New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that real growth was not possible without inclusiveness as he listed out various measures taken by his government during the last eight years to ensure that benefits of growth reach all sections of the society.
He was speaking after the first Arun Jaitley Memorial lecture which was delivered by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a senior minister in the Singapore government, in the national capital.
Modi said the theme of the lecture — ‘Growth through inclusivity, inclusivity through growth’ — captures the challenges and dilemmas of today’s policymakers.
“Is right growth possible without inclusion? Can inclusion be thought of without growth?,” the prime minister said.
“The gist of my experiences of 20 years as the head of government is that without inclusion, real growth is not possible. And, without growth the goal of inclusion too cannot be accomplished… we adopted the way of growth through inclusivity and tried for everyone’s inclusion,” Modi said.
According to the prime minister, the speed and scale of inclusion in the last 8 years has been unprecedented in the country.
To illustrate his point, Modi listed measures like providing gas connections to more than 9 crore women, more than 10 crore toilets for the poor, more than 45 crore Jan Dhan accounts and 3 crore pucca houses to the poor.
Further, he said that prior to 2014, on average 50 medical colleges used to be set up in 10 years. However, in the last 7-8 years, 209 new medical colleges have been set up, which is four times more.
He told the gathering that in the last 7-8 years, the number of undergraduate medical seats has increased by 75 per cent and the number of annual total medical seats has almost doubled.
India is not undertaking reforms under compulsion but carrying “reforms by conviction” to prepare a road map for the next 25 years. Reforms are a win-win choice, he added.
“Today’s India is preparing a road map for the coming 25 years with reforms by conviction rather than reforms by compulsion. Earlier, major reforms took place in India only when the earlier governments were left with no other option. We do not consider reforms as a necessary evil but a win-win choice in which there is national interest and public interest,” he said.
Even during the pandemic period, Modi said the government did not yield to populism and adopted its own approach to deal with the problems with focus on the people and MSMEs.
The prime minister further said that his government did away with over 30,000 compliances to promote ease of doing business. “Our approach of minimum government with maximum outputs is giving outcomes,” he said.
Giving examples of COVID vaccines, he said private players have done a very good job. “Our government stood behind them as partners in progress,” he said.
He said that time has come to treat the private sector as a partner in progress and encourage them. “We are moving in this direction,” he added.
In his lecture, Shanmugaratnam said India must grow at 8-10 per cent with much deeper inclusivity for the next 25 years.
India will have to increase its pace of reforms and re-orient the role of the government to deal with the challenges that the country might face in the next 25 years, he said.
Stressing that India should not move away from multilateralism, he said globalisation provides a huge opportunity for the Indian economy.
Those who say that globalisation is retreating have been proven wrong as global trade has increased post-COVID and has surpassed the pre-COVID level.
He also said that India needs to focus on agriculture as it is very critical.
Shanmugaratnam, who is also the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said there is a need for co-creating and co-empowering for the better harnessing of resources.
Modi also paid tribute to the former finance minister and BJP veteran Arun Jaitley.
Remembering Jaitley, the prime minister said, “we all were in awe of his oratory. His personality was full of diversity, his nature was friendly to all.”
Jaitley served as the Union finance minister in the first Modi government and wore many hats in public life, from that of a lawyer to a politician and a cricket administrator. He died at the age of 66 years in August 2019 after a prolonged illness.
(With PTI inputs)