Narendra Modi's 70th birthday: 10 initiatives that make him popular

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
From breaking taboos, connecting with the masses through Mann Ki Baat to giving a push to Khadi and promoting 'Vocal for local', Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed to strike the right chords that resonate with rural India. Despite a record-high unemployment rate, a slowing economy and widespread agrarian distress, Indians overwhelmingly back PM Modi. With Modi turning 70 today, a look at 10 of his initiatives that have made a difference to the lives of citizens.

1. Contribution of PM Modi in turnaround of Khadi industry in India

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) announced in May 2020 that its turnover for 2019-20 reached Rs 88,887 crore, "which no FMCG company can match", powered by the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is the biggest success story of KVIC ever scripted, it said.

"The last five years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has seen the widest acceptance of "brand Khadi" in India", it added.

Khadi's unprecedented growth during the Modi era can also be gauged by the fact that Khadi production since 2015-16, has grown at the average of 19.45% per annum which was merely 6.25% during the previous government from 2004 to 2014.

PM Modi, had in 2017 referred to Khadi not as a cloth but a "movement" which should be taken forward as a campaign.

2. Atmanibhar Bharat, Vocal with Local

In May, Modi said the country should view the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to achieve economic self-reliance. In his address to the nation, he stressed on the importance of promoting “local” products. He called it Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (or Self-reliant India Mission). He urged people to buy and endorse local products, stating that coronavirus pandemic has made us realise the importance of local traders, that has helped the country sustain during the coronavirus lockdown.

3. Modi’s ‘Mission Honey’

Modi spoke about 'Mission Honey' scheme while addressing farmers in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district in December 2016. This scheme is now becoming a popular choice amongst poor farmers, India Today reported. The scheme was picked up in a big way by KVIC and Banas Dairy. Today, India has risen from the 12th position to 6the in global rankings for beekeeping.

4. Mann Ki Baat

A regular conversation between the leader of the nation and the common public was introduced with Mann Ki Baat, a monthly radio programme. Through this, Modi emphasised the importance of the government-run All India Radio and broadcast platforms like Doordarshan. In the 20-minute programme, Modi covered several topics, starting from cleanliness in the first episode in October 2014 to combating coronavirus in August.

5. Swachh Bharat Mission 

Wielding a broom, Modi took to the streets on Gandhi Jayanti to launch the Swacch Bharat (Clean India) mission in 2014. Along with Swacch Bharat, India launched the 'open defecation free' mission and intensified the construction of toilets in each household.

6. Breaking taboos: Modi talks about open defecation, sanitary pads in I-Day speech

In 2014, PM Modi spoke about the problem India faces with open defecation. He had declared that his government’s aim is to ensure that all districts in India become open defecation free.

Realising that some may say toilet talk is an unusual topic for an Independence Day speech, Modi ffered a justification.

"People may criticise me for talking about toilets from the Red Fort. But I am from a poor family, I have seen poverty first hand. For the poor to get dignity, it has to start from here."

Then in 2020, for the first time in the history of independent India, the country’s Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort talked about the importance of menstrual hygiene as PM Modi aims to normalise the topic of menstrual hygiene and promote health and welfare of women. Menstruation is often regarded as a taboo subject in most homes in India.

Prime Minister Modi, by talking about Sanitary napkins, the importance of women’s healthcare and what the government is doing to ensure that, has broken a crucial barrier.

7. Jan Dhan Yojana & Ujjwal Yojna

In an attempt to bring the majority of the country into the formal economy, the Modi government provided zero-balance bank accounts under Jan Dhan Yojana. Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwal Yojna, more than five crore BPL households got cooking fuel connections for a nominal amount of Rs 1,600. The connections were issued in the names of the women in the households, which aimed to empower women by transferring the subsidy amount to their bank accounts.

8. Make in India, FDI, Startup India & Mudra Yojna

Brand India got a boost under Modi's rule. He launched the lucrative 'Make in India' project to attract global investment in India. The government also liberalised Foreign Direct Investment in 25 sectors. This resulted in a rise in India's rankings in the 'ease of doing business' of the World Bank, the World Economic Forum's 'Global Competitiveness Index' and in the 'Logistics Performance Index'. The move also helped India's other projects - Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors, Industrial corridors, UDAN-RCS, Bharat Broadband Network and Digital India.

9. Electric Pottery

In 2019, the prime minister ordered a survey of potters in the country, with a view to adding value to their profession. Earthenware, aside from being a sustainable material, is also an object of tourist attraction. One finding was that there were 45 million potters in India, with another being that they still depended largely on manually powered potters’ wheels. Modi asked KVIC to find a way to increase the use of electric potters’ wheels to improve production. As many as 17,000 such wheels were distributed, improving the lives of hundreds of potters. There has also been a gradual uptake of electric potters’ wheels in the country. On the demand side, the Indian Railways—which no longer allows plastic cups to be used at over 400 major railways stations across the country—is a major market.

10. Ayushman Bharat Yojana (PMJAY)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out this health insurance scheme on 23 September 2018 to cover about 50 crore citizens in india and already has several success stories to its credit. As of September 2019, it was reported that 18,059 hospitals have been empanelled, over 4,406,461 beneficiaries have been admitted and over 10 million e-cards have been issued.

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