Modi outlines his vision for inclusive growth

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 08, 2018

Seeking progress Modi called for an end to communalism and casteismand exhorted the nation to pursue a path of development. RAMESH SHARMA

Modi unveils financial inclusion scheme for poor, plans to replace Plan panel with new institution

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden Independence Day speech promised a new foundation for a more inclusive India — socially, economically and politically. Sporting a red and green turban and half-sleeved kurta pyjama, Modi said he thought of himself “not as a Prime Minister but pradhan sevak (chief servant) of the people”.

In his speech, which lasted over an hour, Modi harped on his status as an “outsider” among Delhi’s power elite, portraying himself as someone who was working for the common man and who would push a fractious bureaucracy to work in a united and purposeful manner.

The unscripted speech, delivered with only an occasional glance at some notes, was short on big-ticket announcements, barring a financial inclusion plan, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna. The scheme envisages provision of a bank account, a debit card and insurance cover up to ₹1 lakh for the poor.

Planning Commission to go

Modi also ended speculation about the fate of the Planning Commission, which, he said, would be replaced by another institution that will be more in keeping with India’s federal structure as well as more relevant in today’s domestic and global economic environment.

After announcing a scheme, the Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojna, under which each MP will create a model village in his or her constituency using MP Local Area Development funds, Modi fixed October 11, the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan, as the deadline to reveal its blueprint.

Shun communalism

What generated the most debate among talking heads on television as well as on social media was his call for a moratorium on communal and caste violence.

“For centuries, India has been torn by communal violence. The country was partitioned but we still have not learnt from our past. For how long will we allow this to continue? When will we understand that there is nothing to be gained from this…?

Give up communalism, casteism for ten years and embark on a path of development and progress. Experiment with it and you will realise that there is no alternative to peace, brotherhood and harmony if we want to progress as a nation,” said Modi.

Call for consensus

Striking a non-partisan note, he said all governments have played a role in developing India. The Prime Minister also acknowledged the Opposition’s role in the relatively smooth conduct of the just-concluded Parliament session. “We are not for moving forward on the basis of majority…We want to move ahead on the basis of a strong consensus … I salute all political parties; by virtue of their strong support, we could take important decisions to take the nation forward,” he said.

Bureaucracy cautioned

Modi had a word of caution for the bureaucracy, saying that government servants are losing credibility among the people.

“Why is it that the newspapers are saying that after Modi’s arrival, government officials have started coming to office in time? If punctuality among bureaucrats makes news, then imagine how low we have sunk in people’s estimation,” said the PM.

He also said he was “shocked” at the number of disputes among various departments within the government, adding that he was trying to end this so that the government “moves as a dynamic, organic entity”.

‘Make in India’

Besides focusing on the girl child, the skewed sex ratio, the need for hygiene and a toilet in every home, the PM stressed on skill development and poverty eradication.

And he coined a pithy slogan for his pet theme, manufacturing: “Come, ‘make in India’, paper or plastic. Come, make in India, satellite or submarine. As I say to the world ‘Come, Make in India’, I say to the youth of the country: it should be our dream that this message reaches every corner of the world; ‘Made in India’. This should be our dream.”

Published on August 15, 2014

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