Mumbai: The Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has said that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been working in a decisive and transparent manner, with the vision of development and with the goal of making India a super-economy in the world. He said that the 100 days of the government has been just the beginning, and that many more decisive actions and bold initiatives are going to be made in the coming years. The Minister said this, while addressing a press conference on 100 days of the Government, in Mumbai today.
Shri Gadkari told the media gathering that the repeal of Article 370 and the re-organisation of Jammu & Kashmir has opened a new chapter of development in the region and will put an end to terrorism. He said that hunger, poverty and unemployment in the region were because of Article 370; even reservation could not be implemented due to this. The development issues of Leh and Ladakh have also been solved, he added.
Stating that the banning of teen talaq has been a big achievement, Shri Gadkari said that it has provided justice to Muslim women, on humanitarian grounds. Even opposition parties supported it and the Parliament discussed it thoroughly, he added. “Forget teen talaq, there used to be even talaq on WhatsApp. Teen talaq is now a crime and it has been decided to give jail and fine for it”.
On road development, the Minister informed the media: “Road transport projects worth Rs. 60,000 crore are being executed. We are trying to build all-season roads. By signing MoU between Punjab, Kashmir and Haryana, we are trying to utilize water of three rivers in the region. 7 pending projects are being completed and water will go to the fag end of Rajashtan, benefiting 8 districts”.
The Minister said: “We are trying to promote e-vehicles. GST on e-vehicles has been reduced from 12 to 5 percent. We are incentivising ethanol making from sugar, maze etc. because it is import-substituting, cost-effective and pollution-free. We import 7 lakh crore worth of petroleum products. Using ethanol will save 40,000 crore rupees. Recently, a bike run on ethanol was inaugurated, soon we will try running autos and buses too on ethanol”.
He further said: “In Nagpur, we are selling waste water for Rs 180 crore. We will extract methane and CO2 from it and mix it with vegetable, meat waste and solid sludge and will run 400 buses, 150 cars and 100 trucks on it. Bhandara, Wardha, Gondia, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Nagpur will be made diesel-free in next 5 years. Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes will see trains running at the speed of 160 km/hr. Delhi Mumbai highway with cost of 1 lakh crore is being built which will make Delhi-Mumbai travel possible in just 12 hours by road. 50,000 crore rupees are being spent to remove pollution from Delhi”.
Observing how India fares very badly in number of road accidents, the Minister said: “Amendment of Motor Vehicle Act will improve road safety. 2 percent of the national GDP is being wasted on accidents. 5 lakh accidents happen and 1.5 lakh die every year on our roads, 2.5 – 3 lakh become handicapped. This will come down due to the amendment”. Responding to a suggestion, the Minister said that linking insurance premiums and driver’s accident record could be considered in the future.
Elaborating on this, Shri Gadkari said: “Projects worth 14,000 crore are being implemented to remove black spots on roads; 786 black spots have been identified already. Licensing and road safety rules will be strictly implemented. Earlier, 30 percent licenses were bogus. Multiple licenses for one person is not possible now due to re-registration.
No one will be spared. Intelligent license system is being brought in. CCTV footage makes escape impossible. Even contractors can be fined for bad roads.The fear of law is being restored.”
The Minister said that the banking sector will become stronger after capital infusion of Rs. 70,000 crore. Amended UAPA Act gives enhanced power to punish terrorists, Consumer Affairs Act is being modified and Central Consumer Protection Authority has been strengthened, said Shri Gadkari.
The Minister further said that 1.5 crore people will benefit from Pradhan Mantri Laghu Vyapari Pension Yojana, which provides 3000 rupees pension for small and marginal traders and shopkeepers after 60 years of age. He states that around 2 crore houses will be built under PM Awas Yojana by 2020-21 and that 4.26 lakh homes are being built in urban areas at a cost of Rs 23,400 crore; they will have electricity, LPG connection and toilet in it, he added.
Shri Gadkari told the media that Ayushman Bharat is the world’s biggest insurance scheme, which provides a cover of 5 lakh rupees to 10 crore families and 50 crore people. “16,000 hospitals are on the panel, 41 lakh patients have till now benefitted. 10 crore cards have been made till date. Further, 75 new medical colleges with 15,700 seats will be started to fill the shortfall of 7 lakh doctors in India.”
The Minister highlighted that Ujjwala Yojana has attained the target of 8 crore beneficiaries. 17.39 lakh 5-kg cylinders have been given, be added.
Speaking on PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, the Minister said: “8,955 crore rupees have been given to farmers in the first 100 days of the government”.
Replying to a media query on NHAI, the Minister said that fund availability is not an issue for starting new infrastructure projects, new projects worth 5 lakh crore will be awarded by the end of the financial year. Bharatmala will see investment of Rs 34000 crore, Shri Gadkari said. “The BOT projects which are old have started earning revenue for the government and soon other projects will be monetised too.” He gave example of one such project which was bought by the private sector at a higher-than-anticipated price.
Speaking on the MSME sector, the Minister said:”MSME sector contributes 29 percent of GDP and 40 percent of exports. It has generated 11 crore jobs. We have decided to take its share in GDP to 50 percent with addition of 5 crore jobs in next 5 years. The newly created Samadhan portal will remove the problem of delayed payments to MSME sector. Bharat Craft, a platform like Amazon and Alibaba, will be created and in next 2 years its turnover will be 10 lakh crore rupees. We have increased import duty on Agarbattis and are trying to make khullads compulsory in 400 railway stations. ADB and World bank will route their finance through urban co-operatives.
20 MSMEs are already listed on the stock exchange. Government is encouraging more MSMEs to get listed, by investing 10 percent equity in 50,000 industries, a sum to the tune of Rs. 50,000 crore. Bamboo, honey, fishing, handloom and handicraft clusters will be made. 115 promising districts have been identified, which will create 50 lakh jobs.”
He further said, “the aeroplanes used in Republic Day Parade and Independence day events used Bio-Aviation fuel, there is big scope for bio-fuel in aviation sector.”
Shri Gadkari stressed that job creation is the focus of the government. While talking about Mumbai infrastructure, he suggested that all roads in Mumbai should be made from concrete and waste water should not be discharged in sea but should be diverted towards Nashik, to be used in various plants to extract fuel from it.