NEW DELHI: Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, PMO, Atomic Energy & Space joined the second episode of the ‘Capital Dialogue’ which was organized by the Sunday Guardian Foundation in collaboration with The Sunday Guardian newspaper and NewsX. Held at the Constitution Club in New Delhi on Wednesday, 16th November, the session was televised on NewsX at 7:00 p.m. on Monday the 21st.
The minister addressed the progress India has made in the space sector, development in J&K and citizen centric governance. Speaking about development and Jammu & Kashmir, he emphasized a sustained model of governance by stating, “The single most important factor is the person around whom this is developed, the persona of PM Modi himself. His two or three traits which keep him apart from others includes that he has the capacity to take out of the box decisions, his capacity to break taboos & that he has a futuristic vision.”
As India leads the space race by launching the first private rocket in the mission dubbed “Prarambh’ under the expertise of a young team from ‘Skyroot Aerospace’, the minister highlighted India’s potential to flourish in the space sector, stating that “the potential is so huge, one can’t imagine unless one has pointed it out.” As emphasis is placed on India’s space start-ups and inculcating the true nature of ‘Atmanirbharta’ into the space sector, the minister said, “I think what has changed is that PM Modi had a special passion for all the scientific endeavors and he also realizes the importance of science and technology and he gave us full play to live to our potential.”
Speaking further about India’s potential and contrasting then to now, he stated, “There was never a dearth of caliber, never a dearth of potential or capacity. Can you imagine Vikram Sarabhai thinking of a space program at a time when America and the Soviet Union were already planning to land on the surface of the moon?”
On J&K, he added, “Peace and development share a reciprocal relationship, if peace gets disturbed, development stops.“ He further added, “A day will come when everybody would like to go back to Kashmir. We should ideally think of a situation where you don’t have to create some kind of a protective zone but feel secure to walk in.”
On the issue of refugees from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the minister stated, “With respect to PoK, the resolution was brought in the Parliament by the Congress government headed by Narasimha Rao, we had voted for it and it was a unanimously passed resolution in 1993,” while also placing emphasis on the Kashmiri pandits he stated, “ a very unfortunate exodus which happened, I think such a large section of population being hounded out of their homes all of a sudden and becoming homeless in their own country,“ while pointing out that the recent killings in Kashmir “have been soft target killings whose victims were both Kashmiri Pandits and non-local laborers.”
Speaking further about the security situation in Kashmir, the minister added, “As of today, the overall militancy has gone down in Kashmir. If you look at the statistics, there has been no stone pelting for the last 2-3 years.”
When the minister was asked about the space industry friendly policies, he stated, “We are into the era of startups. Before 2014, the number of startups in this country was hardly 350, now it has crossed 80,000. We stand no. 3 in the world as far as the startup ecosystem is concerned. There is considerable headway been done with a conscious effort.”
Dr Jitendra Singh highlighted the thought of “maximum governance, minimum government” being the way forward. He emphasized the importance of a “government that is a facilitator and not an intimidator.”
Catch the second episode of ‘Capital Dialogue’on NewsX. and streamed live on major OTT platforms- Dailyhunt, Zee5, MX Player, ShemarooMe, Watcho, Mzaalo, Jio TV, Tata Play and PayTm livestreams.