THE NEW INDIA CONCLAVE IN NEW DELHI
Monday, July 16, 2018: New India Conclave held today at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, saw the successful culmination of the last few months of the biggest non-government rural outreach programme. This platform brought together multiple stakeholders to deliberate upon the need to focus on strategies to bridge the gap between rural and urban India, and empowering rural India to be the country’s growth engine. This nationwide initiative was spearheaded by Y4D Foundation in association with Dalmia Cement, a leading Indian cement supplier and reputed NGOs – Avanee Foundation and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme.
The Conclave began with an inaugural speech by the Hon’ble Vice President, Shri Venkaiah Naidu. He began by remembering Mahatma Gandhi’s post-Independence call of ‘back to villages’, which was a thoughtful suggestion as most of the country lived in villages. He observed that even though a majority of India’s population lives in rural areas, yet the country has largely remained focused on industries, organized sectors and urban population. He stressed the need to bridge the rural and urban gap and focus equally on the development of agriculture and industry so as to enable India to become the third largest economy in the world over the next 10 to 15 years.
He also spoke of people migrating to cities from rural areas for the sake of employment, education, entertainment, economic upliftment and enhanced medical facilities and thus the need to create these 5 E’s in rural India. According to him it is imperative to make agriculture profitable, so that farmer’s children choose to pursue farming rather than look to other vocations. Several schemes have been launched by the Govt. with a vision to double the farmer income by 2022; however, the country needs a multi-dimensional approach to ensure that the farmer gets the right price for his produce.
Additionally, Shri Naidu stated that in his opinion loan wavers were not a long term solution. Instead, providing the farmer the right infrastructure, right price, encouragement, support with marketing for their produce was more important. Similarly, populist schemes like free power were a short term solution. He stressed the importance of skill development, focusing on research and scientific progress as well as women empowerment by providing them with equal opportunities.
The Conclave upholds the sentiment of making rural transformation everyone’s business. A report by KPMG and Y4D on the theme states that growth and development of rural India will increase purchasing power of the population and can positively contribute to National Economic Development. Particularly with majority of India’s population (69%) residing in rural areas and a high percentage of them poor, rural development assumes strategic importance for nation building and its failure stalls national progress.
In its first year itself Y4D has successfully achieved their goal of reaching 50,000 villages across the country. The Conclave has created a platform to recognize and felicitate the efforts of young rural achievers and bringing their success stories to the limelight. These included success stories about model villages, rural entrepreneurs, NGOs working with the community – all with an aim to inspire a multitude of stakeholders to continue to contribute towards rural development. The forum stressed on the need for mapping private sector capabilities to rural needs, where the areas of collaboration could range from on ground collaboration; advisory, research and policy level support to most importantly, private investments and fund mobilization.
The Prime Minister addressed the concluding session of the Conclave and began by appreciating the initiative of the New India Conclave and committed the support of the Government along with his blessings. The country has been undergoing a transformation and over the past four years the nation has made progress towards scaling new heights in the 21st century. He reiterated that India was no longer amongst the Fragile Five. Today India is the fastest growing economy in the world. Poverty is declining in India at a fast pace; 5 crore people have moved out of poverty in the last 2 years. He stated that the Government can only play the role of the enabler. He credited the power of the youth to bring about much needed change and developing a New India created by Young India. Young people in India have the will to change things. Citing the example of more than 3 crore children having been vaccinated; 1.75 lakh km of roads built and 18,000 villages having received electricity over the last 4 years; 85 lakh homes have been electrified since October 2017; 4 crore and 65 lakh gas connections reach the poor – all with the effort and commitment of Indian youth.
Prime Minister Modi appreciated the Conclave’s tag line, ‘Ab Hamari Bari’, as rightly applicable to the youth as well as the country. Shri Modi spoke of new India being a country of opportunities for all. Anything is possible; everything is achievable – the PM stated that this spirit will drive the growth of India. Several persons who have achieved a lot in life and are winning accolades for the country come from small towns of India. He cited examples of those topping 10th and 12th exams coming from small towns of the country; Hima Das who captured the attention of the entire world was from a small town in Assam. These people represent new India.
The New India Conclave aims to bring about a paradigm change in how corporates and other key stakeholders look at the attractive and emerging opportunities offered by the emerging rural sector to make a difference in many of these areas. The day long Conclave witnessed opinion leaders of the nation discussing opportunities and the enormous untapped potential of rural India through a series of insightful panel discussions on “Youth participation in rural development”, “Skilling needs and business opportunities in rural India” as well as “Sustainable growth in rural India”. The panel discussions were led by speakers from varied backgrounds like Mr. Pankaj Kumar Bansal – Managing Director, Chennai Metro and Mr. Yogeshwar Dutt – Indian Olympian amongst others, to discuss how existing government policies can be improved to benefit rural India. The Conclave was also addressed by Dr Anil Jain, Rajya Sabha MP.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi awarded national winners under several categories, namely – Modern Farmer, Model Village, Village Friend, Inspirational Youth and Village Entrepreneur as well as the Dalmia Dil Jode Desh Jode award.
Runners-up in these categories received awards from Shri Narendra Singh Tomar – Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Devendra Fadnavis. Subsequently, State winners were awarded by Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore – Minister of Youth Affairs, and Shri. James Sangam – Meghalaya Home Minister. A key associate and event partner of New India Conclave, Dalmia Cement has been intensively involved in creating work opportunities for urban as well as rural youth to provide them with the right foundation and right education, ultimately realising their vision of transforming an entire nation. Managing Director, Dalmia Bharat Group Mr. Puneet Dalmia said: “Dalmia Cement has been at the forefront of empowering the youth through skill training programs and building rural infrastructure over the past many years. Rural India has immense potential if the farmers and youth are linked to technology and provided with basic infrastructure. New India Conclave is a first of its kind initiative that recognises young rural talent that is making a difference and contributing to nation building. Dalmia Cement is delighted to partner with Y4D to support discovery to rural talent and support them in nation building.”
Commenting on the success of the inaugural edition of the New India Conclave, Mr. Praful Nikam, President, Y4D Foundation said, “We are pleased with the response we have received for this initiative. We believe this initiative will change the lives of millions of our fellow citizens in the rural areas of the country. In the coming years, we aim to create a stage that will give the achievers an opportunity to showcase the work they have done, and become an inspiration to others to follow”.