Greetings to all the dignitaries who are with us in the India Today Conclave! Greetings to the viewers and readers from India and abroad who have joined us through digital medium. I am glad to see that the theme of this conclave is – The India Moment. Today, world’s leading economists, analysts, thinkers are saying in unison that it is India’s moment. But when the India Today group projects this optimism, it is ‘extra special’. By the way, I had said from the ramparts of Red Fort 20 months ago – this is the time, the right time. But it took 20 months to reach this position. Even then the spirit was the same – This is India’s Moment.
There are several ups and downs as well as many milestones in the development journey of any nation. Today, this time period in this decade of the 21st century is exceptional for India. A few decades ago, many of the countries that moved forward and developed had very different conditions before them. In a way, they were their own competitors because these countries didn’t have many competitors against them. But the circumstances under which India is moving forward today are different. The challenges are very different, wide-ranging and full of diversities. Today there are several global challenges – the worst pandemic in 100 years, such a huge crisis, two countries are at war for months, the supply chain of the whole world is in disarray. Look at this situation and think of this background. It is not an ordinary thing to talk about ‘The India Moment’ in such a scenario.
A new history is being created and we all are witnesses to it. Today the whole world believes in India. Today India is the fastest growing economy in the world. Today India is the number one smartphone data consumer in the world. Today India is number one in global FinTech adoption rate. Today India is the second largest mobile manufacturer in the world. Today India has the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world.
Many such things have been discussed. But if someone needs to learn about the things in the past, one can find it out. But I want to talk about the present and that too 2023. In this year 2023, 75 days have already passed. Today I want to talk about these 75 days only. In these 75 days, the historic green budget of the country was presented. In these 75 days, the airport at Shivamogga in Karnataka was inaugurated. In these 75 days, the next phase of Metro Rail started in Mumbai. In these 75 days, the world’s longest river cruise was flagged off in the country. Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway was inaugurated. A section of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway was opened. Vande Bharat trains have started running from Mumbai and Visakhapatnam. The Permanent Campus of IIT Dharwad was inaugurated. India named 21 islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after Param Vir Chakra awardees.
Within these 75 days, India has launched E20 fuel by blending 20% ethanol in petrol. Within these 75 days, Asia’s largest modern helicopter factory has been inaugurated in Tumkuru. Air India has placed the world’s largest aviation order. In these 75 days, India has achieved the milestone of 10 crore tele-consultations through e-Sanjivani. In these 75 days, India achieved the milestone of providing 8 crore new tap water connections. Within these 75 days, the work of 100 percent electrification of the rail network in UP-Uttarakhand was completed.
In these 75 days, a new batch of 12 cheetahs has arrived in Kuno National Park. The Indian women’s team has won the Under-19 Cricket T-20 World Cup. In these 75 days, the country has received the honour of winning two Oscars.
In these 75 days, thousands of foreign diplomats and representatives of various organizations came to India to participate in the G-20 meetings. In these 75 days, there have been 28 important meetings of the G-20 i.e., one meeting every third day. During the same period, the Energy Summit took place. Today itself the Global Millets Conference took place. We saw that more than 100 countries came to India to participate in Aero-India held in Bengaluru. UPI linkage with Singapore was started in these 75 days. In these 75 days, India launched ‘Operation Dost’ to help Turkey. The Indo-Bangladesh gas pipeline has been inaugurated just a few hours ago. The list of achievements in these 75 days alone is so long that we would run out of time. And I am telling you about some of these things that happened within the last 75 days because this is the reflection of the ‘India Moment’.
Today, on one hand the country is building physical infrastructure like road-railway, port-airport, while on the other hand there is an unprecedented attraction towards Indian culture and soft power in the world. Today yoga has become popular all over the world. Today there is enthusiasm regarding Ayurveda; there is enthusiasm regarding Indian food. Today Indian films, Indian music are attracting people with a fresh energy. Our Millets or ‘Shree Anna’ are also reaching the whole world. Be it the International Solar Alliance or the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, today the world is realizing that India’s ideas and India’s potential are for global good. That’s why today the world is saying – This is India’s Moment.
And all of you must have noted one more thing recently. All of these things have generated a multiplier effect. Let me draw your attention towards a small matter. Nowadays, whenever I visit other countries or the representatives of other countries come to India or someone from India visits a country, you must have noticed that there is a sort of competition among the countries to return the ancient artefacts which were stolen from India. On their own initiative, they are returning these artefacts to us because now they are convinced that this is the right place where these will be honoured. This is the Moment.
And all of this is not a coincidence, friends. The most unique thing about today’s India Moment is that besides promise, performance has also been added to it. Several veteran journalists are present here. You have written, read and reported the headlines before 2014. And I was not there at that time. What were the headlines earlier? It was mostly about ‘several lakh crore’ scams in one or the other sector. People took to the streets against corruption. But what’s the headline today? ‘Because of the action against the cases of corruption, the corrupt people got mobilized and took to the streets’. You have garnered a lot of TRP by showing the news related to scams. Now you have the opportunity to increase your TRP by showing action against the corrupt. Do not be under anyone’s pressure; do not miss this opportunity due to a balancing act.
Earlier there used to be headlines related to bomb blasts in cities; there used to be headlines related to Naxalite incidents. Today there are a greater number of news stories related to peace and prosperity. Earlier there used to be big stories about some major infrastructure projects being stalled because of environmental concerns. Today, along with positive news related to the environment, there are news stories about construction of new highways and expressways. Earlier the news of tragic train accidents was a common thing. Today the introduction of modern trains makes headlines. Earlier there used to be news stories about Air India scams and their declining condition. Today the news story about the world’s biggest aircraft deal makes headlines in the world. India Moment has brought this change of promise and performance.
By the way, friends, at a time when the country is full of self-confidence and resolve and foreign countries, scholars around the world are also optimistic about India, there have also been attempts to spread pessimism, to humiliate India and to shatter India’s morale. Now we know that there is a tradition of applying a black tika (mark) during auspicious moments to protect someone from harm. Today a lot of auspicious things are happening; and that’s why some people have taken the responsibility of applying black tika so that no one can cast an evil eye on this auspiciousness.
Due to the prolonged period of slavery, we have seen a long period of poverty. No matter how long this period has been, one thing has always remained eternal. The poor of India wanted to get out of poverty as soon as possible. Even today he works hard throughout the day. He wants his life to change; the lives of his future generations to change. He doesn’t want to be limited to just two square meals a day.
All the governments that have been there in the past decades have also made efforts according to their ability and understanding. According to those efforts, those governments have also got the desired results. But we wanted new results, so we increased our speed and scale. For example, toilets used to be built earlier too. But we built more than 11 crore toilets at a record pace. Banks were there in the country earlier also and banks were also nationalized to supposedly help the poor. But now, as Arun ji was mentioning in detail, we rapidly added 48 crore people to the banking system. There was already a scheme for houses for the poor. You are well aware of the status of those schemes. But our government completely changed it. Now the funds for the house are transferred directly to the bank accounts of the poor persons. Now there is constant monitoring of the entire process of building houses, and we are moving forward by adopting the owner driven scheme. And when it is ‘owner-driven’, there are no scams. He wants to build a nice house.
In the last 9 years, we have built more than 3 crore houses and handed them over to the poor. That is, there are many countries around the world with that kind of population. So, we are in a way, building houses for a whole new country. We often do not have a property under the name of women. Shop, cars, land and everything is purchased under name of the male member of family. But out of the houses that our government has built and given to the poor, about 2.5 crore houses have joint ownership and women too have ownership rights in it. Now see, if poor women feel empowered, the India Moment is bound to come or not?
There have been many such changes in the country which have brought the India Moment. Some of these changes are not even discussed by the media. Do you know that ‘property rights’ is also a major global challenge? The World Bank report says that only 30 percent of the world’s population has a legally registered title to their property. That is, 70 percent of the world’s population does not have a legal document of their property.
Lack of property rights is considered as a major obstacle to global development. Many developed countries of the world are also facing this challenge. But today’s India is taking the lead in this aspect too. PM-SWAMITVA Yojana is running in India for the last 2 to 2.5 years. Technology is being used extensively. In villages of India, land mapping is being done with the help of drone technology. So far, drone survey has been completed in 2 lakh 34 thousand villages of India. 1 crore 22 lakh property cards have also been given. There is another benefit to this whole process. The people of the villages are no longer afraid that their houses or land will be encroached in their absence.
Many such silent revolutions are taking place in India today and this is becoming the foundation of India Moment. Another example is the assistance given to the farmers. Earlier, there used to be announcements of loan waivers for the farmers before elections. But crores of farmers did not have bank accounts at all. They used to take loans from other sources. They did not get any benefit of loan waivers. We changed this situation as well. So far, about 2.5 lakh crore rupees have been transferred directly to the bank accounts of the farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. It has benefitted those 11 crore small farmers of the country, who used to be neglected before.
In the progress of any country, stagnation in policy-decisions or Status Quo is a major obstacle. In our country too, due to old thinking and approach, and limitations of some families, there was a long stagnation. If the country has to move forward, it should always have dynamism, and the power of making bold decisions. If the country has to progress, then it should have the ability to accept novelty; it should have a progressive mindset. If the country has to move forward, it should have confidence in the abilities and talents of its countrymen. And above all, there should be the blessings of the people of the country upon the resolutions and dreams of the nation; there should be participation of the people in achieving the goals.
The way of finding solutions to problems depending only on the government in power gives very limited results. But when the strength of 130 crore countrymen is added, when everyone’s effort is added, then no obstacle can stand before the country. For this, the trust of the people of the country in the government is equally important. I am glad that today the countrymen have developed the belief that the government cares for them.
I would also like to share with you the reason for the same. And that is ‘Human Touch’ in governance, sensitivity in good governance. Such a major impact is visible because we have given human touch to governance. For example, now there is Vibrant Village Scheme. For decades, our border villages were considered as the last villages. We gave them the confidence of turning those into the first villages of the country. We prioritized development there. Today government officials and ministers are visiting these villages, meeting the people there and spending considerable amount of time there.
The people of North East also used to feel distant from Delhi both physically and emotionally. Here also we have linked governance with human touch. Now the ministers of the central government, as Arun ji mentioned in great detail, regularly visit the North Eastern States. And they not just visit the state capitals, but also the interiors. I have also visited northeast about 50 times, that’s half a century.
This sensitivity has not only bridged this distance of the North East but has also helped a lot in establishing peace there. You should also not forget the work culture of the government during the Ukraine Crisis. Thousands of families in the country were worried. We connected with about 14,000 families and sent representatives of the government to each house. With the presence of a government representative in the family, we assured them that the government was with them in difficult times. You would know that sometimes under such conditions, things spin out of control and obstacles are created in the work to be done. So, the first thing we did was to appoint a government representative to every family to help communicate with them regularly. And consequently, the people in the country became convinced that their child was safe, and the child would return soon. So that kind of a situation was created.
India Moment gets energy from such a kind of governance which is full of human sensitivity. If this human touch was not there in governance, we would not have been able to win such a major battle against Corona.
Whatever India is achieving today is due to the power of our democracy and the power of our institutions. Today the world is seeing that the democratically elected government in India is taking strong-willed decisions. And India has shown the world that democracy can deliver. In the past years, India has established several new institutions. International Solar Alliance was formed under the leadership of India. Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) was formed under the leadership of India. Today NITI Aayog is playing a crucial role in deciding the future roadmap. The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is playing a key role in strengthening corporate governance in the country. Due to the GST Council, the modern tax system has been formulated in the country.
Today the world is watching how democratic participation of more and more people is increasing in India. Many elections were held in the country even amid Corona. Those elections were held successfully. This is the strength of our institutions. In the midst of the global crisis, today India’s economy is strong and the banking system is strong; this is the strength of our institutions. We have delivered the corona vaccine far and wide; more than 220 crore doses were administered; this is the strength of our institutions. I believe this success of our democracy and our democratic institutions tantalizes some people and hence the attacks. But I am sure that despite these attacks, India will move rapidly towards its goals and will achieve its goals.
When India’s role is becoming global, then Indian media must also make its role global. We need to boost the ‘India Moment’ with ‘everyone’s effort’ and strengthen the journey of developed India in the ‘Azaadi Ka Amritkaal’. I once again thank Arun ji, the India Today Group, for giving me the opportunity to come here and speak and also special thanks for his bold gesture to invite me in 2024 as well.
Speaking at the @IndiaToday Conclave. Do watch!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 18, 2023
This is India's moment. pic.twitter.com/vSAOcRdGSd— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
The time period that is before India in this decade of 21st century is unprecedented. pic.twitter.com/5tnCiElhlX— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
A snapshot of 75 days of 2023... pic.twitter.com/1WDbIgCkRS— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
A reflection of the India Moment... pic.twitter.com/o0CQKdvKfa— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
भारतीय संस्कृति और सॉफ्ट पावर के लिए दुनिया में अभूतपूर्व आकर्षण है। pic.twitter.com/9imBxXUgYa— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
देश को आगे बढ़ना है तो उसमें हमेशा गतिशीलता होनी चाहिए, साहसिक निर्णय शक्ति होनी चाहिए। pic.twitter.com/EdcFHimd5O— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
आज देशवासियों में ये विश्वास जगा है कि सरकार को उनकी परवाह है। pic.twitter.com/ybH7PdR0bW— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
We have given a human touch to governance, says PM @narendramodi. pic.twitter.com/uSMGS7REG0— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
India has shown that democracy can deliver. pic.twitter.com/l39KeEDpfz— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2023
In the first 75 days of 2023, here is what India has achieved… pic.twitter.com/QlcBcm4ABu— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 19, 2023
Promise as well as performance…here is why it is India’s Moment. pic.twitter.com/8GkuY2mkLD— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 19, 2023
India is increasingly becoming aspirational. We are leaving no stone unturned to empower our citizens. pic.twitter.com/pngGj4i7hf— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 19, 2023
Democracy can deliver. pic.twitter.com/aWHRHl0Ep0— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 19, 2023