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LOT TO BE DONE

On the first anniversary of his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said people's expectations are "high" and there is "much more to be done" as he enlisted the work done over the last one year, ranging from "rejuvenating" the economy to initiatives for the poor. He said his government systematically went about addressing the challenges and its endeavour is to transform the quality of life, infrastructure and services. Presenting the report card of his year-old government in two open letters to the people, Modi mentioned various measures and initiatives taken and said, "This is just the beginning. There is much more to be done and I know your expectations are high." He said he had devoted "every element of my body and spirit" in fulfilling with "fullest sincerity and honesty" the responsibility and honour entrusted by people a year ago in him of serving them as "pradhan sevak" (prime worker). "We assumed office at a time when confidence in India story was waning. Unabated corruption and indecisiveness had paralysed the government. People had been left helpless against ever-climbing inflation and economic insecurity. Urgent and decisive action was needed," Modi said. Talking about his government's work, he said, "Runaway prices were immediately brought under control. The languishing economy was rejuvenated, building on stable and policy-driven proactive governance."
He said the economic growth has been revived and India is among the fastest in the world. "Inflation is substantially down. Fiscal prudence has been restored. Confidence is up. Foreign investments have increased," the Prime Minister said, adding "This positive outlook is endorsed by major rating agencies and international institutions across the world." The government, he said, has implemented the pending "bold reforms" like decontrol of diesel, raising Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit on insurance and defence and is moving ahead to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
He said the Indian economy is expected to grow at over 8 per cent in the current fiscal, up from 7.4 per cent in 2014-15. The fiscal deficit is budgeted to come down to 3.9 per cent of the GDP this fiscal, from 4 per cent a year ago.
The Prime Minister said his government is dedicated to the poor, marginalised and those left behind as it is "guided by the principle of Antyodaya". "We are working towards empowering them to become our soldiers in the war against poverty," he said. He said discretionary allotment of the country's precious natural resources to a "chosen few" was replaced with transparent auction and "firm steps" were taken against black money, from setting up an SIT and passing a stringent black money law, to generating international consensus against the same. "Most importantly, we have been able to restore trust in the government," Modi said, adding "Uncompromising adherence to the principle of purity, in action as well as intent, ensured a corruption-free government." The Prime Minister said "significant changes" have been brought about in the work culture, "nurturing a combination of empathy as well as professionalism, systems as well as breaking of silos."
State governments have been made equal partners in the quest for national development, building the spirit of Team India, he said.
He said "numerous measures and schemes" have been initiated - from making school toilets to setting up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS, from providing vaccination cover to children to initiating a people-driven 'Swacch Bharat' mission, from ensuring a minimum pension to labourers to providing social security to the common man, from enhancing support to farmers hit by natural calamities to defending their interests at WTO. He also mentioned other initiatives like "empowering one and all" with the rule on self-attestation to delivering subsidies directly to people's banks, from universalising the banking system to funding the unfunded small businesses, from irrigating fields to rejuvenating 'Ma Ganga', from moving towards 24x7 power to connecting the nation through road and rail, from building homes for the homeless to setting up smart cities and from connecting the northeast to prioritising development of eastern India. "One year ago, you had entrusted me with the task of building a new India and putting a derailed economy back on track. We have achieved a lot," he said, adding "this is just the beginning. There is much more to be done and I know your expectations are high."
"Bold reforms pending for decades have been implemented," Modi said, stressing that the benefits of growth should reach all sections of society, especially poor, farmers and women.
"Economic growth benefits all Indians. Growth, however, has meaning only if it empowers the poor, farmers, women, as well as middle and neo-middle classes of all communities. To enable us to continue paying remunerative prices to our farmers, we secured a permanent 'peace clause' at the WTO," Modi said. He added that through a financial inclusion drive a record 15 crore plus bank accounts have been opened and deposits of over Rs 15,800 crore mobilised. An affordable social security system including pension, life insurance and accident insurance has already witnessed 6.75 crore enrolments in its first week, he said. MUDRA has been set up with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore to help small businessmen, who despite being the biggest job creators have historically been starved of credit, he said. The government, Modi said, is focusing on ease of doing business and working through 'Make in India' initiative to create new jobs. The other government initiatives include transferring cooking gas subsidies directly into the bank accounts to ensure that "right amount of subsidy, reaches the right people, at the right time". Besides increasing the FDI limits in insurance, railways and defence production, Modi said, "We have embraced the states as equal partners in national development, working as Team India in the spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism."
Political interference in public sector banking decisions is a thing of the past, he said, adding "transparent coal auctions and allotments have mobilised potential revenues of Rs 3.35 lakh crore to coal-bearing states over the lifespan of mines. And reform in the Mines Act has replaced a discretionary mechanism with a transparent auction process." Modi said nearly Rs 1 lakh crore of public investment has been allocated in this year's budget to improve physical as well as digital connectivity. "Friends, this is just the beginning. Our objective is to transform quality of life, infrastructure and services. Together we shall build the India of your dreams and that of our freedom fighters. In this, I seek your blessings and continued support," he concluded.

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