India's welfare schemes give world a 'new hope' for better future, says PM Modi at UNGA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the various welfare schemes initiated by his government gave "the world a new hope" for a better tomorrow
United Nations: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the various welfare schemes initiated by his government gave "the world a new hope" for a better tomorrow as he exuded confidence that the experience from these projects could be beneficial to those nations, who like India, are striving for development. Addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly here, Modi said, "When a developing country is able to successfully implement the world's biggest sanitation campaign within the 'Clean India Mission', building over 110 million toilets in just five years for its countrymen, all its achievements and outcomes are an inspirational message for the entire world." The Clean India campaign was launched by the Modi government on Gandhi's birth anniversary on October 2, 2014.
The components of the government's flagship scheme include the construction of household toilets, community and public toilets and solid waste management. On Tuesday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation honoured the prime minister with the 'Global Goalkeeper Award' for his contributions to the cleanliness drive and efforts to "improve access to sanitation in India through 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan'". Referring to the Aadhaar initiative, Modi said, "When a developing country, launches for its citizens, the world's biggest digital identification program, giving them a biometric identity, thereby ensuring they can avail of their rights and saves more than 20 billion dollars by checking corruption, the modern systems that result from it, give the world a new hope." Under the Aadhaar scheme, a unique 12-digit number is allotted to each and every registered Indian citizen.
This 12-digit number houses biometric details, address, date of birth and all major details of an individual. Modi underlined that the public welfare projects initiated by his government are not is "not confined within the borders of India", but for the entire world. "And that is the reason we draw inspiration from our motto: collective efforts, for growth of all, with everyone's trust. Our endeavours are neither an expression of pity nor a pretence. They are inspired by a sense of duty, and duty alone," he said. All the endeavours, Modi said, are centred on 1.3 billion Indians. But the dreams that these efforts are trying to fulfil, are the same dreams that the entire world, every country and society has. "The efforts are ours, but their fruits are for all, for the entire world.
And this conviction of mine, gets stronger every day, when I think of those countries, who, just like India, are striving for development, each in their own way...when I get to know about their dreams, my resolve to develop my country at a faster pace gets even stronger, so that India's experience can be beneficial to these countries," the prime minister said. Highlighting the 'Ayushman Bharat' scheme, Modi said, "When a developing country, successfully runs the world's biggest health insurance scheme, giving 500 million people the facility of an annual health cover of Rs 500,000 for free treatment, the achievements and responsive systems that result from this scheme show the world a new path." Launched in September last year, Ayushman Bharat aimed at providing medicare to over 10 crore vulnerable families or an estimated 50 crore people.
Under the scheme, a health cover of Rs five lakh is given to each beneficiary family per year. Modi delivered his second address to the General Debate at the UN, five years after his maiden speech as Indian Prime Minister in 2014. Reflecting on the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), Modi said, "When a developing country, successfully runs the world's biggest financial inclusion scheme, opening over 370 million bank accounts for the poor in just five years, the systems that result, build confidence in the poor across the entire world." Launched in August 2014 by the prime minister, the PMJDY aims at providing affordable access to financial services such as bank accounts, remittances, credit, insurance and pensions to all citizens of the country. The prime minister said India could able to achieve such rapid changes through public participation, which is the country's thousands of years old culture and vibrant traditions.
Modi also highlighted the Indian government's campaign to make India free of single-use plastic. He also said, in the next five years, apart from promoting water conservation, his government is going to ensure water supply to 150 million homes. The government, he said, will build over 125,000 kilometres of new roads in the next five years. "By the year 2022, when India celebrates its 75th Independence day, we plan to build 20 million houses for the poor," he said. Modi said India is working towards eradicating tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of the global target of 2030.
He also underlined his party BJP coming back to power for a second term with "an even stronger mandate than before". "And it is thanks to this mandate that I am standing here before you once again. However, the message that this mandate conveys has an even greater significance, a wider and more inspiring one," he said. Earlier this year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 303 seats in the general elections, well above the 272-seat majority mark. The size of Modi's victory surpassed his party's winning performance in 2014 when it bagged 282 seats out of 543.
By Yoshita Singh