Vice President calls for improving the quality and timely delivery of services to citizens
VP lauds the target of providing nearly 20 crore tapped water connections by 2024 ‘Equip our youth with the right skill sets for them to succeed’: VP ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan saved millions of lives of children, brought dignity and safety to women’ ‘Team India’ is the only way forward for national development: VP Vice President releases book ‘Accelerating India: 7 Years of Modi Government’ at Upa-Rashtrapati Nivas
The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, today stressed the need for improving the quality and timely delivery of services to citizens, in addition to ensuring access. He called for a review of the existing models of service delivery and replicating good practices from the best performing districts. Underscoring ‘delivery is the key’ to government programmes, Shri Naidu said ‘there is no meaning to reform unless delivery of services without delay and dilution is ensured’. He referred to Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) as the defining moment in the transformative journey of governance in India.
Highlighting the importance of inclusivity, Shri Naidu emphasised that the benefits of developmental programmes must reach all segments of society, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. In this context, he referred to path-breaking schemes such as Aspirational Districts programme to accelerate development in areas which lagged behind. He also lauded the government for setting an ambitious target of providing tapped water connections to nearly 20 crore households by 2024.
Releasing the book ‘Accelerating India: 7 Years of Modi Government’ at Upa-Rashtrapati Nivas today, the Vice President said that as India celebrates 75 years of independence, it is also the time to evaluate the progress of the constitutional promise of a ‘dignified life’ to the common man. The right to a dignified life, without discrimination against any individual or community “is a pledge we have given to ourselves at the beginning of our Republic, to be upheld at all times”, he said.
Highlighting the importance of skills and opportunities in improving living standards of people, the Vice President suggested that along with good education, we need to equip our youth with the requisite skill set for them to achieve success. He called upon the private sector to complement the government’s efforts in skilling the youth and making them conversant with the latest technologies to improve their employability.
Lauding the government for creating a dedicated Skill Development Ministry, Shri Naidu expressed happiness that industry leaders through CSR funds and non-government organizations are contributing to skill development. He advised that every industry must have a ‘skill development centre’ to upskill trainees and employees.
Shri Naidu also underscored the importance of improving infrastructure, creating a conducive business environment and adopting the latest technology to fully tap the inherent skills and talent among people. Giving the instance of agriculture, he said that even though our farmers toil day and night to feed the country, they have only had subsistence incomes over the years. “With the right inputs through programmes like Soil Health Card, market opportunities like e-NAM, irrigation projects through Krishi Sinchayi Yojana, easy crop insurance through Fasal Bima Yojana and better value addition to crops through food processing, our farmers have been working miracles, through record food-grain production over the years”, he said. He called for further diversification and scientific production of crops, apart from ensuring remunerative prices to farmers.
Referring to various people-centric initiatives in health and education, Shri Naidu complimented the government for ‘thinking outside the box and seeking to transform governance’ in the country. Observing that more than 10 crore toilets were built for the poor through the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a personal initiative of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, he said the programme saved millions of children from diarrheal deaths and brought dignity and safety to women.
Terming the National Education Policy as a ‘visionary document’, Shri Naidu said it has the promise to “make education in India a holistic, value-based and a happy learning experience”. Similarly, the emphasis on the mother tongue as the medium of instruction at primary level and initiative to offer professional courses in mother tongue are welcome moves, he added.
Shri Naidu underscored that progress in a federal polity like ours was only possible through a dialogue between the Union and state governments. “The concept of Team India, underscored by Prime Minister Modi ji so often, is the only way out”, he said. He called upon centre and states to cooperate and to be in a continuous dialogue for the progress of the nation.
The Vice President appreciated the efforts of the 28 eminent authors who contributed 25 essays in the book on various sectors of Indian governance. He also commended the editor of the book, Shri K.J. Alphons, Member of Rajya Sabha and the publishers. He hoped the book will serve as a guide for policymakers to reflect and identify key elements of the unfinished agenda of our development.
Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan, Minister of State for External Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs, Shri V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and Electronics and Information Technology, Shri Rajeev Chandra Sekhar, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant, Member of Parliament, Shri K J Alphons, Director, OakBridge Publishing Pvt. Ltd., Shri Vikesh Dhyani and others were present during the event.
Following is the full text of the speech:
I am very happy to be here with you today to launch the book ‘Accelerating India: 7 Years of Modi Government’. I am told this book is a collection of 25 essays covering 25 sectors of Indian governance and has contributions of 28 eminent authors. My compliments to the editor, Shri K.J. Alphons, Member of Rajya Sabha, the authors and the publishers for bringing out this publication.
Brothers and sisters,
India is entering its 75th year of independence in a few days. It is a momentous occasion that brings to our mind the struggle and sacrifice with which our forefathers won our freedom from the yolk of colonial rule.
With an unflinching determination, a revolutionary zeal and an unwavering commitment to a syncretism of our civilizational and modern values, these noble souls laid the foundation for the rebirth of a great nation through our constitution.
Our constitution promises each individual and community a right to a dignified life, while also protecting them from discrimination. It is a pledge we have given to ourselves at the beginning of our Republic, to be upheld at all times and to be delivered to each individual.
As we celebrate our ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, it is also a time to evaluate our progress and analyze how well we have kept this promise to the common man. I would like to take this people-centric approach to see where we are as a nation and our journey ahead. After all, a nation is not just a set of boundaries, symbols and institutions - a nation is its people.
The last seven years of the Modi government have been marked by a number of initiatives that are enumerated and elaborated quite well in this volume. The focus has been on making the existing system function more effectively through a process of constant reflection and reform. The government has also been thinking outside the box and is seeking to transform governance to meet the challenges of the twenty- first century.
The challenges have been many. We are facing the most complex of these for the last year and a half. The Covid 19 pandemic has had an unprecedented disruption in our lives. It has been a health challenge of such massive proportions that we have not faced in the last one hundred years.
The government has responded to the challenge with great alacrity by ramping up production of drugs, vaccines, essential supplies of masks, sanitizers and critical healthcare infrastructure.
The National Health Policy-2017 has a vision to “achieve the highest possible level of good health and well-being for all Indians”. The Ayushman Bharat programme was launched in 2018 with a much-needed focus on primary health and wellness centres and with a health assurance scheme. Policies and schemes like these provide a robust framework for building national capacity to deal with the numerous health challenges the country faces today and those which may emerge tomorrow.
Through the personal initiative of the Prime Minister, we had an immensely successful Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, through which more than 10 crore toilets were built for the poor, saving millions of children from diarrheal deaths and bringing dignity and safety to women. Poshan Abhiyan focused on nutrition and Yoga as a tool for all round well being are a part of the country’s comprehensive health care strategy.
Education sector is the next important sector that determines the quality of our human resources and can be a powerful catalyst to make our progress sustainable, inclusive and harmonious.
The recent National Education Policy (NEP) is truly a visionary document that can fulfil this promise and make education in India a holistic, value-based and happy learning experience. Even on the higher education front, with improving research and better quality assessment of institutions, India is poised to play a critical role on the global stage.
One of the important components of NEP that is close to my heart is the emphasis on mother tongue as the medium of instruction at primary and secondary levels. The recent initiative of the government to offer professional courses too in mother tongue is a welcome move.
There are many schemes, programmes and policies that the Modi government has initiated. I have mentioned two sectors related to human development only as an illustration. There are many more. These have been analyzed in this volume, very competently by some of the best minds in the country and bringing to bear theirvast years of experience.
When the Planning Commission was transformed into the National Institute for Transforming India, the direction was clearly set. Reform, Perform and Transform became the new national mantra setting the tone for a new look at governance.
What we need is that transformative vision and reformist zeal to pervade every policy decision we take and every programme we formulate.
In a democratic, federal polity like ours, progress is possible only through a dialogue between the Union and state governments. The concept of Team India, underscored by Prime Minister Modi ji so often, is the only way out.
Second, we must ensure that the benefits of development policies and programmes reach every one, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. The Aspirational Districts programme is a good initiative that seeks to accelerate development in areas which have fallen behind.
I am glad that a number of programmes have been launched to leave no one behind and improve the ‘Ease of living’.
While Jan Dhan has democratized banking for the poor people, schemes like Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Saubhagya Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana have greatly improved their access to other amenities like housing, electricity, fuel. I appreciate the government for setting an ambitious target of tapped water connections to nearly 20 crore households by 2024.
Going forward, we must not only focus on improving access, but also improving quality and timely delivery of these services. This will come from reviewing our models and replicating good practices from our best performing districts.
Along with good education, we must equip our young minds with the right skill set and provide the right inputs for them to fully flourish - improving infrastructure, creating a conducive business environment, through technology adoption among other initiatives.
Take the case of agriculture, for instance. Even though our farmers toil day and night to feed the country, they have only had subsistence incomes over the years. But with the right inputs through programmes like Soil Health Card, market opportunities like e-NAM, irrigation projects through Krishi Sinchayi Yojana and better value addition to crops through food processing, our farmers have been working miracles, through record food-grain production over the years. We have to go for further diversification and scientific production of crops and decrease the price wedge between farm-gate and the market to bring the fruits of their effort to the farmers.
Likewise, we have to complement government skilling programmes like Kaushal Vikas Yojana and make our youth competent and conversant in the latest technologies to improve their employability. The government has created dedicated Skill Development Ministry to give impetus to skill development in the country. I am happy that industry leaders through CSR funds and non-government organizations are contributing to these efforts.
I am also glad that the government has been improving the ease of doing business over the years, especially for startups and encouraging Indian firms through flagship programmes like Atmanirbhar Bharat. A thriving economy will generate great wealth for our country and create enormous job opportunities for our youth.
In the final analysis, we have come a long way from the dreams of our founding fathers for our nation. Successive governments have been making enormous efforts to realize those dreams. What the present government has done is to accelerate the pace of reform and transform the way India is governed and the country moves ahead on the developmental journey with greater confidence and competence.
Once again, I am very happy to be launching this book ‘Accelerating India’ today. I am sure this will serve as an excellent, objective documentation of the progress made during the last 7 years under the dynamic, forward-looking leadership of Narendrabhai Modi ji is. It will serve as a guide for our policymakers to reflect on what more needs to be done and identify key elements of the unfinished agenda. My heartiest compliments to Shri Alphons, the authors and publishers for bringing out this book. My best wishes for their future endeavours.