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Assam- ‘Piyush Goyal on COVID-19: Distance covered and road ahead’

Guwahati-   Mr. Piyush Vedprakash Goyal, Minister of Railways and Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, was in conversation with Prof.(Dr.) S. P. Singh, Vice Chancellor, Royal Global University on the webinar ‘COVID-19: Distance covered and road ahead’, held by Royal Global University on 22 June 2020.

The interactive session was joined by Dr. A. K. Pansari, Chancellor, Mr. A. K. Modi, Pro Chancellor, Prof. A.K. Buragohain, Chairperson-Academic, Mr. Ankur Pansari, Executive Vice President, along with 1000 Vice Chancellors, Academicians, members of the Press, faculty, staff and students of RGU as well as from across India.

Dr. Pansari, welcoming the doyen of railways, commerce & trade, stated that during these COVID Times, like MSME’s, education sector too should get government assistance; real estate needs incentives; revisit industry policies and hoped the student community will take valuable lessons from the minister home for implementations, as in entrepreneurship, etc. He further stated that his half dream of having Mr. Piyush Goyal Royal Global University has come true and hopes in better times, post COVID, he will space time out to interact with students. Like the rising sun in Northeast, he hoped for better rail connectivity and facilities across Northeast. He expressed his delight at his son Mr. Dhruv Goyal being the VC of the Student’s union in Harvard University, UK and a fine orator, displayed during his visit to RGU.

Mr. Goyal, marveling at the resplendent journey of the Royal Group, fortified his stand on the importance of visionaries like PM Modi to lead from the front, hands on, and change the destiny of 120 crores Indians. In reminiscence of Father’s Day on 21 June, he mused on Mahatma Gandhi’s take on programmes which should ‘ always touch the last man in the pyramid and see the impact in their lives’.

 It was, like the RGU journey and visit by Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to it, the various programmes under the PM like Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhar, Ayushman Bharat, 100% electrification, free cooking gas to 8 crores homes, 110 million toilets, etc., through which farmers, women, children in villages and towns benefitted during this pandemic.

Medically ill prepared to face this pandemic, India called a lockdown from 24 March thereby speeding up PPE production, ventilators, masks, medicines (also supplying to 150 countries and free of cost to 43 countries) and he stated that in this pandemic, India has 3% cases compared to the World, less than 5% in mortality and 55% in recovery. He lauded the Northeast for its fight against COVID and especially Sri Sarbananda Sonowal and Dr.Himanta B Sarma, setting examples for the rest of the country.

He further noted that these COVID Times has brought about positivity in Indians by displaying immense discipline in adhering to the state directives; students appearing in online classes and examinations; opened opportunity for hybrid learning & touching larger number of students; stated on Alan Turing and Artificial Intelligence; webinars and video conferencing minimizing costs and redirecting revenues and spoke with élan, how in 167 years, Indain Railways under Modi1.0 & 2.0,  has created a record by having no passenger casualty.

He enthused on Northeast’s bio-diversity, natural resources, strategic location coupled with hard working people makes it an ideal location for investment, as also stated by Sri Jitender Singh, DoNER Minister on utilization of 100% of budget allocated. He also mentioned that the tyre industry will invest 1000 crores in rubber plantations in Northeast in 200 hectares of land which will be a good industrial growth.

Mr.Goyal, quoted Robert Schuller, the American motivational speaker, ‘You can do anything you want to do, you can be anyone you want to be, you go anywhere you want to go,if you are willing to dream big and work hard’  and urged the people of Northeast & India, especially the student community to work towards making India a superpower and embrace the positivity evolving out of this pandemic.

He was elated to field a question by Father P.V Thomas from Don Bosco, previously his principal in Bombay, on reverse migration and emerging unemployment to which he said that understanding the importance of the migrant skilled workers, companies are luring them back with better incentives. Employment generation is gearing up through young India start-up companies and new modalities in businesses. He prodded RGU management to take up joint case studies with railways to better its prospects through educational programmes. Railways is the property of Indians and any project can be in PPP mode but it will never be privatized.

Prof Singh, in conversation with Mr.Goyal summed up the webinar with hopes of Northeast being the growth engine for the nation in the coming days; his positivity endearing all participants through the virtual medium and Dr.Pansari too echoed that under PM Modi, Mr.Goyal, Northeast will be the hub of industrial development and unitedly fight against COVID-19.

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