PRIME MINISTER'S ANNOUNCEMENTS ON INDEPENDENCE DAY, 2003
1: Respected Rashtrapatiji has placed an important
thought before the Nation for bridging the rural-urban divide
and achieving balanced socio-economic development. It is called
PURA – Provision of Urban Amenities in Rural Areas. It
involves identification of rural clusters with growth potential
and creating four types of connectivities for them – (i)
road, transportation and power connectivity; (ii) electronic
connectivity in the form of reliable telecom, Internet and IT
services; (iii) knowledge connectivity in the form of good
educational and training institutions; and (iv) market
connectivity that would enable kisans and others to get the best
prices for their produce. The Government has decided to implement
the PURA strategy in 5,000 rural clusters across the country
in the next five years. Priority will be given to North-Eastern
States, other Special Category States, and backward areas identified
by the Planning Commission and other agencies. The Prime Minister’s
Office will prepare the contours of the PURA strategy in consultation
with the concerned ministries and State Governments. Its Implementation
will begin through commencement of a fully Centrally funded rural
connectivity programme in the KBK (Kalahandi, Bolangir
and Koraput) districts of Orissa in November.
2: The Rural Employment Generation Programme
(REGP) of the newly created Ministry of Agro & Rural
Industries, which is being implemented by the Khadi & Village
Industries Commission, has created 18 lakh employment opportunities
in the past five years. Taking note of this successful experience,
the Government has decided to make more funds available to REGP.
Over 20 lakh new employment opportunities will be created in this
sector in the next four years. A new group insurance scheme
for workers in the Khadi sector will be launched.
3: Crop diversification has become an imperative
of India’s agri-economy. To address this need, and to give further
impetus to the encouraging growth in cultivation of fruits, vegetables,
flowers, spices, etc., a National Horticulture Mission
will be launched. Its main target will be doubling India’s horticulture
production by 2010.
4: The Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration
with Prasar Bharati and other institutions, will launch dedicated
Krishi Darshan TV channels and Krishi Vani radio channels.
This will be done in a phased manner beginning from Gandhi Jayanti.
5: Nearly 300 mid-size irrigation schemes
in the country are at various stages of non-completion. The Centre
will help State Governments to complete them over the next 3-4
6: Two National Action Plans – for
the development of Bio-fuels and Bamboo – will be launched.
Development of wasteland will be an integral part of these missions.
In addition to achieving significant import substitution (in the
case of Bio-fuels) and export earnings (in the case of Bamboo
products), both will also help enhance farmers’ incomes. The Prime
Minister has appealed to the people, and urged all government
offices and PSUs, to buy more products from the KVIC sector, as
this will promote creation of large-scale employment opportunities
in rural areas.
7: The Task Force for Linking of Rivers has
identified two projects whose implementation will begin before
the end of this year. These are (a) To link Ken and Betua rivers
in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh; and (b) To link Parvati,
Kalisindh and Chambal rivers in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
8: Implementation of the Golden Quadrilateral
part of the National Highways Development Project is progressing
rapidly. Work on the North-South and East-West corridors of NHDP
has also begun with the commencement of construction of a four-lane
highway in Srinagar. Before the end of this year, work on these
corridors will also start at Kanyakumari, Silchar and Porbandar.
Four-laning and upgradation of additional 10,000 km of highways,
outside the ambit of NHDP, will begin before March 2004. Under
this, all State capitals, which are away from NHDP, will be linked
to NHDP by four-lane highways. This will especially benefit North-Eastern
9: Modernisation and expansion of Delhi
and Mumbai airports through Public Private partnerships
will be taken up within the next six months. All bottlenecks in
the construction of the greenfield Bangalore airport project,
pending for long, have been cleared and implementation can now
10: After the launch of ambitious projects
for the development of highways, rural roads (through the Pradhan
Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana), railways (through the National Rail
Vikas Yojana) and airports, the Government has decided to launch
an equally ambitious "Sagar Mala" project for
rapid capacity expansion and modernization of ports along India’s
west and east coasts. Development of Inland Navigation will also
be a part of this project. As a first step, integrated development
of Nhava Sheva and Kochi ports, at a cost of Rs.7500 crore, will
begin by March 2004.
11: A Technology Mission for Railway Safety
will be set up to comprehensively address safety-related issues
in Indian Railways. This will be done in collaboration with the
Department of Science & Technology, IIT Kanpur and a consortium
of private sector companies.
To obtain electric power at reduced costs, a
1,000-MW captive thermal power plant will be set up at Nabinagar
in Bihar by Rail Bijlee Company, a joint venture between Indian
Railways and NTPC, at a cost of about Rs. 4,000 crore. The electricity
produced by this plant will be used by Indian Railways for electric
12: The Ministry of Power and the Ministry
of Non-Conventional Energy Sources will jointly implement a programme
to provide electricity to one lakh uncovered villages and one
crore households over the next two years through the Rural
Electricity Supply Technology Mission.
Social Justice and Social Security
13: Two new Commissions – for the rehabilitation
and development of Disabled People and Nomadic Tribes – will
be set up. 100 Social Justice Centres will be established for
the welfare and empowerment of disabled and weaker sections of
14: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs will launch
new developmental and welfare initiatives for the Scheduled Tribes.
These will include construction of hostels for boys and girls
in all districts, which have a significant tribal population;
measures to promote tribal culture; steps to honour legendary
tribal leaders; construction of an Adivasi Bhavan in New Delhi;
15: New social security schemes will
be unveiled for destitute children; poor families that have women
as the sole breadwinner; and families that suffer untimely death
of the breadwinner.
Small Scale Industries
16: The Government will soon announce a new
financial package for revitalization of Small Scale Industries
through modernization, technological upgradation, market development,
and international promotion. The package will also involve debt
restructuring of SSI units.
Slum Rehabilitation and Urban Renewal
17: India is rapidly urbanizing. However,
the growth of slums and gross inadequacy of basic amenities have
severely affected the quality of life for a majority of our urban
population. In consultation with State Governments, a new policy
for slum rehabilitation and urban infrastructure development will
be formulated. To demonstrate the Government’s resolve to show
visible change in this regard, a plan will be drawn up, together
with the State Government, for making Mumbai slum-free in the
next ten years. In the first phase, over 100,000 slum-dwelling
families will be rehabilitated in good housing complexes over
the next 2-3 years.
Tourism & Culture
18: A Tourism Infrastructure Development
Fund will be created to speedily improve, through a strategy
of Public-Private Partnership, roads, water and power supply,
sanitation, sewerage, solid waste management, and overall ambience
in all the high-potential tourist destinations across the country.
The highly successful "Incredible India" campaign
launched by the Ministry of Tourism will be further broadened
and intensified in key markets.
19: With the successful commencement of the
National Mission for Manuscripts, which was announced on Independence
Day last year, the Ministry of Culture will launch three more
missions – a National Mission for Preservation of Monuments;
a National Mission for Preservation of Antiquities; and a National
Mission for Preservation of Intangible Heritage. These four
missions will result in a major initiative for preservation of
our precious national heritage.
Education, Science & Technology
20: Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)
have earned an international reputation as centers of excellence
in technology education. There is a growing demand among meritorious
students for admission into IITs. Hence, five new IITs will be
set up by upgrading promising academic institutions. Participation
of the private sector and contributions from the alumni of IITs
and other institutions will be sought for this purpose. Two
new Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) will be
set up in Jabalpur and Kanchipuram.