In the short span of just one year since he took charge, Yogi Adityanath has given citizens of Uttar Pradesh many reasons to cheer. Here, the Chief Minister describes how he achieved what he did.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath discussed the many achievements of his government in the past one year and opened up on a host of issues to Deepak Chaurasia, Editor-in-Chief of India News. Excerpts:
Q: Yogiji, what were the challenges and achievements before you in the past one year?
A: When we reached (at the helm of) Uttar Pradesh in March 2017, we had lots of challenges. Anarchy and disorder were rampant in the state. Hooliganism and corruption were at the peak, developmental works had stalled, farmers were devastated, the common people had a sense of insecurity and the youth were fleeing from the state. We had received Uttar Pradesh in such circumstances and in the past one year, we have tried to change this image of Uttar Pradesh. And I am happy to say that my government is moving in the direction where we have been able to satisfy every section to a large extent. However, there is much to be done and we will achieve the aims.
Q: Yogiji, you have always said that “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas” is not just a slogan. If it is not a slogan, then for implementing it, what have you done in the past one year?
A: Uttar Pradesh is rising above nepotism and caste-based politics. For making development the focus of Uttar Pradesh—so that it (development) becomes a matter of discussion not only in India but also abroad and Uttar Pradesh gets known for its development—we have focused on farmers, youth and women. We have formulated our polices keeping in mind the available infrastructure of the state. In the past one year, Uttar Pradesh is the only state in the country which has transferred over Rs 80,000 crore in farmers’ accounts via DBT. You can see today that farmers in other states of India seem to be agitated, but in Uttar Pradesh, farmers are content and happy. Recently, we have announced the support price for wheat and for the first time in the country, farmers in Uttar Pradesh will get support price of Rs 1,745 for a quintal of wheat. The government will purchase 50 lakh metric tonnes of wheat through 5,500 procurement centres spread across the state.
Payments of sugarcane purchase were pending for the past several years. When we came to power in 2017, over 25,000 farmers had not received payments against sugarcane procurement. In the past one year, we have cleared the pending balance of Rs 200 crore and, in the current season, we have transferred over Rs 16,000 crore in farmers’ accounts. Last year, we procured over 37 lakh metric tonnes of wheat. For paddy procurement, we have adopted a very transparent method wherein money will be directly transferred to farmers’ accounts via RTGS. We have procured 45 lakh metric tonnes of paddy from farmers.
The Prime Minister wants to double farmers’ income. Doubling farmers’ income by 2022 is possible. We believe that if farmers can be connected with technology and facilities, then, in a state like Uttar Pradesh, it (farmers’ income) could grow manifold.
A large part of the state is unirrigated; we have enough water resources. However, earlier no one cared because the farmer was not in their agenda. When farmers’ development is not in your agenda, how will you do it? Last year, when I joined the office of Chief Minister, I asked about irrigation projects. I was told that in the Bundelkhand region, there are eight irrigation projects for which if we invest Rs 800 crore, we would be able to provide water for irrigating a large part of land in that region. I am happy to inform you that six of those projects will be completing by 31 March and we will complete the remaining two projects by June this year. There are a few important projects we are working on. For irrigating about 1.50 lakh hectares of eight “Janpads” in Eastern UP’s Saryu Pariyojana; for three “Janpads” of Western UP Madhya Ganga Pariyojana, Baan Ganga Priyojana connecting Mirjapur and Allahabad; and the Arjun Sahayak Pariyojana for the Bundelkhand region. We are completely focused on these four projects and have already provided the required funds to the department concerned. The Baan Ganga project will be completed by the end of June. The Arjun Sahayak project will also be completed soon. We have set the target of completing the Saryu and Madhya Ganga projects by the end of December 2019 so that farmers may have sufficient amount of water for agriculture. We have implemented a uniform system across the state. When I assumed the office of Chief Minister, officials from the state electricity department came to me and said: “Sir, from today we will start supplying power to Gorakhpur district. I replied there is no need for making any special arrangements for Gorakhpur district. Gorakhpur is just like any other district of the state.
Gorakhpur will get no special service until all other districts of the state have similar kind of services. On the anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar on 14 April 2017, we have ensured that all district headquarters in the state receive 24 hour power supply, tehsils and Bundelkhand get 20 hours of power supply and rural regions get 18 hours of electricity. Uttar Pradesh had developed an image that wherever roads are bad, or darkness prevails after evening, it is UP. We are disrupting this image. Now, the place which has light and good roads is Uttar Pradesh. For development, we need investors and a system free from administrative web.
Q: Recently, the global investors’ summit was organised wherein several MoUs were signed. By when will they get implemented as you had said that the Chief Minister’s office will keep a tab on these MoUs?
A: We are already monitoring them. We had organised the UP Investors Summit and not the global investors’ summit. The global summit will attract investments worth Rs 10 lakh crore; now, we have bagged MoUs worth over Rs 4.28 lakh crore in the UP Investors Summit—this will be a big jump. The Prime Minister has given us a big target to achieve. See how the milieu changes. Earlier, investors, industrialists, businessmen used to run away from Uttar Pradesh. You remember the anarchy and situation that prevailed at Kirana, Kandala and Western Uttar Pradesh. Can anyone issue threats today over there? They cannot.
Several hardcore professional criminals have today become roadside vegetable vendors or are doing boot polish. We have brought them on the right track. This has sent a message across India; the perception of Uttar Pradesh has changed.
When the issue of global investors’ summit came up, I called a meeting of ministers and officers. In the meeting, I proposed the name of the summit as Global Investors Summit. They said no one will come to Uttar Pradesh. I was wondering if they were thinking of Uttar Pradesh as it was in 2015-16. This is the state of 2018. Circumstances have changed, the public perception has changed, attraction towards Uttar Pradesh has increased. Then I asked how much investment we could expect. I was told that we would not get more than Rs 50,000 crore. I said this much amount we can get in beggary and we are not in that condition. We will have to end the tendency to pick and choose. We need to create a different kind of focus sector and policies in a time-bound manner and then hold the investors’ summit.
I was a little worried when they told me that no one wants to visit Uttar Pradesh and people over here want to flee. I assured them there was no need to worry. I said I will go in one road show and meet industrialists, financial institutions’ captain-CEOs. We did six road shows across the country and I personally went to Mumbai to participate in the road show. The attitude towards Uttar Pradesh has changed.
Mukesh Ambani told me: “We had vowed that we will not go to Uttar Pradesh. However, today we feel good after hearing about UP from our people. We will invest Rs 25,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh.” Ratan Tata had said: “We had decided not to invest in Uttar Pradesh and we were in the process of winding up the TCS office from Lucknow.” They had decided to transfer TCS from Lucknow to some other place. TCS Lucknow employees were protesting the decision. I called them and asked why they were staging protests. They told me that they would become jobless. It was a question of about 2,000 persons, therefore, about 2,000 families. I assured them and talked with the company officials.
After our conversation with the Tata officials, they have not only decided to stay, but to expand the Lucknow centre. They are also in the process of setting up a huge centre in Noida wherein about 20,000 youths will get employment. The Tatas have shown interest in UP; similarly, the Adanis have expressed interest. The Birlas are already one of the biggest investors in the state. Top class industrialists in our country are willing to come to Uttar Pradesh. The first day when I welcomed the Prime Minister, we had signed MoUs worth over Rs 4.28 lakh crore. I am happy to inform that we have finished talks with the Birla group and by the end of March, we will lay the foundation stone of the first MoUs signed worth Rs 25,000 crore.
Q: Before holding the summit, you did a lot of work for changing the milieu, like disposing of professional criminals and ending fear and hunger. Police is planning all out operations. How did it come to mind? You had also launched operation Romeo earlier.
A: At the beginning of our government, we had formed an anti-Romeo squad with the thought that sisters and mothers in the state should be safe. The programme was very successful. Different people have different perceptions about it. The programme was necessary and still it is. We had given three months to professional criminals and the mafia in the state to stop doing crimes, and stop playing with law and order in the state. Follow the system as per the law. But if you cannot follow the rules, we will have to deal with it very strictly. We never disposed of anyone, but if anyone is coming to get disposed, then what can we do?
Q: Your slogan is “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas”. If development is happening on this basis, then can Vikas win votes in elections? What do you feel as a Chief Minister and seasoned politician?
A: Vikas (development) is the need of society. We have come to power not to cling to the chair. We are here to contribute as per the needs of the state and nation. For us, power is not important, the country is, the society is. For us, power is a way of worship to the nation and not just to cling to the chair. Therefore, development is the requirement of society and present times. If we have to achieve the dream of “New India” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then development is necessary in a state like Uttar Pradesh.
Q: My question was different. Can development alone get votes and win elections? One has to do social engineering, which indirectly points at promoting caste based politics.
A: See you cannot go into an election with only one section. Development has its place and you cannot deny it. You should make the welfare schemes reach the needy people and they should feel the impact. We may fill accounts of people with the DBT scheme, but you also need to make them feel who is making the scheme, how they are providing the scheme. There should be a means to reach there. We have to tell them that if the government focuses on development, you will get clean ponds, houses, power, jobs, roads, employment and a crime free milieu. If they vote on caste lines, or for monetary benefits, you will not get jobs, will have to suffer riots, abductions and hooliganism. People need to understand.