I fold my hands in humility before you all because I come from the land of culture, of shastras and Vedas, who believe that they are not above or beneath any individual.
From the land of Snake Charmers, to the land of Mangalyaan, the journey has been incredible – it has taken 70 years for this vibrant nation, with 1.2 billion people to beat back poverty, hunger, unemployment, corruption to propel itself on the path of unprecedented growth. It has been the blood, sweat and toil of the people of this country that has transformed, every burden, every disadvantage into a nation, that has become greater than the sum of its parts.
The world’s governments have formulated a set of Sustainable Development Goals for the period 2016-2030. The SDGs focus on ending extreme poverty, hunger, and preventable disease, and are the most important global development goals in the United Nations’ history. The SDGs are fighting not only against extreme poverty, the challenges of ensuring more equitable development and environmental sustainability, and especially, the key goal of curbing the dangers of human-induced climate change.
So, fellow Indians, can UN goals actually make a difference?
The messageof the SDGs is powerful and encouraging. These 17 goals have become the centrepiece of the development efforts for developing countries, like India,all around the world. So, yes, they really make a difference.They bring forth a path for marked progress and help galvanize a global efforton poverty reduction, disease control, and increased access to schooling and infrastructure everywhere.
These goals are important for many reasons. First, they are essential for social mobilization. The world needs to be oriented in one direction to help achieve sustainable development. The global goals help individuals, organizations, and governments worldwide to agree on the direction – essentially, to focus on what really matters for our future. Secondly, the goals make our political leaders accountable as they areconstantly questioned on the steps they were taking to realise the goals. Finally, the goals matter because they help create a network of expertise, knowledge, and practice into action around sustainable-development challenges.
A strong beginning has been made, a promising future awaits us. It is ‘We the People’ who make India strong and resilient for the future. We walk together, we move together, we think together, we resolve together and together we take this country forward. Give us a place where we can stand – and we shall move the world. So, fellow Indians, it is our duty, to continue to realise the Sustainable Development Goals and put India on the map for being a nation that shall continue to charter a sustainable future.