Discussion on "Visva Bharati, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee & Bengal's Intellectual Legacy" on 16th December 2018, Sunday at 5 PM, Lipika Auditorium, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan, West Bengal.

Shri Arun Jaitley (Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs) Speech on Book Release “Making of New India: Transformation Under Modi Government” at Rashtrapati Bhavan

Mahamahim Rashtrapati ji, editors of this publication Sh.Bibek Debroy, Sh.Anirban Ganguly ,Kishore Desai ,ministers and distinguish authors present here and friends.It’s indeed a pleasure and delight for more then one reason to be associated with the release of this book, Making of New India ,in which 51 authors have contributed ,majority of chapters on economy and finance and making a peculiar analysis of what has happen and what the road map ahead us.While the larger part on public discourse in India has a tendency to get into reformed areas at time into slogans the wisdom of some of the authors who bring out such compilations where many eminent people have contribute and contribute all kinds of opinion, I think it is a great relief.

In the last one year I had an opportunity to be associated with two other such publications, one edited by Dr. Rakesh Mohan and another by Mr. Vinod Rai for the Singapore based Institution that he is associated with almost on the same pattern, and it is extremely informative and educative for even policy makers. When you go into the analysis of what people with domain knowledge of the subjects have to comment on, and a written word in an environment where populism and slogans dominate actually carries much more weight and add much more sense to the debates, at least for those who get influenced by it.

Since the book talks transformation in four and a half years and looks ahead towards a new India, let me give my own reflection after having read some of the chapters and glance through the others about what it was sitting on other side to go through in this four and a half years. In May 2014 situation looked quite challenging, it was challenging because at that time we were falling just of the global radar. Some publications refers to us as a part of fragile five, some refer to us as one suffering from policy paralysis, at time reverse flow of investment outside India because of our not so easy environment for doing economic activity and business activity in India. And one really had to restore the credibility of the Indian economy and how would you do that .The country wanted political leadership, which was capable of taking decisions, because leadership is the art of taking decisions and not postponing them for mere for want of consensus. They wanted a decisive leadership, they wanted the direction to be clear and the backlog of number of reforms to be carried forward .We did that, the debate kept changing whether these are incremental or these are more fundamental and of course sooner or later debate itself came to an end. Then the debate turned a little as to what is to the impact of the large number of the steps the government has taken, the impact was very clear not only that the pool of central government was gone up, not only did infrastructure creation gone up, not only we succeed in all discretions and hence consequential charges of nepotism and corruption which emerged out of that, that was the experience of previous ten years . We were also able to create a much larger kitty as far as states were concern . When I go around the states took a opposition of some part many of them are much more better then their own resource and that resource has really helped us both in center and the state .The states today get 42% ,10% more than they get in the previous five years , as a part of central revenue ,while many of them rejoice because of political positioning on ,comments on the GST ,they get the 50% of the  G.S.T they get the 42% of the center share and they also get the balance as the part of the central sector schemes so what is really collected as the overall revenue close to 80% of  it , if not goes to the states. And that enables both the central and the state governments to improve upon on there delivery systems. We are today at a state where infrastructure growth is much higher, we are at a state where we have eased the environment and the process of doing business.

We will eliminated the charges of corruption into decision making which use to come, and large benefit of this resource is being transferred to the average citizen more particularly to the deprived ones. I remember when my colleague Nitin Gadkari first took the responsibility of his department, a large numbers of tenders of building highways, didn’t get a single response because of the whole sector had became a non bankable. Today we build   approx. 10,000kms a year, our target is to expand to something to 140 airports in the country, we are increasing the airport capacities, we are now going to concentrate on a big way on Indian Railways, a big way on urbanization, more cities, more smart cities but if go beyond that we must actually watch the churning out that is taking place ,where deprived sections of people live , villages are now getting connected by regular roads out of the 700,000villages most of them have been connected the last leg is on , so are expenditure in  that direction  now going to come down, we increased it to three fold to hasten the pace.

The Awas Yojana is producing good results by 2022 or there about we hope it will have a significant impact in rural India. And the enthusiasm and the aspiration which is built up on those classes but for the women participations, we have never seen a program statistics speaks for themselves, that within four years of launching the Swacch Bharat the 39% connectivity to sanitation becomes to 92%. And that is not because of just government efforts and a resource, it is also because it became a mass movement particularly led by the women of that village. We are targeted at 5 Crore poor households if we assume around 8 or 9 to be below poverty line out of 25-26 crore household in India from getting them to convert there habits, the behavioral pattern coal and wood to gas and we found that 5 Crore figure was understated, we increased it to 8 Crore , we already crossed 6 crore and by 31st of March we exhaust that program also, every village has now become electrified and now by 31st of December we are looking at every  house in the electrified village which needs an electricity bulb and they can’t afford it so they are getting it at their expense.So rather then the a meaning less expenditure on generalized subsidies , where untargeted  people got the benefits because of the subsidy pattern in India was ,that there was an unidentified group got the benefit of an unquantified amount till 2014 all of us including me of the cooking gas prices subsidy, they got targeted and now the health scheme , the crop insurance scheme, the MSP have done extremely well as I speak to you now we are close to about 3 lac people , in the last month in a half had already benefitted from hospitalization under Ayushman Bharat and these are people belonging to 10 crore poorest family in India.

Therefore the what does fast growing economy do I can’t understate the fact that we need to grow faster , but in the current  global environment we still maintain the lead as the fast growing economy and the fastest among the nations.We use that resource and it took us three months for government employees across the  country to implement the pay commission , to address the grievance of Indian army and announced the OROP , the health workers ,the assistant workers in schools ,  the Aanganwaries  and the Asha workers  for decades they worked on paltry salaries , we had the resource to increase it to 50% and  then we started targeting these audiences besides infrastructure , these target audiences which have really first right irrespective of caste or religion to the resources of the state.And if we get out from the sanctum which is normally created I can’t recollect another four and a half , five year term for a government scenes a major political agitation .and that has happen because of either corruption 2010-11-12 we saw that or it happen because of socio-economic discontent.so even though party at head lines may dominate the debates we now find an increasing awareness aspiration amongst the poor in the country.And when we speak in terms of New India  I think this is the most vital lesson we have learned that is the Indian model, the slogans of 1971 have become completely reluctant ,completely rejected , are you pro business or are u pro poor , well we are pro business or pro poor you can’t have one without the other.so the reforms you take to market economy to grow , make your pockets dipper and help you to serve those sections who have first right to those resources . This in one sentence is our experience of the last four and a half years and if we were to grow at a fast pace, faster than rest of the world for the next decade or probably the next two decades or atleast maintain a high rate of growth we have a potential to do that, the potential is clear , the contribution to our G.D.P and growth  from the rural areas is  yet to come in a big way ,there are lot of developments required there , there is lot of development required in the eastern parts of India , the contribution  of the female gender many of them now , if you look at the structure and the gender component in the educational institutions today are outnumbering their male counter parts and therefore getting in the formal employments and making the contributions so we have a lot of uncovered areas which probably will keep any government handful for the next decade or may be two decades and therefore our potential to get into these areas which are straight ahead of us and therefore on the strength growth coming from these areas allow prosperity ,allow improvement quality of life of individuals , we will see more cities coming out ,we will see more migration ,will see a better quality of life , will probably see and that is going to be a dominant factor not only a very large middle class but also a very strong aspirational class day and day keep adding to the figures to the middle class. And there is going to be an exponential growth in its size and just as China’s low cost manufacturing in the last three decades had a great influence as far as far was global economy was concern ,I think this one factor of India’s purchasing power is increasing by the  year on the strength of expanding middle class ,the aspirational class which is going to add to it has to be watched out and the impact on global environment  and therefore people are going to setup industries in India ,investments are going to come both domestic and all over the world , trade is going to prosper and of course when that happens the government then will increasingly come closer to use its resource also to blended with  the welfare model which now has started becoming the future course of India’s economy and I think these factors would be absolutely essential when we speak in terms of making of new India which is poverty free, which is injustice free ,which is full of compassion for these people and where your rise above caste and religion and make sure that this economic growth goes to benefits to every citizen in the country.

Thank you very much and I would once again like to compliment the editors to having put the wisdom of 51 eminent authors together. Thank you.