In an exclusive interview, renowned humanitarian social worker, Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, fondly addressed as Nirbhoy Didi by villagers, spoke about landmark records created by the Central Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Your reactions on the completion of Modi Government three years in power!
I congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his completion of three years as the Prime Minister of India. His vigorous and dedicated work for the nation has lifted the stature of India in all domains. His election to the PM had given hope and inspirations to millions of people in the country. As we know the country was in despair, embroiled in corruption and scam and was longing for a decisive leader. The emergence of Modi on the political horizon of the country has indeed filled the vacuum created by the former political dispensation.
Do you think Modi has transformed the politics of the country?
Not only politics but he has transformed the entire political structure of the country. Politics is no more seen a lucrative business by “crooky” politicians but as a profession to serve the underserved citizens. Instead of cursing the politics, people have started seeing it as a hope of change. He has the set the precedent of being the most assiduous politician in the country. He has also channelized the entire political spectrum of the country to focus on the burning issues rather than symbolism. PM has repeatedly focused on the plank of development in his election campaign as well as in the stream of governance.
Which scheme of the government you consider as the most important?
He is not a politician who was fed with a silver spoon; he has faced the wrath faced by a poor man. PM Modi has launched every scheme that ultimately benefits the poor man, be it Jan Dhan, UJjALA, PMAY or Skill India.
Jan Dhan Yojna brought millions of poor into the ambit of banking, and in fact was the widest financial inclusion in the world. ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner.’
As on 17.05.2017, total beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) are 28.63 crore with 17.10 crore beneficiaries at rural/semi-urban centre bank branches and 11.53 crore beneficiaries at urban/metro centre bank branches while 22.24 crore. RuPay cards have been issued to beneficiaries besides having a balance of 64364.91 crore in beneficiary accounts.
PMUY (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna) which grants free LPG to women living below poverty line is a boon to women hitherto living in smoky environment, whereby they were victims of numerous respiratory diseases.
As per as Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas resource centres, ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) aims to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched on May 1st, 2016 in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. Under this scheme, 5 Cr LPG connections will be provided to BPL families with a support of Rs.1600 per connection in the next 3 years.’
Same is the case with Skill India, for which a dedicated ministry is carved out by PM Modi to realize his dream. ‘The Ministry aims to Skill on a large Scale with Speed and high Standards in order to achieve its vision of a ‘Skilled India’. It is aided in these initiatives by its functional arms – National Skill Development Agency (NSDA), National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), National Skill Development Fund (NSDF) and 33 Sector Skill Councils (SSCs) as well as 187 training partners registered with NSDC. The Ministry also intends to work with the existing network of skill development centres, universities and other alliances in the field. Further, collaborations with relevant Central Ministries, State governments, international organizations, industry and NGOs have been initiated for multi-level engagement and more impactful implementation of skill development efforts’, as described by the ministry.
Same way PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana) envisions a home for all by 2022. ‘The Mission will be implemented during 2015-2022 and will provide central assistance to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and other implementing agencies through States/UTs for:
1. In-situ Rehabilitation of existing slum dwellers using land as a resource through private participation
2. Credit Linked Subsidy
3. Affordable Housing in Partnership
4. Subsidy for Beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement.
Credit linked subsidy component will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme while other three components will be implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).’
Would you elaborate on the initiative of Modi Sarkar launched to address child sex ratio?
To address the issues of girl child, PM had launched the scheme ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ which has drastically improved the sex ratio of the country. He launched the scheme of Beti Bachao, from Haryana, a state known for skewed sex ratio. With this he happens to also change the psyche of the people, with regard to female gender is concerned. The Ministry Of Women and Child Development reports, ‘The decline in CSR has been unabated since 1961. Alarmed by the sharp decline, the Government of India has introduced Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) programme to address the issue of decline in CSR in 100 gender critical districts. Coordinated & convergent efforts are needed to ensure survival, protection andeducation of the girl child. The Overall Goal of the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme is to celebrate the Girl Child & Enable her Education.’
This has significantly improved the sex ratio in the state, which was recorded 938 in the month of February this year.
How do you view PM Modi’s first speech on the Independence Day?
PM Modi’s first speech from the Red Fort was awe-inspiring and full of hope. His vow to make toilet for every household was indeed a path breaking decision ever taken by any Prime Minister of any country. He was determined to make the country defecation free, and this was also concerned with the dignity of the women. The pain of women was grasped by PM, which is better reflected by his sanitation mission.
How do you see his Clean India project, ’Swaach Bharat Abhiyan’?
Well, this was also the vision of the Mahatma Gandhi, who had dreamt of clean and green India. This is a sanitation drive, where everyone makes the voluntary contribution. The duty to clean cannot be assigned to any particular individual; this has to have collective responsibility. The PM has been seen very often with the broom cleaning the streets. Most of the diseases are caused due to the unhygienic environment, a scenario for which we are responsible. I am pleased by his mission of clean India. The significance of this scheme can be measured by the fact that the symbol of ‘Swatch Bharat Campaign’ is engraved on the currency of India.
This has also yielded result on the ground. As mentioned on the Swaach Bharat Urban, Ministry of Urban Development website, till date under this project, 31,14,249 individual toilets and 1,15,786 Community & Public Toilets have been constructed. Apart from this, 662 Cities have become open Defecation free, 42,948 wards have achieved 100% door to door waste Collection, 88.4 Mega Watt is the current production of energy from waste and 1,64,891.6 Metric Ton of compost have been produced from the wastes.
Do you like the scheme UDAN of Modi Sarkar?
Undoubtedly, it stands for Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) which focuses on regional connectivity. Modi Sarkar has finally converted the dream into reality for common man; a man with hawai chappal too can fly on hawai jahaz’. ‘The primary objective of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) is to facilitate / stimulate regional air connectivity by making it affordable’.
Will you comment on the cleanliness mission of rivers?
Rivers are assets of the country. India is a land of civilization, in fact, one of the oldest civilizations that had sprung on the bank of the river. Besides it, rivers are revered in India and are accorded the status of the mother. I congratulate PM Modi for launching the project of clean Ganga, named ‘Namami Gange’ for its rejuvenation. ‘Namami Gange Programme, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.’
There is also a dedicated ministry for the cause of rivers. The results are palpable and I am very much sure, within a couple of years, rivers in India would be cleaned completely.
There has also been allegation of rising intolerance in the Country. What’s your take?
These are all nuisance, generated with vested interest by the people who survive on anti-Modi plank. The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had rightly called it a manufactured one. India has the history of being the most tolerant country in the world, which has embraced all the religions of the world. Such issues are raised before the elections by the people that have lost relevance in the present dispensations.
Is it the Charisma of PM Modi or the philosophy of the Party that is catapulting the BJP to power?
It’s a blend of both. The party’s philosophy ‘Sabka Sath and Sabka Vikas’ which is non-discriminatory and all inclusive in nature with dynamic leadership of Narendra Modi is the prime cause for it. It’s a cadre based party, where the party post is non – hereditary and where a teller seller can aspire to be the PM. Apart from it, BJP has the record of giving clean and scam free government at the centre.
Has the stature of India been raised on the global stage under PM Modi?
Yes very much, this fact is even recognized by the oppositions. India has become a formidable power in the world, setting terms internationally. PM Modi got the United Nations to recognize 21st June as the World Yoga Day, an old tradition inherent to India. United Nations has clearly credited PM Modi for, as one read on the website of it, which states……The draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states. The proposal was first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly, in which he said: “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action … a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”
It is said that economics is the corollary of politics. How far is it relevant to Modi Sarkar?
It’s all for us to judge, the inflations is down, there is in-flow of FDI, the fiscal deficit has been consolidated and the power supply has improved.
The government is working on the ideology of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhaya’s ‘Antyodaya’. ‘Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana was launched under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA). Government of India has provisioned Rs.500 crore for the scheme. The scheme is integration of the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) and National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM).’
The bold step of Modi to demonetize old currency almost broke the back of the black money headers and has also brought most of the tax evader under tax net. The demonetization had made the rich and poor alike.
According to the report of Economic Survey 2016-17, ‘India’s demonetization is unprecedented in international economic history, in that it combined secrecy and suddenness amidst normal economic and political conditions. All other sudden demonetizations have occurred in the context of hyperinflation, wars, political upheavals, or other extreme circumstances. But the Indian economy had been growing at the fastest clip in the world on the back of stable macroeconomics and an impressive set of reforms. The central government alone runs about 950 central sector and centrally sponsored schemes and sub-schemes which cost about 5 percent of GDP. The government has made great progress in improving redistributive efficiency over the last few years, most notably by passing the Aadhaar law, a vital component toward realizing its vision of JAM. (The pilots for Direct Benefit Transfers in fertilizer represent a very important new direction in this regard.) We expect real GDP growth to be in the 6¾ to 7½ percent range in FY2018. Even under this forecast, India would remain the fastest growing major economy in the world.’
How would you rate 3 years of Modi Sarkar?
I would only say “fir ek bar, Modi Sarkar” in 2019 and “bar bar Modi Sarkar,” beyond the boundaries of time. Let us celebrate this moment.