Shri Hardeep Singh Puri
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Shri Hardeep Singh Puri

Giving Wings to the Dreams of a Rising India

A popular leader, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri has been effectively spearheading numerous projects for national development namely Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Urban Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, the Swachh Bharat Mission and National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), which have holistically impacted the lives of millions of Indians residing in the urban centers of the nation

Q. Sir, as Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, what all initiatives have you undertaken to strengthen the infrastructure sector of the nation?

A. Through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Urban Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation And Urban Transformation) , the Swachh Bharat Mission and National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), we have been able to holistically impact lives of millions of Indians residing in our urban centers. 10.7 million houses have been sanctioned against the demand of 11.2 million under the PMAY Urban, 6.7 million have been grounded and 3.6 million have been completed. 5151 smart projects worth were in $ 27 billion have been identified in urban smart cities and are at various stages of implementation today.

Through AMRUT, we have provided 8.1 million household water tap connections, 4.6 million sewer connections, 7.75 million conventional street lights have been replaced with energy efficient LED lights. All 4324 local bodies in India are today completely open defecation (ODF) free except for 48 ULBs in the state of West Bengal. 1306 cities have been certified as ODF+ and 489 cities have been certified as ODF++. Solid waste management capacity which was at 18% in 2014 now stands at 67%. More than 6.6 million individual household toilets and over 600000 community and public toilets have been constructed. National Urban Livelihood Mission has brought 4.9 million urban poor women into self-help groups, livelihood created for more than 1.8 million individuals through skill training and affordable credit.

Q. Sir, please throw light on the various measures adopted by your ministry for social welfare especially with regard to the current pandemic.

A. During COVID-19, through PM’s SVANidhi or Prime Minister’s Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi Scheme, over 600000 loan applications have been received out of which over 143000have been sanctioned and over 40000 disbursed. Self-help group members have been engaged in running over 250 community kitchens across the country catering to the food requirements of the homeless and migrants in our cities.47 integrated command and control centers created under the smart cities mission are serving as crisis management war room helping monitor the on-ground situations in cities. We have also launched the affordable housing complex scheme for migrant labour and urban poor to provide them ease of living in our cities.

We are promoting group and individual micro enterprises, 520000 beneficiaries have been assisted through the NULM till now to supplement the strong entrepreneurial spirit of Indians. Companies based in India like BEML, Alstom, Bombardier, etc. have bagged orders of more than 1200 metro and RRTS (Rapid Rail Transit System) coaches costing around $ 1.3 billion for different metro projects. Day NULM self-help groups have complemented the fight against COVID -19 pandemic by manufacturing more than 55 million facemasks 250 liters of sanitizers and more than 150000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. Through the Vande Bharat Mission, we have brought back more than 1.3 million stranded Indians back home, though the life Udaan Mission nearly 1000 tonnes of medical and essential equipments was transported across the country.

Q. We, at AsiaOne, appreciate your sincere and dedicated efforts owing to which you reached the pinnacle of glory. We value your contribution towards the Indian economy and society. There are a number of young aspiring entrepreneurs who look up to you for inspiration. What is your message to them?

A. My message to all the aspiring entrepreneurs is that today India is going through rapid socio economic policy changes. There are innumerable possibilities that are being brought forth in technology, construction, mobility, hospitality, etc. sectors that should be capitalized upon. But it’s also important for our young entrepreneurs to recognize that growth stable and long term when you work towards benefitting the society by providing innovative solutions to existing problems. Practicing universal altruism as a philosophy will benefit upcoming entrepreneurs who keep people & society at the centre of their business models. It is always good to make business practices people centered and with the welfare of the people that we served foremost in the designing of our business strategies.