Mysuru: Invoking the name of Engineer-Statesman Sir M. Visvesvaraya (MV), who was the first architect of modern India and strongly believed in skill India and a developed country, Union Minister of State for Energy, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines (with Independent Charge), Piyush Goyal, instantly connected with the intellectuals of the city.
He was addressing the intellectuals as part of his Party’s (BJP) outreach programme in an interaction session at the VK Function Hall in Nazarabad here yesterday. He began his talk by saying, “I am a little jealous of all of you because you are living in such a pristine, clean city like Mysuru. I am 53 now and I wonder why I never came to this city before. But when I was 17, I had started a small scale unit and then I had thought about Visvesvaraya who brought India to the world map.”
Recollecting that MV was also the Dewan of Mysore, he said, it was the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see that India becomes a prosperous country by creating a new India by 2022. And, when India achieves this the credit must go only to Visvesvaraya, he added.
Asking everyone present to participate in this growth story in the next five years, he said the participation of the poor who must have a role to play in this nation building was more important.
Continuing his talk on Energy, he said that Pradhan Mantri’s Ujwala scheme that aims to provide 50 million LPG connections to below poverty line people is very transformational. Now, no poor woman has to struggle with choolah (the stove using firewood to cook prevalent in most of the rural kitchens in the country to this day) that has already benefited 2.5 crore poor women. He lauded the efforts of many who have given up LPG subsidy to help the poor.
Dwelling at length on the Ujala LED bulbs and energy efficient fans marketed by Energy Efficient Service Limited (EESL, a joint venture company of PSUs of Ministry of Power, Govt. of India), he said that EESL which had a turnover of just Rs. 35 crore is doing a turnover of Rs. 1,400 crore in 2017 and aims to increase it to Rs. 5,000 crore in the coming years.
He said that this was an initiative of the Prime Minister as he had told him (Goyal) to do something about the LED bulbs being sold at more than Rs. 500 by giving Rs. 100 subsidy. “The previous government was selling a 7 watt bulb at a high cost whereas we are now selling a 9 watt bulb at Rs. 40, an 87 per reduction in cost but no compromise on quality as world class players like Philips, Crompton and Surya are manufacturing it.”
Goyal said that just two days ago the Prime Minister was in a two-day interaction session with young CEOs and Start-Up entrepreneurs, some as young as 18 to 20 years, who were coming with taxi App and even an App on lingerie. “To make this country ‘Sone ki chidiya,’ which our country was once upon a time we all have to meet the ‘Sankalp se Siddhi,’ pledge. We need everyone’s support to achieve this,” he said.
Pledge to promote sanitary napkins
Piyush Goyal said that Megha Kochar, a college student who had built two toilets for a school, has been an inspiration and today Mysuru should be motivated by this girl to take a pledge to promote sanitary napkins.
He asked the audience whether the rich of the city could make a pledge to provide quality sanitary napkin to every girl child by getting it manufactured from small-scale women entrepreneurs. However, the response from the elite audience was lukewarm.
A question and answer session followed. Goyal said that he had come to Mysuru not only to talk about the Centre’s achievement in the last three years but also to learn and understand from the intellectuals of the city the way forward for the country.
There were about 15 questions from people in different professions including Chartered Accountants, oil man, former Head of Infosys, Mysuru, IOC dealers, educationists, builders and women entrepreneurs.
Goyal noted down each question and responded to them individually by calling out their names. A few of the questions were on the dominance of China and its dumping.
The Energy Minister pointed out that the government is very conscious of it and they were also monitoring the cyber attacks. “We must also recognise that even the Pentagon gets attacked,” he said.
Goyal revealed about how a Chinese had come to his office when he was very busy and wanted to know whether he could bid for the electricity contracts. “I told him that anybody in the world is allowed to bid as it is an open bid and there is complete transparency in bidding process,” he said and added, “As he was walking out, it suddenly struck me and I called him and asked him, ‘Can we participate in the bidding process in your country?’ His reply opened my eyes. He said, ‘No, only the Chinese are allowed to bid’.”
“I immediately called the Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Minister Arun Jaitely and told them about the discriminatory practises of the Chinese. They both agreed to restrict the entry of multinationals not only from China but from any other country if they did not allow our industrialists and businessmen to participate in their country’s bidding process,” he said.
To a question about exemption of Income Tax to people serving in Defence, Goyal was very frank in admitting that though it was a good idea, it would not be very prudent to do it as the people in the Defence were entitled to various other benefits.
“Every citizen is a soldier in this country. We are all soldiers in one way or the other contributing to the building of the nation. The photographer here who is taking the picture is doing his job. The PC manufacturer who spoke about the problems he is facing because of the tough competition from the Chinese is contributing to the country under heavy odds. Even the journalist who is sitting in front of me is an honest journalist because by his writing he is bringing out facts to the people of the country,” said Piyush Goyal.
To a question on introducing meditation in schools and colleges, he said that it is a very touchy subject as even the demand for singing of national anthem has been a subject that has created so much of controversy. These things should come from within, he pointed out.
Later, everyone present took a pledge on Sakalp se Siddhi.