English rendering of PM’s Speech at the birth centenary celebrations of Nanaji Deshmukh at IARI, New Delhi, 11 October 2017

Today is the occasion of birth anniversary of Loknayak Jaiprakash Ji and today is also the occasion of birth centenary of one of the closest aid of Loknayak Jaiprakash Shriman Nanaji Deshmukh. Both of these great souls made such a solemn pledge in their lifetime and they completely dedicated themselves, they spent every moment of their lives in order to realise that pledge for the welfare of fellow countrymen and the motherland. Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan had been the source of inspiration for the youth during the freedom movement. Quit India movement reached its peak in 1942. The British Raj had sent all the great leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel in jail and at that time Jayprakah Ji and Lohia Ji, youth like them took control of the movement by coming forward and they had become a source of inspiration of the youth of that era.

During that era of our freedom struggle Jayprakash Ji had become a source of inspiration for the youth as the people’s leader. However, when after the independence many stalwarts were searching for their place in the corridors of power it was Jayprakash Narayan who maintained a distance from the politics of power and after the independence Jayprakash Ji and his wife Shrimati Prabha Devi Ji opted the path of rural development and public welfare.

Nanaji Deshmukh, the country was not familiar with him much at that time. He dedicated his life for the country but when Jayprakash Ji was fighting a war against corruption, even before the emergency, once again Jayprakash Ji had joined the student movement due to the pain caused to him because of corruption, because of corruption at high offices of the country. Jayaprakash Narayan once again came in public life after taking inspiration from the student movement of Gujarat and it caused a lot of upheaval in the government in Delhi. And many conspiracies were being hatched to figure out how to stop Jayprakash Ji. And things went that far that a big assault was mounted on Jayprakash Ji in Patna when a procession was taken out during a public function. At that time Nanaji Deshmukh was standing next to him. And he put forward his hand to face that deadly blow. His bones were broken but he was able to shield Jayprakash Ji from that assault. And it was such an event that attracted the attention of the country towards Nanaji Deshmukh. Throughout his life Nanaji lived for the country. With the help of Deendayal Research Institute he developed such couples whom he taught to live for the country, to accomplish something for the country in any case, and he invited young couples with this formula. And hundreds of such couples came forward and he deployed those couples in the development work of villages. At a time when Morarji bhai was the Prime Minister, and it was the rule of Janata Party, Nanaji Deshmukh was invited to become a minister in the cabinet. Nanaji had politely refused to join the council of ministers by following the footsteps of Loknayak Jayprakash Ji and left the political life after the age of sixty for the rest of his life, for nearly three and a half decades he dedicated his life in development of rural life by making Chitrakoot, by making Gonda centre of his life.

Today, I’m happy that government of India is taking several steps on the occasion of the birth centenary of Nanaji Deshmukh to increase the people’s participation to develop the villages as per the dreams of those great souls and as per the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi as how we can move forward in that direction, how we can make our villages self dependent, how to make our villages free from poverty, free from diseases; even today the poison of casteism destroys our villages, it shatters the dreams of that villages, how to make our villages prosperous by thinking beyond casteism, how to make it the village that takes everyone along and where all the people collectively take a pledge for the welfare of the village.  The govt of India is taking several steps to boost the rural development based on public  participation.

Today; those people who think about the rural life, who have made contributions to rural life, who have mastery over various subjects of rural economy and rural agricultural life, more than 300 such people sat here throughout the day yesterday, they sat in different groups and they deliberated on the development of villages in modern context and these experienced people thoroughly debated the issue throughout the yesterday and an effort has been made to present the essence of that deliberation through a video just a while ago. However, I’d like to assure these people that the points that have been selected after their deliberations, the government of India will take note of them, it will take them seriously and the issues that are implementable, these reference points will be included in the schemes of government of India. These deliberations and discussions have taken place on the rural life of India in such a massive forum after a gap of several years. People from different corners of the country have come. The nature of different areas are different, their problems, their resources and their problems are different. If the development of a villages will be connected to the roots of the village as per its liking, its tendency and as per its nature then it will be a guarantee for a sustainable growth. Sometimes rural life cannot muster the courage to adopt those things that have been imposed from outside, these things that have been imposed on rural life as a foreign element end up in form of a conflict. And that is why it is our effort that we will develop a model for development of a village by first taking into account that village’s own strength, its own prowess with which the people of the village are familiar and which is appropriate for them. It requires minor modification. And for that purpose a support system is required from economic point of view, from the point of view of technology and if we move forward by strengthening it then the village easily adopts that thing. The village completely takes upon itself the journey of the development and it becomes a guarantee for sustainable development. Your deliberation is based on the ground realities and those things which are based on the ground realities; and I’m confident about the speed with which we want to carry out the rural development; we should keep one thing in mind that just having a desire for the development is not enough. And if we do our job in a time bound manner, if we fully implement our schemes for those who are beneficiaries of our programs, for those who are our target group, there should not be any diversion or delusion in those objects with which the scheme was started and we should try to implement it in a time bound manner and it should not be based on output but it should be rather based on the outcome. Just this is not enough that we have given that much fund but rather this should be the case that this was our target for this kind of budget and we achieved that. And if we make a comprehensive effort and if we do it in a time bound manner then I’m confident that when we complete 75 years of our independence in 2022 by then the pace of our development will be so fast that it can bring about the changes in that rural person’s life who had been waiting for the realisation of his dreams due to the current speed of development in our rural life during the last seventy years. Today, a rural citizen wants to live his life with the same facilities those are available to an urban citizen. The facilities that are available in the cities the same facilities should be available in villages. If the cities are glittering with the electricity then it should be the case with the villages as well, if the urban people can watch TV whenever they want to then the village people should also have the same facility and if a city student can carry out experiment by visit a school laboratory then this opportunity should also be available to rural students. If the city students are receiving technological education through a modern computer then the rural students should also get the same opportunity. They should also get the same opportunity to develop in the technological field.

These days, sometimes teachers are not willing to stay in villages, doctor wants to go back by the night; but the same facilities that are available in the cities, like tap water, like availability of optical fibre network, like the internet connectivity, round the clock availability of electricity and gas connection, if we succeed in providing these facilities then there will be a qualitative change in the life of rural people and it will also encourage people to stay in the village. If a teacher stays in the village, if a doctor, if a public servant stays in the villages then their presence becomes a big reason for brining the change in the rural life. And that is why it is our effort to move ahead in the crucial direction of bringing about the changes in rural life by following the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi, by following the deliberations of Deendayala Upadhyay and also by following the ideals with which people like Nanaji and Jayprakash Ji had lived. Keeping in mind this stream of ideals our efforts are to go ahead in the direction of a change in rural life.

We were not able to provide anything to the last man due to lack of resources in our country; today, I’m not convinced with this kind of argument after forming the government at the central level. There is no dearth of resources in the country if we want to give the rights of the last person of the country to him. If there is any deficiency then it is the lack of good governance. You can notice changes in those states which have good governance and where the government machinery is committed for completing the job in a time bound manner. You see MNREGA, MNREGA has its one unique aspect, it was devised to provide employment to the poor people of rural areas. But the experience suggests that those states where poverty is more prevalent, less work is done under the MNREGA in those states. However, those states where poverty is not prevalent much but if the state is proactive, if good governance is there then they devise more schemes, they attach more people and are able to carry out more work. And that is why it is a continuous effort of our government to emphasise on good governance for the rural development.

Today, the digital dashboard – DISHA - that has been presented to you people, it is an important step in the direction of good governance. Everything can be centrally monitored due to it, things can be reviewed within a stipulated time and if there are shortcomings then the measures should be taken to correct them and if there is a policy problem then the policy should be modified and if person is problem then the person should be corrected. But first thing is that due to this DISHA dashboard this monitoring system will connect with every village of the country. And second thing is if we are able to arrange the vision of government of India, the schemes of the state governments and our members of parliament and district units in one common thread then we will certainly get the desired results if we accord priority to them. And that is why the government of India has done this important work of actively linking the people’s representatives through this DISHA dashboard. Member of Parliament reviews all these schemes by sitting with the district units. Priority is decided according to the needs. Things are not imposed from here. And this has led to a great success in speeding up the work. Success of democracy is not merely how many people cast their votes in the ballot box, how many people go for it. Unfortunately for many years our democracy has been limited to these things only, going to polling booth once in five years, putting ballot paper in the box or just pressing the button. And then whichever government is elected or whichever body is elected, whichever panchayat is elected, they will decide our fate for five years. I think democracy cannot be considered to be limited to this only. An important task of democracy is to choose a government of your own choice, but the success of democracy comes when the country is governed with the participation of its people. Development journey of village must proceed with public participation, development journey of city must proceed with public participation and hence it is important to have dialogue between government and people. There should be a dialogue about life. Right guidelines should move from top to bottom and correct information should move from bottom to top. If this two way channel is perfect then plans, policies and budget allocation, all things can be targeted at right place. And hence, today through a mobile app, a villager can send correct information through his mobile phone, and from the top correct guidance can be delivered to the last man standing and because of this the local body there, which is a government entity, is also under pressure because the villager says: Sir, you told that this is the scheme but my mobile phone says the scheme is different, now you tell me why this has not been implemented here. We are trying to accomplish this extremely big task of making the public aware and giving direction to the work by increasing interaction with the people and understanding its needs through this mobile app using technology.

Even today, many things have been inaugurated throughout the country. In the same way, a very important plant of Phonemics Center of the Agriculture Department was inaugurated today. Animal husbandry and agricultural sector are the focal points of our country’s rural economy. But along with that our rural artisans also have a huge contribution in the rural economy. And therefore, whether it is agriculture, animal husbandry, handloom or people associated with handicrafts, we are working towards strengthening the pillars of our economy by associating them. We have resolved to double the income of Indian farmers by 2022 when it will be 75 years of our independence, we are working towards it. On one hand we have to reduce the input cost for a farmer and on the other had we have to increase produce of farmers. If we have to move forward on both these things then we need to move towards modernity and take help of technology. Animal Husbandry, even if the number of livestock is low, but production of milk should be high. The more we move towards increasing per capita production of milk the more it will help the rural economy.

The demand for honeybee wax in place of chemical wax is increasing all over the world. Now days people world over are moving towards honeybee wax instead of chemical wax. If we encourage beekeeping in our villages, if scientific beekeeping is added to animal husbandry of our farmers it will increase the possibilities of extra income. Today, when people want to get rid of chemical wax, there is very huge market of honeybee wax, India has the capacity to capture this very huge market of honeybee wax, we want to move in that direction.

Be it fisheries, poultry farms, animal husbandry or agriculture, if we add timber farming along with animal husbandry or agriculture and we start timber farming on the edges of the fields then our country which imports timber, it will be saved from importing timber and farmers of our country will be able to earn so much from timber that they will never face crisis in their families. Five to ten years of hard work is needed and automatically results start to come in, we are working towards furthering rural development with such a comprehensive integrated approach.

Some work we do with the intention of completing them in a set time frame. I am glad, earlier dirt and filth became a part of rural life. People continued to tolerate, they assumed that it was their destiny. And gradually as they became aware they began to change. Open Defecation Free, a campaign has been started for the honor of rural mothers and sisters. A campaign for making toilets in a time bound manner was started. And today, gradually the situation has come, that till yesterday, which we used to call toilets, today they are called honor-houses. Honor-house is written on toilets. Really there could not be a greater gift for the honor of mothers and sisters which we can give them by making toilets. Our mothers and sisters have to go in open for defecation, they have to wait till the sun sets, and in the morning they have to go before sunrise. And if nature call comes during day time, how painful it must have been to our mothers and sisters? Till the time it is not experienced, this campaign of Open Defecation Free cannot be successful. And so whenever the issue of making toilets come, look at the dignity of those mothers and sisters, look at their problems. You will also feel that leaving all other work I must first construct and use toilet under Government of India’s toilet scheme.

Over two and a half lakh villages came forward to become open Defecation Free. They did it. I congratulate those villages from my heart, they have taken a very big step for the dignity of our mothers and sisters. And the village that honors its mothers and sisters is a virtuous village for me. I bow down to them, bow down to the villagers who have done this important task.

Today cleanliness has become the nature of our villages. They have also started taking responsibility. Even after 70 years after independence, many of our villages, 18 thousand villages are those which are still living in the 18th century. There is no pillar of electricity, no light bulb, these villages have never seen electricity. We took the initiative, announced from the Red Fort that we will bring electricity to 18,000 villages in 1000 days and I am happy that the state governments also assisted in it, government of India also accelerated it and today we are moving very fast towards that goal of bringing electricity to those 18000 villages, electricity has reached to almost 15000 villages. Now, when electricity has reached the villages we are not going to be stuck there only. Now our dream is that, be it a village house or a city house or any cottage house, every household should have electric bulbs. 24 hours of electricity should be provided, we have taken up this very big task. Poor families had to pay money for an electricity connection and so we have decided to give free connections and provide electricity and I am sure that once electricity is supplied then there will also be a change in their lifestyle, it will improve facilities for their children’s education. Their routine life in inside the house will change, we are moving towards this determined goal of providing round the clock electricity. To change the lives of rural people, there is a need to support the products produced in rural areas as a fashion statement in cities. If things made by ordinary people find some use in big households of a city then it would be a big help for rural economy. If you buy Diwali lamps made by potters from our villages then it will automatically light up the Diwali lamp in that potter’s home and this is not a difficult task for us. If we people living in the cities meet our entire life's needs from the point of view of rural economy then we will also feel a certain newness and there will be a feeling of contentment, therefore cities must become a market place for villages. It should not be that cities become market place only for food grains from villages, if everything that is produced in villages is developed for cities as market place, no village in my country can remain poor, no family in the village can remain poor and we can fulfill that dream of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Ji who had dreamed of Antyodaya. On the birth centenary of Nanaji Deshmukh, a postal stamp has also been released by the Government of India. I believe whenever this postal stamp reaches people through posts, they will naturally become eager to know more about Nanaji. Such great men, whose only purpose in the life was to live for the nation, bringing about changes in rural lives and conducting experiments for others on his own. After Nana ji started the work in villages, all the Presidents who assumed officer after the start of his work they always remained associated with his work. They continued to praise the work of Nana Ji and used to visit to see the projects themselves and this work is the reflection of unique skills of Nanaji. Today, on the birth anniversary of Nana Ji rural people from across the India have come. All the concerned departments of the Government of India have come together and we are moving ahead with the resolve to bring about changes in rural lives. And I’m confident that when we complete 75 years of independence in 2022; every village should make a solemn pledge, every villager should make a solemn pledge that I will do this thing for my village by 2022; and my village and I will collectively do this thing for the country. And if we move forward by taking this solemn vow then we will be able to realise those dreams of up-liftment of villages with which we have started our journey. I will once again urge you that the exhibition which has been organised here, I have gone to see that just a while ago; there are lot of things to tell to those who have come here; there are examples of successful experiments in the exhibition; I was keen to understand them; I used to halt quite often; I tried to see, tried to understand. I was delighted to see what kind of experiments are conducted in every state, what kind of new initiatives have been taken. How the technology has made inroads in the villages? I was happy to see all those things. I’d like to appeal to you people that however busy you might be or however early you may have to leave, please do watch each and everything of this exhibition thoroughly and also take the contact details of the relevant people. And which of those things are suitable to your village and how you can apply those things in your village? When we see something ourselves then we become well versed with the capabilities of that thing. And therefore I will request you people to spend few hours in this exhibition and observe everything and apply good things in your village. I once again salute Nanaji, bow down to Babu Jayprakash Ji and congratulate all my well-informed citizen brothers and sisters from all the villages and I thank you very much.

AKT/AK/SH/KT/RSB/AK

(Release ID :171603)