Hindustan Times Leadership Summit: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2023. Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister thanked the HT Group for inviting him to the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2023. Shri Modi highlighted how the HT Group has always relayed the message of India moving forward with the themes of this Leadership Summit. He recalled the theme of this Summit, ‘Reshaping India’, when the present government came to power in 2014. He said that the group had hindsight that monumental changes are around the corner and India will be reshaped.
He also recalled that the theme of ‘Conversations for a Better Tomorrow’ was given when the present government was reinstated in 2019 after winning with an even bigger majority. Now in 2023 when the general elections are around the corner, Shri Modi highlighted the theme of the Summit, ‘Breaking Barriers’ and the underlying message being put across that the present government will break all records and come out victorious in the upcoming general elections. “2024 General Election results will be beyond barriers”, Shri Modi remarked.
The Prime Minister said India’s journey from ‘Reshaping India’ to ‘Beyond Barriers’ has laid the foundation of the country’s upcoming bright future. A developed, grand and rich India will be built on this very foundation, he said, noting the multiple barriers faced by India for a long time. He mentioned that the long period of servitude and attacks had tied the country into many bondages.
Recalling the Indian Independence movement, Shri Modi said that the tide that arose during that time along with the passion and sense of togetherness amongst the masses broke many such barriers. He said that it was expected that the same momentum will continue after Independence. “Unfortunately, that did not happen, he said. Our country could not grow as per its potential.” He pointed out that the mental barrier was one of the many problems, while some of the problems faced by independent India were real, others were perceived and the rest were exaggerated.
The Prime Minister expressed relief that after 2014, Bharat is working hard continuously to break these barriers. We have crossed many hurdles and now we are talking about going beyond barriers. “Today, India has reached that part of the moon where nobody has landed before. Today, Bharat has become number 1 in digital transactions after breaking every barrier. It is leading in mobile manufacturing, standing strong among the top 3 countries in the world in startups and making a pool of skilled people”, he informed. He further added that today, India is waving its flag high in global events like the G20 Summit and breaking every barrier.
The Prime Minister recited a line from writer and politician Allama Iqbal’s ghazal ‘Sitaron Ke Aage Jahan Aur Bhi Hain’, and said that India is not going to stop just yet.
The Prime Minister pointed out that mindset and mentality were the nation’s biggest barriers which led to criticism and derision about the casual approach of past governments. Highlighting punctuality, corruption and below-par government efforts, the Prime Minister underlined that some incidents inspire the entire nation to break mental barriers. He mentioned how the Dandi March started by Mahatma Gandhi inspired the nation and ignited the flame of the struggle for India’s independence.
Prime Minister Modi emphasized that the success of Chandrayaan 3 instills a feeling of pride and self-confidence among every citizen and inspires them to march forward in every sector. “Today, every Indian is brimming with self-confidence”, the Prime Minister remarked. He recalled how the issues of cleanliness, toilets and sanitary hygiene were raised by the Prime Minister himself from the Red Fort during his Independence Day speech which led to a change in the mindset. “Cleanliness has become a public movement now”, Shri Modi added. He further mentioned that the sale of Khadi has risen three times in the last 10 years.
Prime Minister Modi underlined that Jan Dhan bank accounts became a medium to break the mental barriers amongst the poor and reinvigorate their pride and self-respect. He pointed out the negative mentality where bank accounts were considered only for the rich and informed how Jan Dhan Yojna made banks more accessible by bringing it to the doorstep of the poor. He also touched upon the wide use of Rupay cards becoming a source of empowerment for the poor.
“Those who sit in AC rooms and are driven by numbers and narrative can never understand the psychological empowerment of the poor”, the Prime Minister remarked. Throwing light on the change of mindset outside India’s borders, Shri Modi mentioned India’s growing ability to defend itself during acts of terrorism, leading climate action resolutions and achieving the desired results before the deadline. The Prime Minister also highlighted India’s stellar performances in the field of sports and credited the change in mindset for this achievement.
“There is no dearth of capabilities and resources in India”, the Prime Minister said. Highlighting the real barrier of poverty, PM Modi said that it cannot be fought with slogans but with solutions, policies and intentions. He lamented the thinking of the past governments which did not enable the poor to progress socially or economically.
Underlining that the poor are capable of overcoming poverty with support in the form of basic amenities, the Prime Minister said that empowering the poor has been the biggest priority of the central government. “Government has not only transformed lives but also helped the poor in overcoming poverty”, he said and informed that more than 13 crore people have come out of poverty in the last 5 years alone. He said that 13 crore people have successfully broken the barrier of poverty and become part of the neo-middle class in the country.
Speaking about the barrier of nepotism, Shri Modi pointed out that the common people had no say, be it sports, science, politics or even Padma Awards, and becoming successful was on the cards only if one belonged to certain circles. He highlighted that the common citizens feel empowered and encouraged today and credited the transformation in approach by the government. “Yesterday\’s unsung heroes are the country’s heroes, today”, he added.
Drawing attention to India tackling the barrier of modern infrastructure in the country, the Prime Minister highlighted the world’s largest infrastructure drive taking place. To highlight India’s speed and scale in terms of infrastructure development, PM Modi mentioned the increased highway construction from 12 km in 2013-14 to 30 km in 2022-23, expanding metro connectivity to 20 cities in 2023 from 5 cities in 2014, rise in the number of airports from 70 in 2014 to almost 150 today, 380 medical colleges in 2014 to more than 700 today, expansion of optical fiber from 350 km to 6 lakh km in 2023 to connect the gram panchayats, construction of 4 lakh km of roads thereby connecting 99 percent of villages under the PM Gram Sadak Yojna from 55 percent in 2014.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that only 20,000 km of railway lines were electrified since independence whereas nearly 40,000 km of railway lines have been electrified in the last 10 years. “This is the pace and scale of development of today’s India. It is a sign of India’s success”, he added.
He said that in the past few years, India has stepped out of many perceived barriers. Our policymakers and political experts were of the view that good economics cannot be good politics. Many governments had also accepted it as true due to which our country had to face political and economic problems on both fronts. But, we brought good economics and good politics together. India’s economic policies opened new avenues of progress in the country. He said policies yielding long-term benefits to the masses were chosen during the times when solutions were needed to resolve the banking crisis, implementation of the GST and the covid pandemic.
The Prime Minister referred to the recently passed Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam as another example of the perceived barrier. He said the bill which was kept hanging for decades, seeming that it would never be passed has now become a reality.
He said that several problems were exaggerated by the previous governments for political gains. He referred to Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir as one such example, saying that earlier, a psychological pressure was created to make everyone believe that it cannot be revoked. He continued that its abrogation has paved the way for progress and peace. “Pictures of Lal Chowk have shown how Jammu & Kashmir is changing. Today, terrorism is coming to an end in the Union Territory and tourism is growing continuously. We are committed to taking Jammu and Kashmir to new heights”, he said.
Noting the presence of dignitaries from the media fraternity, the Prime Minister threw light on the relevance of breaking news and its transformation since 2014. Recalling the downward revision of India’s GDP growth rate during 2013 by rating agencies, the Prime Minister emphasized that the exact opposite is happening today where India’s growth forecast is witnessing upward revisions. Drawing a comparison, the Prime Minister mentioned the fragile condition of banks during 2013 to Indian banks posting their best-ever profits in 2023, and the chopper scam in 2013 to India’s record defence exports increasing twenty times since 2013-14. “India has made the journey from record scams to record exports”, he added.
Prime Minister Modi touched upon the negative headlines by national and international publications about harsh economic conditions taking a toll on the middle class in 2013. But today, the Prime Minister said that the middle class is moving forward at a fast pace in India\’s development journey, be it startups, sports, space or technology.
He stated that their income has increased and informed that more than 7.5 crore people have filed income tax in 2023, a rise from 4 crores in 2013-14. He informed that a study related to Tax Information shows that the mean income which was less than Rs 4.5 lakh in 2014, has increased to Rs 13 lakh in 2023, and as a result, lakhs of people are moving from lower income groups to higher income groups.
Citing an interesting fact from an economic report published in the national daily, the Prime Minister informed that if the total income of those earning in the salary bracket of Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh is added, the figure was around Rs 3.25 lakh crore in the year 2011-12 but it rose to Rs 14.5 lakh crore by 2021 which is a 5 times increase. He clarified that the figures are based on an analysis of salaried income only and not any other source.
The Prime Minister held the growing middle class and reduction in poverty as the basis of two major factors of this huge economic cycle. He said those coming out of poverty, the neo-middle class, are giving momentum to the consumption growth of the country. The middle class is increasing its income by taking the responsibility of meeting this demand, meaning the decreasing poverty rate is benefitting the middle class as well. He said that the aspirations and willingness of these very people are giving strength to the development of our country. Their strength has today made India the 5th largest economy in the world. He ensured that India will soon become the 3rd largest economy in the world.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister asserted that India in the Amrit Kaal is working to fulfill the goal of becoming a developed nation by 2047. He expressed confidence that India will successfully overcome every obstacle. “Today, from the poorest of the poor to the world\’s richest, they have started believing that this is India\’s time”, the Prime Minister said. He remarked that the biggest strength of every Indian is self-confidence. “With its strength, we can cross any barrier”, he said. He concluded by expressing the belief that the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit to be held in 2047 will have the theme – Developed Nation, What Next?