Bharat Mata Ki-Jai, Bharat Mata Ki-Jai!
The popular, humble and dauntless Chief Minister of Gujarat, our beloved Shri Bhupendra Bhai, my Parliamentary colleague CR Patil, my colleagues in the Union Council of Ministers Devu Singh, Darshana Behen, all the ministers of the Gujarat Government, MPs, MLAs, as well as the mothers, sisters and brothers who have come here in such huge numbers from Vadodara, Anand, Chhota Udaipur, Kheda and Panchmahal districts!
This day is the day of motherhood for me. This morning, I first sought the blessings of the mother who gave me birth, then the mother of the entire world, Kali, and now I have also sought blessings of the mothers who are present here in large numbers! Today, I got an opportunity to offer many modern facilities to the devotees of Maa Kali at Pavagadh. I prayed to the mother for happiness, peace and prosperity of the countrymen and sought blessings from the mother for the fulfilment of the resolve of a golden India in the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'.
Brothers & Sisters,
I am glad that today when the foundation stone of development projects worth about Rs 21 thousand crores is being laid and the projects are being launched from Vadodara, the city of culture. These projects are going to strengthen the commitment of 'India's development through Gujarat's development'. Such a huge investment on houses for the poor, higher education and better connectivity will expand the industrial development of Gujarat, creating innumerable opportunities for employment and self-employment for the youth here. Most of these projects are also related to health, nutrition and empowerment of our sisters and daughters. Today lakhs of mothers and sisters have also come here to bless us. I would like to extend my special gratitude to the Gujarat government, Bhupendra Bhai and BJP state President CR Patil because they have brought me here. I entered from there and it took us almost 15-20 minutes to reach here by car. It would have taken ages if I had come on foot as there was such a huge ocean of people. But I am expressing my gratitude because when I was passing through all the people today, I got the opportunity to salute the hundreds of faces with whom I had the opportunity to work for many years. I saw some senior workers who had taught me a lot during the early days and also such mothers whom I bowed my head to; I had the privilege of eating rotis from their hands. Today, I was fortunate to have seen and met hundreds of such people and to seek their blessings and that is why I thank Bhupendra Bhai and the government of Gujarat state and all of you from the bottom of my heart. For the past 8 years, the double engine government, which is making efforts to make women power the axis of India's strength, has got a new strength today in Gujarat with the blessings of Maa Kalika. I congratulate all the sisters and the lakhs of beneficiaries.
Rapid development of women, their empowerment is equally important for the rapid development of 21st century India. Today, India is framing and formulating plans, taking decisions keeping in mind the needs and aspirations of women. From armies to mines, our government has opened all avenues for women so that they can do the work they like. We have enabled those mothers to knock on the doors of such opportunities. We have framed many new schemes keeping in mind every stage of the life cycle of women. The top priorities of our government includes making the life of women easy, reducing difficulties from their lives and giving them more and more opportunities to move forward. I consider it my privilege that I have got the opportunity to serve mothers, sisters and daughters a lot. I once again congratulate the mothers, sisters and daughters who have come from Vadodara and the surrounding areas. This city had once taken care of me too. I was brought up here. Vadodara is a suitable city for the celebration of 'matrishakti' because this city teaches values like a mother. Vadodara is the city of culture. This city takes care of those who come here in all possible ways, supports them in good and bad times and also provides opportunities to move forward. On coming to Baroda, all the past memories were refreshed because Baroda gave me such a sense of belonging just as a mother takes care of a child. I can never forget Baroda's contribution in the entire development journey. This city is a city of inspiration. This city has inspired great men like Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Arvind, Vinoba Bhave and Babasaheb Ambedkar. You all might remember; naturally I remember very well that the President of Belur Math and the one who guided me through many paths of life in my teenage years and had played a huge role in shaping my life like a Guru. In the presence of Swami Atmasthanandji, President of Ramakrishna Mission Math, Belur Math, I had had the opportunity to hand over the Dilaram Bungalow to Ramakrishna Mission here in Vadodara. Several old memories are associated with Shastri Pole, Raopura and the Panchmukhi Hanuman near the Aradhana cinema. I had also met many people in places like Panchmahal, Kalol, Halol, Godhra Dabhoi, Chhota Udepur. I can't stop counting! And all the memories of old friends are also refreshed. And when it comes to Baroda, how could we forget Hara Chivda and Bhakharwadi! Even today when we meet those who know Baroda somewhere, they talk of Hara Chivda and Bhakarwadi.
Even in 2014, when I was contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time in my life, I received the blessings of both Navnath and Kashi Vishwanath of Vadodara for the responsibility of serving the nation. What could be a greater privilege than this? Today is a very important day from my point of view for the sisters and daughters of Gujarat. To ensure a healthy motherhood and a healthy childhood, the Gujarat government has today launched 2 major schemes. I congratulate Bhupendra Bhai for this scheme named the Mukhyamantri Matrishakti Yojana of Rs 800 crore that will ensure that the mother gets nutritious food during pregnancy and in the early days of motherhood. The Poshan Sudha scheme is also now extended to all tribal dominated areas of Gujarat. Right now I have got an opportunity to distribute to more than Rs 118 crore to 1 crore 36 lakh beneficiary sisters i.e. more than 1.25 crore sisters. Just imagine! The health of the mother affects not only the mother but also the future generations. The first 1000 days of motherhood decide the life of the mother as well as the child. There is a concern for both the mother and the child. The problem of malnutrition and anaemia is the biggest problem during this phase. Malnutrition was a major challenge here two decades ago when Gujarat gave me the opportunity to serve. Since then we started working in this direction one after the other, the fruitful results of which are being seen today. Mukhyamantri Matrushakti Yojana has been launched for the sisters of Gujarat today. The women attaining motherhood will get special benefits. Under this scheme, they will get two kgs of gram, one kg tuvar dal, which are very important sources of protein and 1 litre of oil. That's why this package has been made after a lot of thought. Moreover, I had started another scheme during the Corona period so that the poor families could keep cooking at home. 80 crore people of this country have been getting free food grains even today. People around the world are surprised to know that 80 crore people have been getting free food grains for the last two years.
This scheme will help a lot in saving mother, child, the new-born baby from malnutrition and anaemia. Today, a righteous work has been accomplished! The government of Gujarat under the leadership of Bhupendrabhai has been fortunate to serve the new-born. Chhota Udepur and Kavant are tribal dominated areas. I have had the privilege of working for tribal sisters and children and I have seen and experienced their problems very closely. In many tribal areas, our sisters were suffering from sickle cell anaemia. To get rid of sickle cell, we formed a Sickle Cell Society in Gujarat. There has been a massive campaign for getting free from sickle cell. The problem of sickle cell disease did not emerge after our government was formed. This problem existed for hundreds of years. Many governments came to power but did not do anything to deal with it. We took the initiative to deal with sickle cell, set up special centres in all the districts, got lakhs of tribal brothers and sisters examined and got their tests done. And for this successful programme, Gujarat has received the Prime Minister's Civil Service Award from the Union government.
Gujarat has always paid attention to nutrition. In Gujarat, several schemes like Doodh Sanjeevani, fortified salt, take home ration, Poshan Samvaad were implemented that showed a new direction to the country. The number of sisters taking advantage of such schemes is increasing continuously today. About 58 lakh such sisters are getting the benefits of all these schemes. With the Doodh Sanjeevani Yojana, we have covered the children in tribal areas aged six months to six years for fortified milk and other things. More than 20 lakh pregnant mothers and lactating mothers are even getting double fortified salt. 14 lakh children should get food made of fortified flour in Anganwadi so that their children become healthy. Poorna scheme was formulated to ensure good nutrition for our daughters aged 15 to 18 years. Under this, many facilities were provided to more than 12 lakh daughters like iron supplements as iron is a very important element as well as the take home ration. In short, we have tried to frame as many schemes as possible and have taken all possible measures for ensuring good nutrition. Poshan Sudha Yojana is one such major step in line with this. Poshan Sudha Yojana was started 4-5 years ago in some blocks of tribal areas of Dahod, Valsad, Mahisagar, Chhota Udepur and Narmada. In the past years, considering its positive impact on tribal sisters and children, it was extended to all the tribal districts to get positive results. This will benefit about 1 lakh 36 thousand tribal mothers and sisters every month. Under this scheme, pregnant and lactating mothers will also be given hot cooked food, iron and calcium tablets once a day from Anganwadis. We have not only made a nutrition plan, but have also ensured that the facilities reach the beneficiary sisters and children properly. As the Chief Minister of Gujarat, I got an opportunity to use technology. At that time Mamta portal was started and in the last 8 years about 12 lakh equipment have been given to Anganwadis. Equipment has been given to thousands of sisters in Gujarat too.
Under this, real time monitoring is being done to monitor the health of about 11.5 crore beneficiary sisters and children across the country including Gujarat. A mobile app has been developed to monitor the expansion of Poshan Sudha Yojana. Expanding the successful experiences of Gujarat, the campaign against the problem of malnutrition and anemia is being launched in the country. For the first time in the country, it has now been decided to celebrate the month of September as the Nutrition Month, which is in the month of Sawan-Bhado in Gujarat. The sisters of Gujarat are also getting a lot of benefits from this campaign. Nutrition means not only food and drink, but they also have to create a suitable environment, the necessary facilities, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and toilets in every household. These are also a way to improve the health of mothers and sisters. Due to the smoke while cooking in the house, the smoke equivalent to hundreds of cigarettes used to get into the lungs of our sisters. We have saved the sisters from this with the Ujjwala scheme and gas connection.
More than 36 lakh families have been given gas connections under the Ujjwala scheme as well as piped water to every household. It is our good fortune that the mothers do not need to carry pots on their heads anymore. We have taken care of them by providing piped water supply. We have tried to ensure that the mothers and sisters suffer less and get rid of polluted water. If the water quality is good, then one can prevent several diseases. Under the PM Matru Vandana Yojana, about 11 thousand crore rupees are dedicated to crores of mothers in the whole country including Gujarat. Under this scheme, 9 lakh sisters of Gujarat are also getting its benefit. About Rs 400 crore is being spent to ensure that the sisters get nutrition and assistance during pregnancy.
We have tried to give more opportunities at the decision making posts to advance women of Gujarat at every level. Understanding the management capability of women, sisters have been given leadership roles in many projects related to the village. Due to the commendable work done by the sisters of Gujarat in the Pani Samiti, today the sisters of the country are also leading the Jal Jeevan Mission. Gujarat is one of the states in the country where 50 percent reservation in Panchayati Raj Institutions is for women. To empower rural sisters financially, in Gujarat, when we were celebrating 50 years of golden jubilee, we had launched Mission Mangalam and under it, in 12 years, more than 2 lakh 60 thousand Sakhi Mandals have turned into self-help groups i.e. more than 2.5 lakh groups, involving more than 26 lakh rural sisters! A large number of our tribals, Dalits, sisters from backward classes and villages too have joined it. These groups have received hundreds of thousands of crores from banks under different projects. We have always tried to ensure that sisters and daughters increase the financial strength of the families and are actively involved in the economy.
In 2014, as soon as the government was formed at the center, we worked on a massive national scheme of Jan Dhan bank account. Under this scheme, the bank accounts of lakhs of sisters have been opened in Gujarat. They are being used today for all mothers and sisters. During the terrible pandemic of coronavirus, we helped such poor mothers by sending money directly to their accounts and made arrangements so that they could live with dignity. Arrangements were made to give money without any kind of guarantee from the bank under the Mudra scheme. 'Mudra scheme' is for self-employment. And I am glad that 70 percent of the country's women are taking advantage of the Mudra scheme in the country. For Sakhi Mandals, there was a cap of Rs 10 lakh on loans but has been increased to 20 lakh by the central government so that they can expand their business. It is the due to the double engine government that development is happening at a faster pace everywhere. Today in this event, 1 lakh 40 thousand poor are getting pucca houses. Just imagine! About 1.5 lakh families will get a pucca house to live in. Earlier, about 1.5 lakh families used to live in a kutcha house, in a hut, or on the sidewalks. Also, I have this rule that the house being given under scheme should be in the name of the woman of the household. Today, if you look at the prices of these houses, then these women must have become millionaires already. Such a great job has been done. These houses under the name of sisters are worth more than ₹3,000 crores. Just imagine! These mothers and sisters have become the owner of the property worth Rs 3,000 crores. These are the women who never had anything under their names; no house, no land, nothing! But now they have assets worth Rs 3000 crores under their names. This son of yours is making it happen with the devotion to mothers.
We have also fulfilled the dreams of the urban poor and the middle class. In the past years, unprecedented work has also been done on the construction of houses for the urban poor and middle class of Gujarat. So far, out of more than 10.5 lakh houses sanctioned, the urban poor families have got about 7.50 lakh houses. About 4.5 lakh middle class families of Gujarat have also been given assistance to build houses. Sisters living in Vadodara, Anand, Chhota Udepur, Kheda, Panchmahal, Narmada, Dahod, Madhya Gujarat have got the benefits of this government scheme.
The central government has made a plan to give houses to the poor and low middle class people in the cities to live on a fair rent and today Gujarat is a leading state in the whole country. Besides, the street vendors and others have also got loans from banks under PMSVANIDHI yojana. Earlier, these people used to take loans and pay interest. We have helped these people too. In the last 20 years, we worked to ensure development and modernization in Gujarat. On one hand, the problems of our tribal brothers and sisters should be addressed and on the other hand connectivity, infrastructure would enhance industrial capability because we don’t want to stop here we have to move forward at a much faster pace. So, rail connectivity should also be there. Bhupendra Bhai has mentioned about it. For uninterrupted rail connectivity, Gujarat has been awarded a project worth Rs 16000 crore. More than 350 Km New Palanpur- New Madaar section Western dedicated freight Corridor project has been inaugurated. This project will give a fresh impetus to industrialization and business of Indian Railways. Widening of Sabarmati- Botad highway. Alternative small routes have been prepared to connect Ahmedabad Pipavav ports. This has made the lives of the people connected with ports. This is also an important part od 'Ease of living', of which I often talk about. The tourism development in Baroda and Gujarat is also our endeavour. If any guest comes to visit Gujarat, you can take him or her to Pavagadh which has been built recently to Goddess Kali. If someone intends to visit for 3-4 days, then you can take them to Ekta Nagar, Kevadia. Tell them how much we have developed. Know that our Palanpur-Radhanpur section provides connectivity to the rest of the country with Palanpur, Radhanpur. Now the Rann of Kutch has also become cultivable land. The produce from Kutch is being exported to other countries. This work is being done so that farmers' produce can reach all corners of India. Special focus has been given on the modern connectivity in Vadodara. You all know that the new bus station of Baroda looks even better than the airport. Isn't it? Today the whole of India talks about it. People come to see Gujarat's Ahmedabad-Baroda express highway and now Mumbai-Delhi Express highway. Ahmedabad-Baroda Express highway has become a model. Cantonment railway station is also being redeveloped. Vadodara Airport is also being redeveloped. Two new green airports are also being developed. Under Smart city Amrit Yojana and Mukhyamantri Shahri Vikas Yojana, Baroda is getting double engine benefit. To make Baroda a smart city, 25 projects worth Rs1000 crore have been approved and out of that about 16 projects have been completed. Under Amrit scheme, Municipal corporation has been given Rs 100 crore and I congratulate Vadodara Municipal corporation for the same. Recently, a conference of chief secretaries was held in Himachal Pradesh. One officer mentioned about the 100 crore rupees’ bond issued by Vadodara and he congratulated Vadodara in that meeting. Today, the Sindhrot and Mahisagar Water supply schemes have been inaugurated in Vadodara for south zone. I am sure that I will definitely get the blessings of my mothers and sisters.
Brothers and sisters,
Vadodara is identified with education. Our MS University is a symbol of that. This city is moving ahead in various fields like education, science, court etc. Last year Vadodara made a mark in the field of education and skill development hub. Triple IT, golden Gujarat Sports University, Central University all this are situated in Vadodara of Gujarat. So it is quite natural that Vadodara makes us proud. You will be glad to know that the country's first Rail University was opened in Vadodara. And now it is being rechristened as Gati Shakti University. As a result, the people around this area and the students passing out from this university will be benefited. In fact, the whole country will be benefited from it. Be it Anand, Chhota Udaipur or other districts of Central Gujarat; be it Kheda, Panch Mahal, Dahod, Baharaich or Narmada - all will get the benefit from it. The Birsa Munda Tribal University in Narmada and Govind Guru University in Godhra have attracted the attention of the entire country.
Brothers and sisters,
Vadodara is among the oldest Cosmopolitan cities of India. There is not a single part of the country from where people have not come here for work or study. Vadodara's Garba is enjoyed by the entire country. Vadodara has become a strong base for 'Make in India' and is playing a significant role in the journey of development. Vadodara has become a hub of service centres. Those who are connected with technology are getting a boost from this place. The metro coaches built by the Bombardier Company are exported to other countries. So tell me, whether this will make Vadodara proud or not? When people from other countries will ask where are this coaches from? The answer will be from Vadodara. If the metro runs in Australia and if someone asks from where it has come? Then the answer will be: from Vadodara of India. The speciality of Gujarat government is corporation and charity. And this has been Gujarat government's main source of strength. With the efforts of double engine Government, with the power of social organisations, with public participation, with the help of civil society new schemes are empowering Gujarat's public life. Gujarat is marching towards a new pinnacle of development for the next generation. Your blessings encourage us to take up new challenges. Your blessings inspire us to take the country to newer heights. Your blessings encourage us not to stop while fulfilling the country's dream and doing such kind of work. Today is the day of paying tribute to mothers. Today I got the opportunity to see mothers and sisters in such a large number. Lakhs of sisters coming together and showering their blessings is definitely a unique occasion. I bow down to all the mothers. Let your blessings give us more strength to serve mother India. We long for your blessings all the time. Many thanks.