Building the nation, delivering on promises
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nine years in office have been significant in many ways
“With dreams of grandeur in the eyes and the pace of storms in the stride,/ The fervour of national devotion never ceases, for those who dare to rise.”
This poem by Atal Bihari Vajpayee is apt to describe the journey of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, who celebrated his 73rd birthday on Sunday. I have always felt that he embarked on a journey with dreams of this great nation’s splendour in his eyes. As PM, he has elevated India’s stature globally. I salute him for his efforts.
Before 2014, the nation was mired in corruption. Inflation had skyrocketed, and the citizens were in despair. Development had stalled. The nation was scarred by terrorist attacks. It was under these circumstances that the citizens decided to bring about a change. The nation entrusted Prime Minister Modi with the country.
Narendra Modi was the first PM from the post-Independence generation. His nine years in the PM’s office have been significant in many ways. The development that took place during six decades of Congress rule is dwarfed by the progress achieved in the last nine years.
To directly communicate with the public, the PM initiated “Mann Ki Baat”. To ensure every citizen’s participation in the country’s economy, he introduced the Jan Dhan Yojana. The Make in India initiative infused enthusiasm among investors and entrepreneurs and the Shramev Jayate programme revitalised small and medium industries. However, the first revolutionary step he took was demonetisation. This curbed the circulation of black money and paved the way for Digital India. Today, even street vendors and snack sellers can be seen using UPI for transactions. The credit for this transformation goes to PM Modi.
On October 2, 2014, PM Modi launched the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”, which later transformed into a mass movement. Millions of toilets were constructed across the country. He wants to ensure that developed nations look at India with respect. He strengthened the rupee’s position in global markets, which encouraged many countries to conduct economic transactions in rupees. He introduced the mantra of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. He has turned India into an attractive investment destination by improving infrastructure and streamlining regulations.
Through the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, he realised the vision of One Nation, One Tax. Initiatives including Start-Up India, Skill India, Kaushalya Vikas, and Make in India were introduced to encourage entrepreneurship among the youth.
Through the Prime Minister Ujjwala Gas Scheme, women from economically weaker families were provided with gas cylinders. Initiatives such as Digital India, Namami Gange, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and Sukanya Samriddhi are a testament to his visionary leadership.
PM Modi first became the chief minister (CM) of Gujarat in 2001. Since then, he has dedicated himself to improving people’s lives. This sense of dedication and the values instilled by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh defines Narendra Modi.
He has taken the country on the path of progress with a leadership style that is not based on inheritance but on merit. Modi’s life is an inspiration for many.
In 2014, upon coming to power, the Bharatiya Janata Party promised to revoke the special status granted to Kashmir under Article 370, to bring the unjust practice of triple talaq, and to construct a grand temple for Lord Ram in Ayodhya. PM Modi had made these promises. Within nine years, he demonstrated that these were not mere election gimmicks but genuine commitments by fulfilling them.
Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray had a special affection for Modi. As the CM of Maharashtra, it is my privilege to discuss various issues of the state with him. The assistance Maharashtra has received from the Centre during my tenure as CM is unprecedented.
Modi has had to face a lot of criticism but always keeps his composure. I once asked him how he remains so calm. He told me, “Once you set your goal, even if it seems unattainable, keep moving towards it. You will face many obstacles and challenges. But, don’t get disturbed by them... never forget your goal...”
Eknath Shinde is chief minister of Maharashtra. The views expressed are personal