Claiming the government never allowed policies to come under populist pressure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India is building a roadmap for the next 25 years, with the idea of “reforms by conviction” and not “reforms by compulsion”.

“A roadmap is being prepared to keep in mind the goals for the next twenty-five years when India completes hundred years of independence. Decades back, the country witnessed that the reforms done under compulsion seldom get institutionalised. They are forgotten the moment the need for the reform ends. Previous governments have undertaken reforms when there was no other choice,” Modi says during Arun Jaitley memorial lecture in New Delhi.

“We do not see reforms as a necessary evil but a win-win choice, having elements of both national interest and people’s interest,” Modi said.

Amid the ongoing protests against the Agniveer Scheme for recruitment in the armed forces, Modi says, “Our policy-making is based on the pulse of the people. We listen to maximum feedback and try to understand the aspirations of the people. We have never allowed policies to come under the populist impulses.”

According to PM Modi, the same principle was followed at the time of the pandemic, when India opted for a people-first approach for post-Covid economic revival without bucking under the pressure of populist impulse for demand-driven stimulus.

“During the pandemic, there was a populist impulse for mega bail-out packages and demand-driven stimulus. We were under tremendous pressure. But India did not come under pressure and followed a different approach. We followed the people-first approach, focusing on the poor section, women and MSMEs. The difference between India’s economic recovery and global economic recovery is visible,” Modi adds.

On the pace of inclusive growth in the country, PM Modi enlists the success of various government schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, Ujjwala Yojana, Jan Dhan Account Scheme and Jal Shakti Mission. Modi says the Ayushman Bharat has led to the development of modern health infrastructure in the country, while expressing confidence that in the next decade more than 400 medical colleges will come up compared with 209 in the last eight years. PM says in the last three years, 6 crore houses out of the total 27 crore have been connected with potable drinking water.

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