Modi aims to make India global source of skilled manpower

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House, water, power, sanitation, broadband for all by 2022

Seeking to set aside political animosities after the recently-concluded ele­ctio­ns, prime minister Nar­en­dra Modi played the statesman card urging opposition parties to realise India’s potential to become a global exporter of skilled manpower and organic farm products. In his maiden Lok Sabha address on Wednesday, Modi mooted showcasing India’s stren­gth internationally as a vast democratic powerhouse.

Winding up the two-day debate on the presidential address in Lok Sabha, he went out of his way to placate major political opposition parties including Congress, Biju Janata Dal, Trinamul Congress and the AIADMK for streamlining delivery mec-hanisms in the states.

The prime minister mo­oted radical agriculture reforms linked with technology, innovation, research and university education to enhance farm productivity and combat inflation that has been in double digits over the last two years.

Modi, speaking in chaste Hindi, committed his government “to hear the poor and work for them” by providing basic amenities like pucca houses, water, electricity, sanitation and broadband connectivity to all by 2022.

The prime minister announced a five-year campaign to ‘cleanse India’ of open defecation and garbage as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi whose 150th birth anniversary would be held in 2019.

Modi said his government was committed to turning development projects and delivery of basic services into a ‘mass mo­vement’.

He also vowed to quickly adopt best practices in different states, including Gujarat. He said the government at the centre was willing to make states active partners in the true spirit of cooperative federalism.

Announcing an anti-poverty drive, Modi assured that his government would tackle the menace through reforms in education, skills development and providing opportunities and empowerment at grassroots level. This will also stop huge migration from rural areas to urban cities, he said.

Amid thumping of desks, he suggested that all North Eastern states and Sikkim had the wherewithal to become huge cultivators and exporters of organic farm products that have big demand in global markets. On agriculture reforms, Modi emphasised on agri-based industries, setting up rural enterprises, large scale storage facilities, post-harvest management, soil testing by agriculture universities and bringing “what was in the lab into the fields”, apart from making available real-time data on agriculture commodities. This will also lead to tackling localised shortages of food grains and food inflation, Modi pointed out.

On replicating and adopting best practices in states, Narendra Modi pointed to the public distribution success of food-grains in Maoist-infested Chattisgarh, micro-irrigation in parts of Tamil Nadu, huge organic cultivation in Sikkim and the anti-poverty campaign in West Bengal. On turning India into a global hub for skilled manpower, Narendra Modi referred to huge 65 per cent population that was below 35. He mooted the idea of re-branding the country as “skilled India”, away from being perceived as it is today of being “scam India”.

“Skills development should be accompanied by the spirit of shram-ev-jayate, providing dignity to labour. Referring to rape cases in UP, he appealed for “not making these unfortunate incidents hostage to political wrangling and scoring brownie points”. He also expressed similar sentiments referring to incidents in West Bengal, the Muslim techie’s killing in Pune and death of engineering students in Himachal.

Modi also asked his political opponents to lend a hand in making women active partners in development through education, empowerment and 33 per cent reservation in state legislatures as well as parliament. He also said the next five years would be treated with ‘sanctity and sacredness’.

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