Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second Independence Day speech on Saturday morning was peppered with numbers – most measuring the success of initiatives launched since he took office, and others earmarking targets that he hopes the country will reach in the future.
English: Image of Narendra Modi at the World Economic Forum in India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here are some of the figures that Mr. Modi used in his one-and-a-half hour long speech at Delhi’s iconic Red Fort.
1.25 billion Indians
It was hard to keep count on the number of times Mr. Modi invoked the unified power of India’s 1.25 billion people during his speech. “This is Team India, a team of 125 crore Indians. This is the team that makes our nation and take our nation to new heights,” he said in the first few minutes, using the Indian unit, crore, for 10 million. Mr Modi said that advancements made by his government in the 15 months since he took office as prime minister, were the “achievements of Team India.” He even set a target for the team: to make India a developed nation by 2022, the year that India celebrates 75 years of independence from British rule.
All schools should have toilets with separate amenities for girls, Mr. Modi said during his speech last year, setting a one-year deadline for the target. In his address on Saturday, Mr. Modi declared that 425,000 toilets had been built in over 200,000 Indian schools in the past year. It wasn’t immediately possible to verify this claim. According to India’s federal human resource development ministry, by 2014, about 91% and 85% of government-run schools had separate toilets for girls and boys respectively.
2 million cooking-gas subsidies
Since January, 2 million Indians have forfeited their cooking-gas subsidies–offered to all households–under a campaign called “Give It Up.” The initiative, launched by the federal ministry of petroleum and natural gas, urged affluent Indians to give up the perk—amounting to about $4 on every cooking-gas cylinder—if they could afford to. The government hopes the plan will make gas available as a clean energy for the millions who still rely on firewood and biomass for cooking. The poorest section of Indian society receives only 15 percent of this subsidy, according to a 2014 report by Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based non-profit. On Saturday, a website for the campaign, givitup.in, showed that 2,101,977 people had voluntarily surrendered the subsidy.
170 million bank accounts
Mr. Modi said his push to widen access to financial services for the poor through a program called Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana—or the Prime Minister’s People Money Scheme, announced in his Independence Day speech last year, had shown progress. He said 170 million new bank accounts have been opened under this program and that the total amount deposited in the accounts amounts to 200 billion rupees ($3.07 billion.) The amount reflects “the richness of the poor,” he said. The government said in April that 135 million new bank accounts were opened in the eight months since the scheme launched.
65 billion rupees
That’s the amount of unaccounted, or “black money,” sitting in international accounts held by tax-avoiding Indians that has been declared to authorities in the past two-and-a-half months, Mr. Modi said. In July, following new legislation aimed at combating tax avoidance, and combating so-called “black money,” the government opened up a three-month window for law breakers to disclose their foreign assets and incomes, pay due taxes and settle the steep penalties imposed for evading taxes, to avoid prosecution. The punishment for stashing “black money” to evade taxes is 10 years in prison.
Despite a number of ongoing campaigns, Mr. Modi didn’t shy away from setting another target: to provide electricity to 18,500 villages that don’t have power supply in the next 1,000 days.
via Modi’s Independence Day Speech – The Numbers – WSJ.