“Any country’s respect depends on how it protects its borders and for any sovereigncountry, there can’t be anything bigger than the security of its borders. Economic development is necessary; infrastructure is necessary; good health and educational institutions are important. But when the borders are not secure, these have no significance. The Modi government has sent a strong message to the whole world with surgical strikes and air strikes thatanyone who fiddles with India’s borders and defence will be made to pay a heavy price,” Shah said at the Times Now Summit, while citing the cross-border surgical and air strikes that India had undertaken after the Pathankot and Pulwama terror attacks in 2016 and 2019.
The minister’s address dealt with the Modi government’s efforts at improvingthe economy and schemes announced by it for inclusive growth. Since it assumed office, more than 7 crore families have got cooking gas connections; over 10 crore household toilets have been built and over 3. 5 crore houses have received electricity connections, he said, adding that the Centre had also brought nearly 80 crore citizens under the PM Ayushman scheme, whichprovides health insurance of Rs 5 lakh.
The minister said the interventions had helped improve their living standards and bring them into mainstream economic activities. “Earlier, the country’s economy revolved around only 70 crore people. But now, because of these steps taken by the government, we have an economy which covers 130crore people and a market of 130 crore people. This gives a big push to economic activities,” Shah said.
He said the “political stability, corruption-free governance, development-oriented policies and investmentfriendly agenda” had helped accelerate economic activity over the last eight years with the economy becoming the fifth largest in the world,while it was ranked 11th between 2004 and 2014. “But in the past eight years, with India becoming the world’s fifthlargest economy, the Modi government has established that the future belongs to India. Even the IMF has acknowledged the Indian economy as a ‘bright spot in a dark zone’. Now India has established itself as the manufacturing and investment destination of the world,” he said.
Shah said that because of the right economic policies, the Indian economy had staged a “V-shaped recovery” after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shah said there has been a major transformation in Indian politics after 2014 and “politics of performance” has become the mainstay. He said PM Modi has put an end to the politics of casteism, dynasty and appeasement. “Before 2014, our politics suffered from three cancers of casteism, dynasty and appeasement. Modiji rid the country’s politics of these. Now it’s the politics of performance, and those who perform, who are patriots and do hard work will win. People have also accepted and supported this,” he said.