The time is ripe to redefine ‘R&D’ as ‘Research’ for the ‘Development’ of the nation: PM Modi
Science is after all, but a means to a far greater end; of making a difference in the lives of others, of furthering human progress and welfare: PM
An 'Ethno-Medicinal Research Centre' has been set up in Manipur to undertake research on the wild herbs available in the North-East region: PM
State Climate Change Centres have been set up in 7 North-Eastern States: PM Modi
Our scientific achievements need to be communicated to society. This will help inculcate scientific temper among youth, says the Prime Minister
We are committed to increasing the share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in the electricity mix above 40% by 2030: Prime Minister
We have set a target of 100 GW of installed solar power by 2022: PM Narendra Modi
We have to be future ready in implementing technologies vital for the growth and prosperity of the nation, says PM Modi
I call upon the scientific community to extend its research from the labs to the land: PM

Governor of Manipur, Dr. Najma Heptullah, 

Chief Minister of Manipur, Shri N. Biren Singh, 

My ministerial colleague, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, 

Other distinguished dignitaries on the dais, 


Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Let me begin by paying my rich tributes to three very distinguished Indian scientists whom we lost in recent times – Padma Vibhushan Prof Yashpal, Padma Vibhushan Prof UR Rao and Padma Shri Dr Baldev Raj. They all made out-standing contributions to Indian science and education. 

Let us also join the world to mourn the death of one of the greatest physicists of our time,Stephen Hawking - one of the brightest stars of modern cosmology.He was a friend of India and had visited our country twice.The common man knows Hawking's name,not because of his work on black holes, but because of his unusually high commitmentand spirit against all odds.He will be remembered as one of the world’s greatest motivators of all time. 


I am happy to be here in Imphal today,on the occasion of the one hundred and fifth session of the Indian Science Congress.I am delighted to be among scientists, whose work paves the way for a better tomorrow.I am also pleased to see Manipur University hosting this important event.The University is emerging as an important center of higher educationin the North-East. I am told, that this is just the second time in over a century,that the Indian Science Congress is being held in the North-East.This is a testimony to the resurgent spirit of the North East. 

It bodeswell for the future.Science has been synonymous with progress and prosperityfrom time immemorial. As the best scientific minds of our nation,all of you gathered here todayare power-houses of knowledge, innovation and enterprise, and are best equipped to drive this change. 

The time is ripe to redefine ‘R&D’ as ‘Research’ for the ‘Development’ of the nation – that is ‘R&D’ in the real sense.Science is after all,but a means to a far greater end – of making a difference in the lives of others,of furthering human progress and welfare.The time is also ripe, to commit ourselves to facilitate 'Ease of Living' for 125 crore Indians,through the power as well as potential of science and technology. 

I stand here today, in this brave land of Manipur, where in April 1944 NetajiSubhas Chandra Bose's INA gave the clarion call for freedom.When you leave Manipur,I am sure you will also carry the same spirit of dedication to do something ever-lasting for our nation. I am also sure you will continue to work closely with the scientists you have met here. 

After all, effective solutionsto big problems of science and technology,also require close cooperationand coordination among scientists across diverse streams.The Union Governmenthas initiated several new programs for theNorth-Eastern States,in the area of science.Agro-MeteorologicalServices are being provided under the ग्रामीणकृषिमौसमसेवा.This is benefiting over five lakh farmers.We are now working to expand this networkto all districts of the North-East.Several new centers are bringing relevant science and technologyto the North-East.An “Ethno Medicinal Research Centre”has been set up in Manipur.This will undertake research on the wild herbs availablein the North Eastern region,which have unique medicinal and aromatic properties. 

State Climate Change Centreshave been set up in seven North-Eastern States. They will undertake risk analysis, and raise public awareness about climate change.We have freed “bamboo” from being treated as a ‘Tree’ species, and classified it as a “Grass,” which it scientificallyis. For this, we changed a decades old law. This amendment will allowfor the free movement of bamboo.It will ensure that the production and consumption centers are seamlessly integrated. It will make farmers realize the true potentialfrom the entire value chainin the bamboo ecosystem.Government is also revamping the National Bamboo Mission with an outlay of Rs. 1200 crore. States like Manipur will benefit from this decision. 


The Indian Science Congress has a rich legacy. It has been led by some of India’s tallest scientists, such as Acharya J.C. Bose, C.V. Raman,Meghnad Saha and S.N. Bose. New India, should seek inspiration from the high standards of excellence, set by these great scientists.During our interactions on various occasions, I have exhortedour scientists to seek solutions to our socio economic problems.I have urged them to take up new challenges to benefit the poor and deprived sections of society. 

In this context, the theme chosen for the Indian Science Congress this year, is quite appropriate: “Reaching the Unreachedthrough Science and Technology”.The theme is very close to my heart. 

Take the case of RajagopalanVasudevanrecognized with a Padma Shri in 2018.He is a professor from Madurai who developed and patented an innovative method to reuse plastic waste in the construction of roads.The roads made using this method are more durable,water resistant and load bearing. At the same time he has found a constructive use for the ballooning problemof plastic waste.Professor Vasudevan has given this technology to the Government for free.This technology has already been used to lay over 5,000 kilometers of roads across 11 states. 

Similarly, Arvind Gupta has been recognized with a Padma Shri in 2018,for inspiring generations of studentsto learn Science from Trash by using household materials and garbage to make toys for scientific experiments.ChintakindiMallesham was given a Padma Shri in 2017,for inventing the Laxmi ASU Machine which significantly reduced the time and labour required to weave Sarees.I therefore urge you to direct your research and innovationtowardssolving the problems of our times and meeting the aspirations of our people. Scientific Social Responsibilityis the need of the hour. 


The Session’s themealso raises some questions.Have we done enough to ensure that children in Indiaare sufficiently exposed to science?Are we giving them a conducive environment to develop their inherent talent? Our scientific achievements need to be actively comunicated to the society. This will help inculcate scientific temper among the youth. It will also excite and attract our young minds to careers in science. We have to throw open our national institutions and laboratories to our children.I call upon scientists to develop an appropriate mechanism for interaction with school-going children.I also urge them, to spend 100 hours every year, with 100 students of Classes 10,11 and 12 discussing various aspects of science and technology. 100 hours and 100 students, imagine how many scientists we can nurture this way! 


We are committed to increasing the share of non-fossil fuel based capacity in the electricity mix above 40 per cent by 2030. India is a leader in the multi-country International Solar Alliance and in Mission Innovation. These groupings are providing a thrust to R&D for clean energy. The Department of Atomic Energy is setting up ten new domestic Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors of 700 Mega Watt capacity each. This is a major boost to the domestic nuclear industry. It strengthens India’s credentials as a major nuclear manufacturing nation. In recent times, CSIR has developed a hand-held milk tester, which helps every family to test quality of milk within seconds. CSIR has also achieved breakthroughs in developing diagnostic kits for rare genetic diseases and high value aromatic and medicinal plants used by farmers to increase their income. 

We are making concerted efforts to achieve complete elimination of TB from India. A few days ago, at the ‘End TB Summit’ in New Delhi, we demonstrated our commitment to eliminate TB from India by 2025, five years ahead of the WHO target of 2030. Our space research program has the capacity to successfully place over one hundred satellites in space in one go.This has been made possible through the hard work and dedication of Indian Scientists. 

After the success of Chandrayan-1 we plan to launch Chandrayan-2 in the coming months.This fully indigenous effort will include landing and travel on the surface of the moon by a rover.The greatest scientist of the last century,Albert Einstein had given the theory about “gravitational waves”.It is a matter of immense pride for all of usthat 37 Indian scientists from nine Indian institutions participated in the international Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) Collaboration and proved this theory correct three years ago.Our Government has already given approvalto establish third LIGO detector in the country. It will expand our knowledge in basic Sciences in the areas of lasers, light waves, and computing. I am told that our scientists are tirelessly working towards making this a reality. I have talked about developing Clusters of Excellence in Science in Cities, around important Scientific Institutions.The objective is to create city-based R&D Clusters, which will bring together all Science and Technology partners, from Academia to Institutes, to Industries to Startups.This will help promote new discoveries, and create globally competitive vibrant research hubs. 

We have recently approved a new “Prime Minister’s Research Fellows” scheme.Under this Scheme, bright minds from the best Institutions in the country,namely, IISc, IIT, NIT, IISERand IIIT will be offered direct admission in Ph.D. Programme in IIT and IISc.This scheme will help address the brain-drain from our country. It will go a long way in promoting indigenous research in cutting-edge Science and Technology domains. 


India faces major socio-economic challengeswhich affect large sections of our population. We need science and technology to help us make India clean, green and prosperous. Let me re-iterate some of my expectations from scientists. A large section of our tribal population is affected by सिकलसेलअनीमिया. Can our Scientists come up with a simple, cost-effective solution to this problemin the near future.A large proportion of our children are affected by malnutrition.To address this problem,the Government of India has launched the National Nutrition Mission.Your suggestions and solutionscan help us meet the objectives of the Mission. 

India requires crores of new houses.Can our scientists adopt 3D printing technology to help us meet this demand? Our rivers are polluted. It requires your innovative ideas and new technologiesto clean them.We need a multi-pronged approachincluding efficient solar and wind power,energy storage and electric mobility solutions,clean cooking,conversion of coal to clean fuels like methanol,cleaner power from coal, smart grids, micro-grids and bio-fuels. 

We have set a target of having 100 Giga Wattsof installed solar power by 2022. Efficiency of solar modules currently available in the marketis around 17% to 18%.Can our scientists take a challengeto come up with a more efficient solar module, which can be produced in India at the same cost? Imagine the resourceswe will be saving on this account. ISRO uses one of the best battery systemsto run satellites in space.Other institutions can partner with ISROto develop cost effective and efficient battery systemsfor mobile phones and electric cars.We need to develop new procedures,medicines,and vaccinesto get rid of silent killerslike Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis.Research should also be conductedin Yoga, sports, and traditional knowledge disciplines. Small and medium scale industry unitshave been the main-stay for employment generation.With global competition,they are facing increasing challenges.Can our scientific and technological institutions take up the cause of the MSME sectorand assist these unitsin improving processes and products? 


We have to be future ready in implementing technologiesvital for the growth and prosperity of the nation. Technology will allowfar greater penetration of services such as education, healthcare, and bankingto our citizens.India should become a major playerin developing technologies,devices,standards and manufacturingfor 5-G broadband tele-comunication networks by 2020. Together with Artificial Intelligence,Big Data Analytics,Machine Learning and cyber-physical systems,effective comunication will be a major ingredientin our success in smart manufacturing,smart cities,and Industry 4.0.Let us aim for India to be among the top 10 countriesin the Global Innovation Index by 2030.  


Four years from now,we will be celebrating the 75th year of our Independence.We have collectively resolvedto build a New India by 2022.We need to worktowards shared prosperity,in the spirit of सबकासाथ, सबकाविकास.This goal requires whole-hearted contributionfrom each one of you. The Indian economyis on a high growth trajectory.But we rank low in Human Development Indicators. One of the important reasons for this in-consistency is major inter-stateand intra-state disparity.To address this,we have launched a concerted effortto improve the performance of over 100 Aspirational Districts.We shall focus on important sectorssuch as Health and Nutrition;Education;Agriculture and Water Resources; Financial Inclusion; Skill Development; and Basic Infrastructure.All these sectorsrequire innovative solutions, which cater to local challenges and requirements.The “one size fits all” approachcannot work in this case.Can our Scientific Institutionsserve these Aspirational Districts?Can they catalyze creation and diffusion of appropriate technologies that generate skills and entrepreneur-ship? 

This would be a great service to Mother India. India has a rich traditionand a long history of both discovery and use science and technology. It is time to reclaim our rightful place among the front-line nations in this field.I call upon the scientific community to extend its researchfrom the labs, to the land.I am confident that through the dedicated efforts of our scientists, we are embarkingon the road to a better future. The future we wish for ourselves,and for our children. 

Thank You. 

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PM Modi's Interview to The Economic Times
May 22, 2024

Q) Prime minister, the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign was strongly anchored in the fight against corruption. In 2019, it was the 'labharthi' model reaching every segment of society, besides the national security imperative that took centre stage. The 2024 Lok Sabha election campaign was expected to be pitched on 'vikas' and 'Viksit Bharat'. But it seems to have turned communal and polarising, your thoughts?

A: Perhaps, you find it polarising because you have not examined the crux of the matter. What is truly communal and polarising is Congress party's manifesto, their issues and their intent. It is my duty to expose them. Just because I am exposing them, you think it is polarising. You noted it correctly that in 2014, corruption was the main issue. In 2019, it was labarthis. In 2024, the main issue is Viksit Bharat. People across the country know that this is an important election which will ensure that we reach Viksit Bharat at the speed of the country's aspirations.

I must point out the difference between the scale of ambition of our government as compared to the UPA government. In 2014, the then finance minister said that India will become the third largest economy in 2043. In our case, we are already the fifth largest economy and will become the third largest economy in our third term. We will be at least 15 years ahead of their promise.

In this election, anti-corruption voter is with us and so is the labarthi voter. Along with it, a large section of the society which wants India to progress rapidly is also firmly backing us, which will ensure us getting a huge mandate on June 4.

Q. Prime minister, you have started a political debate on which section has or should have the 'first right' to national resources. Which segment should have the 'first right' and how would you identify this segment?

A: I have said it before and I am saying it again: the first right to national resources belongs to the poor. Everything we do, every policy we make, has the welfare of the poor at the heart of it. We are committed to ensuring that the fruits of development reach every poor person, regardless of their caste, community or region. Over the last decade, we have focused on a policy of saturation, ensuring that government schemes reach 100% of beneficiaries.

For example, if a village has 20 homes, is it fair that only 15 homes receive all the benefits? No. We are ensuring that all 20 homes are empowered, leaving no one behind. We are moving forward with this motto of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'.

Q. 428 of the 543 parliamentary constituencies have already voted. How is BJP score currently looking against the '400 paar' target? Has BJP crossed the 272-mark?

A: Doing such analysis is the job of experts. However, I have clear signal from the people on the ground that we have crossed the majority mark and the momentum is only getting stronger with each phase.

Everywhere I have gone in the past few weeks, I have received a lot of love, support and enthusiasm for BJP.

On the voting day, our polling booths are brimming with activity. In contrast, the atmosphere on the Opposition side is very grim and hopeless. It shows that we are well on our track to achieve a historic victory in the elections. People also realise this and hence they won't waste their vote on Congress and its allies which have already lost the elections. Hence in the remaining two phases, we will see even greater support for NDA.

Q. Which are the states you expect to score better than 2019?

A: In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, I am confident that BJP will win with a historic mandate. With the support we are getting from people in all states to make India a developed nation, I can confidently say that our vote share will increase everywhere. This time, we have set a more ambitious target: it's not just about winning seats, but about winning each polling booth. Every one of our karyakartas is focused on the strategy of winning the polling station.

I believe we will repeat our strong performance in the states where we won big in 2014 and 2019. South India and east India will bring record new gains. This time, we will vastly improve our performance in states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal and Odisha. The so-called 'red corridor' will turn entirely saffron this election. Even Uttar Pradesh will see a rise in our seats.

The overwhelming will of the people across India is to bring us back with a historic mandate because they have seen how a strong, decisive and sensitive government has secured the nation and strengthened its position in the world. They are fed up with corruption, dynastic politics, minority appeasement and the mismanagement of states under Opposition governments. That's why they want the NDA again.

The stock markets have been volatile of late amid FII selling while some market participants attribute this to uncertainty around election results. Do you think markets will respond positively post-election results?
Our government has undertaken maximum reforms and managed the economy with fiscal prudence.

The trust the stock market places in us is evident in its remarkable performance over the past decade. When we took office, the Sensex was around 25,000 points. Today, it stands at around 75,000 points, reflecting a historic rise. Recently, we reached a whopping $5 trillion market cap for the first time ever!

Over the past 10 years, if you just take a look at the number of Demat accounts, you will understand how citizens have started to show confidence in Indian economy. The number of Demat accounts has increased from just 2.3 crore to over 15 crore now. The number of mutual fund investors has increased from 1 crore in 2014 to 4.5 crore today. As a result, we have a broader base of domestic investment. Domestic investors have become more active and vibrant and are playing a more substantial role in our markets than ever before. This is a clear indication of the financialisation of savings that has occurred in the last 10 years.

Our investors are well aware of the pro-market reforms we have implemented. These reforms have created a robust and transparent financial ecosystem, making it easier for every Indian to participate in the stock markets. I can say with confidence that on June 4, as BJP hits record numbers, the stock market will also hit new record highs.

Q. What your government calls a fight against corruption is criticised by the Opposition as targeted investigation by enforcement agencies. How do you respond to this?

A: The thing to note here is that even these people are not denying their own corruption. They are not saying that we are not corrupt or we have been falsely implicated. The only thing they are saying is that they are being targeted. So yes, we are targeting all corrupt. I have no hesitation in saying that. Think about it. Last year, hundreds of crores of cash was discovered from a Congress MP in Jharkhand. Dozens of people had to use multiple note counting machines for days to count the mountains of cash. Recently, Rs 25 crore was found from the house of the assistant of a Congress leader. We all saw the piles of cash and the gold bars that ED discovered in a TMC leader's flat. What does this tell us? It tells us that our agencies are on the right track.

Besides, in all the corruption cases investigated by ED, only 3% involve politicians. The remaining 97% involve officials and criminals. This proves that ED and CBI are not acting with political bias. Additionally, before 2014, ED only seized assets worth Rs 5,000 crore, but in the last 10 years, that amount has exceeded ₹1 trillion. These findings show that our investigative agencies are doing their job well. Therefore, it is important to let these agencies work without interference.

These accusations from the Opposition seem to come from a fear of being caught and having their corruption exposed. The fact is that INDI Alliance is a bloc that has been formed to protect each other's corruption, and the money that they looted from the citizens is there for everyone to see each time a corruption scandal is exposed.

Back in 2019, I told the people that your vote has brought corrupt to the doorstep of jail. Your next vote will ensure that they are put behind bars, and I delivered on that promise. This government has taken steps to systematically root out corruption since day 1. Earlier, it was such that out of every rupee meant for the people, only 15 paise reached them. Today, I can proudly say that when a rupee is sent out, the full 100 paise reaches the intended recipients through DBTs. How? Because this government leveraged technology to tackle corruption. We introduced the concept of e-governance, simplified procedures and made India go digital and cashless. We have come a long way in our fight against corruption, and in my third term, it will continue with even greater vigour.

Q. How do you rate your party's chances in Odisha after alliance talks did not fructify? You have often held Naveen Patnaik in high regard among all CMs. But what are your views as you challenge him in the state in a bid to prevent him from securing another term?

A: Over the last few days, I had the privilege of interacting with the wonderful people of Odisha across many rallies. Among the Odia people, especially the youth, women, tribals and farmers, I see a great upsurge of hope and aspiration towards the development-oriented politics of BJP. I am convinced that a big transformation is happening in the electoral landscape of the state, not only at the Lok Sabha level but also at the assembly level.

Odisha is a state that has a lot of untapped potential. It has talented young people and can be a much bigger player in the world of technology and startups. It has hardworking farmers and good natural resources. With an encouraging government, farmers of Odisha will make it an agricultural hub in the country. Odisha is a treasure trove of literature, history, heritage, art and architecture. It has all the elements to make it a much sought-after tourist destination, which can create a number of opportunities for the youth.

Similarly, the state also has a vibrant coastline which helps trade and fisheries. But sadly, many of these sectors have been neglected over the years because of BJD's lethargy and lack of vision. The people of Odisha understand that only BJP can make a difference because they have seen the ten-year track record of our government at the Centre. They have seen how our schemes are designed and implemented with the people's empowerment as their focus. Whether it is foodgrain, gas connections, bank accounts, toilets or tap water connections, these are reaching the people and bringing a transformation in their lives. So, they trust those who actually deliver a better life to them.

Further, BJP is not new to Odisha. We have always got great support in the state, including putting up a strong performance in past Lok Sabha polls.

Q. When we talk states, alliances in Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu have come under strain ahead of Lok Sabha polls. Your thoughts?

A: See, you are focusing on a few parties who are no more part of NDA. In those cases, we have gone with our principles, the wishes of the people and our cadre. We are also sure that we will do well in the elections nevertheless. But what you mentioned is not the complete picture. Across India, there have been many states where we have added so many new partners into the NDA fold. You mentioned Tamil Nadu. In the state, NDA has about 10 or more parties.

There are states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar and many others where we have added new allies over the last few weeks or months. If you look at the larger picture, we have added more parties and our alliance also has momentum on its side. So, I see this as a positive trend that more and more parties want to be with our vision for progress and the people are also supporting us.

Q. India has good relations and strong strategic, economic ties with Israel as well as Iran besides most other gulf nations. How do you see the West Asia crisis impacting us? Do you foresee a bigger role for India in this conflict?

A:The crisis in West Asia is deeply concerning, especially in terms of the human cost of it. India has strong relations with many countries in West Asia. Even if some of these nations find themselves on the opposite side of each other, we have equally healthy relations with each of them. I also have a deep bond with the leaders of many of these nations and am moved by their gestures of friendship. I had sent a special envoy to urge for ensuring a cease-fire during the month of Ramzan. So, along with others, we too are doing our bit for global peace. We have always conveyed to these nations that we are totally on the side of peace and progress. We have always stressed upon the perspective that dialogue is the way forward. And we will continue to do so.

Q. You have been saying India is at a turning point, ready for a quantum leap. What are factors in India's favour and strengths that you intend to leverage to leapfrog?

A: I have said earlier that demography, democracy, demand are with India. These factors were there earlier too but the way we have empowered these crucial factors with our mantra of reform, perform, transform has made an important difference.

The demographic sweet spot that India is in has not been seen in the past and will not be seen in future. To complement it, we have put the nation in an economic sweet spot. We have given an era of historic reforms across various sectors.

Be it banking, foreign direct investment, compliances, corporate taxation, income taxes or even fiscal policy, our reforms have spanned across various sectors.

As a result, from Fragile Five we have reached Top Five Economies. We have been the fastest growing economy for many years now. We have also received record foreign direct investment (FDI) over the years.

All this has resulted in an environment where investment, industry and innovation can thrive, benefiting our talented youngsters in terms of the number of opportunities being created across sectors.

Further, look at the impact of our welfare initiatives. Whether it is bank accounts, toilets, tap water, electricity or health insurance, these facilities are reaching those who were deprived of them for decades.

This helped 25 crore people rise above poverty, creating a neo-middle class that is hopeful and aspirational. These people are driving new patterns of income generation and demand, powering the wheels of the economy even further.

At the same time, India is undergoing rapid digital transformation, with increasing internet penetration and a booming tech and startup industry. Whether it is Digital India or DBT (direct benefit transfer) or digital payments, they are creating a new wave of innovation and empowerment.

And when it comes to physical and social infrastructure, the speed and scale at which we have worked is unprecedented. If the number of our airports has doubled, so has the number of medical colleges.

While we have added thousands of kilometres of national highways, we have also added hundreds of schools, colleges and universities.

These efforts have created momentum for capital and human capital.

Further, India's strategic positioning in the world enhances our trade and diplomatic engagements. As a trusted member of various international forums and trade agreements, India is well-placed to leverage global markets and attract international partnerships.

Many experts across the world are saying this is India's time, India's decade and India's century. Whether it is space or solar energy, sports or startups, the world is seeing India arrive on the global stage across sectors.

More importantly, every Indian, believes this is India's time. This self-belief is like the icing on top of all the strides that our country has taken in the last few years.

Q. What in your vision constitutes 'Viksit Bharat', its contours and parameters?

A: Viksit Bharat is a nation where no one is too small to dream and no dream is too big to achieve. Viksit Bharat is a nation where social circumstances or birth do not limit anyone's growth. Everyone, no matter who they are, can aspire to reach the heights of success.

Viksit Bharat is a nation with sustained high growth, strong manufacturing, services, agriculture and technology. It is a nation where economic growth is inclusive, where poverty is a thing of the past.

Viksit Bharat is a nation where there are high-quality jobs driven by innovation, entrepreneurship and skill development. Viksit Bharat is a nation with a fully digitised economy, widespread high-speed internet access and transparent e-governance services.

Viksit Bharat is a nation which is a hub of research and development, fostering a thriving ecosystem for science and technology.

Viksit Bharat is a nation with world-class transportation networks, renewable energy systems, and smart urban development.

Viksit Bharat is a nation where there is seamless rural-urban connectivity for balanced regional growth.

Viksit Bharat is a nation where high-quality healthcare is affordable, accessible and available to everyone.

Viksit Bharat is a nation with an education system emphasising quality, accessibility, native languages, fostering critical thinking, creativity and lifelong learning.

Viksit Bharat means having comprehensive social welfare systems ensuring the well-being of the elderly, Divyang, and marginalised communities.

Viksit Bharat means commitment to green growth through renewable energy, conservation of natural resources and a reduced carbon footprint.

In the last 10 years, we have been working proactively across all these sectors. The foundation we have laid will help us achieve great heights by 2047.

Q. Creating enough jobs for India's youth is the biggest challenge facing the economy. Do you think high growth will address the issue, or something more is needed? What's the road ahead? What contribution is expected from the private sector?

A: Today, India is blessed with a demographic dividend. Along with this blessing, it is very important to ensure that the youth get opportunities. Today, India's growth momentum, vibrancy and optimism comes from the fact that our youth have these new opportunities and are making the most of them.

Look at the startup sector, for example. We went from just a few startups in 2014 to nearly 1.37 lakh in 2024. We have 100+ unicorns today, and we're the third largest startup economy in the world.

Similarly, in R&D, we're leading the way. Startups themselves have registered over 12,000 patents. And last year, a record 90,300 patent applications were received. India's youth, empowered with opportunities and innovation under this government, have become the driving force behind the nation's remarkable growth trajectory.

While we understand that high growth is important for creating enough opportunities, we are not satisfied with just that. We are actively bringing in reforms. We are looking towards the future and creating future jobs.

We are opening up new sectors, encouraging entrepreneurship, improving access to credit and improving government jobs.

India's digital economy has grown 2.4 times faster than the economy between 2014 and 2019, creating around 6 crore jobs.

Our gig economy is also thriving and is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, with over 20% engaged in highly skilled jobs.

With just MUDRA loans, over crores of new businesses have been started and India's entrepreneurial energy unleashed.

I have been regularly attending rozgar melas to interact with our youth. The central government alone has ensured that lakhs of youth receive their recruitment letters through the melas.

Look at the indicators which prove the job generation. The returns filed by individual taxpayers more than doubled from 3.36 crore in 2013-14 to 8.18 crore in 2023-24. EPFO payroll data shows that over 6 crore new EPFO subscribers have been added in the last seven years, indicating a surge in youth employment. PLFS data shows that between 2017 and 2023, the participation rate of the worker population ratio has increased to over 56%, and unemployment is at a historic low of 3.2%.

In the last 10 years, we have not just stressed and worked on the creation of jobs, but also invested our efforts in nurturing and creating job creators.

Q. Jammu & Kashmir has stabilised after the revocation of Article 370. You talked about holding elections in the Union Territory, the Supreme Court too has spoken similarly. What is your assessment on carrying out the next steps?

A: You are right that the region has stabilised after August 2019. The elections in Jammu and Kashmir are an important milestone in its history. The record voter turnout in is one of the most gratifying things I have seen in my tenure.

The people of the region have seen our constant and honest efforts to strengthen democracy. Be it Srinagar or Baramulla, people have expressed great confidence in the electoral process and optimism for the future.

The progress that Jammu and Kashmir has made in the last five years is proof that we are on the right path. We will ensure that these gains become deep-rooted and irreversible.

We are very clear in our intent. We are committed to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Supreme Court has set a date for assembly elections in the region. The Election Commission will take a call on the right time for the assembly elections.

Q. Are you satisfied with the way the defence sector has responded to your call for 'atmanirbharta', to reduce dependency on imports? What more can be done by the government and other stakeholders?

A: During the Covid era, the world realised the importance of self-reliance. Although we were already making progress in this direction, we used the time of pandemic to push this cause with significant momentum.

For years, we used to rely on the world for even small items. Not only did it create dependencies but it also caused loss of precious foreign exchange.

We used the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to create a mindset change to promote self-reliance as well as to create conducive conditions for manufacturing in India. The results and the trajectory of growth have been quite satisfying.

Let us start with vaccine manufacturing. There was a time when India took 20 years to procure polio vaccines and vaccination took another 40 years. We took 32 years for TB vaccination! Today India has produced not one or two but four vaccines. And not only that, we exported it to more than 100 countries. And we also ran the world's largest vaccination programme.

Similarly, previously there was zero production of PPE kits. But during Covid, we witnessed large-scale manufacturing.

In defence sector, we struggled to even produce bulletproof jackets for our soldiers. Today Indian defence exports include helicopters, patrol vessels, coastal surveillance systems and high-end defence equipments to more than 20 countries. And we are exporting bullet proof jackets to more than 100 countries. We are also emerging as a global hub for the production of helicopters. Our defence exports have touched a record high of more than 21,000 crore.

There was a time when India had only two mobile manufacturing units and over 90% of the mobiles were imported. Today 200+ units are manufacturing mobile phones and almost all the mobile phones used are made in India. We are the now second largest exporters of mobile phones in the world.

There were times when the potential of toy manufacturing and local artisans was overlooked. Today local artisans are making for the world. Their talent is getting recognised world over. There has been a decline in toy imports by 52% and rise in exports by 239% since 2014.

We are also focusing on semiconductor manufacturing and are taking rapid strides in this direction.

My vision for Aatmanirbhar Bharat aims to position India as a global manufacturing and innovation hub. I believe India, with its demographic dividend, democracy and demand, has the potential not only to meet its own needs but also those of the world. I firmly believe that Aatmanirbhar Bharat will not just fuel India's growth but will also propel global growth.

Following is the clipping of the interview:



 Source: The Economic Times