…welfare of socially and marginalized sections of society and to ensure that the nation’s resources serve the poorest of the poor, the last man at the bottom of the pyramid, as was the vision of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay whose birth centenary we are celebrating this year. In my own area of power, I am delighted to share with you that, today, India is a power-surplus country. We have sufficient coal in our country to ensure that we never have shortage of power. We have been able to focus on energy efficiency and very large quantity of LED bulbs, energy-efficient fans, tubelights, have been distributed across the country, which will save nearly Rs 40,000 crore for the people of India in their electricity bills.
We are also rapidly progressing in taking power to the nook and corner of the country, and well before the deadline of a 1000 days set by honourable Prime Minister, we will ensure energy reaches every village in the country. And, we are rapidly moving to make sure that everybody gets power connection in their homes by 15th August, 2022, the date when India completes 75 years of independence, and by when the Prime Minister’s dream and vision is that every citizen of India will have his own home with 24 hours electricity, clean drinking water, a good toilet, and good quality facilities for education and health near his home.
This government has also taken up several new initiatives in the Power Ministry like UDAY to strengthen the working of the DISCOMs, distribution companies, which will save a state like Andhra Pradesh over Rs 6000 crore every year due to the implementation of UDAY. I am very happy to share with you that renewable energy has been given a massive thrust by this government, and in the last 3 years, solar power capacity has increased by 370%. Last year saw the largest increase of wind capacity by 5,400 MW, and a huge focus on transmission lines has helped South India get power at very reasonable prices throughout the day, at all times, to ensure that they can give the people of South India 24 hours power.
I was seeing the Vidyut Pravah app just before I came in, today, power is available all over India at Rs 3.09 per unit of electricity anywhere in the country. I am very happy that Andhra Pradesh is also benefitting from these steps, which have reduced the cost of power to the DISCOMs, brought down the losses and will help to ensure 24 hours power supply for all homes, for all offices, for all businesses and give a boost to the economy of Andhra Pradesh.
During the year, we have also approved 4 solar parks of 4000 MW capacity in Andhra Pradesh, and in the last year, nearly 2,187 MW of wind power has been added during the year 2016-17 in Andhra Pradesh, which is the highest achieved by any state.
I am also happy to share with you that we have taken up three cities – Tirupati, Vishakhapatnam and Kakinada – under the smart city development programme. Already, 188 crores have been released to government of AP for development of Tirupati as a smart city. I am delighted that due to the efforts of government of India and government of Andhra Pradesh, nearly all 110 cities and towns of Andhra Pradesh have been certified Open Defecation-Free (ODF).
The Vijayawada Metro Project has also been given in-principle approval. So far, 97% Aadhar penetration demonstrates the commitment of the people of Andhra Pradesh for faster roll-out and compliance with the digital technology world. Under the Pahal scheme, through which direct benefit transfer is given for LPG subsidy, 2.91 crore people are getting the direct benefit transfer of their subsidy into their bank account in Andhra Pradesh. I would like to thank 4.7 lakh consumers who gave up their LPG subsidy under the Give It Up scheme of the government of India. And, because of they are giving up their subsidy, the government was able to already give 63,517 BPL families free LPG connection under the Ujjwala yojana, out of this 25,305 families belong to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe families.
We have focused on soil health cards for farmers of Andhra Pradesh and 9 soil testing laboratories have been established in the state, and 58 have been upgraded. Nearly 53.15 lakh soil health cards have been issued so far in the state. Under the India BPO Promotion Scheme, an in-principle approval has been given to set up a BPO in 7 cities of Andhra Pradesh, which will generate 2,350 new BPO seats in the state.
Software technology parks of India centres in Kakinada, Tirupati, Vijayawada and Vizag are being set up. Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, by which we are focusing to make everybody an owner of his own house, 110 projects have been sanctioned for construction of 1.9 lakh homes at an investment of Rs 10,578 crores so far. About 1,190 crores have been approved in the last 3 years under the National Disaster Response Fund, and about 1,520 crores have been given to the state under the State Disaster Response Fund during the last 3 years.
I must compliment the government of Andhra Pradesh for conceptualizing a world-class peoples’ capital in Amravati, which is being modelled to become a green city with 51% of green spaces and 10% water bodies. We are also discussing with the government to have electric vehicles as the main source of transport in this beautiful new city, apart from that, the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme, the mega-river linking project, has entered the Limca Book of Records – the first and fastest such irrigation project in the country to be completed in time within budget.
We hope to create 50,000 direct jobs in Andhra Pradesh making Andhra Pradesh India’s Internet of Things hub. In Tirupati, we are seeing the beginnings of an education hub with the setting up of the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research, Indian Institute of Technology in Chittoor, and Indian Institute of Information Technology in Sri City, Chittoor.
As Prime Minister says, the vision of new India can only be realized through the combined effort and cooperation of all states. New India is about opportunity and aspirations. We want to empower every Indian and give our citizens to take India to new heights in the years to come. We are working to transform India into a prosperous, highly educated, healthy, secure, corruption-free, energy-abundant, environmentally-clean, and globally influential nation. Thank you.
One more statistic that I will just share with you before I conclude, is the huge impact the Mudra Yojana has had in making the youth of our country job creators instead of job seekers. Under the Shishu Yojana, 21,030 beneficiaries under Mudra, under the Kishore Yojana 10,947 beneficiaries, and under the Tarun Yojana 1,188 beneficiaries have together secured loans worth 330 crores in Chittoor district alone, one district. In the country, over 7 crore beneficiaries have received loans over 3.17 lakh crore rupees; 7 crore beneficiaries – over 3.17 lakh crore rupees.
Chittoor alone as I said, there are nearly 33,000 beneficiaries. These are people who are becoming entrepreneurs, who are becoming self-reliant, who are becoming the bearers of the torch to create new opportunities, introduce new ideas, become self-sufficient and create new working opportunities for themselves, for their families and their colleagues.
So, there is huge focus on financial inclusion, huge focus on giving everybody a Jan Dhan account, huge focus to give social security through Jan Suraksha accounts, huge focus to ensure farmers’ crop is getting 100% insurance benefit even if the loss is as low as 33%, not 50%, which it was earlier, at very low premiums. A huge focus to promote irrigation facilities so that farmers become drought-proof.
All in all, the effort is to make India a strong, secure and self-reliant country.
Ans: I am delighted to share with you that while India already has over 6,700 MW of nuclear power generating stations, we are already implementing another 6,700 MW of nuclear plants. Recently, the Prime Minister in Russia has finalized two more stages of Kudankulam atomic energy power plant. And apart from that, we have given approval for 10 units of 700 MW each, totalling 7000 MW, which will be indigenously developed atomic energy stations which will come up in India.
Q: Sir, what about FDI in power sector?
Ans: Overall, the country has seen the highest FDI last year of $63 billion, which is nearly 4 lakh crore rupees FDI in the country. In that, we are finding good investments coming up in transmission, coming up in renewable energy. In fact, as I said, solar power has grown by 370% in the last 3 years, wind power has seen record addition last year. So, FDI is coming in in different sectors, including the power sector.
Q: Sir, after the demonetization, was there are impact between payment of bill and (inaudible)?
Ans: Yes, in fact, demonetization, to my mind, is the country’s biggest reform and in our fight against black money and corruption and illegal transactions, demonetization will go down in the history as an epoch-making episode, it will go down in golden letters. More so because we are now introducing GST (Goods and Services Tax), and for GST to succeed it is important that all transactions come within the formal economy and everybody pays their taxes correctly. So, that gradually the tax rates can also come down and inflation will also come down, because multiple states’ taxes can be stopped.
To promote that, the government is giving a big thrust to digital payments and I am delighted to share with you that the figures show that digital payments have almost doubled since demonetization. And, in terms of number of transactions, it is several-fold and what we are finding is that the common man today is getting connected with digital payment.
Today, there was the making of Developed India, exhibition and festival, which I inaugurated, the Modi Fest today in Tirupati. And they were telling me that BHIM app is so easy to use and it is fast catching up in rural areas, common man is also started using BHIM app. And, I have a prediction that I make many times that BHIM app has such a power of technology that today it is spreading rapidly in India, but in a few years, BHIM app will be used worldwide to transact which will immortalize the memory of Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in the whole world through the application of BHIM app.
Q: Sir, about the Kudankulam plant…..(inaudible)?
Ans: Kudankulam has already been set up in collaboration with Russia during the recent visit of Prime Minister to Kudankulam. Two more stages – 5 and 6, have been approved, now we will start working on expanding Kudankulam by stage 5 and stage 6. More details are being worked out in terms of capacity and costing.
Ans:We will be taking it up very quickly. Now that the agreement has been entered into, the work of this really comes under a different department of Atomic Energy, so I wouldn’t know the timeframe but the work on that will be taken up very quickly.
Q: Sir, the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a view on demonetization (inaudible)?
Ans: Well, I have a great respect for Dr Manmohan Singh who is considered quite a noted economist. But, sadly, his school of thought and his economics, in which he has been in the helm of affairs of this country for 10 years as Prime Minister, before that for several years as Finance Minister, before that for several years as Chief Economic Advisor, before that for several years as Governor of RBI. After so many years working for government, his economics has brought this country to this state of affairs that there is such a large amount of poverty. The economy was in shambles in 2014 when the people of India threw his government out and rejected his politics and his economics. So, therefore, I think he is not able to understand the merits of demonetization. He is not able to understand that the common man of India is honest and he likes honesty. The common man of India wants an end to black money and corruption. Therefore, they are standing behind Narendra Modi.
You see the election results one after the other, after 8th November when demonetization took place concluding with the results in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, where more than 80% seats were won by the Bhartiya Janta Party and our allies. 4 governments – Goa, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand – out of 5, formed by BJP and our allies. Look at the tremendous response in elections across the state – Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Faridabad in Haryana, Chandigarh. Our popularity has increased even in states like West Bengal and Tripura where we were almost non-existent earlier. In Manipur, our vote share went up from 2% to 30%, 1 seat to 21 seats.
So, the whole people of India are honest, they like honesty, they like good government and they believe and trust Prime Minister Modi’s efforts to end corruption. Unfortunately, Dr Manmohan Singh comes from a party, the congress, which is the symbol of corruption in India. And, we cannot at any point of time support any of the policies that Dr Manmohan Singh articulates. Because, those policies are the policies that led to Coal Gate, loss of 1,86,000 crores in the coal scam, loss of 1,76,000 crores in the 2G Spectrum scam, the commonwealth scam, Antrik Divas… if I start talking about the scams this press conference will go on till tomorrow morning, that many scams the congress has done.
Whereas Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave out coal blocks by auction by which the states will get over Rs 3,30,000 crore – Rs 3,30,000 crore! Highest ever collection in spectrum auction, 1,10,000 crores under the Prime Minister Modi government. So, this is a government that is for the poor, for the farmers, for women and youth, for the economically and socially backward classes and we are working for the people of India, not for the few people for which the congress is holding forth. Thank you.
Ans: Well, it’s very unfortunate that we had drought in different parts of the country, and now in some parts of the country over-producti0n, because of which there was, facing a price pressure. It’s very unfortunate thing and this government expresses condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the farmer agitation. Judicial enquiry is being set up. But it is very sad that Rahul Gandhi, congress leader, chooses instead of caring for the farmers, instead of trying to cool down the passions, is trying to inflame the passions and create more disturbance and more harm for the farmers and the people in that area. Because by the activities of the congress, it is not going to help to stabilize the situation or bring things back to normal.
In fact, today a video has been released in which a congress lawmaker is instigating the people or mobs to burn and torch and put fire to a police station. If that is the politics of congress and that is the politics of Rahul Gandhi, I think the people of India are correct when they outrightly reject the congress and are fast making India congress-mukt Bharat. Thank you.
Ans: Very good question. Here also I would like to share with all of you that in the congress government, sadly, they set up such unviable projects, so many projects, so much capacity based on illogical calculations of demand or illogical calculations of shortage that today there is a large capacity which does not have power purchase agreements, does not have ability to use Indian coal. Today, India is producing so much coal that there should be no need to import thermal coal in the country. But, in the last 10 years of the congress government, they set up thousands and thousands of megawatt of power plant capacity based on imported coal where today despite having enough coal I cannot supply coal. They have to continue to import expensive coal and, therefore, become unviable and are becoming stressed and stranded projects.
It’s a very sad reflection on the previous congress government that they could never think of increasing production. They instead preferred to import goods and design power plants based on imported coal for which the country will have to suffer now for 25 years till those plants keep importing coal. So, I think the people of India and, particularly, our media friends should ask the congress who is responsible for lakhs and lakhs and lakhs of crores worth of coal which we will have to continue to import because of their failure to produce enough coal.
Modi government in barely one, one and a half year, made India coal-surplus, made India power-surplus. Why the congress could not do this in 68 years is a matter of shame for the country. However, this government cares for the investments made in the power sector and I have had a meeting only day before yesterday with all the bankers and all the state utilities and DISCOMs to work for a solution towards sorting out the problem of these stressed assets also. We have drawn up the broad contours of a solution and I am confident that we will find a good resolution and remove the stress in the power sector.
June 7, 2017 Addressing the Media at BJP HQ in New Delhi.