Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to the people to work towards making India a ‘Start Up Nation’ in his address from the ramparts of the Red Fort with the slogan ‘Start Up, Stand Up.’ This is the most significant slogan by the Prime Minister in the direction of industrialization of India.
The ‘Start Up’ movement is growing vigorously across India and along with major cities, it is spreading in Tier-2 towns as well. However, young people involved in this are primarily highly educated and working in top positions. The capital support they obtain comes mainly from angel funding firms. In view of this, the Prime Minister’s appeal to the 1.25 lakh branches of public sector banks to extend advances to at least one Dalit and one woman each will percolate the Start Up movement to the last section of our population.
Public sector banks so far have been viewed as instruments of distributing political largesse of crores of rupees to the poor and the indigent. Several new concepts have emerged over the past year since the Prime Minister is treating these banks as a means of economic transformation. About 18 crore people have been enrolled in the Jan Dhan Yojana so as to achieve financial inclusion of the poor. They will now receive all government grants directly through their bank accounts.
Earlier, insurance cover was restricted to just eleven per cent of the people. The Jeeven Jyoti and Bima Suraksha schemes meant for extending this cover to the common man have been made successful by these very banks. No wonder, the Prime Minister feels all these banks will become harbingers of the Start Up movement. It will be a global record if 2.5 lakh Start Up enterprises grow in a year’s time through these banks in India. The new Start Up endeavours will be strengthened, without doubt, if all governmental purchases are made through such efforts. The Prime Minister has reiterated, time and again, that he is pledged to agricultural and rural development. But agricultural development is not adequate, it is imperative to achieve welfare of the farming community as well. Sadly, this aspect has been ignored till now. Therefore, the Prime Minister’s declaration to rechristen the Agriculture Ministry as the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare assumes importance. He has expressed his resolve to undertake various schemes independently for farmers’ welfare while implementing innovations in agriculture. A highlight of this thinking is the Neem Coated Urea. The urea meant for farmers and backed by subsidies was sent to chemical factories till recently. As a result, farmers were deprived of their rightful quota. Due to Neem Coating, it will not be usable for others and will reach the farmers.
Electricity is needed in villages, not just for agriculture, but also for overall rural transformation. The announcement to electrify 18,500 villages within 1000 days is important in the light of the prevailing sorry conditions in villages. India is blessed with abundant mineral reserves. Nonetheless, regions rich in minerals are generally tribal areas. No attention has been paid till now to the development of the areas in the vicinity of explored mines. The tribal population hence opposes new mines. Against this backdrop, the Prime Minister’s assurance to sanction `600 crore for the development of such areas is most welcome.
It is but natural for the Prime Minister to review the announcements he made on 15 August 2014. The biggest achievement is the spontaneous response to these announcements and the sentiment created among the people that it is part and parcel of the ‘Team India’ campaign. A constructive development is that people now do not wait for government funding for completing projects like building toilets in schools. This is a good sign, indicating that people’s psyche is undergoing a positive change.
The Prime Minister’s earnest appeal for each Indian to adopt one resolution for achieving this great transformation on the occasion of our nation completing 75 years of Independence in 2022 is most inspiring. His assertion that none dares send black money abroad nowadays on account of the new legislation for unearthing such stashes is true.
(The author is Chairman of the Videocon Group)