Yogi Adityanath became Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
Prerna Katiyar caught up with him in Meerut right after he attended the defence industrial corridor meeting in Aligarh. He talked about the law and order situation, mob lynching and Rahul Gandhi, among others.
What is the UP defence corridor and how will it benefit the state?
In the last Union budget, announcements were made of two defence corridors: one each in UP and Tamil Nadu. The one in UP will span across Aligarh, Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot, leading to the development of central UP and Bundelkhand. Creating a conducive climate of suvidha (convenience) and suraksha (safety) was a challenge in UP.
Organised crime, red tape and corruption were the biggest impediments to that. But our government has succeeded in creating such a climate in the past one year — something that was missing from 2002 to 2017 (when the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party were at the helm). A defence corridor will help in the indigenisation of the defence sector. Simultaneously, it will create some 2 lakh jobs and augment exports by means of defence production. Work has already started and we have received investment proposals worth Rs 5,000 crore.
We have earmarked 300 hectares of land in Aligarh. The survey for Bundelkhand expressway has completed and it will pass through Agra, Jhansi, Chitrakoot and Allahabad. Some 4,000 hectares of land have been identified near Jhansi. Bhoomipoojan will be performed by yearend. The expressway will provide an industrial corridor that will focus on the defence industry.
By when will it be completed?
The construction of the defence corridor is an ongoing process and with each development, we will make announcements.
For a state that accounts for a fifth of the country’s population, UP’s growth rate and per capita income remain way below the national average.
In a 15-year span — from 2002 to 2017 — the ruling governments (the SP and the BSP) had a destructive approach. They not only divided the society along the lines of caste and religion but also forced existing industry to shift out of the state. Riots, corruption, loot, lawlessness, joblessness and crime were at their peak. One family or one person had complete sway over the entire society. When the BJP came into power (in March 2017), we changed that perception and now a conducive environment has been created for industry.
Naturally, industrialists and even foreign investors are keen to invest. Rs 5 lakh crore worth of MoUs were signed at the investor summit in February. Top companies are making a beeline to the state: Samsung has made investments worth Rs 5,000 crore, LG is expanding and going to invest Rs 3,000 crore, TCS is investing Rs 2,500 crore and will employee 20,000 youth. Suraksha and suvidha are not for a few industrialists. We have created a uniform policy for 21 focus sectors and put them online. We asked investors to make proposals with a guarantee of no hassles from our end. We have created a single window portal for approval. This way industry will not get entangled in red tape or be harassed by any mediator.
In the Ease of Doing Business ranking released recently, despite the improvement in UP’s ranking to 12th position, in the investor feedback, some 34% investors are not satisfied…
In this particular ranking, Uttar Pradesh is among the top five states that have shown maximum improvement. We have improved in labour laws and law and order, among others. UP is the first state to improve on labour laws. We should be able to improve in all parameters in the coming years.
What about joblessness?
We have a three-pronged strategy to create jobs: one, spur industrialisation of the state via investor summit. Two, follow ‘one district one product’ policy for branding, promotion and support of a product produced in a particular district. Three, improve the level of income of traditional workers. Under Vishvakarma Samman Scheme, we will register all such workers at the village level, such as nai (barber), mochi (cobbler), rajmishtri (master mason), lohar (blacksmith), badhai (carpenter), besides providing them with training and helping them secure loans. Above all, since UP has a huge youth population — 60% of the population is below 40 years — we have created a comprehensive skill development policy. About 4.5 lakh youth have already been trained in the last one year. And 2.6 lakh got jobs in various sectors.
Are you satisfied with the law & order situation?
We have taken serious steps to change the perception of the state. There is scope for improvement in all aspects. Good work can be improved even further. No criminal will be spared. No wrongdoing will be ignored. We can do much better and we will do it.
But the Deoria incident shows girls are not safe even in shelter homes.
This particular incident was unearthed by investigations conducted by the state government itself. In June 2017, the shelter home was blacklisted by our government; an order for its closure and thorough investigation was passed. On August 3, we had ordered that any organisation that is under the CBI radar or engaged in any wrongdoing must be closed. The incident came to light only recently but the investigation had already begun. Still, looking at the seriousness of the incident, we have ordered a CBI enquiry, and the constitution of an SIT.
Status of primary education remains dismal.
Some 4,000 schools have been brought under the Kayakalp scheme, with a focus on primary education. When the BJP government was formed, 1.34 crore students were enrolled under the scheme. Now there are 1.77 crore students. We are providing free uniform to all of them. It’s not just primary education; we have overhauled intermediate education as well. We have changed the syllabus. A big change is sure to happen in the coming years.
Healthcare in the state is poor. There is a lack of adequate beds, doctors, medical equipment.
Work is on. We are coming up with a bond scheme. We are telling medical students that since the government is investing so much in them, they have to serve community health centres and primary health centres in villages for one or two years. After Independence, only 13 medical colleges have come up in UP. Now we are going to construct 14 more very soon. Naturally the state will get more beds, more doctors, more equipment. Then Ayushman Bharat is a novel scheme announced by the prime minister under which more than 6 crore families will get a health cover of Rs 5 lakh each.
How do you look at incidents of lynching in the name of cow protection?
There has been absolutely no mob lynching incident in the state. When we came to power, we closed down all illegal slaughterhouses. To avoid such incidents, we set accountability (of police officers) right at the outset. As a result, we have not had any such incident.
How many seats will the BJP win in 2019?
The BJP is going to win 73-plus seats in UP, no less. There is hardly any opposition to the BJP in UP. Our performance will again be nothing but spectacular. Caste loyalties will break down yet again and election will be fought on nationalism and development.
What about opposition unity?
Let them first come together, accept each other as a leader, reach a consensus on the issues on which they are going to contest elections and, most importantly, on who will lead them all. Why are they side-stepping the crucial decision on leadership?
Your government claims 24- and 18-hour power supply to urban and rural areas, respectively. But there are districts that barely got 8-hour supply in peak summer.
We have improved power distribution. We are providing electricity under the 24-20-18 (hour) power distribution roster (18 hours for villages, 20 for tehsils and 24 for district headquarters). If people stop line loss (transmission loss) then we will increase power supply; we can even offer 24-hour supply to all. I agree some villages have bad feeders. But we have given an assurance: Line loss kam kariye, 24-ghante bijlee payiye (Prevent loss of electricity and get 24-hour power supply).
How do you see Rahul Gandhi as a politician?
Rahul Gandhi jis mahaanta ke liye jaane jaate hai, unhone Sansad mein voh phir kar ke dikha diya (Rahul Gandhi did in Parliament what he is best known for).
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