The popular Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath ji, the MP of Lucknow and our senior colleague in the Government of India, Shri Rajnath Singh ji, my other colleagues in the Union Cabinet, Deputy Chief Minister of UP, Ministers of the State Government, Speakers of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, all colleagues from industry, other dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen!
At the outset, I welcome the investors being the MP from Kashi in Uttar Pradesh. I thank the investors because they have put their trust in the youth power of Uttar Pradesh. The youth power of Uttar Pradesh has the potential to give new flight to your dreams and resolutions. I assure you that the hard work, efforts, ability, understanding and dedication of the youth of Uttar Pradesh will fulfill all your dreams and resolutions.
I know that you are very busy, but being the MP of Kashi, I would like you to take some time to visit my Kashi, which has changed a lot. It is a living example of the potential of Uttar Pradesh that such a city in the world can be beautified in a new look while retaining its ancient influence.
Agreements related to investment worth more than 80,000 crore rupees in UP have been signed today. This record investment will create thousands of new employment opportunities in UP. This shows the growing faith in the growth story of India as well as Uttar Pradesh. My special congratulations to the youth of UP for this event, because the youth, the young women, and the new generation of UP are going to get its maximum benefit.
We are currently celebrating the 75th year of our independence, the Amrit Mahotsav of freedom. This period is the ‘Amrit Kaal’ for the next 25 years, for achieving new resolutions and goals with the mantra of ‘Sabka Prayas’ (everyone’s efforts). The present global conditions today have also brought great opportunities for us. The world is looking for a trustworthy partner today and only our democratic India has the potential to live up to it. Today the world is also watching India's potential and appreciating India's performance.
India did not pause even during the Corona period, but increased the pace of its reforms. All of us can see its result today. We are the fastest growing of the G-20 economies. Today India is at number two in the Global Retail Index. India is the third largest energy consumer country in the world. A record $84 billion FDI came from more than 100 countries in the last year. India has set a new record in the last financial year by exporting merchandise worth more than $ 417 billion i.e. 30 lakh crore rupees.
As a nation, now is the time to multiply our shared efforts manifold. This is a time when we cannot limit our decisions to just one or five years. Everyone's contribution is necessary to develop a strong manufacturing ecosystem, a strong and diversified value and supply chain in India. The government is making continuous policies and improving old policies on its part.
Recently, the NDA government at the Center has completed its eight years. Over the years, we have gone ahead with the mantra of Reform-Perform-Transform as Yogi ji was describing now. We have put emphasis on policy stability, coordination and ease of doing business. In the past, we have abolished thousands of compliances and old laws. We have worked to strengthen India as a nation with our reforms. Be it One Nation-One Tax GST, One Nation-One Grid, One Nation-One Mobility Card, One Nation-One Ration Card, all these efforts are a reflection of our solid and clear policies.
Ever since the double engine government was formed, work is being done at a rapid pace in this direction in UP as well. The way the law and order situation has improved, especially in UP, the confidence of the traders has returned and the right environment has been created for business. The administrative capacity and governance have also improved in the last few years. That's why today people have faith in Yogi ji's government as the industry colleagues were appreciating Uttar Pradesh on the basis of their experience.
I narrate my experience as an MP. We never had seen the administration of Uttar Pradesh closely. The agenda of those attending the Chief Ministers’ meeting used to be different. Since becoming an MP, my belief in the bureaucracy and the administration of Uttar Pradesh has increased manifold because they have the potential which the country expects from them.
What the people of the industry were saying, I myself have experienced this potential as an MP. Therefore, I congratulate all the bureaucrats and every official of the government for the change in their outlook.
Friends, the people of UP have entrusted a responsibility to their ‘sevak’ by bringing a government back to power after 37 years.
Uttar Pradesh has one fifth or one sixth of India’s population. That is, the betterment of one person from UP will be the betterment of every sixth person in India. I believe that it is UP which will give impetus to the growth story of India in the 21st century. You will see in the next 10 years that Uttar Pradesh is going to become a major driving force of India.
Who can stop UP from rapid development where there are hardworking people, where there is a consumer base of more than 16 percent of the total population of the country, where there are more than a dozen cities with a population of more than five lakh, where each district has its own special product, where there are such a large number of MSMEs and small scale industries, where there is abundance of different agricultural products, cereals, fruits, vegetables in different seasons and the state which is blessed with many rivers, including Ganga, Yamuna and Saryu?
We have announced the creation of a chemical-free natural farming corridor within a radius of 5 km on both sides of the Ganges in this year’s budget. Though the defence corridor is discussed quite often, no one talks about this corridor. The length of the Ganges in UP is more than 1100 kilometers long and passes through 25 to 30 districts. You can imagine the huge potential of natural farming in UP. The UP government has also announced its food processing policy a few years back. I would like to urge the corporate world and the people of industry that this is the golden opportunity for investment in agriculture.
Our double engine government is working simultaneously on infrastructure, investment and manufacturing for faster growth. The allocation of unprecedented capital expenditure of Rs 7.50 lakh crore in this year's budget is a step in this direction. We have announced PLI schemes to promote manufacturing and you will also get their benefits in UP as well.
The Defence Corridor being built in UP is also coming up with great possibilities for you. Never before, greater emphasis has been laid on defence manufacturing in India. Under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign, we have made a bold decision and identified 300 items which will not be imported. In other words, there is an assured market available for these 300 products related to military equipment for those who want to come into the field of defence manufacturing. You will also get a lot of benefit from this.
We are modernizing the physical infrastructure to meet the demands of traditional businesses like manufacturing and transportation. Whether it is a modern power grid, a network of gas pipelines or multimodal connectivity, work on all the fronts is happening according to the requirements of the 21st century. It is a record in itself as far the construction of expressways in UP is concerned. A strong network of modern expressways is going to connect all the economic zones of Uttar Pradesh.
Soon UP is also going to be recognized as a confluence of modern railway infrastructure. The eastern and western dedicated freight corridors are going to be interconnected in UP. UP's five international airports, including Jewar, are going to further strengthen the international connectivity here. Two multi- modal logistics transport hubs are also being constructed in Greater Noida and Varanasi. UP is joining the states with the most modern industrial infrastructure in the country as far as logistics is concerned. The increasing connectivity and investment will create many new opportunities for the youth of UP.
Our government has prepared the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan for speedy development of modern infrastructure. The PM GatiShakti Plan is bringing the central government, state governments, different departments and agencies, local institutions, the private sector and business related institutions on a single platform. Every stakeholder associated with any project will get real time information through this platform. Everybody will be able to make a timely plan to complete his part of the work. It will give new dimensions to the culture of timely completion of projects, which has been developed in the country in the last eight years.
Digital revolution is an example of the speed with which India has acted over the years. There were only 6.5 crore broadband subscribers in our country in 2014. Today their number has exceeded 78 crores. In 2014, one GB of data used to cost around Rs 200. Today its price has come down to Rs 11-12. India is one of the countries in the world that has such cheap data. In 2014, the country had 11 lakh km of optical fiber. Now the length of optical fiber laid in the country has crossed 28 lakh km.
Optical fiber had reached less than 100 Gram Panchayats in the country till 2014. Today the number of Gram Panchayats connected with optical fiber has also crossed the 1.75 lakh figure. There were only around 90,000 Common Service Centers in the country in 2014. Today, the number of Common Service Centers in the country has also exceeded 4 lakhs. Today, about 40 percent of the world's digital transactions are done in India. Any Indian would be proud of it. The India which people call illiterate is doing wonders.
The foundation that we have strengthened for the digital revolution in the last eight years has resulted in the creation of so many possibilities for different sectors today. Our youth have hugely benefited from this. We had only a few hundred start-ups before 2014. But today the number of registered start-ups in the country is also reaching around 70,000. More recently, India has also made a record of 100 unicorns. You will benefit greatly from the digital infrastructure needed to meet the demands of our new economy.
I assure you that we will continue to carry out reforms needed in whatever sector for the development of UP and self-reliant India. We are with development in matters of policy, decisions, intention and nature.
We will support your every endeavor and step. Become part of the development journey of Uttar Pradesh with full enthusiasm and your future will also become bright along with the future of Uttar Pradesh. This is a win-win situation. May these investments be auspicious and beneficial for all!
With this wish, all the very best to all of you!