New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said economic growth must be gender neutral and pointed out that the government has successfully changed the earlier narrative which credited the growth of the economy to the contribution made by men and men alone.
Addressing the 96th Annual General Meeting and Convention of apex business chamber FICCI, the minister said, “Empowering women has been our priority. We’ve ensured that India’s economic, political, and social development takes place not just on the strength of men, but Nari Shakti too.”
Enumerating the steps taken by the Ministry of Defence to empower women, Singh said: “Girls are now studying in Sainik Schools, while women officers are being trained at the National Defence Academy. Women are now being appointed as fighter pilots, deployed on warships, and posted on forward posts across the border. In addition, a large number of young girls are joining the Armed Forces through Agnipath scheme.”
The minister said India has emerged as a global growth engine and is providing a new direction to the world. He asserted that the Indian growth story is the result of the hard work and ability of more than one billion Indians under the guiding leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said that the transformative policies and programmes of the government have powered the Indian growth story, various facets of which are shaping up the world of today.
“India has committed that its growth will not be at the cost of environmental degradation. We’ve chosen the path of green growth. We signed the Paris Agreement. We’ve formed the International Solar Alliance. We’ve taken initiatives to promote clean energy. We have also reduced the emission intensity of GDP,” the minister said.
The defence minister also listed out the initiatives and accomplishments undertaken by the Government in the field of infrastructure development.
“We promoted infrastructure development in roads, airports and railways. Till 2014, India had 91,000 kilometres of national highways; today it has increased to about 1.5 lakh kilometres. While India had only 74 airports in 2014, today it has increased twofold. Through PM Gati Shakti Yojana and National Infrastructure Pipeline, we have planned infrastructure development worth up to Rs 100 lakh crore in the country,” he added.
Reiterating the Government’s commitment towards inclusive development, Singh said India’s growth story showcases that there is no irreconcilable trade-off between economic growth and distributive justice.
“Our growth model shows that equal opportunities to everyone and the accelerated growth rate can be achieved simultaneously,” he stated.
The Defence Minister also emphasised on the significance of human resources in economic progress.
He pointed out that the new National Education Policy, the establishment of over 400 new universities, seven new IITs, and seven new IIMs, focus on skills by carving out a new Ministry of Skill Development underscore the transformative change brought about by the government to boost human resources in the country.
Singh voiced the Government’s faith and confidence in the youth of the country to sustain this growth story. The youths are the future of the country, who will make India a developed nation, he said.
The Defence Minister called upon the business leaders and all other stakeholders of the economy to collaborate further with the government to make the 21st century, India’s century.