Shri Anurag Singh Thakur
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Shri Anurag Singh Thakur

Inspiring a Positive Change in the Nation

The popularity of the young, energetic and multitalented leader Shri Anurag Singh Thakur can be assessed from the fact that he has been elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) from Hamirpur constituency for 4 times in a row. He has been working day and night to support India’s economic growth. Leading by example, he inspires the youth of the nation to rise and shine in their chosen spheres

Q. Sir, your ministry has done a commendable job to manage the financial crisis that our country could have faced because of the COVID-19 lockdown. In fact the Aatm Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (‘ANBA’) package has been a big relief for the business community and the common man in general. We, at AsiaOne, appreciate the fact that your ministry has been working tremendously well to support India’s economic growth and have introduced a people-friendly budget with no Covid Cess. Please throw some light on the various initiatives that your ministry has undertaken to boost the economy under the current Modi Government.

A. Let me first thank you for recognizing the efforts taken by the Modi government. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t an easy task. The world was facing a challenge of COVID-19 pandemic. The choice was whether to save lives, livelihoods or the economy. Now in that situation, our first priority was to save lives. After the lockdown, we built our capacities, whether it involved manufacturing PPE kits, or through the COVID-19 vaccine. From net importer of PPE kits, we have become the largest exporter of PPE kits, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine to the world! At the same time, the steps taken during the COVID-19 was the Pradhanmantri Garib Kalyan Yojna, which involved providing food grains, pulses, to the poorest of the poor, to around 800 million people, for eight months free food grains, pulses have been provided by the government of India that is the Modi government. At the same time, thousands of crores of rupees have been transferred to the accounts of needy people who required it. At the same time to help the business houses, the small entrepreneurs, we have asked the banks to come forward and we have given more than three lakh crore rupees under the emergency credit line guarantee scheme, which has held the entrepreneurs. At the same time, we have refunded more than two lakh crore rupees from the income tax refund.

We have also reduced the TDS and TCS by 25%, which has actually helped the small entrepreneurs to have more capital in hand, to more cash flow in hand. You see the steps taken by the Modi government were the largest reforms which have taken place in India during the COVID-19 pandemic – opening up more sectors, coal mining, agriculture, defense production, and the space sector. When others were thinking what will happen, we brought out more reforms and opened up more areas. Now the effect of that, as you could see in the GST collection in the last six months, the average collection is more than 1 Lakh crore rupees, which is the highest ever in the month of March and has grown to 1,30,000 Crore rupees. In the recent budget, we have again focused on the capital expenditure. There is an increase of 34.5% on the capital expenditure. That means it will see additional two and a half times more on the capital expenditure. It could see the investment coming at the same time, the government is focusing more on the healthcare. The budget has been increased by 137%. We have given more funds to the road, rail, and water infrastructure. At the same time we have come out with the production linked incentive schemes for the manufacturing units, so that more manufacturing takes place and more export happens, and India should become the hub of exports. As a hub for manufacturing, India should become the world’s largest skilled workforce. So our focus is on that. So on one hand we’re looking at economic revival and most of the agencies globally and locally have predicted that India is going to grow in the financial year 2021 to the tune of 12%. It is highest among all the big economies in the world.

Q. What are your views on the Hon’ble PM Modi ji’s call for being “Vocal for Local” and “Atmanirbhar Bharat”? In which ways has your ministry been furthering these objectives?

A. I think you have raised a very important question. ‘Vocal for Local, self-reliant India, Atmanirbhar Bharat’ – now everyone is talking about it. Why so? Because, India has the capacity to do anything. And we see a lot of entrepreneurs in India, and your magazine features them as well. AsiaOne has been featuring a lot of entrepreneurs who have done extremely well. You recognize their efforts, their achievements. And in that line, Prime Minister Modi also took a decision that we are not going to import the PPE kits and that we will manufacture these in a couple of months time from nowhere, we started manufacturing more than five lacs PPE kits every day, rather than looking at the world for PPE kits or for the COVID vaccine. We have built the COVID-19 vaccine in India, manufactured it and supplied it to more than 75 countries that clearly showcase our efforts and what India can do. And that is why in that area, we have taken all these steps ‘vocal for local,’ whether it is ‘kadha’, our other Ayurveda products or selfhelp groups involved in the handicrafts, handlooms or maybe the pharmacy of the world, India has been engaged everywhere. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have provided Hydroxychloroquine to more than a hundred countries and at the same time PPE kits, now we are providing COVID-19 vaccine. We are coming out with such plans to have the bulk drug parks here, mobile devices and diagnostic centers, manufacturing units here, and a lot of parks will come up in that area and the production linked incentive scheme to boost more manufacturing in India. And also we have cut down the corporate tax rate from 30% to 15% for the new manufacturing units. That clearly gives an opportunity for companies to come in and invest in India and to make India grow in the manufacturing sector and take the advantage of lower corporate tax rate.

Q. Sir, you are an extremely popular youth icon and many young entrepreneurs and investors besides others look up to you for inspiration. What is your message for them?

A. I think they should look at the possibilities available in India and globally. You know, 10 years back, when I used to go to Israel or other countries, I used to see a lot of young entrepreneurs. They are into research development, come out with the startups and all. And I always used to think we have such bright brains in India, why is this brain drain happening? If Indians can go abroad and can lead the top-most companies in the world as CEOs and other top-most positions, why can’t they do it in India? Prime Minister Modi gave a platform of StartUp India, and we have seen young entrepreneurs started doing so well. So many companies from being startups have become unicorns. This in the past three months, we have seen many coming to that level. And what I’m trying to say for the younger generation today is that they don’t look up for the government jobs only. They want to become entrepreneurs.

Through self-employment they want to look at various options or the possibilities available locally and globally. And they’re making a big mark in that. We are so proud of the young Indian generation from Paytm to Byjus, to Ola, to other companies who have done extremely well. And there are many coming up Flipkart, Snapdeal and all they have done extremely well. We have so many youngsters who are looking at these areas from nowhere. They are becoming the billionaires, from Zerodha to others. I can name many companies, but all I’m trying to say that in every sector, we are seeing a huge opportunity – from yoga to Ayurveda, from IT to other sectors. These are the soft powers of India. From meditation to religious activities, I think India can heal the world, not only through the medicines, through this meditation and other practices as well, from Ayurveda to others. And I see huge possibilities and potential in these areas.

Q. AsiaOne attempts to bring to fore Indian leaders in particular and Asian leaders in general and show how they are helping not only the economy of the world but the society as well. So what is your message for AsiaOne Magazine in this regard?

A. Through AsiaOne magazine, I would like to say to the people that India, as Prime Minister Modi says, Vasudeva Kutumbkum, that is ‘the world is one family.’ During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have given medicines, we have given PPE kits. We have given the knowledge and we have given the COVID-19 vaccine as well. We have not restricted it to ourselves to treat only Indians. We have given a helping hand to our neighbors and to other countries of the world. And when we see other countries shying away to share the technology or technology transfer, I mean, they should look at India as an example where we are talking about self-reliant India, Atmanirbhar Bharat for the greater economy and for the more facilities in India, making India their manufacturing powerhouse, but at the same time, creating wealth, not only for India, but for the entire globe, for the future generations. And that is why India has given a leadership when others failed or shied away during the inter Solar Alliance or during the Paris agreement time. And again, India under the leadership of our Prime Minister Modi ji has shown the courage and rarely leadership, which the world admires today. And that is why Prime Minister Modi is one of the top rated leaders in the world today, and is among the finest leaders and most popular leaders today.