Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 7 while speaking in the Lok Sabha replied to the Motion of Thanks for the President’s speech in the budget session. During his one-and-half-hour speech, he launched a scathing attack on the congress alleging that the party is lost in bye-gone ways of 19th century and does not have connect with the ground.
Around 40 minutes into his speech, he emphasized the importance of empowering small-scale farmers and their businesses. “In the pandemic times, India has taken steps to support small-scale farmers.” While categorically asking the people who oppose the process of development he said, “At times I wonder, the people who are cut off from the roots and those who are living in palatial homes for two to four generations, how can they think about conditions of small farmers? These leaders could not look beyond the influential farmers who came in contact with them. I’d want to ask these leaders, why would you hate small farmers so much?” “Why do you bring hindrance in the development of these small farmers?” he asked.
While addressing the Chair, PM Modi said, “If we really want to get rid of poverty and strengthen our rural economy, then we will have to empower our small scale farmers.” If a small farmer succeeds even while holding a small land, he will make sure to employ technological means to keep it – PM Modi said. He ensured that his government has taken measures to empower small farmers in the country. “Those who do not wish to secure them (small farmers), have no right to play politics in the name of farmers,” he added.
PM Modi further underlined the concern that the earlier dispensation was not able to change the mindset of slavery even after 75 years of Independence. “This colonised mindset is very toxic to the progress of any nation. But today I see a cabal of people who live with this mindset of slavery. Even today, they abide by the whims of the 19th century. This lifestyle of the 19th century and the laws of the 20th century cannot fulfil the aspirations of the 21st century.”
Speaking about the reforms his government is carrying out, Narendra Modi added, “Reforms are essential for living in the present times. The rejection of the process of reforms, what did this result in?” For example, the freight corridor was derailed for many years, planning for which was done in 2006. Look at its condition from 2006 to 2014…The work for which accelerated only after 2014.” Here PM Modi was talking about the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor which is a 1,504 km long proposed under-construction broad gauge freight corridor in India. It aims to connect Dadri in Uttar Pradesh with Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra.
In UP, he added, “The Sarayu Nahar Pariyojana was sketched in the 1970s. The capital for initiating its process was multiplied by 100 times. It was only when we came into power, we completed the scheme.” Also in UP, the Arjun Damn Project which was started in 2009, only one-third of the funds were used until 2017, PM Modi said. He added that when the BJP government came in power in 2017 in the state, the project was completed in a very short time by 2021.
He asked, If Congress was in power for so many years, they could have completed the Charm Dham roadways Project. “The whole world understands the importance of waterways. This was neglected by others while we are working towards it now. With older ways, the factories in Gorakhpur used to close down. With our intentions, the fertilizer factory has reopened,” PM Modi added while comparing the contrast of governance between the two regimes.
He further stated, “These are those people for those who give much importance to files and people who approach them with these files. For them, files are important, whereas for us 130 crore people are important. You got engaged with files, whereas we started changing the lives of people.” To accelerate pending projects like these, the government started the Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti Masterplan to employ a holistic approach for development projects, he added.
After years of Independence for the first time, he said “the streets in rural interiors are being constructed at an unprecedented scale. Highways and bridges are being built. The country awaits new airports, heliports and waterdoms to be networked together.” Fibre optic cables are being laid in over six lakh villages in the country, he added. In conclusion, he stated that empowering infrastructure projects and investing in them is a way to generate employment in the country. “We are going in this direction,” he assured.