Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo: IANS)
New Delhi: Taking a leaf out of former US President Barack Obama's famous "Yes we can" speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hailed the "new India" where people say "We will" rather than asking "Will we?".
"Five years ago people would ask will we ever be able to be free of dirt? Will we ever remove policy paralysis? Will we ever eliminate corruption? Today people say 'we will', instead of asking 'will we?'. We will be a Swachh Bharat, we will be a nation free from corruption, we will make good governance a mass movement, the word 'will' that earlier reflected a pessimistic system now reflects an optimistic spirit of a youthful nation," Modi said in his video address to a news conclave.
He emphasised that the essence of the new India is how "We the people of India" have risen above self-interest and look at society's interest, and a manifestation of sacrifice that would have made Mahatma Gandhi proud.
"Why else would the poorest of the poor deposit over Rs one lakh crore in Jan Dhan accounts despite this being a zero balance account. Why else would our middle class give up their own gas subsidy? Why else would they give up their railway concessions in just one request? Maybe this is the manifestation of what was spoken a century ago by Gandhiji. Today there is a sincere desire to not only be a spectator of India's transformation, but also to play their own part in it. No wonder, even the number of taxpayers has risen," he said.
The Prime Minister said that the country is witness to changes that were earlier unthinkable. "In a state like Haryana, it was not thinkable that recruitment for government jobs could be done in a transparent manner. But go to any village in Haryana and people are talking about transparency in recruitment process," he said.
Modi further said that the new India is not about a select few, but about the voice of each and every individual.
"Today, we are seeing that every citizen wants to do something for the nation. Every citizen wants to contribute or give up something for the nation. Like eliminating single-use plastic is not just Narendra Modi's idea. The people of the country have taken it upon themselves to make India free of single use plastic as we will celebrate Gandhiji's 150th birth anniversary on October 2. These are extraordinary times and we should not leave any opportunity that enables us to transform our nation," he said.
Taking a dig at the former UPA dispensation, he said that for many years a culture was perpetrated where aspirations of the common man became a bad word and opportunities were available only to a select few.
"Doors opened depending on your contacts, success depended on whether or not you belonged to an old boys' club, big cities, selected big institutions and big families. The economic culture of licence raj and permit raj struck at the heart of individual ambitions," he said.
He added that in present times things are changing for the better. "We see a spirit of new India in the vibrant start of an ecosystem. Thousands of talented youngsters are creating fantastic platforms, showcasing the spirit of enterprise," he said.
He said that the core of new India lies individual aspirations, collective endeavours and a spirit of ownership for national progress. "New India is about participative democracy, a citizen-centric government and proactive citizenry. New India is the era of responsive people and responsive government," he said.
He appreciated the efforts of the young generation to power the vibrancy of the new India. He said that in the new India surnames do not matter but only the ability to excel.
"Courageous youngsters from small towns and which were not even heard of earlier are powering the new India. They do not belong to established families or have big bank balances. What they have in plenty is dedication and aspiration. They are converting that aspiration into excellence and making India proud. This for me is the new India spirit. This is an India where the surnames of the youth don't matter. What matters is their ability to make their own name. This is an India where corruption is never an option," said Modi.
Enumerating his government's achievements he said that it has done everything possible to further individual aspirations and collective efforts for India's betterment.
"Be it steps to improve ease of living, be it keeping prices under control, building 1.25 crore homes in five years, electrifying all villages, providing water to every household, improving health as well as education infrastructure, the government has done it all. Our aim is to create a right enabling environment for our youth," said Modi.
He said that the scale and extent to which this government has worked is "mind boggling".
"We have reached the very last mile at a phenomenal speed and an unparalleled scale. "36 crore bank accounts have been opened, 20 crore loans given to small enterprises, over eight crore gas connections to ensure smoke-free kitchens, the pace of road constructions has doubled. These are just a few examples," he said.