern scientific roots of our traditional wisdom.

60. Building upon the success over the past year, my Government’s endeavour is toscale new heights in Space. Focus will be on completing the constellation of the Indian navigational satellites in 2016 to cater to indigenous navigation and location-based services.

Honourable Members,

61. Varanasi and Jaipur have been declared as the first two Indian cities to be part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network. Thirteen Circuits and thirteen pilgrimage sites have been identified for development under Swadesh Darshan Scheme and PRASAD Scheme respectively.

62. Radio has once again emerged as the people’s medium. Establishment of new radio stations has received a fresh impetus. The good response to the successful and transparent bidding for the first batch of private FM Radio for phase III comprising 135 channels in 69 cities augurs well for the medium.

Honourable members,

63. India is a haven of stability in an increasingly turbulent global economy.GDP growth has increased making India the world’s fastest growing economy among large economies. Inflation, fiscal deficit and current account deficit have all decreased. India recorded the highest ever foreign exchange reserves in 2015.

64. The Indradhanush programme has been launched to revitalize public sector banks and ensure credit flow in the economy, with committed minimum recapitalization of Rupees seventy thousand crore. In addition, we have undertaken major governance reforms, brought in private sector talent and moved to a fully transparent and meritocratic recruiting process. We have also issued 23 banking licenses after a long hiatus of ten years.

65. The Government’s concerted efforts to tackle the menace of black money have started yielding results. With the enactment of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, a stringent legislative framework has been put in place to combat the menace.

66. The Government has launched the Gold Monetization Scheme and Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme in November 2015 to ensure productive utilization of idle assets.

67. The Government has taken a number of measures to put in place a simplified, progressive and non-adversarial tax regime by incorporating internationally prevalent best practices in tax administration. A gamut of taxpayer facilities, viz., e-filing of returns and various forms, electronic processing and retrieval of documents and online grievance redressal are now available to the citizen.

Honourable Members,

68.My Government is fully committed to firmly deal with all challenges concerning the security of the country. Terrorism is a global threat and strong counter-terrorism measures are necessary worldwide to eradicate it completely. Let me congratulate the security forces in successfully foiling the recent attack at the Pathankot air base by terrorists. Firm and effective steps will be taken to deal with any situation arising out of cross-border terrorism.

69.There has been significant improvement in the overall security situation in the North-Eastern States and Left Wing Extremism affected States. This has been made possible through sustained efforts and measures taken by the intelligence agencies and security forces in collaboration with the State Governments.

70. The country had to face severe drought and floods in some States. The unprecedented floods that submerged Chennai in December last year brought untold human suffering and economic loss. My Government stands with the people who have faced natural calamities and has immediately forwarded physical and financial resources to the States to handle such disasters. An amount of more than Rupees thirteen thousand crore has been released under State and National Disaster Response Fund.

Honourable Members,

71. Defence procurement procedure has been streamlined with a focus on indigenously designed, developed and manufactured weapon systems. We are working to ensure that our Armed Forces will be equipped with the most capable and sophisticated armaments in the world.

72. In our country “Shakti’, which means power, is the manifestation of female energy. This Shakti defines our strength. My Government has approved the induction of women as Short Service Commission officers and as fighter pilots in the IAF. In the future, my Government will induct women in all the fighter streams of our Armed Forces. My Government has initiated several measures to ensure safety and security of women which include nationwide Emergency Response Systems, a Central Victim Compensation Fund, Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children, and Organized Crime Investigative Agency and an Integrated Emergency Response Management System for women’s safety on the railways.

73. We are indebted to those who inspire by their selfless service and their supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. Acknowledgement must not hinge on ceremony or noble gestures of gratitude alone. In spite of huge financial implication of more than Rupees seven thousand crore per annum, my Government has fulfilled its commitment to implement four decades old demand of One Rank One Pension.

Honourable Members,

74. My Government has continued to pursue a bold and proactive foreign policy. The primary objective has been to accelerate national development with emphasis on improving India’s access to capital, technology, resources, energy and skills. States have been made partners in our diplomatic efforts.

75. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: the world is one family. My Government is committed to this principle and its expression is most resonant in the steps we have taken in reaching out to our neighbours. Last year, my Government adopted the historic Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh, leading to the peaceful exchange of disputed territories between our two countries. The signing of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, will provide seamless connectivity and further strengthen ties. We have been a friend in need to Nepal during the devastating earthquake of April 2015. We opened our skies, became a key transit hub and essential enabler so that assistance from other countries could reach Nepal in its hour of need. My Government is committed to forging a mutually respectful relationship with Pakistan and in creating an environment of co-operation in combating cross border terrorism. My Government believes in a secure and prosperous future for our neighbourhood. India remains committed to providing support to the people of Afghanistan in realising their dream of building a stable, inclusive and democratic nation. Dedication of the Afghanistan Parliament to its people by Prime Minister Modi was our contribution to Afghanistan’s pursuit of peace and prosperity.

76. We reached out to the world, both on land and sea. Of 54 participating nations, the India-Africa Summit, attended by Heads of States and Governments from 41 countries, has rejuvenated India’s relations with the continent, ushering in a new era of engagement and fraternity. My Government will not let oceans separate us, and has activated engagement with the 14 Pacific Island countries and revitalized civilizational links with our vibrant Act East Policy. India’s second International Fleet Review, attended by 50 foreign navies, reinforced our cultural, commercial and strategic connect with our immediate and extended maritime neighbourhood.

77. My Government has played a proactive role in addressing climate change by launching an International Solar Alliance that has been universally acknowledged. We remain at the forefront of the global fight against terrorism. Sustained Indian efforts have led to concrete action for reforming the UN Security Council. India has also provided strong leadership and new vision to regional and international groupings like BRICS, G-20, WTO, East Asia Summit, ASEAN and the SCO.

78. My Government has enhanced NRI and PIO engagement by making it easier for them to get passports and offered Visa on Arrival by extending Electronic Travel Authorization facility to a large number of countries. Today, our citizens living and working abroad know that the Government is committed to protecting their interests and helping them in distress. This was manifested in Operation Rahat, in which we successfully evacuated 4,748 Indians from Yemen. We also extended our assistance to other nationalities. We evacuated 1,962 Foreigners belonging to 48 countries.

Honourable Members,

79. My Government is focused on Sabka Vikas, beyond just the economic advancements that dominate headlines. To realise Sabka Vikas, we must ensure that the poor and deprived are truly empowered to take advantage of opportunities to improve their lives.Sabka Vikasmeans that backward sections of society are equally valued and are genuine stakeholders in the country’s progress.Sabka Vikas implies that we tackle the pollution, traffic, and garbage problems that plague our cities. And, lastly,Sabka Vikas is Development for the entire world, which is why we have to be a responsible member of the global comity of nations helping all humanity solve major challenges such as terrorism, climate change, and financial instability.

Honourable Members

80. Our Parliament reflects the supreme will of the people. Democratic temper calls for debate and discussion, and not disruption or obstruction. Aa No Bhadra Kratvo Yantu Viswataha – let noble thoughts come from all directions, should be the spirit behind debate in this temple of democracy. Being a member of this great institution bestows great honour as well as important responsibilities. My Government will constantly strive for smooth and constructive conduct of Parliamentary business. I urge all Members of the Parliament to discharge their solemn responsibilities in a spirit of cooperation and mutual accommodation. Let us all collectively endeavour to build a flourishing and prosperous India.

81. We owe a great debt to our freedom fighters. It is time to repay that debt, by building the country that they envisioned and fought for. In the words of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose,

“Nationalism is inspired by the highest ideals of the human race, Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram”,

let us embrace those ideals as we stake our claim on the future.

Jai Hind

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PM’s address at the inauguration of the India Pavilion at COP21

I am delighted to inaugurate the Indian Pavilion. This is the first day of a historic summit in Paris. We stand here in solidarity with Paris and France and in admiration for their resolve and courage.

The entire world, 196 nations, have come together to shape the future of this world and the health of our planet. This summit is of great significance to India’s future, too. This pavilion is a window to our heritage and our progress; our traditions and our technology; our aspirations and our achievements.

India’s new economic momentum is a subject of international attention and a source of global opportunity. Our progress will not just change the lives of one-sixth of humanity. It will also mean a more successful and prosperous world.

Equally, the choices the world makes here will have an impact on our development. Climate change is a major global challenge. But, climate change is not of our making. It is the result of global warming that came from the prosperity and progress of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel.

But, we in India face its consequences today. We see it in the risks of our farmers, the changes in weather patterns, and the intensity of natural disasters.

We are concerned about the rising oceans that will threaten our 7500 km of coastline and over 1300 islands. We worry about the retreat of glaciers that feed our rivers and nurture our civilisation.

That is why the outcome in Paris so important.

That is why we are here.

We want the world to act with urgency. We want a comprehensive, equitable and durable agreement, which must lead us to restore the balance between humanity and Nature and between what we have inherited and what we will leave behind.

This will mean a partnership in which those who have the luxury of choices and the capability of technology will make adjustments to sharply reduce their carbon emission.

The extent of their commitment and the strength of their action must be consistent with the carbon space they occupy.

And, they must leave enough of what is left of our carbon space to let developing countries grow.

They should share resources and technology with those who live between want and hope, so that we can meet the universal aspiration for clean energy.

It will also mean that the developing world will also try to have a lighter carbon footprint on their growth path.

We want the conviction of the world to be matched by efforts to create conditions in which we can succeed.

Because our challenge is pressing, our efforts must be urgent.


These will be the subject of negotiations over the next few days.

I am here in the Indian Pavilion to say something else. And, I speak not just to the world, but also to our people.

India’s progress is our destiny and the right of our people. But, we are a nation that must also lead in combating climate change.

It stems from our obligation to give our people clean air; clean rivers; resilient farms; healthy habitats; and, forests rich with life.

It comes from our conviction that we must aim not just for higher incomes, but better quality of life.

It comes from our commitment to the world.

Above all, it arises, from our timeless traditions and beliefs.

The choices a people make are shaped by their culture and beliefs.

In India, Nature has always been treated as Mother.

Since ancient times, we have seen humanity as part of Nature, not superior to it. The divine has manifested in Nature’s diverse forms.

We have always believed that Nature does not exist for human race, but that we can’t exist without Nature. So, Nature is meant to provide and nurture, not to exploit.

When Nature is in equilibrium, our lives and our world will be in balance.

This is what we learn from Kshetrapati Sukta in our Rig Veda.

क्षेत्रस्य पते मधुमन्तमूर्मिं धेनुरिव पयो अस्मासु धुक्ष्व ।

मधुश्चुतं घृतमिव सुपूतमृतस्य नः पतयो मृळयन्तु ॥

This means:

O Lord of Field, with the Sweet Waves of Mother Nature’s blessings, may you milk our Fields like the Milk of a Cow With the Sweetness of Mother Nature’s bounty, which falls like Clarified Butter, may You shed your Grace on us.

This is why Atharva-Veda calls it a bounden duty that we must protect the Earth so that Life can be sustained.

This is what we see in Gandhiji’s life and his advice that the world has enough for everyone’s need but not for anyone’s greed.

This is what we have tried to capture in the publication PARAMPARA that we have released today.

This is why recycling and conservation comes naturally to us. And, why we have sacred groves across our nation.


And, it is this spirit that leads us to set an ambitious and comprehensive strategy to combat climate change.

We have a target for renewable generation of 175 Gigawatt by 2022. We have got off to a good start, with nearly 12 GW likely to be installed by 2016, more than three times the current capacity.

Like cellular phones before, we can use renewable energy to bring power to our 18000 unconnected villages quickly and cleanly.

By 2030, 40% of our installed capacity will be based on non-fossil fuel.

We will convert waste to energy. We will make our cities smart and sustainable, and transform public transportation, including through 50 new metro rail projects.

We are investing in supercritical technology in thermal plants. We have imposed tax on coal and reduced subsidies on petroleum products. We are raising fuel standards for automobiles. And, we have introduced tax free bonds for renewable energy.

We have a massive programme to expand our forest cover and protect our biodiversity.

In the past few months, millions of households have switched to LED bulbs and we have plans to replace diesel by fuel cells to power the thousands of our telecom towers.

Our vision of India as a global manufacturing hub rests on the simple principle of “zero defect, zero effect” – production that is perfect and leaves no footprint on environment.

Our mission of “more crop per drop” will not only improve the lives of farmers, but will also reduce the pressure on a scarce resource.

And, research and innovation in clean energy is a high priority.

We want to make conventional energy, like coal, cleaner.

We will make renewable energy cheaper and convenient to install even in our homes. We want to make it more reliable and easier to feed into our transmission lines.

From governments to communities, there are countless examples of innovation and enterprise that are restoring the health of our environment.

I have tried to capture some of these initiatives in my book, Convenient Action, which we shall present today.


This is the voice of our people, the call of our nation and the consensus of our polity.

India’s leadership on environment has been the vision of Indian leaders and successive governments – from Stockholm in 1975 to Copenhagen in 2009.

We are raising our national effort to an entirely new level. And, we are intensifying our international partnerships.

So, we come to Paris with our commitment, but we also come with hope.

So, we approach the negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in a spirit of partnership, which must be based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.

Later today, I will join leaders from major developed and developing world for an innovation summit; because I believe that innovation and technology hold the key to our collective success.

President Hollande and I will also co-chair the launch of my long cherished dream of an international solar alliance to promote greater use of solar energy in the 121 solar-rich nations.

To call the world to look deep into the ancient wisdom of all our civilisations, cultures and religions, I had requested President Hollande to bring out a book of quotations from around the world. I am happy that we will release it today.

And, I will also call for a change in lifestyles, so that we reduce the burden on our planet. For, the enduring success of our efforts will depend on the way we live and think.

In conclusion, therefore, let me return to the theme that defines us in India – the spirit of partnership, the belief in oneness with the whole that is Nature.

To the people of India and our friends in the world, I call you to live with the commitment of ‘Lokah Samastah Sukhinau Bhavantu’.

The desire for well being should include our planet, our Nature, all countries and the entire humanity.

If our thinking is right, we will form a true global partnership of capabilities and needs that leads us to a low carbon age.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Prime Minister’s Address at ASEAN

India and ASEAN are natural partners. Our ties date back to ancient times. They continue to serve as a bridge between our countries and regions.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN It was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam. Its aims include accelerating economic growth, social progress, and sociocultural evolution among its members, protection of regional peace and stability, and opportunities for member countries to resolve differences peacefully.

Friends! I have been saying that the 21st century belongs to Asia. I say this because of the track record of the ASEAN countries. Together, ASEAN’s ten member countries form an economic powerhouse. ASEAN has emerged as one of the largest economic zones in the world. Last fifteen years have seen your rapid and yet stable growth. Your Macro-economic stability has been the main reason for growth and stability in South East Asia. With good governance, futuristic infrastructure and focus on new age technologies, you have created excellence.

In simple things like tourism, you have done miracles. Once again, I compliment the leadership and people of ASEAN countries for what they have achieved.

When I analyse the Asian miracle, I find that small countries of ASEAN and a big country like China, both have done well. This shows that growth depends more on the spirit of people rather than the size of population.

The Indian economy faced serious challenges. A high fiscal deficit, a high current account deficit, a large number of stalled infrastructure projects and persistent inflation were among them.

It was obvious that reforms were needed. We asked ourselves the question – Reforms for what? What is the aim of reform? Is it just to increase the measured rate of GDP growth? Or is it to bring about a transformation in society? My answer is clear: we must REFORM TO TRANSFORM.

In short, reform is not an end in itself. Reform for me is just a way station on the long journey to the destination. The destination is the transformation of India. We have to take the fruits of development to the margins of our geography and to the bottom of our demography. We have to touch lives, while reaching for the sky.

By almost every major economic indicator, India is doing better than when we took office 18 months ago.

  •  GDP growth is up and inflation is down
  •  Foreign investment is up and the Current Account Deficit is down.
  •  Tax revenues are up and interest rates are down.
  •  The fiscal deficit is down and the rupee is stable.

Obviously, this did not happen by accident. And the world economy is not exactly doing well. This success is the result of a series of concerted policies. We have embarked on a course of fiscal consolidation. We have entered, for the first time, into a monetary framework agreement with the Reserve Bank to curb inflation.

Even while cutting the fiscal deficit, we have substantially increased productive public investment. This has been made possible in two ways. Firstly, we have imposed carbon taxes on fossil fuels. We have taken the bold step of de-controlling diesel prices and thereby eliminated energy subsidies, and have in fact imposed taxes on fossil fuels. We have increased the cess on coal by 300%. Globally, there is much talk of carbon taxes. We have actually acted. Secondly, we have reduced wasteful expenditure through innovative methods including targeting subsidies to the deserving through technology.

Overall, there is increased confidence within and outside the country. The IMF and World Bank have expressed even better hope for our economy this year and after. The Economist magazine this week stated that “India is in healthier shape than any other big emerging economy.”

However, as I said, our aim is not mere reform, but “reform to transform”. Macro-economic stability is good. But to transform India, much more needs to be done. We have begun a series of concerted steps. These include structural and institutional reforms.

Agriculture remains India’s mainstay in terms of providing livelihood. We have introduced a series of simple but powerful structural reforms. There was a tendency to divert subsidised fertiliser for the production of chemicals. We have found a simple but very effective solution: by neem-coating the fertiliser, it becomes unsuitable for diversion. We are now moving towards universal neem-coating. This has already saved billions of rupees of diverted farm subsidies.

We have also introduced Soil Health Card. This tells every farmer the condition of his or her soil and then enables him to choose the right crop, best quantity and mix of inputs.

We have launched a housing for all program, one of the most ambitious in the world. It involves building 20 million urban houses and 29.5 million rural houses, totalling nearly 50 million. While the programme will make sure no Indian is houseless, it will also generate a large amount of employment – that too, mainly for the unskilled, the semi-skilled and the poor.

We have undertaken major improvements in the transport sector. Our major ports witnessed a 4.65% growth in traffic and an 11.2% increase in operating income, in 2014-15 despite a global contraction in trade volume.

The pace of award of new highway works has increased from 9 km/day in 2013-14 to 23 km/day currently. These will have large multiplier effects throughout the economy.

We were committed to restore credibility in the process of allocation of natural resources. My government has intervened with legislative and administrative measures to improve the supply of critical inputs and raw materials. They include Coal, other minerals and spectrum. The hallmark of this intervention is allocation through transparent auction.

We started the Jan Dhan Yojana. In less than a year, we opened 190 million new bank accounts. On Social security front, we have launched innovative and attractive schemes for insurance and pension. We have also set up MUDRA Bank to fund the small traders who were unfunded so far. More than six million small traders have already availed the loans.

While expanding the banking services, we are also taking steps to strengthen the Banking system. Credible and capable bankers have been appointed to head banks. For the first time since banks were nationalised 46 years ago, private sector professionals have been appointed in key positions. We have taken concerted action to revive stalled infrastructure projects – We have started a major revamp of the power sector. These measures will also benefit our banks.

Let me now turn to issues of investment, which may be of more direct relevance to you.

In a break with over 65 years of tradition, we have involved India’s States in foreign policy. The Ministry of External Affairs has been asked to work with the States. When I visited China, a state-to-state summit was also held. And states have been asked to create export promotion councils. Making the States think globally is yet another reform with potential to transform.

Our aim is to create jobs for more than a billion young hands. To provide this, the share of manufacturing must reach around 25% in our GDP. We have launched a campaign called ‘Make in India’ and aggressively worked on the front of Ease of doing business. Reducing complicated procedures, making them available at one platform- preferably online, simplifying the forms and formats has been taken up on war footing. That is how we have jumped up by 12 ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report of 2016. Industry is realizing the benefits of these changes. Index of Industrial Production in the current year shows a distinct improvement over the previous year. We are working in all ways to make India a global manufacturing hub.

  • Note : India improved its position from last year’s 134 to 130 in the World Bank Doing Business 2016 ranking.

World Class Infrastructure has remained a dream for India. Hence, our maximum focus is on building futuristic infrastructure. By exercising tight control over unproductive expenditure, we have greatly increased capital investment by the Public Sector. To further augment such investments, we are encouraging the PPP model. We are also setting up National Investment and Infrastructure Fund which will help us leverage public investments. We are also coming up with Tax Free Infrastructure Bonds with a view to broaden the corporate bond market and to provide long term finance for infrastructure. We are eager to work with Malaysia, Singapore and other ASEAN countries in this regard.

As a result of our initiatives,

  •  The sentiments for private investment and inflow of foreign investment have turned positive. Foreign investment is up 40%.
  •  India has been consistently ranked as the most attractive investment destination by several global agencies and institutions.
  •  India has also improved its UNCTAD ranking of investment attractiveness. Against 15th so far, now we are at 9th place.
  •  India has also jumped 16 places on the World Economic Forum’s global competitive index after five years of decline in the list.
  •  MOODY’s have upgraded the outlook for India.

Campaigns like Digital India and Skill India are designed to prepare the people to take part in this process. We have witnessed exponential growth in the number of start-ups in the recent past. To tap this energy fully, we have launched theStart up India Campaign.

We are aware of the interest of the Global investor community in the potential that India has. In recent months, this interest has gone up. Therefore, to re-vitalize the flow of investments, we have launched the second wave of structural and financial reforms. We are trying to further open up the economy and introduce an element of predictability and stability in taxation system.

To give you some examples:

  • We have allowed and enhanced FDI levels in key sectors including Insurance, Defence and Railways.
  •  Now, most of these FDI sectors have been put on automatic approval route.
  •  We have also rationalised FDI policies in many sectors, including construction, plantation and medical devices.
  •  We have now allowed composite caps for Foreign portfolio investors in all sectors where FDI is allowed. Earlier, portfolio investments had a separate cap.
  •  We have greatly liberalised the licensing regime; to give you one example – we have taken out almost 60% of Defence items out of the licensing process.
  •  We have ended retrospective taxation.
  •  We have notified the regulations for the Alternative Investment Funds.
  •  We have rationalized capital gains tax for Real Estate Investment Trusts.
  •  We have also decided to defer the implementation of General Anti Avoidance Rules.
  •  We have introduced the Goods & Services Tax Bill in Parliament. We are hopeful of rolling it out in 2016. This will create a unified system of taxation across the country.
  • We have drafted a new bankruptcy code. Formation of the Company Law Tribunal to expedite cases is on the way.

These are just a few examples. Almost on a daily basis, we are trying to remove the bottlenecks that were affecting our growth process. Even early this month, we have taken very dynamic steps to further open up the economy for FDI. With this round of reforms, we are among the most open economies in the world.

Going further, I want to assure you that India is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators. We have taken several initiatives for transparency and online processing in IP administration. A comprehensive National IPR policy is expected by the end of the year. We are moving fast to make sure that our tax regime is transparent and predictable. We are also keen to see that genuine investors and honest tax payers get quick and fair decisions on tax matters.

Friends, India is a land of immense opportunities. To give you some examples: our fifty cities are ready for putting up Metro Rail Systems. We have to build 50 million affordable houses. The requirement of road, rail and waterways is enormous. We have decided to go for renewable energy in a big way – 175 GW. We have to do all this in a short span of time. Our democratic values and an alert judicial system ensure the safety of your investments. We have set the tone of Governance with a long term vision and an open mind. We are particularly working to make India the easiest place to do business.

Friends, Most of the ASEAN economies have done their bit for Asia’s resurgence. Now, it is India’s turn. And we know that our time has come. We are at a take-off stage. I invite you to come and see the winds of change in India. Winds do take time to cross the borders. That is why; I am personally here to invite you. When you come, you will get the wings of a new business environment. And once you are there, I assure you of my full co-operation.

Thank You.

PM’s address to the Nation on the 69th Independence Day

My Beloved 125 Crore countrymen of India, My best wishes and heartiest greetings on the occasion of this sacred festival of our Freedom. This morning of the 15th of August is not a usual morning. This is the dawn of the freedom-festival of the greatest democracy of the world. This dawn is also the dawn of the dreams of the one hundred twenty five Crore Indian Citizens. This dawn also heralds the resolve of 125 Crore people of India. On this pious occasion I also extend my many many salutations to all those great persons of India who sacrificed their lives and led a life of penance while making persistent efforts to fight for the honour of the country. They even spent their youth in the prison, went through all kinds of sufferings; but never gave up their dreams and resolve to see India free.

Recently many distinguished citizens of India, youths, literary artists and social workers- sons and daughters of Mother India- have achieved many great feats to make our country proud. They are countless in number and from the ramparts of Red fort I extend my best wishes and greetings to all of them from the core of my heart.

The vastness and the diversity of India is always talked about, but Our India has many other great characteristics as well, there is a lot of diversity in India. India is a large country. And there is simplicity among the people of India. There is unity running through all the parts of the country and that is what is our strength; the strength of our nation. Strength of our country has been sustained over centuries together. Every era has seen the attempts to boost it further. They have been moulded according to the requirements of realising the dreams for the future, they have been nurtured and it is due to that only that this country has reached this far with our age old traditions and ever new resolves. Our unity, simplicity, fraternity, harmony are our biggest strength. This strength should never be blemished, it should never be hit. If the unity of the country gets disturbed, the dreams also get shattered, therefore, whether it is the poison of casteism, communal fanaticism, we don’t have to allow it in any form whatsoever, not allow it to take root, and then we have to cure the poison of casteism, the fanaticism of communalism with the nectar of development, distribute the flow of the nectar of development and through the flow of this nectar attempt bringing about a new awareness.

Dear brothers and sisters, this country is moving ahead because of the “Team India” and this “Team India” is a big team of our one twenty five crore countrymen. The world might never have thought about the team of one twenty five crore citizens working as a team together as to how they take the nation to new heights, build the nation and also protect it! So, whatever we are doing and wherever we are trying to reach, it is all because of the “Team India” and we are grateful to this “Team India”. People’s participation is the biggest strength of democracy. If we run the country through the participation of One Hundred and twenty five crore Indians, our country will be moving ahead one hundred and twenty five crore steps every moment. That is why we have encouraged this people’s participation as “Team India”. We have given priority to “Team India”. Through electronic platform mygov.in, through lacs of letters of the countrymen, through my Mann Ki Baat, through dialogues with citizens, this people’s participation is on the rise day by day. About every affair of the Government we receive a number of suggestions from the far flung villages of our country and this is the real strength of our “Team India”.

My dear fellow citizens, this is a fact that there is only one mandate of this “Team India” and that is all our schemes, all our systems should benefit the poor of the country. We should support the poor in their fight against poverty and empower them in this arduous effort of theirs because no one wants to remain poor and they also wish to get rid of poverty. Hence the meaningfulness of our resources, our schemes and our programmes is in their usefulness to the cause of welfare of the poor.

Brothers and sisters, last year on the occasion of 15th of August, I had expressed some of my views before you. At that time I was new, whatever I saw in the government, I expressed them with an open mind before one hundred and twenty five crore citizens. Today after one year, standing under the Tricolor from the same ramparts of the Red Fort , I assure the countrymen that in this period of one year our “Team India”, consisting of one hundred and twenty five crore people, is committed to realize our dreams within the timeframe with new hope, new energy and utmost hard work. An atmosphere of trust has emerged. I had announced ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ on the last 15th of August. Even after sixty years of independence; even when the banks were nationalized for the poor, 40% people of the country were without a bank account till the last 15th of August; the doors of the banks were not open for the poor. We resolved that we would erase this blot and would provide a solid base to the financial inclusion which is talked about the world over, by integrating the poorest of the poor to the mainstream economic activities; and this is only the beginning. We had decided that unlike the previous work culture of talking in terms of uncertain time frames, we will complete the work by the 26th of January as the country celebrates the next Republic Day.

My countrymen, today I can proudly say that we achieved that target within the time frame. 17 Crore people opened their bank accounts under ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’. With a view to extend opportunities to the poor, we had said that these bank accounts could be opened with zero balance. We had even said that we would bear the operational costs of the bank. After all, what for the banks exist? They should be for the poor and that’s why we had decided to open accounts with zero balance. We have seen the rich of our country; however, this time around we have also seen our poor and seen their wealth. From the ramparts of the Red Fort, let me salute and bow to the large-heartedness of these poor; because even if there was a provision of opening the account with zero balance, these poor people have deposited twenty thousand crore rupees in their bank accounts. It could be possible only due to richness of our poor citizens. And hence, today my conviction bears proof that it is all because of the spirit of these poor that this “Team India” will march ahead.

Brothers and sisters, if the branch of a bank is opened or a building of the bank is constructed in a certain part of our country, it becomes the hot topic of discussion, people rejoice, it is hailed as a mark of great development and remarkable progress. This is so because in the past 60 years, we have measured the development of the country only on the basis of these parameters. This has been the yardstick that if any branch of a bank is opened somewhere, it elicits lots of accolades and praises, the Government receives much adulation, but my dear fellow citizens, it is not a challenging task to open a branch of a bank. This task can easily be accomplished through the Government exchequer, but to bring 17 crore countrymen to the doorstep of the bank is an arduous task, it takes a lot of hard work, you have to give your heart and soul to accomplish this task, you are required to be ever vigilant. And here I would extend my heartfelt congratulations to various Banks and their employees who have been a very significant part of “Team India”. I congratulate them for making banks so easily accessible to the poor and this fact will bring a major change in the coming days.

Among the global economic schools of thought, there is also the one which maintains that financial inclusion doesn’t always bring positive results and due to that the system has to bear the pressure of poverty. I disagree with this thought. In a country like India, if we look at the pyramid of development, its base is the broadest. If it be firm, the entire pyramid of development tends to be strong. Today the downtrodden, the exploited, oppressed, deprived, and the ignored ones of our country form the base of the pyramid of development. We have to strengthen the foundation of this pyramid of development so as to ensure that these people are empowered through financial inclusion and this pyramid of development remains unshakable. It would stand firm amid any crisis and if this pyramid of development is based on economic strength, it would increase the purchasing power of these people to a great extent. And when the purchasing power of the poorest of the poor in the society increases, nobody can stop that economy to flourish and move ahead. It takes the country swiftly to the newer heights of development and therefore it is our intention to give impetus to that. We have laid great stress upon social security and also the welfare of the poor – and thus Prime Minister’s Suraksha Bima Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana and Prime Minister’s Jeevan Jyoti Bima yojana have been launched. Crores of the people of our country have no social security cover. Leave the poor aside, benefit of insurance has not reached even the lower middle class. So we made a plan – just pay one rupee per month, not more, that is just Rs. 12 per annum and be entitled to the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana. If your family faces any calamity then they will receive 2 lac rupees. We know how to manage an economy ! That’s why we launched Prime Minister’s Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana for 90 paisa a day, even less than 1 rupee. So it is Rs. 330 annually for the health of one’s family – and for the security of one’s family- insurance of 2 lac rupees. This is what we have done.

Brothers and sisters, schemes have been made in the past also. There is no Government which doesn’t make schemes. Every Government does that. There is no government which doesn’t make announcements. Every Government does that. There is no government which doesn’t light the inauguration lamps, doesn’t cut ribbons–every Government does that. But the touchstone is whether we walk the talk or not. We have laid a great stress upon a new work culture. Dear Countrymen, our nation has many schemes which are 40 years old or 50years old but these schemes could not reach more than 5 or 7 crore people. This scheme has just completed a hundred days, 100 days! I mean it, and in these hundred days ten crore citizens have been benefited 10 crore people! Ten crore citizens of this country means ten crore families. And this means that out of total 30-35 crore families of our country, ten crore families have joined this scheme within a span of hundred days.

Brothers and sisters, the uniqueness of our government, of “Team India”, during last one year, especially the great strength and the biggest achievement of “Team India”, consisting of one hundred and twenty five crore people has been to fulfill the tasks within the set time frame.

Last year I referred to toilet facilities for all from this Red Fort, I also referred to cleanliness. It sounded strange to the whole country for a few hours as to what sort of Prime Minister is this! But today in all the surveys that has been carried out in the entire country, this point has come out in all of them that if there is something that is the most important factor of “Team India” and that has touched every person, is the movement towards cleanliness.

Brothers and sisters, we used to invoke the people of the society and marked the names of various people to promote the “cleanliness drive”. That was such a period, but today I have to congratulate this “Team India”. People from all walks of life whether they are Celebrities, Diplomats, Social Workers, Educationists, community leaders or spiritual leaders or our friends from media, all of them have taken a major responsibility to train the common man without criticising anybody and without pointing towards the lacunas. Today I greet them all from the core of my heart who have done this job but I only wish to stress upon a point- from whom this “Swachh Bharat” drive has gained maximum strength? Who are its biggest brand ambassador? You may not have paid heed to it, but try to remember what happened in your family? There are crores of such families in India, whose children are in the age group of five, ten and fifteen and they have become the greatest ambassador of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan”. These children prevent their parents from littering in their homes and ask them to avoid spreading filth and rubbish here and there. In case, any father is addicted to consuming gutka and whenever the father opens the windows of the car to spit, his son prevents him to do so on the plea of keeping India clean. The success of this programme is due to those little children. I wish to bow my head towards the future of my country, I wish to bow my head and greet those children. The fact which is not realized even by the elite people has been easily understood by the innocent children and it is my belief that such a country where a child is so much aware, so committed towards cleanliness, such country is bound to become clean; Abhorrence against filth and dirt is bound to arise there.

In 2019 we are about to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and on 150th anniversary of Gandhiji we have to handover him “Swachh Bharat” as a tribute. There cannot be a greater tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary. The task has just started, but I have to take it forward, not to stop it, not get to satisfied. I had announced such a programme from here, just for a trial, so that I could ascertain whether “Team India” is able to do it or not. I had announced it without consulting anybody. It was not announced after collecting relevant information from districts and villages. It just came into my heart and I had announced that we would build separate toilets for boys and girls in all of our schools till the next 15th August. But later on, when we started work, the “Team India” figured out its responsibilities, we realised that there were 2 lakh and 62 thousand such schools, where more than 4.25 lakh toilets were required to be built. This figure was so big that any government could rethink to extend the deadline, but it certainly was the resolve of the ‘”Team India”‘ that no one sought any extension. Today, on this 15th August, I salute the “Team India”, who, keeping the honour of our tricolour National Flag, left no stone unturned to realise that dream, and the ‘”Team India”‘ has now nearly achieved the target of building all the toilets. I compliment to all the state governments, government officers of the districts, policy framers and implementers of educational institutions, who were involved in realising this achievement. This is not just an issue of building more than 4.25 lakh toilets. This is an issue of creating an atmosphere of self-confidence at a time, when we were so engulfed with the negativity that it was being told that nothing could happen, there was no hope, it was not possible. But now, the “Team India” has demonstrated that we are ready to accept challenges, we would not withdraw, and we are committed for our success. The nation runs on this self-confidence, the nation runs by realising newer resolutions. We cannot stop anywhere, we have to continuously move forward. Therefore, Brothers and Sisters, we have prepared a plan for the labourers of our country, and it has been named as “SHRAMEVA JAYATE”. Our attitude towards the poor labourers is not good.

If we meet a person wearing coat, pants, tie or we meet a great person wearing long kurta, jacket we salute him by standing in his honour. But if an auto rickshaw driver, pedal rickshaw puller, newspaper vendor or a milkman come to us, our feelings towards these poor men are not proper. One hundred and twenty five crore citizens of the country have to remove this deficiency of the nation by their resolution of mind. The persons due to whom we look good, who serve us good, no one is our better well wisher than them and therefor, dignity of labourers, honour of labourers, pride of labourers- this should be our national duty , this should be our national character, this should be the tendency of everyone, nature of everyone. Recently, we started a campaign of issuing special identity card to the unorganized labour falling under certain schemes. They are to get the benefits of many schemes of security through that identity card. These unorganized labourers were never taken care of. Similarly, labourers of our country had deposited their share of hard earned money in Government coffers. Slowly, this amount grew to Rs. 27 thousand crores, but when that poor labourer moves to some another place after 6-8 months of employment there, moves to another place after a year or two from there, no account of the money he deposited there is maintained. The amount is also so low that he does not wish to bring back the same by spending two hundred rupees on fare. That is why Rs. 27 thousand crores of poor people of my country, labourers of my country, money earned by them by the sweat of their brow was lying idle in the coffers of the Government. We found a solution to it. We provided a special identity card number to these labourers and told them wherever you are transferred now, even if you move to another place by quitting the job or if you move from one factory to another, from one state to another, you will always retain this number and you will retain your money, no one will be able to misappropriate your single rupee. So, we have tried to return the Rs. 27 thousand crores to the poor.

It has become a fashion in our country- make law for everything and keep our courts busy. One law may contradict the other but the law should be on the same subject. Confusion was being created here always. This is not a good sign for good governance and therefor, law should be explicit, law should be correct, law should not be out of sync with time, only then society progresses.

Where will a poor labourer look for his thing of interest in the pile-up of different types of 44 legislations meant for our labourers? We have brought about a change therein. By incorporating these 44 legislations into four codes of conduct, the poorest of the poor and even an illiterate labourer can know about his or her interest, we have emphasized this scheme.

Brothers and Sisters, corruption is a much discussed topic in our country. We must have seen an ailing person, habitually, giving tips to others on how to be healthy. He does not care for himself, but it is the nature of every human being to advise others that you do it and you will become healthy and you do that and you will become healthy. Corruption is also like this. The person involved in it, also advise, the person who is suffering due to it, also advise and thus they advise each other, and this goes on and on.

Brothers and Sisters, I have never made this announcement, but today I wish to state, I want to assure my fellow countrymen, I want to tell the “Team India” comprising 1.25 billion people that this country can become corruption-free. On the basis of experience I am saying this. This job has to be started from the top. Corruption is stuck with our country like a termite and the termite keeps on spreading, initially it is not visible, but when it spreads in our bedroom and reaches the cupboard where clothes are hung, we find that and when we want to get rid of it, insecticides have to be injected per square meter of land. After so many of years of efforts, we get rid of termite. Countless efforts of several types have to be made to wipe out the corruption in such a vast country, and that can be done. If I had said that I would cut subsidy worth Rs. 15 thousand cores on LPG gas, then I can say that hundreds of articles would have been written to glorify my Government. They can say that this man has the power and strength to discontinue the subsidy worth Rs. 15 thousand cores on LPG gas. It is this man who can take tough decision and if it is not done so, then nothing happens my dear friends and nothing is visible. Sometimes people are fond of sinking into despair. Until they talk of despair amongst people they can not sleep at night.

They have this habit. There are some ailing people, who do not like to disclose about their illness and they also do not like to someone inquiring about their ailment. While there are some others who wait for a particular person to enquire about their health and if he does not visit, they talk about this for hours together. I can see that there are some people who always search for negativism, propagate negativism and they enjoy it as much as they can. Such people neither have any schemes nor activities, yet “Team India’ consisting of 1.25 billion Indians is ready to invest time for them, but how does that happen? We have put in place a scheme of Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG subsidy. Taking advantage of Jan Dhan Accounts and Adhaar Card we have transferred the subsidy directly into the accounts. As a result of this the brokers, the middlemen and the blackmarketeers have disappeared. Only the real beneficiary got the benefit. Our Government have neither slashed a penny from anyone’s benefit nor we have made announcements to earn praise. We have improved the system and today I wish to inform the ‘Team India’ of 1.25 billion Indians that as a result of this an amount of Rs.15 crore, which was being siphoned off annually in the name of gas cylinders has been stopped. My countrymen, the corruption has stopped.

My brothers and sisters, you can see how work is done? We have done it. Rupees 15,000 crore is not a small amount for a country like India. We have launched an open website, displayed a board of delivery there, even then if someone has a complaint, he would get a cylinder even at midnight but we cannot permit those who loot the country and poors as well. Tell me whether this is not a fight against corruption?

My brothers and sisters, I had made a request to my countrymen that if you are economically sound, then why do you avail subsidy on L.P.G? Why do you need this paltry amount of rupees five to seven hundred which you usually spend on petty snacks. I had just started giving message about this, I didn’t launch any campaign as yet, because I have faith in “Team India’. As the message spreads the result would come, but to-day I can tell with pride that ever-since I had launched movement of “give it up” subsidy of LPG gas cylinder, till date 20 lakh consumers have already given it up.

This is not a small figure. Even if we are in the queue before a temple for the blessings (Prasaad), we sometimes wish that we should get some of the prasad for our younger brother also. This is in our nature. These 20 lakh people are not from rich or wealthy families. They are all from the common middle class. Some teacher may have been a pensioner, but when he learnt that this LPG cylinder may go to some poor person, he gave up his subsidy. My dear brothers and sisters, when these 20 lakh LPG cylinders will reach the poor families whose kitchens are smoke choked, just think of the happiness of the mothers working in those kitchens! Just think of the relief and happiness of the little children who had been crying due to the smoke! Whenever our efforts are in the right direction, we get great results.

My brothers and sisters, if I talk about coal, some of the political pundits or experts will judge me on a political angle. This is not a place for politicking, so I would like to urge upon all the political pundits that in this case, the kind of coal issue that I am going to raise, may please not be judged through the political angle. This is the requirement of our nation’s resolve. CAG said that when coal blocks were allocated through lottery, the nation lost Rs.1 lakh and 74 thousand crores. We also used this statistics in the election-speeches. Nevertheless, we sometimes thought that this much of loss may not have been there. But we went on saying like that. Later we decided that whether it be coal, or spectrum or any other mineral, all will be auctioned henceforth. Lo and behold ! the great strength of the Team India of 125 crore Indians and their resolve ! within a certain time limit the coal was auctioned and now almost Rs. 3 lakh crore would be accruing to the national exchequer.

Brothers and sisters, just ask yourselves whether corruption was rooted out or not? Whether the middlemen were ousted or not? Whether the door was shut on the face of the wealth-stealers of India or not? I did not make any speech in this regard. I just did it. The same thing happened in the case of spectrum. Right now FM radio auction is going on. A lot of pressure was put on me. People said ‘Modi ji, FM is operated by the common men, there in no great profit in this business. Why are you putting even FM on auction? A lot of pressure was put on me. All attempts were made to dissuade me from this. But I said that the team India consisting of 125 crore of Indians wanted transparency.

Right now the auction is on for FM Radio in some 80-85 cities. The day before when I enquired, the auction amount had crossed Rs. one thousand crores. This money is going to be used for the poor people.

Brothers and sisters, what a run the country had at the hands of its leadership, how it was looted, what impact was put on the policies! What kind of an activity it was that continued in the country? Imported coal from the foreign countries was not given to the power plants near the coasts. It was transported to the factories of nearby areas of coal mines and the coal from those mines instead was taken to the factories in the coastal region. Now, even a small child in this country can understand as to how the goods can be utilized for the place where they are situated instead of going for their transport from that place to the other.

Brothers and sisters, we changed that decision. Nearby factories should be the first beneficiaries. And let me say that this small decision closed down the shops of the middlemen and the exchequer has got Rs. 1100 crores. My dear citizens, it will happen every year now.

Corruption in a way has become part of the system. Until it is stamped out from the system, dear brothers and sisters, I’ll keep suffering every atrocity, facing every obstacle but with your blessings I shall fulfill the dream of a corruption free India. I say this to you from the ramparts of the Red Fort with the tricolour as my witness and the understanding of the dreams of the 125 crore people. It’s been 15 months since you put our Government in Centre and gave me the mandate. This Government does not have any allegation of corruption against it for even a single penny. But I had said alongside that it was like the pests, the termite. Corruption free Government in Delhi only is not going to solve the whole problem. There are problems at the small places right now and the poor are getting troubled. We need to bring in a national level awareness for this. We need to comprehend this menace of corruption properly and get everyone on board to eradicate it. Then only can we get rid of the menace.

Brothers and sisters, let me say further that we have taken some very important steps one after the other to check black money, and that too in a very short span of time.

The day we formed the Government, we constituted an SIT under the supervision of the Supreme Court. We did what was pending for three years. The SIT is doing its job. I attended the G-20 summit. These are the countries whose support we need for bringing black money back. On India’s insistence a resolution was passed against black money. All G-20 countries resolved to cooperate with each other and send back the black money to the country where it belonged. We adopted FATCA along with the United States. We have signed agreements with many countries for receiving real time information regarding Indian’s black money. We have taken several measures to check black money.

Brothers and sisters, we have passed a strict law for this. After this enactment every week people call us and complain that we have passed a very stringent law. They call it a draconian law and a black law and say that officers would harass them. Dear fellow citizens, we need injections if the disease is serious. Doctors also warn us about the side effects of such injections. Similarly, this disease is so serious that if we want a treatment, we will have to bear the side effects also. I know that people are upset with the law which we have passed. They find it troublesome. We have received many messages for diluting the provisions and relaxing it. Today I would like to tell Team India of 125 crore countrymen that even while bearing the side effects, we are moving forward against black money. This much has been done. It’s a fact that the process of bringing back the black money is long but now no one can dare to send the black money out of the country. This much has been achieved, whether someone believes it or not. Not only this, we have given some grace period for declaring undisclosed income and today I can say that people have come forward and declared their undisclosed income amounting to Rs. 6500 crores. This amount will accrue to our exchequer. It will benefit the poor of India. Friends, I assure you all that we will move forward with all the resolve to fulfill the commitments we have made.

Brothers and sisters, CBI had registered only eight hundred cases in the entire one year before formation of our government. We are still new in power but we have already registered eighteen hundred cases since we took charge; we have taken action against government employees. You can easily imagine and compare the figures. In the entire one year before we came to power, only eight hundred cases were registered and in the ten months of our government the corresponding number is eighteen hundred. It shows our ability to fight corruption.

In 2005, a law namely ‘PMLA’ was framed in our country. In ten years, an amount of ten thousand crore rupees has been recovered under that law. But you would be surprised to know that out of the total recovered amount of ten thousand crore rupees, four thousand five hundred crore rupees have been recovered in the last ten months. This is another example of our commitment to fight corruption about which we are not talking in press conferences on TV; rather we have taken steps on the ground and reaped success. We have endeavored to change systems. We have taken steps to ensure that the ‘MGNREGA’ wages go directly to the Jan Dhan account; that the scholarship for students goes directly into their bank accounts; and that there is least brokerage. And I believe that because of these steps the country can fulfill those objectives.

My farmer brothers and sisters, last year we had deficient rainfall. It was less than required. It affected the economy as well as our farmers. We were still able to curb the price rise. One will have to admit the fact that before us, the inflation was in double digits. Since we came to power, although there has been less rain and the farmers were distressed; we have been successful in bringing down the inflation from double digits to 3-4 percent. We will continue to strive to bring it further down because our dream is to provide wholesome meals to the poorest of the poor. However, we need drastic changes in the agriculture sector. The cultivable land is shrinking; it is getting divided between families and pieces of land are getting smaller. The fertility and productivity of our agricultural land must increase. The farmers need water and electricity and we are working towards their availability. We have decided to pump in fifty thousand crore rupees in ‘Pradhaan Mantri Krishi Sinchaai Yojna’. How will the water reach the farms? Water will have to be saved. We have to launch a movement in our agricultural sector with the mantra of “Save Water, Save Energy, and Save Fertilizers”. Hence, “Per drop more crop” is our watchword; each drop of water can contribute towards producing more crop and hence successful farming. We have moved in the direction of spending funds to take this cause further.

In the recent past, when our crops got damaged due to hailstorm, we increased the compensation enormously. Such an increase has never been witnessed in the past 60 years. Not only this, earlier if there were any losses, there was the norm according to which one would be entitled for compensation only if the losses suffered were at least 50 per cent. We have brought it down to 30 per cent. Never in the past 60 years was such a great initiative of helping the farmers taken. Farmers need urea. I would like to tell once again as to how to fight corruption. “Neem-Coating” is not the brain child of Modi, rather it is an idea propounded by Scientists and this idea has not only been brought before my government, it has come before previous governments as well. In our country, urea worth millions and billions of rupees is allocated in the names of farmers, but 15, 20 or 25 per cent of this urea is diverted to the chemical factories as raw material. Allocated in the names of farmers, this urea is pilfered through the middlemen. This pilferage of urea cannot be stopped unless we go for cent per cent “Neem-Coating” of urea. Therefore, irrespective of the burden caused to the exchequer, we have accomplished the task of doing hundred per cent “Neem-Coating” of urea. As a result of this, now urea cannot be used for any purpose other than farming. Now, no chemical factory can indulge in any kind of pilferage of urea. The farmers will have as much urea as they need. Since the urea is “Neem Coated”, even if they use 10 per cent less of urea, their land will be benefitted with the nutritional value it requires. The farmers of my country will be having a new advantage of urea – I would suggest to all the farmers that even if by chance someone shows you urea without “Neem-Coating”, you take it to be unauthorized by the Government. If someone gives you a yellow powder, don’t even touch it.

Brothers and sisters, India cannot develop till the eastern part of the country develops. India cannot be said to be developing only on the basis of the development of the western parts of the country. India will move ahead only when our eastern Uttar Pradesh becomes prosperous, our Bihar becomes strong, our West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, North Eastern regions tread the path of development. These territories of India should become powerful. And so whether is a matter of infrastructure or of rail connectivity or of digital connectivity – in all these aspects, we have focussed on eastern India. This focus has resulted in the proposed laying of a gas pipe line in this region. Who could have thought that the states where there was no potable tap water even in kitchen, there we are working to supply the gas through pipe lines. Four urea fertilizer plants were shut down in eastern India. Youth of these states were unemployed and farmers were in distress. We have made new urea policy and we have also formulated new gas supply policy. This has resulted in revival of fertilizer plants of eastern centers of Gorakhpur, Barauni, Talcher and Sindari. Thus we are working to provide employment to the youth and fertilizers to the farmers.

Brothers and sisters, there is a Government Department for Army soldiers and for their welfare. In our country farmers are as important as soldiers. What have we done in sixty years! We have emphasized on the economic aspect of agriculture. With the intention to have flourishing agriculture and for agricultural advancement, the concerned ministry of this government has been named as ‘Ministry of Agriculture’.

Brothers and sisters, Agricultural growth is as important as the welfare of farmers. Only talking about agricultural development is incomplete for rural life style and for agriculture based livelihood. That will become complete, when the welfare of the farmer is also linked. Brothers and Sisters, the Ministry of the Government of India which was earlier known as “Ministry of Agriculture”, from now will be known as the “Ministry of farmer Welfare” and in the days to come schemes for the welfare of farmers will also be formulated alike the schemes for agriculture are prepared and the Government would make efforts to provide help to the farmers by means of setting permanent system for the problems that my farmers has to face in his personal life, the hurdles that he has to go through.

Brothers and sisters, in the coming days I wish to concentrate on an issue. There has been so many years of independence but even today there are about eighteen thousand, five hundred such villages in our country, where electric wires and polls are yet to reach. Eighteen thousand five hundred villages are deprived of the sun of independence, deprived of the light of independence, they are deprived of the rays of development of independence. If we will keep on following the old methods, perhaps it will take ten more years to electrify these eighteen thousand, five hundred villages with wires and polls. The country is not ready to wait for ten years.

I took the meeting of government officials and enquired from them about the timeline. Someone promised to complete the task till 2019, someone assured to complete it till 2022. Some were hesitant due to dense forests or snowy hills, and some had apprehension due to inaccessibility of certain areas. But, it is now the solemn pledge of the “Team India” of 1.25 billion countrymen that the target of providing electric polls, electric wires and electricity to these 18,500 villages would be achieved within next 1000 days. I urge upon the states to come forward and accept this challenge. This is not pending in every state, only a few states will have to strive a little further. I would not like to count the name of such states, as it would be viewed politically and may attract political comments. Hence, it’s better to avoid it. I, therefore, announce the pledge of the ‘Team India’ of our 1.25 billion countrymen, from the Red Fort, that electricity would be made available to 18,500 villages within the next 1000 days, with the help of states and local bodies.

I have taken up another issue of concern, which is ‘Welfare of Farmers’. Similar issue of grave concern is the under-development of such mining areas, from where we get mineral resources, such as coal, bauxite and other minerals. Now, look at the life of people there. They sweat to make our country rich but that region is not developed and, therefore, we have formulated a special scheme for the development of the labourers and farmers of the region from where minerals are extracted and around rupees six thousand crores will be spent every year on the regions which fall in the areas of my tribals brothers, located in my tribal areas. Where coal is found? Coal is found in tribal areas. We have undertaken work to see development takes place there.

Brother and sisters, our youth power is of import for taking the country forward in twenty first century and today, I want to declare that if we have to move ahead in comparison to the whole world, we have to encourage our youths, we have to provide them opportunities. How our youths become new entrepreneurs, how our youths become new producers, how a complete network of start-up by these new entrepreneurs is set up in the whole country? There should not be any district, any block in Hindustan where there are not start-up initiated in the coming days. Whether India cannot dream that India becomes number one in the world of start-up. Today we are not at that position. Brothers and Sisters, I have to provide strength to start-up and, therefore, I resolve that in the coming days “Start-up India” and “Stand-up India” will be there or the future of the country. And for a bright future of the country “Stand-up India” shall be launched when I want to move forward this job pertaining to “Start-up India”, “Stand-up India”, my brothers and sisters, in our country our bank officials have done a herculean task, and when you do a good job, my expectations rise a lot.

My banker friends, my expectations are rising, so please do not get offended, but I trust you that your subordinate staff is contributing a lot for the economic advancement of this nation and in future they will continue to put in further more efforts. I want to assign you a task today. There are 1.25 lakhs banking units i.e. 1.25 lakhs branches of banks in the country. Today, I would like to assign a task to these 1.25 lakhs branches. This year marks the 125th anniversary of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkarji. There are 1 crore 25 lakhs branches of banks. This is my programme referred to as “Start-up India”, under this programme more schemes will be formulated, but every branch must resolve and in the days to come resolve once again to disburse loans for start-ups to the tribals in the locality where there is any tribal habitation, and where there is no tribal habitation, the branch can provide loans to a dalit or a tribal, give financial support to them and thus enable 1.25 lakhs Dalit entrepreneurs to come up. Let there be tribal entrepreneurs in the tribal settlements of this country. We can do this, we can give a new dimension to star-up and secondly whether these one lakh twenty five thousand branches can formulate a special scheme for women entrepreneurs? These one lakh twenty five thousand branches should promote start-up of women entrepreneurs and help them financially. You will find that with in no time, India would see a network of start up, new entrepreneurs would emerge and they would in-turn provide employment ranging form one to two to four persons which will transform India’s economic life.

Brothers and sisters, when investment comes to the country, we expect more manufacturing work and more exports and the finance department of the Government offer new schemes to such investors. It has its own significance and this should continue. But today I have a new idea that the investment coming to our country in the manufacturing sector should be offered assistance based on new parameters and one of them shall be that an investor who comes with an enterprise which provides employment to maximum persons would be eligible for a different kind of economic package.

The Government would now formulate new schemes for new units linking it with employment and assistance of Government. We want to stress upon the growth of employment opportunities in the country. We have reached far beyond in the direction of fulfilling the dreams of skill India and digital India. Brothers and sisters, one area of corruption is job. The poorest of the poor man aspires for his son’s job and we have seen that whenever a youth receives a call for an interview for a job, may be that is for interview in railway, for a teacher, for a peon, for a driver, he began to think about who he should approach for recommendation? Even his widow mother begin to brood over the issue. why? That is because in our country justice and injustice are mostly decided on the basis of interview rather than the basis of merit and it is said that the person has failed in the interview. I have not seen any such psychologist till now, who are capable of assessing a person on the basis of interviewing him just for two minutes.

Brothers and sisters, I have been thinking over it for many days that whether it is necessary to appear for an interview for a son of a poor mother, for a less educated person who is in need of petty jobs? Whether he can’t get any job without an interview? Whether on the basis of his mark-sheet online– it should be decided on the basis of online mark sheet that if we require five hundred people, than who should be those initial five hundred people, then who should be initial two thousand people. Of course, where the testing of physical fitness is required, the norms and system could vary there. Personality and experience of a candidate matters only for jobs of senior ranks, but it is painful to see that candidates even from the states of Nagaland and Mizoram rush to Mumbai to appear in exams for junior-level posts in Railways. I have to combat this problem. I impress upon the state governments and my colleagues of the Government to discontinue the stage of interview for junior-level posts as soon as possible. Such jobs should be given just on the basis of merit. This would help in curbing corruption, which hurts the poor people, and it would ease out their problem. It is my appeal to endeavour towards this goal.

My countrymen enjoy sound sleep. But, if our 1.25 billion countrymen are able to enjoy their undisturbed sleep, it is only due to ever-readiness of our jawans to sacrifice themselves, who are posted at the borders. No country can under-evaluate the importance of its armed forces. For the ‘Team India’ of 1.25 billion countrymen, each and every soldier or jawan is the strength of the nation, wealth of the nation and force of the nation. Many successive governments have come and gone over the years. The issue of “One Rank One Pension” has come before every government, each one has considered its proposal, and each and every government has made promises on it, but the problem is still pending to be resolved.

After my assuming office as Prime Minister I have not been able to do this by now. Today, I am again assuring all the service personnel and this is not being said by one man, I am saying this on behalf of One hundred and twenty five crores people of “Team India”. I am saying this under the Tricolour from the ramparts of the Red Fort. I say to service personnel, we have accepted “One Rank One Pension” in principal but talks are going on with its organizations. Talks have reached at the final stage and we want that all get justice keeping in view the development of whole country. We have to find the solution of this problem in the light of above context which is lingering on from 20-25 years. I believe that the trust in which talks are being held, some positive result will come out of it. And, therefore, I again assure that this Government has accepted “One Rank One Pension” in principal. How it is implemented in view of its nitty-gritty situation, we are taking the talks forward by engaging with its stakeholders.

Brothers and sisters, India is completing 75 years of its independence in 2022. We have not to sit idle after celebrating 75 years of India’s independence on 15th August, 2022. Today itself, on this 15th August, let we have a resolution for the 15th August, 2022 that 6 lakhs villages of India, each village must decide and resolve that by 2022, we will be able to overcome problem in every village. My 1.25 billion countrymen and we, in our lives, take a resolution for the 2022, the 75 years of Independence of India. Every citizen take a resolution that I will perform this task for the well being of the country and betterment of the society. Once my 1.25 crores fellow countrymen will move forward with a resolution, then by the dawn of 15th August 2022, when the souls of soldiers who laid down their lives for the freedom will see that the country might have fulfilled 1.25 crores resolutions, 6 lakhs villages might have realized their dreams. Cities, Metropolitan cities, every department of the government, every unit of the government should take a resolution and get to work. And there should not be any literature, there should not be any programme wherein 15th August 2022 is not re-iterated, where resolution for the 75th years of Independence is not re-iterated. A momentum need to be created. Brothers and Sisters the movement for freedom lasted several decades. Nevertheless the freedom was in the air only, then someone raised the issue of freedom in the year 1910, again in the year 1920 and again and again in the year 1930 and so on. The issue was re-iterated for decades, only then we attained freedom. In order to build a self confident, magnificent and prosperous India we have to make our country competent, prosperous and healthy. We have to fulfill the dream of a well cultured India, build self confident India and excellent India. No poor person in this country should remain without shelter by 2022. We have to succeed in providing round the clock electricity. Our farmer should be capable, our worker should be satisfied, our women should be empowered, our youth should be self dependent, our elderly should be hail and hearty and our poor should be prosperous. No one should remain backward in our society and everyone should enjoy equal rights and entire Indian society should reel in harmony. With this dream once again I convey my heartiest congratulation to 1.25 billion countrymen on this pious festival of freedom with preparedness to move forward in a specific role for 75th anniversary of independence. Repeat me with full strength:-

Bharat Mata Ki Jai,Bharat Mata Ki Jai,Bharat Mata Ki Jai. 
Vande Mataram, Vande Mataram, Vande Mataram. 
Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind!

PM’s letter to the people

Service, in our Indian ethos is the ultimate duty – Seva Parmo Dharma. One year ago, you had entrusted me with the responsibility and honour of serving you as your Pradhan Sevak. I have devoted every moment of every day, and every element of my body and spirit, in fulfilling the same with fullest sincerity and honesty.

We assumed office at a time when confidence in the India story was waning. Un-abated corruption and indecisiveness had paralyzed the government. People had been left helpless against ever climbing inflation and economic insecurity. Urgent and decisive action was needed.

We systematically went about addressing these challenges. Runaway prices were immediately brought under control. The languishing economy was rejuvenated, building on stable, policy-driven proactive governance. Discretionary allotment of our precious natural resources to a chosen few was replaced with transparent auctions. Firm steps were taken against Black Money, from setting up a SIT and passing a stringent black money law, to generating international consensus against the same. Uncompromising adherence to the principle of purity, in action as well as intent, ensured a corruption-free government. Significant changes have been brought about in work culture, nurturing a combination of empathy as well as professionalism, systems as well breaking of silos. State governments have been made equal partners in the quest for national development, building the spirit of Team India. Most importantly, we have been able to restore Trust in the government.

Guided by the principle of Antyodaya, our Government is dedicated to the poor, marginalized and those left behind. We are working towards empowering them to become our soldiers in the war against poverty. Numerous measures and schemes have been initiated – from making school toilets to setting up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS; from providing a vaccination cover to our children to initiating a people-driven Swachh Bharat mission; from ensuring a minimum pension to our labourers to providing social security to the common man; from enhancing support to our farmers hit by natural calamities to defending their interests at WTO; from empowering one and all with self attestation to delivering subsidies directly to people’s banks; from universalizing the banking system to funding the unfunded small businesses; from irrigating fields to rejuvenating Ma Ganga; from moving towards 24×7 power to connecting the nation through road and rail; from building homes for the homeless to setting up smart cities, and from connecting the North-East to prioritizing development of Eastern India.

Friends, this is just the beginning. Our objective is to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services. Together we shall build the India of your dreams and that of our freedom fighters. In this, I seek your blessings and continued support.

Always in your Service. Jai Hind!

[Speech] Gandhi Peace Prize to Chandi Prasad by President Of India

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2013 to Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt.Chandi Prasad Bhatt is an Indian Gandhian environmentalist and social activist, who founded Dasholi Gram Swarajya Sangh(DGSS) in Gopeshwar in 1964.

Which later became a mother-organization to the Chipko Movement, in which he was one of the pioneers, and for which he has been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1982, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 2005.

Previous recipients of the award include:

  • 1995 Julius Nyerere, First President of Tanzania
  • 1996 A. T. Ariyaratne, Founder of Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement
  • 1997 Gerhard Fischer German diplomat, recognised for his work against leprosy and polio
  • 1998 Ramakrishna Mission
  • 1999 Baba Amte Social worker
  • 2000 Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa
  • 2000 Grameen Bank Bangladesh, Founded by Muhammad Yunus
  • 2001 John Hume, Northern Irish Politician
  • 2002 Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 
  • 2003 Vaclav Havel first President of the Czech Republic
  • 2004 Coretta Scott King, Wife of Martin Luther King.
  • 2005 Desmond Tutu, South Africa South African cleric and activist
  • 2013 Chandi Prasad Bhatt, India Environmentalist, social activist and pioneer of the Chipko movement

Speech by the President of India

It gives me immense pleasure in presenting the Gandhi Peace Prize Award for the year 2013 to Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt, a life-long Gandhian and devoted and far-sighted modern environmentalist of our time.

The Gandhi Peace Prize was initiated in 1995, the 125th year of Gandhiji’s birth. The award is an expression of our belief that the chandi-prasad-bhattideals that Gandhiji espoused are part of our collective living heritage. This heritage is deeply imbued with the idea of being ‘one people.’ It is a celebration of our diversity, our plural culture, our many languages, religions and different modes of life.

This was the idea that moved those who strove for India’s freedom. Our deep and abiding commitment to democracy stems from this idea. We continue to be guided by these ideals; we remain committed to them not because it is our past, but because it is also our future.

Gandhiji said ‘My Life is My Message”. Smt. Indira Gandhi in her foreword to the 90th Volume of the monumental compilation of Gandhiji’s writings The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, explained the significance of these words. She wrote –

“He was one of those who spoke as he thought and acted as he spoke, one of those few on whom no shadow fell between word and deed. His words were deeds, and they built a movement and a nation and changed the lives of countless individuals.”

What is this shadow that Indira Ji spoke of? It is the shadow of untruth and falsehood. Only a person who saw Truth as God could speak of Life itself as a message.

The recipients of this award in the past include President Julius Nyerere, President Nelson Madela, Vaclav Havel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Baba Amte among many others. Ramakrishna Mission and Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan are two organisations that have also been conferred this honour.

Each of these individuals and organisations have through their life and work taken forward the Gandhian ideals of human freedom, compassion for fellow beings and the capacity to be resolutely non-violent and caring in the face of terrible injustice. Their work exemplifies the universality of the non-violent action as a mode of attaining a just and equitable society.

We have gathered today to confer the Gandhi Peace Prize upon Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt, whose life has also been his message. Shri Bhatt’s work embodies a unique love, a love that has long since become universal. It is a love of Nature and Nature as encompassing entire creation.

Shri Bhatt was born into a family of farmers and priests to the Rudranath Temple in Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand. Being a hill man, he knew the hardships of his fellow villagers in the backdrop of scarcity of employment, healthcare, lack of infrastructure and education. As a true Gandhian and member of the Sarvodaya movement, he realized the need of the time.

The aspirations of the people inspired him organize the Dashauli Gram Swarajya Sangh in 1964. He dedicated himself through the Sangh to improve the lives of villagers, providing employment near their homes in forest-based industries, and fighting against wrong policies through Gandhian non-violent satyagraha.

The Chipko movement started by Shri Bhatt in 1973 followed the same method, that is, of peaceful and non-violent Satyagraha for the redressel of the legitimate rights of the hill people to collect wood and fodder and saving them from natural calamities owing to large scale deforestation.

The Chipko movement was and continues to be a movement of deep love. Love as enacted in the act of hugging trees. This action meant embracing Nature in all its diversity, bounty and munificence. The movement holds in its embrace not only the trees of Shri Bhatt’s beloved Gharwal but all creation across the world.

It highlights the unique responsibility of protecting creation that has been placed on human beings. It is a movement of love against pulverising greed. And it is in this sense, Shri Bhatt’s work draws upon the life and thought of Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhiji, like Poet Tagore had an abiding concern with Nature and the unique placement of human consciousness in this vast and bafflingly intricate relationship. While the Poet sang of its glory and bowed his head on all our behalf. Gandhiji placed Love at the heart of his understanding of human –nature relationship.

Gandhiji said he had no use for economics without ethics. This simple injunction created a moral frame within which human ingenuity has to function. The limits to human greed have to be defined by inner imperatives and not external constraints. This inner imperative that he called beautifully “a small, still voice” is available to all of us, if we cultivate the capability to listen to it and follow its dictates. A capacity that Shri Bhatt acquired and demonstrated through practice.

By placing ethics at the heart of economics, Gandhiji gave us an idea whose significance we have just begun to understand. This is the idea of Trusteeship, based on the idea of faith which is a unique human capacity. All of us live by and through trust. Gandhiji asked us to be Trustees and to have faith in the goodness of our hearts and the hearts of others. This goodness would enable us to act as Trustees of what is ours and not ours.

To be a Trustee is to see Nature as belonging to all creation and those who are yet to come. The idea of Trusteeship has been also seen as an idea of re-distributive justice. Those with wealth and capability for generating wealth use it for the benefit of others and for society at large to whom also this wealth belongs. Shri Bhatt’s movement is one of the finest examples of this idea of Trusteeship. Through his work, Shri Bhatt has reminded this nation and the world as a whole that we are responsible for the future as well.

When we act as Trustees, we act non-violently. Ahimsa is not just a method or an instrument. It requires recognition of the humanity of others, including the humanity of those we seek to challenge, including the State. Ahimsa is based on the idea that others are capable of recognising Truth and acting upon it however misguided or even oppressive they might be. Ahimsa is not just non-injury. It is an active force that embraces the other, eradicating the differences between I and Thou.

Poet Tagore and Gandhiji were two modern Indians who recognised the force of such Ahimsa, which frees the unjust and the oppressor from the need and desire to perpetuate injustice and suffering to others. Ahimsa deepens freedom and enlarges its scope to include in its ambit, the other. Shri Bhatt’s movement showed the way of practising Ahmisa by physically embracing the endangered and the inanimate. Shri Bhatt has not only deepened our understanding of responsibility but also provided an object lesson to the world on the power of Ahimsa.

We in India must always keep in mind that we are the Trustees of the heritage of Mahatma Gandhi. As Trustees, it is our sacred duty to preserve, protect and disseminate this heritage, which is truly a legacy of all humanity.

The Government of India, through the Ministry of Culture has taken two significant and long lasting initiatives in this regard. In September last year, the Gandhi Heritage Portal was dedicated to the people of India and the world. This is an authentic, comprehensive, open source digital archive of Gandhiji’s writings and the scholarly work around his ideals. The Gandhi Heritage Portal uses technology to bring to the world message of Gandhiji.

The Ministry of Culture also launched a five year mission called the Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission. This Mission is mandated with the preservation of the built heritage of Gandhiji’s life. It will create an architectural database and provide guidelines for the protection of around 39 crore Sites associated with Gandhiji’s life in South Africa, Bangladesh, England and of course India. I am certain these initiatives will prepare the ground for us to renew our commitment to Gandhian ideals as we mark two significant events in the coming years.

On 9th January 2015, we will mark 100 years since Gandhiji’s return to India after his long and life altering Satyagraha in South Africa. This would be an occasion for us to celebrate not only Gandhiji but all those Pravasi Bhartiyas, persons of Indian origins who have made significant contributions to their adopted countries as well as mother India. In 2019, we will also mark 150th anniversary of Gandhiji’s birth, which we can truly celebrate by ending the indignity of homes without toilets and making a success of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan announced by the Government to ensure hygiene, waste management and sanitation across the country.

Shri Bhatt, in honouring you we honour all those countless women and men who became Trustees of the Nature and who through their embrace expanded our Swaraj. I salute you for your dedicated, tireless and invaluable work for the conservation of the environment. I also thank you for your immense contribution to our nation and wish you good health as well as long years of continued service to our people.

Thank you.