Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said his government was working with determination to fulfil its promises to people and had been able to check leakages to the tune of Rs.36,000 crore as the NDA organised a gala event at India Gate here to mark it two years in office.
Union ministers showcased their achievements and Bollywood’s leading names, including Amitabh Bachchan, espoused social causes at the “Ek Nayi Subah” event which lasted over six hours.
A range of initiatives including ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign, the ‘Beti Badhao, Beti Badhao’, ‘Pradhan Mantrai Ujjwala Yojana’, ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana’ and ‘Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana’ were highlighted as well as moves to boost farmers’ income, improve connectivity, step up investment and enhance jobs and improve rail, road and air infrastructure and provide electricity to all villages.
The event was held in a “Talkathon” format with ministers answering queries put to them. Media was not invited at the event which was screened live on various channels of Doordarshan.
Discussions were in studio format and interspersed with some light entertainment in the form of songs and dances. The “breaks” in between discussions featured consumer awareness advertisements as also the NDA government’s theme song on completing two years in office – “Mera desh badal raha hai (my country is changing)”.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Health Minister J.P. Nadda, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, Minorities Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Human Development Minister Smriti Irani and Food Minister Ramvilas Paswan were among those who participated.
The ministers highlighted government initiatives and also heaped praise on Modi’s leadership.
Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh said that Modi has natural inclination towards science and he was the motivation behind the soil health card scheme, while Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said that Modi had taken steps to promote development of the northeast.
Paswan said Modi came from a poor family and the government was oriented towards welfare of the poor.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, who interacted from Nagpur, said that Modi had taken steps to end “policy paralysis”, while Jaitley said the economy had achieved a growth rate of around 7.5 percent amid global slowdown.
Uma Bharti suggested that government should take steps to provide sanitary napkins in women’s toilets in rural areas.
Meanwhile, Amitabh said the girl child should be nurtured, educated and treated as equal and how ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ aims at ending discrimination against them.
Sporting a saffron coloured Nehru jacket, he also interacted with girl children from various schools, and even recited lines from his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s famous “Madhushala”.
Actor Vidya Balan stressed the need to construct toilets in rural areas, while Raveena Tandon, participating in a panel discussion, stressed how education can lead women towards better living.
In his speech, Modi targeted Congress over alleged corruption during the UPA rule and said his government will provide LPG connection to five crore rural women by 2019.
In a veiled attack on Congress and parties critical of the government, Modi said some will just oppose his government for political reasons.
“Two things have emerged in the last 15 days. One is ‘Vikasvad’ (development) and the other is ‘Virodhvad’ (opposition). What is the reality, people can judge for themselves”, he said.
Comparing corruption to a termite, Modi said his government had taken series of steps to tackle it including making payments through direct benefit transfer and using Aadhar.
He said the government had saved leakage of Rs.15,000 crore in LPG subsidy, identified over 1.62 crore fake ration cards and checked other malpractices such as appointment of fake teachers.
“In broad terms we have been able to plug leakages of Rs.36,000 crores,” he said.
Referring to the government’s push for LED bulbs, he said it will help save 20,000 MW once the government achieves its target of providing such bulbs in 500 cities and save Rs. 1 lakh crore.
He said there was a “new thinking” among people and this was the biggest change.