Dr Sambit Para explains why the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) has decided to celebrate the birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘Sewa Saptah’ (Service Week). It is the most realisitc manifestation of the initiatives and the approach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ever since he started serving the country as ‘Pradhan Sewak” since 2014.
The last six years have seen a structural change in the government’s welfare policies. Issues like Cleanliness, building toilets, banking the unbanked, insuring the uninsured be it farmers for crop damages or the poor for the medical treatment, plugging leakages in the schemes for the poor and the marginalized have been the hall mark of the Prime Minister during last six years. The recent clarion call for making ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ with greatest focus on the MSMEs is another game changer whose maximum benefits accrue to those who need it the most.
‘Service before Self’ has been the basic approach of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. He himself hasn’t taken a single day leave during the last six years. His tireless efforts have set up new benchmarks which have establaished India as a global power and the Prime Minister himself as the most popular global leader cutting across continents.
The BJP’s uniqueness can also be understood from the fact that the manifestation of a celebration is done by serving the poor and mariganised sections of the society unlike in the past when boisterous celebrations by parties for their leadership who run political parties as personal fiefdoms.
What might seem inconsequential or trivial to the socio-economically well off sections, actually make a lot of difference in the lives of common people. By building over 10.5 crore toilets for the poor, now India’s 99 per cent poplation has access to toliets. It is almost a three fold increase in terms of coverage since 2014. More than Rs 8.5 crore free LPG connections have been provided bringing great relief to homemakers who were compelled to breathe toxic fumes from burning of Kerosene oil or wood or other such fuels.
Medical treatment for the poor has been a major challenge in our country as the expenditure on it has been instrumental in pushing weaker sections further down the economic line. Prime Minister Modi launched a unique Ayushman Bharat scheme under which free treatment upto Rs 5 lakh is provided through a health insurance cover whose premium is pad by the government. More than one crore patients have been treated so far under this scheme.
There have been more than 11 crore beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sammn Nidhi Yojana under which the small and marginalized farmers have been provided Rs 6000 cash in their bank accounts as direct benefit.
Serving the poor during Covid-19
Facing the unprecedented challenge thrown by Covid-19, as a part of the Rs 1.70 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, the Government announced free food grains and cash payment to women and poor senior citizens and farmers. The swift implementation of the package is being continuously monitored by central and state governments. More than42crore poor people received financial assistance of Rs 65,454crore under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package.
Under this package, Rs 10,325 crore was credited to 20.65crore(100%) women Jan Dhan account holders as first installment.Rs. 10,315 crore credited to20.62crore (100%) women Jan Dhan account holders with second installment.Rs. 10,312 crore credited to20.62 crore (100%) women Jan Dhan account holders with third installment.
Rs 2814.5 crore disbursed to about 2.81 crore old age persons, widows and disabled persons in two installments.Benefits transferred to all 2.81 crore beneficiaries in two installments.
Around 2.3 crore Building and Construction workers received financial support amounting to Rs 4312.82crore. So far 113Lakh MT of food grains have been lifted by 36 States/UTs covering around 74 crore beneficiaries.
Under Atma Nirbhar Bharat, Government announced Free food grains supply and Chana to migrants for 2 months.As on 19th June ,2020, 6.3 LMT foodgrains has been lifted by 36 States/UTs and 34,074 MT of Chana have also been dispatched to States/UTs for the Scheme.
Total 8.52 crore cylinders have been booked under Ujjwala Scheme and already delivered for April and May 2020.
These are just a few glimpses. A stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crore has already been helping in kick starting the economy. A large number of workers are coming back, factories have restarted, production and supply chains are being spruced up as the Indian society has shown great confidence and resilience in these testing times. What has made this happen is the quick thinking and immediate implementation of the welfare measures by the Modi government.
Leading from the front, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself, has been continuously communicating with the people turning this adversity into opportunity where the government worked in tandem with the society, both of them reflecting the spirit of service in their actions. The way common people came forward to help their fellow citizens during Covid-19 was a result of the inspirational leadership and all inclusive approach adopted by the Prime Minister during the time of crisis. His ability to take everyone along inspires millions to serve our great nation selflessly, relentlessly,tirelessly. Hence there couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate Prime Minister’s birthday .
(The writer is national spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party.The views expressed are personal.)