During Question Hour in Lok Sabha yesterday, a question asked by Mallikarjuna Kharge backfired on the Opposition when Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal demolished his arguments with facts and figures on Congress’s failures.
Unable to digest the praise that all members had for the amazing work being done by the Modi government, Kharge asked a silly question which as usual exposed the decade long failure of the UPA government.
Embarrassed by the number of stalled projects that were mentioned in the Question Hour, Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge thought it a good idea to ask Mr. Piyush Goyal”how many new projects were started by the Modi government”. He stressed that the minister cannot mention the projects which were “in the pipeline”.
Piyush Goyal started his reply by asking why would anyone invest in new projects if the nation does not resolve problems of the past with numerous projects lying idle.
Taking as an example Teesta and Subansiri hydropower projects in Sikkim and Assam, Goyal reminded the Opposition of the enormous loss that incomplete projects have caused the nation. The stalled Teesta Hydro project in Sikkim had 93% money invested, but was mired in disputes and lying idle. After 2014, the government got cracking and settled seven-year long disputes to bring the project into operation. The hydro project will start generating power at very cheap rates soon this year.
Piyush Goyal recounted figures like Rs 9000 crore stuck in the stalled Teesta Project and thousands of megawatts of thermal projects being stuck. He again asked, “why would investors come when projects are not given environment clearances and land is not allocated?” This led to much uproar but no explanation from the Opposition.
Coming to Kharge’s question of what “new” has been achieved by the Modi government, Piyush Goyal mentioned that with the past projects being revived India has regained the confidence of investors. New projects started by the Modi government are setting records, like the fourfold increase in solar installed capacity.
Goyal ended his reply by asking the Opposition to justify their “good work” by explaining why in 2011 census there were more than 7 crore homes without electricity? Having been in power for more than 50 years out of 68, why were crores of people deprived of electricity access?
Kharge’s focus on “new” projects shows that mere ribbon cutting is the definition of governance according to some people, and Piyush Goyal’s reply demonstrates the difference between the present and the past. As the elections in various states have shown, the people of India prefer the Narendra Modi style of governance which focuses on delivery, not mere inauguration of schemes.
By bringing the already stressed and stalled projects back into operation, and by promising ‘Power for All’ to every Indian, the Modi government has shown that it can take on the challenging task of correcting the past and building a firm foundation for the future.
It is very easy to waste public money and start new projects which will be unviable. It is far more challenging to clean up the mess left by the previous government, and make the impossible an achievable reality.
That is what ‘Transforming India’ all about.