Address (Excerpts) by Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Honourable Vice President at the presentation of SCOPE Awards in New Delhi, January 18, 2024

New Delhi | January 18, 2024

I must start with a disclaimer: I am regarded by the legal fraternity and people who know me well as a public sector fanatic. I believe in the public sector because of their talent, commitment, direction and accomplishment and the one who introduced me into the public sector is here, Shri SushilRungta, Former Chairman, SAIL. He gets the best out of his professionals while keeping them in a good mood.

Your jury is headed by one of the finest men of Indian Judiciary, Justice Tirath Singh Thakur. Anything that carries his stamp is bound to be suffering the toughest evaluation. He is guided by only one aspect and that is merit.

Public sector is our pride, the public sector is the spine of the Indian economy and you all are the spinal strength of the public sector. I want the people at large, particularly the Corporate Sector to know it. We need to give recognition to the public sector,its Human Resource- that is long overdue. When you take into account the conditions of your peers, they are in geometrical situations but when it comes to the table, you are far ahead of them. I am sure the nation is greatly benefiting thereby.

Reflections have been made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji about the public sector enterprises and he reflected on it as a visionary. He could realize your strength and he therefore indicated that public sector enterprises stand for profit. People have a misconception - they associate the public sector with liability. No! Going into the hard facts, the public sector does stand for profit and this profit is not only in the balance sheets, this profit is in your massive contribution for societal upliftment and upliftment of the elements of society that matter to all of us.

Remember the days when going to a bank was a tough job. They would never be keen to open your account. When we come to the present statistics, 500 million accounts in the Jan Dhan category, so well accomplished. A vision executed by the public sector, no one else could do it. The benefit was to a nation which houses 1/6th of humanity and what are the consequences?  Because of this massive banking inclusion, thanks to the efficiency of our public sector, we now have a transparent, accountable mechanism for the transfer of money. It has been tested time and again. I am the son of a farmer. 110 million farmers, thrice a year, get money directly in their accounts all thanks to the public sector. You have not only facilitated the government machinery, you have really surcharged it, you have given to farmers the ability to receive that amount, and it has cut down interventions, leakage, corruption, the amount reaches directly. Again, congratulations to the public sector.

Rich human resource of the public sector is to be further exploited because we are living now in times that are dynamic and fast changing. We have to live with disruptive, futuristic technologies. Those technologies will guide our path. They have entered our offices and our homes. We have to ensure these technologies unleash their power for positivity and for that the public sector will have to engage in securing Research and Development. Fortunately, the Government of India has taken initiatives and is in the league of nations, this number is not in double digits. When we talk of quantum computing, we have thought of it well in time. There is a Quantum Commission, there is allocation of Rs. 6000 crore. We have to go ahead. If we come to the Green Hydrogen Mission, look at the potential it has, 19000 crore have been committed to this mission. By one estimate, in 2030, there would be about 8-9 lakh jobs and 6 lakh crore investment. These are the areas where the public sector should take initiative.

Research and Development in the world has been catalyzed by the corporate sector and the industry. Research and development will define how strong a nation will be and how secure a nation will be. I had the good fortune to address three International conferences on security aspects focusing particularly on the Indo - Pacific. Wars will no longer be fought in conventional manners - they will be technologically driven.

The Public Sector has always risen to the call of the nation. Whenever there was a need for the nation to get a healing touch, the public sector came forward and also repaired its balance sheets; this is something unique which is not shared by the corporate world. Therefore, please hand hold institutions.

Those pernicious tendencies of which the public sector was victim, they never originated in the public sector. The public sector could not perform on occasions because the governance was not of the kind which it should have been. We now have a governance mechanism for every industry - public or private, because transparency and accountability is the new fulcrum of it.

Patronage is not a word in the public sector. The public sector has never believed in patronage. It has performed objectively. There had previously been some kind of incursions in their governance by the authorities where they were directed and rendered helpless.

Now there is no such constraint. You have to outperform no one but yourself and that is why in AmritKaal, firm foundations have been laid for what Bharat will be in 2047, and Bharat in 2047 will be a world leader.

Empowerment does not come with knee jerk reactions, empowerment comes with bold decisions and in these bold decisions, half of humanity - women, have to actively participate in governance. They have to have a constitutionally structured mechanism in which they will participate. This eluded us for three decades. Efforts were made, I don't doubt the efforts but success eluded us. A great event happened in September 2023, when Lok Sabha passed an historic, epochal bill providing reservation to women. One third seats in Lok Sabha and state legislatures would be reserved for women and this should be understood in proper perspective. The proper perspective is that the number will always be more than one - third, because women can always contest from the usual seats, general seats.

This reservation has a great societal element. It is horizontal and vertical which means Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribe women, for these two categories there is already a reservation in Parliament and legislature, but one third of their category will be women.

Imagine by the end of this decade what will be the shape of the Parliament! More than one third parliamentarians will be women. That is a great accomplishment and the entire world has acknowledged it.

I appeal to you, people before me are not ordinary people, your track record of success shows that you are gifted with sharp intellect. You are discerning minds. Can this be effected in 2024? There will have to be delimitation.

So the greatest threat comes to us from informed minds. There is a gentleman, he held high positions, you regard him well because he happened to be the Finance Minister of the country, a long Parliamentary career and he comes out with a thought immediately “why not now?”.

If informed minds, sensible minds, whom we regard well, trade on ignorance of the people, it is antithetical to morality, ethics and an injustice to the nation. In the world of finance, someone had his workstation outside this country, came to this country as the Chief Economic Advisor and was lucky to become the RBI Governor, could not get a second term and then said two things that hurt me. I can't digest those two things.

One, India's rise will not be more than 5%, it was actually 7.6%. Why is he silent? The second was awful, totally unjustifiable, what will happen kiभारतसुपरपावरबनेगातोक्याकरेगा?औरोंकोपरेशानकरनाहै.यहबातट्विटरपरकहदेनाकीक्योंबननाचाहतेहोसुपरपावर,किसकोपरेशानकरनाचाहतेहो?  He betrays ignorance of about 5000 years of Civilizational Ethos. हमारेदेशनेकिसीकोपरेशाननहींकियाहै. This country has never believed in expansion.

I therefore appeal to you. You are leaders in one form or other. Those who are before me and those who are accessing this program are influencers; your word will count.

Time has come when as Indians we must believe in economic nationalism. Our country is being bled because of imported items that we can make here. We are not respecting the concept of Vocal for Local. Being Vocal for Local as indicated by the Prime Minister encapsulates essence of economic nationalism.हम क्या इंपोर्ट कर रहे हैं दिए कैंडल कर्टेन फर्नीचर?Should we be doing that? When we import these articles, there is a 2 point impact:जो यहां बना सकता है उसके हाथ से हम काम छीन रहे हैं और जो एंटरप्रेन्योर बन सकता है उसको हम धक्का दे रहे हैं |इसकी आवश्यकता नहीं है. I am sure if each one of you takes it upon himself or herself to generate this vibe of economic nationalism, it will have an exponential impact.

I am not a stakeholder in politics. Politicians have freedom to play their politics. Let them set any narratives but let them not shut their eyes to national interests. Our epochal achievements are being appreciated by one and all.

मुझे आपको यह कहना है कि आज का भारत बदल गया है।आजका भारत किसी का मोहताज नहीं है।आज का भारत देश हित को आगे रखता है की अंतरराष्ट्रीय संबंध हो और देश में विकास हो।पब्लिक सेक्टर की बहुत कैपेसिटी है. You have something which no one else can do.नालंदा तक्षशिला यह आप क्रिएट कर सकते हो आपका हुमन रिसोर्स बहुत ज्यादा है.

The Public Sector is sometimes regarded as a punching bag. They associate inefficiency with the public sector. How wrong they are! We have to do something about it.  I am your soldier. It is not inefficient; it is the most efficient. It is not a category which doesn't look at the balance sheet, it does. The balance sheet is brilliant but it has another balance sheet which normally others don't have - that it gives so much to the society which you cannot imagine. If I look around there was one public sector undertaking, that undertaking was Tejas. That undertaking has made a helicopter. It's job card is full. It will have to do much to discharge that obligation.

Ignorance is no longer a bliss. We have been saying this for a long time, ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is in fact not bliss and sky is not the limit for Bharat!

Now, if you tell someone you are from India, if you tell someone your passport is Indian, he remembers only two things. In present times amongst global economies of that size, India's rise is at number one. World bodies like the International Monetary Fund have confidently said that India is the favorite destination for investment and opportunity. Let us make the most out of it.

History is being created in the AmritKaal thanks to the labour, efforts and contribution of every Indian supporting the visionary leadership that thinks big, executes fast and brings about development for one and all.