Published On 27 Aug, 2022
75 Years Of Independence, Eight Years of Good Governance by Arvind Dharmapuri

How Sabka Sath Has Achieved What Divisive Politics Of The Past Couldn’t

‘Into the heaven of freedom my father, let my country awake,’ Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore said in his Nobel Prize winning work Gitanjali. This was a dream he had for our nation while it was still battling the colonisers. But even after India became an independent nation, it has taken almost seven decades to realise Tagore’s dream. For it is only in the last eight years that we see we are truly experiencing freedom from a whole lot of chains that kept us from waking up to our true potential. And as we complete 75 years of being the world’s largest democracy, it is wonderful to see what we as a nation have achieved in the last few years in comparison to all that we thought was impossible over the last few decades. To begin with, the very way that the world looks at India has transformed. Especially after having survived the worst global crisis in the last two centuries, India has not just fared way better than the most powerful and developed nations, but also earned the title of being the pharmacy of the world, having supplied vaccines to at least 50 percent of the least developed countries when there were most developed ones not willing to share any.

75 Years Of Independence, Eight Years of Good Governance by Arvind Dharmapuri

Every country has valued and lauded India’s efforts in ensuring we fight this pandemic together in keeping with our idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. This has infused a whole new vigour and dynamism to our foreign policy. India has earned many more friends across the globe while strengthening and revitalising old bonds.

Be it our relationship with Iran that saw a major shift with the signing of the Chabahar agreement, or the renewed vigour that was brought to our friendship with Israel after the first ever visit of an Indian Prime Minister in 2018 that was truly a watershed moment, India has risen in the eyes of the world as an equal and no longer a third-world country. The Prime Minister’s personal touch in foreign policy has made him a critical part of global diplomacy and conversations for world peace, as the Mexican President recently pointed out. The last eight years have ensured we catapult ourselves to a position of being unapologetic about putting ‘India First’ through our proactive and innovative diplomacy. The strongest proof of our changing place at the table of world diplomacy was the way all global leaders stood in solidarity with India when cross-border terrorism led to the cowardly attack in Pulwama. That we no longer take things lying down too was conveyed loud and clear in a  befitting response.

Prime Minister’s call for Atmanirbharta

Also, our Prime Minister’s call for atmanirbharta — to design and develop in India, for the world — has translated into concrete progress in sectors like defence manufacturing, electronics, semiconductors etc. The result is that India recorded its highest-ever defence exports in 2021-22 and has become the second-largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world. Production Linked Incentive schemes for sectors like semiconductor and large scale electronics manufacturing have generated huge interest and investments. With concrete action,  India has also restored deterrence. The helplessness which was on full display in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks has now been confined to history. Warnings are now followed up with action, as Pakistan discovered soon after Pathankot and Pulwama. Be it the plateau of Doklam in Bhutan or the heights of the Kailash Range in eastern Ladakh, India has stood its ground, sending a clear message by refusing to blink. At the same time, the change on the frontiers has been backed up with the change in policy in South Block. Stuck for decades, tricky defense reforms, be it the One Rank One Pension, the appointment of a Chief of Defense Staff or greater integration of forces, have been pushed through with sheer political will.

It is political will that has enabled the largest health and welfare reforms of the country at a time when people were reeling under the impact of a global crisis. The delivery of food to over 80 crore people under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana at a total expenditure of Rs 3.40 lakh crore cushioned the impact of the pandemic and, at a time when poverty was rising in the developed world, India managed to bring down extreme poverty to its lowest level ever — 0.8 percent of the population. It is political will that has literally brightened peoples lives in many parts of the country for the first time since Independence. Over 18,000 villages were without electricity even 70 years after independence and were electrified within 1000 days after the Prime Minister announced the programme in his Independence day speech in 2015. Those who had never dreamt of clean water flowing into their homes through taps have now received it thanks to the Har Ghar Jal scheme. From 3.23 crore households getting drinking water through taps in 2019, when PM Modi announced the scheme, the number has gone up to 9.6 crore homes in three years. Be it the Skampuk village in Ladakh, located at a height of 13,000 feet, where pipes had to be secured with an insulation jacket to ensure they don’t freeze, or the Mawblang village in Meghalaya, clean drinking water has reached households no matter how remote the location.

Indian Railways too has witnessed transformation on every front that earlier left passengers hassled. Indian trains are now safer than ever before, with the Railways Minister leading the trials of Kavach, an indigenous Automatic Train Protection System, from the front, unlike the times when it was left to the bureaucratic machinery. From hygiene to punctuality, to greater connectivity and availability, from Mission Raftaar to Vande Bharat, to Gatimaan semi high speed rails to the soon to arrive Bullet trains, the lifeline of the nation has received a whole new lease of energy that will fast-track India’s growth. And this new growth story is one of inclusive development as janbhagidari has been the salient feature of all the revolutionary schemes that have been initiated in the last 8 years from the poshan abhiyan, open defecation free villages, the world’s largest vaccination drive, to the HarGharTiranga campaign. People have made change possible through their pro-active participation in response to the PM’s call each time with greater enthusiasm than before. From mann ki baat to People’s Padma, there has been a massive shift in India’s polity and public discourse at large. A new India has announced its arrival and our government is laying the blueprint of its journey ahead in the ‘Amrit Kal’ towards a Bharat that is a Vishwaguru by its 100th year of Independence. And our Pradhan Sevak’s mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka prayas’ is fuelling it at every step.

*The Author is a Member of Parliament from Nizamabad, Telangana

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