By Diya Kumari
India was considered the “Vishwa Guru” for centuries. Being one of the world’s ancient civilizations, the country had served as a knowledge center. Its history, wealth, culture, experience, and knowledge comprise a glorious past that has been witnessed by the world.
In recent years, India’s trajectory of growth has brought inspirational and spiritual values the world over. Today, India aspires to realize its potential to contribute to the world, and this has become even more possible under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has taken several steps to catapult India to the ‘Vishwa Guru’ status once again.
India recently celebrated the first anniversary of the national Covid-19 vaccination drive. With more than 158 crore vaccines administered to its adult population, the country proved its mettle in the most trying times during the pandemic. India became the largest manufacturer of Covid-19 vaccines globally and granted a helping hand to other nations. Under the leadership of PM Modi, India led the world in the fight against covid-19 from the front.
When PM Modi took over in 2014, his vision for India was clear but his path was littered with pitfalls. When he said ‘Yeh Desh Nahi Mitne Dunga, Yeh Desh Nahi Jhukne Dunga’ many critics saw this as a mere political jibe.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
West always saw India as a country littered with rubbish and highlighted her unhygienic ambiance. In one of the first major steps, PM Modi in 2014 launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for effective solid waste management, eliminating open defecation, and generating awareness regarding proper sanitation practices in urban and rural areas.
Over 11.35 crore toilets were constructed to combat open defecation. The Government provided an incentive of Rs12000 each to a rural family for the construction of toilets. In 2017, the sanitation coverage rose from 38.7 percent to 65 percent and was 90 percent in 2018.
As a result, 4,234 cities and over 600,000 villages are now open defecation-free. More than 81.5 thousand wards in urban areas now have 100% door-to-door collection of solid waste. The Swachh Bharat Mobile App was introduced to keep track of the achievement of the mission. The impact of the mission has been monumental. It is known to be the world’s most extensive sanitization program.
Make in India
PM Modi launched ‘Make in India’ in 2014 to strengthen India and encouraged companies to develop, manufacture and assemble products in India. It aimed to increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14 percent per annum, create additional manufacturing jobs, and increase the manufacturing sector’s GDP contribution to 25 percent by 2025. The initiative targeted 25 economic sectors for job creation and skill enhancement. These included automobiles, aviation, tourism, media, construction, oil and gas, mining, etc. Every sector has expanded the order of ‘Make in India’ related to its line of products.
PM Modi has not only worked towards improving the living standards of families but has recognized women as independent entities and worked towards their betterment from the grassroots. It was for the first time in the history of independent India that women’s identity and their agency were considered an integral part of making India a global leader. When PM Modi started to bring about incremental changes, some critics questioned his intention and the success of his women-centric schemes. They raised doubts about the number of reconnections. However, with nine crore women benefitting from the scheme since 2016, the trajectory of Ujjwala Yojana, a scheme for distributing subsidized clean cooking fuels to women, proves otherwise.
India also became one of the first nations to grant maternity leave to new mothers or women with difficult pregnancy journeys for up to six months. With appropriate legal safeguards and crèche provisions in establishments, the Government has been sensitive to the problems new mothers often face while re-joining work after pregnancy. In another massive achievement for Indians, India’s sex ratio has improved in 2021, having 1020 females to every 1000 males – clocking a female majority for the first time. It is not as if India is the only country that struggles with skewed sex ratios, but the timely enactment of the PM through a string of successful schemes and slogans, the ‘Poshan Abhiyan’, ‘Beti Pardhao, Beti Bachao’ drive, India has achieved the unimaginable.
Digital India and Start-Ups
The steps towards financial inclusion have given the required boost to Startups and technological innovation. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, India is one of the first countries to enable transferring of funds using open protocols without the end consumer incurring any additional costs. Promoting a network like UPI – today from a small merchant to fruit sellers, to grocery store owners- everyone has access to online payments and bank accounts through which they can claim various other incentives provided by the Government. Not many countries have been able to open zero-balance bank accounts at such a scale. As a concept, this was indeed far away from what the country had fathomed.
India: Land of Yoga and Ancient Knowledge
Not only socioeconomically but culturally also the Prime Minister has led India to stride upwards. The country has been known as the ‘Land of Yoga’. It is believed that yoga originated in the country about 5,000 years ago. The practice of yoga has influenced various aspects of how Indian society functions. Yoga is known for penetrating physically, mentally, and spiritually. Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the concept of International Yoga Day in 2014 during his speech at the UN General Assembly. The UN recognized 21 June as the International Day of Yoga in 2014. Since then, it has gone international, with about 190 countries observing Yoga Day globally.
Diaspora – The flag bearer of “Brand India”
The Prime Minister recognized the role of the Indian diaspora in contributing to the global supply chain, altering India’s perception by the world, and expanding the scope of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. He fulfilled a long-standing demand of the Indian overseas community to merge the PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) and OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) cards. The Modi Government has launched the ‘Pravasi Rishta Portal’, an awareness generation portal to connect the Indian diaspora.
PM Modi’s aiming to establish a new India free of poverty, and corruption. The welfare programs and economic reforms empower people and create a favorable ecosystem for business start-ups, leading to an increase in foreign investment. Not only did the Prime Minister socioeconomically secure Indians, but the country’s strong political climate and the newfound sense of nationalism also secured our borders. This was the first time India negotiated treaties and bilateral understandings on an equal footing.
As we mark the 72 years of the Indian Republic, it is safe to say that India’s growth has been unique, thoroughly inclusive, and in line with the SDGs (sustainable development goals). The Prime Minister has strengthened the country by meeting basic needs of electricity, water, sanitation, health, education, increasing the basic standard of living rural resources, and encouraging opportunities for women.
(The writer is BJP Lok Sabha MP from Rajsamand, India. She is a member of the erstwhile Jaipur royal family. She is also involved in philanthropic work focused on women and adolescent girls through Princess Diya Kumari Foundation.) Take with her mug shot of Diya Kumari