Making Indian lives easier
Amitabh Kant & Amit Kapoor
2019 was a year of celebration for the women of Nandan Nagar, a locality in Agartala, the capital city of Tripura. Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, LPG gas connections made their way into the kitchens of several BPL households, forming part of the mammoth 83 million connections installed nationwide. Eliminating serious health hazards for women who previously used fossil fuels for cooking, the PMUY scripted a success story of empowerment, sustainability and vastly improved ease of living in this small neighborhood. To the south of Agartala, is the town of Santirbazar where the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana has proved to be a catalyst of transformation towards improving living standards. Almost one thousand homes across fourteen villages have been constructed for underprivileged beneficiaries under the PMAY. Building of homes through credit linked subsidies is a significant step in the direction of equitable access to affordable housing, especially for women beneficiaries in Santirbazar. Across India, the PMAY has led to the construction of 30 million pucca houses, effectively addressing housing shortage and delivering a home and hearth to countless families.
As the nation strives for ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishvaas’ – 125,000 kms of new roads and water supply to 150 million homes in the next 5 years, 20 million houses for the rural poor by 2022, a tuberculosis free India and a 450 Gw renewable energy target by 2030 - are some of the spots shining bright on India’s ease of living horizon. The Prime Minister describes Ease of Living as a simple concept – “where a common man does not have to exercise himself to get government clearances, he gets his due rights easily”. Over the past few years, the Government of India has taken massive strides towards strengthening individual welfare – be it through providing shelter, electricity, clean water or augmenting financial and health inclusion.
24x7 Power for All – In April 2018, Leisang a small village in the inaccessible hilly terrain of Manipur made headlines. With power lines reaching Leisang, the last village to be electrified in the country, 100% electrification was achieved in India, lighting up over 21 crore homes. The International Energy Agency commended our efforts by stating “India’s move to energize every village in the country with electricity is one of the greatest success stories in the world in 2018.” Electrification is also a direct enabler of Ease of Doing Business through creation of abundant avenues for maximizing industrial output and contributing to economic growth. Based on the core principle of energy efficiency, the UJALA scheme is a flagship programme by the Government of India generating awareness about efficient lighting and reduction of energy bills. The Deen Dayal Upadhayay Grameen Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) to ensure rural power distribution has quite literally proved to be the light at the end of the tunnel for millions of Indians.
For us, rivers are not mere physical entities; for us a river is a living unit, announced the Prime Minister on World Rivers Day, recently. This aptly describes the significance occupied by water in Indian culture and public psyche. Equitable access to drinking water and sanitation are essential prerequisites of a dignified life. Located at the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, Tyakshi is the last Indian village in the union territory of Ladakh. The success of the Jal Jeevan Mission by the Indian government is superbly highlighted by the constant provision of safe drinking water across households and institutions in this remote border village. Launched in 2014, the Swacch Bharat Mission has reformed the sanitation landscape in India, leading to universal sanitation coverage and tremendous behavior change around open defecation. Widespread citizen led local awareness campaigns like the ‘No Toilet, No Bride’ initiative by the Haryana Government, which encouraged people to not marry their daughters into homes without toilets, resulted in the resounding success of the programme.
India is Online – Spanning across Srinagar to Secunderabad and Imphal to Indore, 430 million Indians from every corner of the country are now connected to the banking system. This staggering shift has been driven by the JAM trinity which forms the bedrock of India’s tech-driven financial inclusion efforts and is bringing everything from ration to administration to the doorstep of every Indian. Payments in India have been revolutionized with the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with financial transactions one hassle-free click away. Digital infrastructure has broken down several barriers and witnessed phenomenally democratization in India, now considered a public utility and not just accessible to the privileged few. Technology has connected Indians across states and social strata into a cohesive network, bridging the gap between hope and opportunity. To be contd