JAMMU, NOV 04
Highlighting the significant impact of the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his address at the 21st edition of ‘The Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2023’, expressed that this historic decision has created opportunities for progress and peace in the region.
"Whenever the topic of revoking Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was discussed, it stirred up controversy and created a sense that it would lead to catastrophic consequences. However, the removal of Article 370 has paved the way for progress, peace, and development in the region. Images from Lal Chowk in Srinagar, the heart of Jammu and Kashmir, tell the story of how the state is transforming," Prime Minister Modi stated.
He further highlighted the positive outcomes of this transformation, noting that terrorism is on the decline, and tourism is flourishing in the region. Jammu and Kashmir are now reaching new heights of development, and the government is unwavering in its commitment to this transformation.
Addressing the audience, the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to the HT Group for extending an invitation to the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2023. Prime Minister Modi acknowledged the HT Group's consistent commitment to conveying the message of India's progress through the themes of this Leadership Summit.
He reflected on the past themes of the Summit, such as 'Reshaping India' during the initial years of his government in 2014, indicating that they foresaw significant changes on the horizon that would reshape India. He also recalled the theme of 'Conversations for a Better Tomorrow' in 2019, which was chosen when his government was re-elected with an even larger majority.
As the general elections for 2024 draw near, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the theme of the current Summit, 'Breaking Barriers.' He underscored the underlying message that the present government is determined to break all boundaries and achieve victory in the upcoming general elections, stating, "The results of the 2024 General Elections will be unprecedented."
Under the theme "Breaking Barriers," the Prime Minister depicted India's remarkable journey from "Reshaping India" to a future "Beyond Barriers." He emphasized how India has overcome various obstacles to unleash its true potential.
PM Modi proudly declared India's achievements on the global stage, from hosting the G20 Summit to remarkable sports achievements. He mentioned that India has laid the foundation for a promising future on this remarkable journey.
The Prime Minister pointed out that India has faced numerous barriers over the years, including mental barriers and outdated mindsets. He cited examples like the Dandi March and the success of Chandrayaan 3 as inspirations for breaking these barriers. He also commended the Jan Dhan bank accounts for empowering the poor and boosting their self-esteem.
While addressing the issue of poverty, PM Modi highlighted the government's role in helping over 13 crore people escape poverty and join the neo-middle class, emphasizing that empowering the poor has been a top priority.
The Prime Minister discussed the end of nepotism and the rise of common citizens as heroes in various fields, thanks to a transformed approach by the government.
The scale of infrastructure development in India was highlighted, including increased highway construction, expanded metro connectivity, and improved healthcare and connectivity in rural areas.
Highlighting India's commitment to modern infrastructure, the Prime Minister emphasized the world's largest infrastructure initiative. He underscored India's impressive speed and scale in infrastructure development, citing examples such as the increase in highway construction from 12 km in 2013-14 to 30 km in 2022-23, the expansion of metro connectivity to 20 cities in 2023 from 5 cities in 2014, and the growth in the number of airports from 70 in 2014 to nearly 150 today.
The Prime Minister also noted the expansion of medical colleges from 380 in 2014 to over 700 today, the significant increase in optical fiber deployment from 350 km to 6 lakh km in 2023, connecting gram panchayats, and the construction of 4 lakh km of roads, linking 99 percent of villages under the PM Gram Sadak Yojna, up from 55 percent in 2014.
Furthermore, PM Modi highlighted the remarkable progress in railway electrification, stating that while only 20,000 km of railway lines were electrified since independence, nearly 40,000 km of railway lines have been electrified in the last decade. He described this pace and scale of development as a testament to India's success.
PM Modi stressed that the government has successfully combined good economics and good politics, leading to policies that benefit the masses. He cited the passing of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam as an example of breaking down perceived barriers.
Addressing media dignitaries, the Prime Minister shed light on the evolution of breaking news since 2014. He highlighted the contrast between 2013's downward GDP growth rate revisions and today's upward growth forecasts. The Prime Minister pointed out how Indian banks have transitioned from fragility in 2013 to record profits in 2023, and defense exports have surged twentyfold since 2013-14, transforming India from record scams to record exports.
He stated, "A significant real barrier to India's development has been the culture of nepotism and favoritism. It used to be easier for someone connected to a special family or a powerful individual to progress. The common citizen was rarely considered. “However, over the past few years, we have witnessed how ordinary citizens across various fields are now feeling empowered and encouraged. They no longer worry about being connected to influential individuals or powerful families. They are beginning to feel empowered and encouraged in various sectors. Yesterday's unsung heroes are today's national heroes,” he said
Later, PM Modi affirmed India's determination to become a developed nation by 2047 and left the audience with the belief that self-confidence is every Indian's biggest strength, one that can overcome any barrier. The journey continues, and the theme for the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in 2047 might well be "Developed Nation, What Next?"