Excerpts from PM's address at the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland

Published By : Admin | December 1, 2014 | 16:16 IST

Good morning. Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to be here amongst the friendly Nagas to celebrate the world famous Hornbill Festival. I greet you on this joyous festive season. I congratulate the Nagas for organizing this wonderful festival, which aims to preserve, promote and protect the unique cultural diversity and rich traditions of Nagaland. 

I also congratulate the people on the occasion of 51st anniversary of Nagaland’s statehood. On this auspicious day, I urge the Nagas that after 50 years of statehood, Look back! Introspect! And take stock of the ground you have covered so far and what remains to be achieved. I have seen the strength of your society today. A very rich cultural heritage. This must be promoted. 

Your culture must not only be interpreted as your colourful dances and songs, but the Naga culture of sturdiness, honesty, simplicity, reflected in all your deliberations and actions. The Naga way of life means pride in your inherent strong character and your hard working attitude. 

I also know that you have a rich biodiversity. Your region is located in one of the 25 hot bio-diversity areas of the world. This must be protected at all costs, even as your embark on sustainable development of your resources. People will come to your state for investment or tourism and they will do so because of your amazing bio-diversity and salubrious climate. 

Nagaland is blessed in having a young population well-versed in the English language and in tune with what is happening around the world. This is an advantage which must be tapped. You must capture the IT outsourcing business of the world in this part of the country. 

I also greatly admire the equal position of Naga women in the Naga society. I recall how smartly our young Naga women jawaans worked while deployed during the Delhi Commonwealth Games. This participation brought great pride to our nation and was a shining example for our womenfolk across the country. The contribution of half of our population to the growth of our society is immeasurable. 

Nagas are sports-loving people and have the potential to perform well in disciplines such as boxing, tae kwon do, football and archery. I feel that these activities must be promoted in a systematic way to realize the potential of the people of the region, given the right direction. 

I know that it has been over a decade since Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Nagaland. I think, nowadays, if I want to come to Nagaland from Delhi, or if anyone from here wants to go to Delhi, it hardly takes 10-15 hours. But Prime Ministers took more than 10 years to reach here. I assure the people of Nagaland that you will not have to wait this long for the Prime Minister to visit again. I assure you. I will be happy to come often to meet the people of Nagaland. 

I will come back to see to it that everything that I have mentioned becomes a reality. 

Come, let us together build a new, resurgent, stronger and more prosperous India, as well as our Nagaland. 

Friends, for the last 2-3 days, I have been in this part of our country. I think it is the first time that an Indian Prime Minister has stayed in the North-East for 3 days. In India, the word “SEZ” is very popular. Special Economic Zone. But after being here for the last three days, I must say that it is not only SEZ, it is NEZ. When I say NEZ, I mean Natural Economic Zone. The other parts of India will have to find man-made Special Economic Zones. But here, Natural Economic Zones (already exist). But unfortunately, they are untapped. 

It is my priority to nourish this NEZ for NE, North-East. NE is meant for NEZs. NEZs are meant for NE. 

I took charge as the Prime Minister six months back. And I would like to mention some of the initiatives we have taken for the North-East in the last 6 months. I am sure that this is the right time to mention these initiatives as we are celebrating the Hornbill Festival and preparing for Christmas. 

The scheme called “Ishaan Uday” is a special scholarship for students from the North-East, under which 10,000 students will benefit. The scheme called “Ishaan Vikas” will provide opportunities for internships and visit at IITs, NITs, NIFTs in other parts of India during vacation for the students of North-East. Every year 2,000 students and 500 teachers will benefit from this scheme. 

We have decided to establish one modern apparel garment manufacturing centre in every state of North-East. We know that we have a rich heritage in the field of textiles. We have a mastery in weaving. Our women carry this art in their fingers, and we have to utilize this capability for the development of this area. And for that, we have decided to begin with Nagaland, Assam and Sikkim. The Central Government will spend 20 crore rupees for this new programme. 

During the tenure of the Vajpayee government, a unique decision was taken by Atalji. It was decided at that time that 10% of the Annual Plan Budget will be spent on the North-East states. My government has made a provision of Rs 53,000 crore in the Union Budget for development of the North-East. Rs 28,000 crore will be provided for construction of 14 new railway lines. There are so many tourists here from other parts of India and foreign countries. This is the best tourist destination. All we need is road, rail, and air connectivity to develop tourism here. 

Energy is lifeline. We cannot do anything without energy or power. The North-Eastern region power system improvement project has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore for six North-Eastern states including Nagaland. This will strengthen intra-state transmission and distribution systems. Our goal is 24x7x365 power supply. 

Nowadays, the meaning of infrastructure has totally changed. Even if you have road-rail-air connectivity, it is not enough. You require Digital Connectivity too. Under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the North-Eastern region, we have sanctioned Rs 5,000 crore for 2G mobile coverage for enhanced connectivity between this area and the world. 

We have decided to establish a National Sports University in Manipur, and the people of Nagaland will be among primary beneficiaries of this sports university. 

We have decided to set up 6 new Agriculture Colleges in North-East. I am sure that North-East can become India’s Capital of Organic Agriculture. North-East can become a source of Organic Agriculture products for the world and for humanity. 

Friends, it is a great opportunity for me to be a part of this Hornbill festival. We are very eager to develop our tourism sector. There is a tremendous untapped scope for India in this field of tourism, and we are focussing on it. There are people, even in India, who do not know what a rich bio-diversity we have in this part of India. 

Seeing is believing. And I am sure that people here from different parts of India can see what a unique cultural heritage this part has. I am sure that this Hornbill Festival will improve the tourism sector of Nagaland, the people of Nagaland will be beneficiaries of this growth. And when the people of Nagaland become prosperous, the whole country will be the beneficiary. 

I am thankful that the Chief Minister invited me to attend this festival. I am sure that in the next 10 days of this festival, lakhs of people will come here to be a part of this festival. Thank you very much. 

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Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan ji, the ministers of MP government, MPs, MLAs, my friends from the world of start ups, ladies and gentlemen!

You all must have seen that I was interacting with the young talents of Madhya Pradesh associated with start-ups and I realized and you too must have realized that when the heart is full of enthusiasm, new hopes and the spirit of innovation, its effect is clearly visible. I got the opportunity to talk to all of you and those who would have heard this interaction can say with full confidence that just like we have a proactive start-up policy in the country today, the start-up leadership too is extremely diligent. That is why, the country's development is gaining momentum with a new youthful energy. Start up portal and i-Hub Indore have been launched in Madhya Pradesh today. Financial assistance has also been given to start ups and incubators under the start up policy of MP. I congratulate the Government of Madhya Pradesh, the start up ecosystem of the country, and all of you for these efforts, and for organizing this event.


 You might remember, when our government was formed in 2014, there used to be around 300-400 start-ups in the country and the word start-up was not heard of and no one talked about it either. But today in a short span of eight years, the world of start ups in India has completely transformed. Today there are about 70 thousand recognized start-ups in our country. Today India has the third largest start-up eco-system in the world. We are also emerging as a force to be reckoned with among the world's biggest unicorn hubs. Today a start up in India turns into a unicorn within an average of 8 or 10 days. Just imagine! Turning into a unicorn means reaching a valuation of about 7000 crore rupees starting from zero in such a short time. And today every 8–10 days a new unicorn is being formed by our youth in this country.


 This is the strength of the youth of India, an example of the will power to achieve new heights of success. And I would ask the experts studying the policies of the economic world to note one thing. The volume of our start-ups in India is huge and so is its diversity. These start-ups are not limited to any one state or a couple of metro cities. These start-ups are spread throughout several states as well as smaller cities of India. Moreover, approximately there are more than 50 different types of start-ups associated with different industries. These are spread across every state and more than 650 districts of the country. About 50 percent of the start-ups are in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Often some people are under the impression that start-up is something related to computers or some activity or business of the young people. This is just an illusion. The reality is that the scope of start-ups is huge. Start-ups give us simple solutions to tough challenges. And we can see that the start-ups of yesterday are turning into multinationals today. I am glad that today new start ups are emerging in the field of agriculture, retail business as well as the health sector.


 Today, when we hear the world praising India's start up ecosystem, every Indian feels proud. But friends, there is a question. The word start up, which was a part of discussion in certain pockets of technical world till 8 years ago, has become a powerful medium to fulfil the dreams of ordinary Indian youth. How did it become a part of their everyday conversation? How did this paradigm shift take place? It didn't happen suddenly. Clear goals, defined direction under a well thought out strategy resulted in these changes and as I am before the land of Indore today and have also met the youngsters from the world of start-ups, I feel that I should tell you a few things today. How did the start up revolution take its present shape? I believe it is very important for every youngster to know this. This is also an inspiration in itself. Moreover, it is a great impetus for the 'Azadi Ka Amritkal'.


There has always been an urge to innovate in India and to solve problems with new ideas. We have experienced this very well during the era of IT revolution. But unfortunately, our youth didn't get the encouragement and the support that they should have received at that time. The environment developed by the IT revolution should have been channelized and given a direction. But that did not happen. We have seen that the entire decade had been marred by big scams, policy paralysis and nepotism. The dreams of one generation of this country had been shattered. Our youth had ideas and a yearning for innovation but everything was entangled in the policies of the previous governments or rather in the 'lack of policies'.


After 2014, we revived this power of ideas and this spirit of innovation among the youth. We believed in the power of the youth of India. We prepared a complete roadmap for 'Idea to Innovation to Industry' and focused on three things.

First - construction of infrastructure of the institutions associated with 'Idea, Innovate, Incubate and industry'.

Second - simplification of government procedures

And third- change in mind-set for innovation; creation of a new ecosystem.


Keeping all these things in mind, we started working together on different fronts. One of these was Hackathons. Seven-eight years ago, when Hackathons started happening in the country, no one had any idea that they would create and serve as a strong foundation for start-ups. We threw a challenge at the youth of the country and the youth accepted the challenge and came up with solutions. Lakhs of youth of the country saw a purpose in life and their sense of responsibility increased through these hackathons. This instilled in them the belief that they could contribute in resolving the day to day problems the country was facing. This spirit acted as a kind of launch pad for start-ups. If we talk only about the Smart India Hackathon of the government, about 15 lakh such talented young fellows were associated with it in the past years. Probably some of you sitting here were also a part of it. I remember that in such hackathons there were so many new things to learn and understand because I too enjoyed it a lot! I used to keep a close watch on the Hackathon activities of the youth for two days. I also used to take part in group discussions with them till 12, 1 and even 2 at night. I could see their passion. I used to observe their activities, the way they solved the problems and their brightened faces on successes. I used to observe all these things. And I am glad that even today some or the other hackathon is going on in some part of the country. That is, the country is continuously working on the initial process of building start-ups.


7 Years ago, the Start Up India campaign was a huge step towards institutionalizing the concept of 'idea to industry'. Today it has become a major medium of converting ideas into the industry by hand-holding. The next year we had started the Atal Innovation Mission to develop a mind-set of innovation in the country. Under this, a huge ecosystem is being created from Atal Tinkering Labs in schools to incubation centres and hackathons in universities. Atal Tinkering Labs are running in more than 10 thousand schools across the country today. In these, more than 75 lakh children are getting exposed to modern technology and are learning the ABCD of innovation. These Atal tinkering labs being built across the country are acting as a nursery class for start ups. When the student reaches college, more than 700 Atal Incubation Centers would have been set up in the country to incubate the new idea that he would have. The new National Education Policy that the country has implemented will also help in further enhancing the innovative minds of our students.


Besides incubation, funding is also very crucial for start ups. They received assistance because of the concrete policies of the government. The government not only created a fund of funds on its behalf, but also created different platforms to engage the start-ups with the private sector. With similar steps, today private investment worth thousands of crores of rupees is also being injected into the start-up ecosystem and is increasing day by day.


Over the years, several reforms have been made relentlessly such as giving tax exemptions and other incentives in the country. The doors of new areas have been unlocked for start-ups with the various reforms made in the technological aspect like mapping in the Space Sector, drones etc.


We have prioritised another requirement of the start-ups. After the start-up is formed and their services and products reach the markets easily, they are also getting a major buyer in the form of government. So, a special provision was made by the Government of India on the GeM portal. Today there are more than 13 thousand start ups registered on GeM portal. And you would be delighted to know that on this portal start-ups have done business worth more than Rs 6500 crores.


Another major work that has been done is related to the modern infrastructure. Digital India has laid a great emphasis on the expansion of the start-up ecosystem. Cheap smart phones and cheap data also connected the middle class and the poor of the villages. This has opened up new avenues and new markets for start-ups. Due to such efforts of 'idea to Industry', today start ups and unicorns are providing employment to lakhs of youth of the country.


The start-up itself constantly gets innovated. It does not talk about the past. That is the fundamental character of a start-up. It always talks about the future. Today, from Clean Energy and Climate Change to Healthcare, there are infinite opportunities for the startups to innovate in all such areas. Start-ups also play a major role in increasing the tourism potential in our country. Similarly, start-ups can also do a lot to strengthen the people's movement of Vocal for Local. Our start-ups can bring a huge network and provide a huge platform for branding the cottage industries of our country as well as the commendable work done by handlooms and weavers so as to take them to the international market. Our tribal brothers and sisters of India, forest dwellers make so many beautiful products. That too can become a great option or a new field for the start-ups to work upon. Similarly, you know that India is among the top-5 countries of the world in terms of mobile gaming. The growth rate of India's gaming industry is more than 40 per cent. In this budget, we have also emphasized on the support of AVGC i.e. Animation, Visual Effect, Gaming and Comic sector. This also is a huge sector for India's start ups, which they can lead. One such sector is the toy industry. India has a very rich heritage regarding toys. Start-ups from India can make it the centre of attraction for the whole world. At present, India's contribution to the global market's share of Toys is just less than one percent. The youth of my country, the youth who are living with the ideas can do something about increasing this share. You can venture into this start-up sector and contribute a lot. I am glad to say that more than 800 start-ups of India are associated with sports. I am sure you too are elated on hearing this. No one would have imagined that this too could be a field. In this too the culture of sportsmanship, the spirit of sports is being developed. There are several possibilities in this field too for the start-ups.


We have to give a new momentum to the success of the country. We need to take it to new heights. Today India is the Fastest Growing Economy among G-20 countries. India is the third largest economy in the world. Today India is at number one in the world in terms of Smartphone Data Consumer. India ranks second in the world in terms of Internet users. Today India stands at the second position in the Global Retail Index. India is the third largest energy consumer country in the world. The world's third largest consumer market is in India. India has set a new record by exporting merchandise worth more than $417 billion i.e. Rs 30 lakh crore in the last financial year. India is investing like never before to modernize its infrastructure today. India's unprecedented emphasis today is on Ease of Living and also on Ease of Doing Business. All these things will fill any Indian with pride. All these efforts instill a sense of confidence. India's growth story, India's success story will now move forward with a new zeal in this decade. This is the time for India's 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'. We are celebrating 75 years of our independence. Whatever we do today, the future of New India and the direction of the country will be decided by it. With these concerted efforts, we will fulfil 135 crore aspirations. I am sure, India's start up revolution will become a very important hallmark of this 'Amritkal'. My best wishes to all the youth.

Heartiest congratulations to the Madhya Pradesh government as well!

Thanks a lot.