By Shri G. Kishan Reddy

Minister of Development of North Eastern Region

“This country has been built on such foundation of ancient cultural heritage, where we were told of only one mantra during Vedic period…which we have learnt, we have memorized – “sanghachchhdhvamsamvadadhvamsam wo manansi jaanataam” – we walk together, we move together, we think together, we resolve together and together we take this country forward – Shri Narendra Modi”

In 2014, from the ramparts of Red Fort, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, eloquently put forth his vision for a Bharat, where development is not just an agenda but a goal shared by every Indian. He hinted at a future where Jan Bhagidaari will emerge as our strongest weapon and our claim to the throne of being a Vishwa Guru.

That very year, the Hon’ble Prime Minister, etched a momentous date on the calendar – October 31st as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’, a tribute to the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the “Iron Man” of India. However, it signified more than just a date; it embodied a solemn commitment to rekindle the very essence of unity and integration that Sardar Patel had envisioned. It was a promise, a pledge to follow in his footsteps, progressing in the timeless values of cohesion and collective endeavours.

A decade later, as we celebrate Rashtriya Ekta Diwas,it is the perfect time to recapitulate the remarkable voyage India has undertaken on a path illuminated by the enduring principles of unity and the mighty force of collaboration.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ethos of public-centric governance, India has transformed into a global leader, soaring from the “fragile five” to the world’s topfive economies. With a GDP of $3.75 trillion in 2023, our nation shines brightly, recovering from the “lost decade” of 2004-2014.

It is interesting to note that under the leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Annual Financial Budgethas metamorphosed from a mere financial blueprint to a dynamic policy document, anchored in the aspirations of the people. The “people’s budget” empowers citizens to hold the government accountable for its fiscal decisions, enabling active participation in monitoring budget progress and ensuring efficient resource utilization.

Our remarkable growth has ignited national pride, renewed dignity, and shared ownership. People have spearheaded comprehensive development through groundbreaking initiatives: ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,’ which built nearly 12 crore toilets, eradicating open defecation; ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao,’ championing daughters’ rights; and the ‘Give it up’ movement, with over a crore families voluntarily forfeiting LPG subsidies to support the less privileged, are but a few of the shining examples of ‘Jan Bhagidari’ and ‘Rashtriya Ekta’.

‘Make in India’ and ‘Vocal for local’ revived our Bhartiyata,’ sparking a nationwide popular participation-oriented movement. We championed our MSMEs, inspiring youth entrepreneurship, and leveraging India’s unique skills and abundant resources. This philosophy reshaped India from a net importer to a major global mobile phone producer, with a 300% surge in electronic manufacturing since 2014. India is now also the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem, with a patent boom and record goods exports at $448 billion in FY 2022-23.

The digital revolution, represented by ‘Digital India’ and the drive towards a ‘cashless’ economy, underscores the government’s collaborative partnership with the common citizen, promoting widespread acceptance of digital payments. India stands today as one of the world’s largest digital markets, with a Fintech adoption rate of 87%, far surpassing the world average of 64%.

Since 2014, the anti-corruption crusade has surged as a nationwide movement, recouping over Rs 2.73 lakh crore from 2015 to 2022 through JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, and mobile phones), exposing counterfeit beneficiaries and sealing delivery system leakages that were rampant before 2014.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s solidarity and Jan Bhagidaari shone once again. Prime Minister Modi’s foresight led the nation to swiftly implement preventive measures. COVID warriors emerged, hand in hand with the Government, stabilizing the ship. Subsequently, rapid vaccine production showcased an empowered India, capable of self-defence and simultaneously offering global support.

India’s G20 Presidency, supported by over a crore of its citizens, showcased “Rashtriya Ekta” in action. The summit affirmed India’s global stature and “VasudhaivKutumbakam” as the compass for reshaping global governance, ensuring inclusivity and people-centric leadership in the “People’s G20.”

“Rashtriya Ekta Diwas” is not just a commemoration; it’s a profound philosophy empowering people, and breaking free from outdated practices. It’s democracy in action, akin to Sardar Patel’s vision of grand unification of Maa Bharti’s vast geo-cultural-political landscape. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to integrate every voice into governance mirrors this spirit. It’s about national pride, uniting a diverse nation, echoing Sardar Patel’s dream of a united Bharat, that is India! Each citizen’s participation shapes our destiny, nurturing inclusivity, diversity, and collective strength.

On this Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, under the leadership of Pradhan Mantri Shri Narendra Modi ji, let us rededicate ourselves to the philosophy of empowerment, transcending entitlement, which has become the bedrock of a truly realized and fulfilled democracy, guiding us into the promising era of Amrit Kaal.

(The author is the Union Minister of DoNER, Tourism and Culture)