The inclusion of Piyush Goyal in the NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2014 – 2019) surprised many people. Piyush Goyal had dedicated a large part of his illustrious career serving the BJP and had also held the position of National Treasurer of the party.
He had been a part of the team that had aggressively campaigned for PM Modi in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections of 2014. His amiable nature endeared him to the party president and PM Modi. After the successive campaign that saw a historic victory for PM Modi and the NDA, Piyush Goyal was made the Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy in 2014.
The Power industry was debt-ridden and in dire need of a total revamp. The successive UPA governments (2004 – 2014) had effectively crippled the sector with unscrupulous load shedding, power cuts, high tariffs and power theft. This was in evidence in 2016 – 2017, when wires were seen hanging from buildings during the rallies and election campaigns held in Uttar Pradesh. Piyush Goyal worked systemically to overhaul the whole structure of power transmission, distribution and total electrification of villages in far-flung areas.
Piyush Goyal is known to be a taskmaster, unrelenting and driven. He accelerated PM Modi’s goal of providing 24 x 7 electricity to all households and worked out several initiatives to adopt clean energy. He reworked the concept of drawing new electricity lines in existing towns to prevent accidents. Under his vision, the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) was launched to revive power distribution companies that were in the red. This progressive scheme was followed by the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) aimed at providing uninterrupted electricity to rural India. This rural electrification scheme is one of the most successful launched during Modi 1.0.
This was followed by his stint as the Minister of Railways in 2017 – 2021. The Indian Railways which is the the fourth-largest railway network in the world in terms of size bloomed under his vision. It is the heart and soul of the country and crores of people use it every day. The phenomenal work done by Piyush Goyal is there for all to see.
The entire website was improved making it easier and more communicative for users, train stations became cleaner, coaches were impeccably maintained, world-class amenities were provided in all the trains, bio toilets were included in all passenger trains (protects the railway tracks and saves about 400 crore per annum), total electrification of railways, zero accidents, introduction of vista-dome coaches, introduction of the indigenous semi-high speed train Vande Bharat Express, zero plastic, revival and completion of decades-old projects, Oxygen Express, commencement of the ambitious Chenab bridge project (world’s highest railway bridge) and so on and so forth.
He has now handed over the charge of this Ministry to the extremely talented Ashwini Vaishnaw and great things can be expected from him as well. Piyush Goyal as the Minister of Commerce and Industry saw India jump 14 spots in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business. He has demanded equal opportunities to all domestic vendors in marketplaces – a point that has not gone down well with Amazon.
Exports to USA has jumped since 2019. India has now grabbed a big share of textile exports to the USA from China. States like Uttar Pradesh have benefited from the One District One Product (ODOP) initiative of Piyush Goyal that provides employment and steady income. This scheme will help identify products in each district of India with export potential.
The big question is what to expect from Piyush Goyal who is now in charge of the Ministry of Textiles? Well knowing his ability like Prime Minister Narendra Modi to squeeze water from a stone, we can expect exports to grow exponentially, generation of employment opportunities, revival of the handloom and handicrafts sector, relief package for those hit hard by the pandemic (cottage industries) and a tremendous impetus to this centuries-old sector that is yet to realize its true potential under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
The achievements of Piyush Goyal since 2014 will run into many sheets of paper. He has managed to turn round every industry and sector that he was handed and we expect he will continue to serve the nation and its people zealously.
Written by Byomkesh Bakshi: Satyanweshi
*Disclaimer – Views are personal and based on data available on Government websites and not from newspapers, media outlets and TV channels.