We will be celebrating the auspicious festival of Rakshabandhan after two-three days. You all my sisters, have come here with a grand Rakhi for me; I am grateful. I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the mothers and the sisters of my country who have showered their blessings and have shielded me through their blessings.
The festival of Rakshabandhan is round the corner and more than 1 lakh families of Gujarat are receiving their own houses registered in the names of the sisters. I believe it is one of the greatest gifts on the occasion of Rakshabandhan.
I understand the pain of not having a house. The entire life passes living in a slum. The future is shrouded in darkness. Every morning one gets up with a new hope which fades away by the end of the day.
However, when one has a house registered in his/her name, one again starts dreaming. Then the entire family, from the youngest member to the eldest, starts working hard to fulfill that dream and their lives begin to transform.
I am extremely delighted to have gifted the houses as a brother to the mothers, sisters and to more than 1 lakh families just before the festival of Rakshabandhan.
There is another scheme worth Rs.600 crores which in a way is a gift to the mothers and the sisters on the holy occasion of Rakshabandhan. The impact of water crisis is the maximum on mothers and sisters of a family. Even today water has to be arranged by mothers and sisters of a household. Due to lack of availability of clean drinking water, the house becomes a hub of diseases. Clean drinking water prevents the family from catching several diseases.
I have spent a substantial part of my life in the tribal belt. While I was staying in Dharampur Sidambadi, one question used to come to my mind. The region received heavy rainfall yet it faced scarcity of water two months after Diwali. I clearly remember that at that time, the entire tribal belt from Dharampur, Sidambur, Umargaon to Ambaji used to receive heavy rainfall and the water used to drain into the sea. Consequently, those areas remained perched.
When I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, I used thousands of crores of rupees to ensure that every village and household of the Eastern tribal belt of Gujarat between Umar Gaon and Ambaji received water through taps.
The film that you just saw mentioned about 10 schemes. Today the tenth scheme out of those is going to start. The people who have seen the movie must be surprised that water will reach up to a height of 200th floor of a building. The river will be carried up to that height and from there the water will be delivered to the people in lower areas. This is the miracle of technology.
In our country, we even have a polling booth for a single voter in a remote forest of Gir. It becomes the most popular aspect of Indian elections and polling around the world. It becomes box-item news.
I believe that this new development will also become a wonder! In order to deliver water to a village of 200-300 households, a sensitive government carries water to a height equivalent to 200th floor of a building. This is a living example of our devotion towards every citizen of our country.
Earlier there were governments too with tribal Chief Ministers. There was a tribal Chief Minister before I became the Chief Minister. After becoming Chief Minister when I visited his village, I found that there were water tanks but without a single drop of water. I was fortunate to have got the opportunity of providing water to that village.
If someone sets aside one or two pots of water for the passersby and offers water, for years people look up to that family with a lot of respect and pride.
Even today people narrate stories of Lakha Baldhara who had worked for providing water in the villages of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Why? It is because they had worked towards delivering water to the people. I feel proud to announce that the Gujarat government is running the campaign of delivering water to every household through taps.
We are trying to address some of these crucial questions. How should Gujarat be in the future? How should be the lives of the poor? What are our dreams and what are the steps that we are taking to fulfill those dreams?
You must have seen that I got the opportunity to travel across Gujarat in just half an hour to 45 minutes. I visited every district and talked to the mothers and the sisters. Although I was listening to what they were saying, my eyes were on their houses. I was inspecting their houses. Even you might be wondering that how come the houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana are so beautiful? This was possible because the cut money and middlemen were eliminated.
This was possible because even when a single rupee is sanctioned by the Central government in Delhi, the entire 100 paise reaches the house of the poor. This government has the courage to ask a mother in front of the media, the press and the public whether they had to pay bribes or not? Whether they had to pay anything to the middle-men or not?
We are building a positive image of ourselves. I am glad that the mothers and sisters had exclaimed with a lot of confidence and satisfaction that 'No! We didn't have to pay a single penny to anyone. We have got our rights under the scheme lawfully’.
While you were looking at the houses built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, you might have been impressed with the fact that houses built by the government could be so good! It is true that government had provided the funds for the construction but at the same time it was built with the hard work of those families. They had planned the design of the house and the kind of material with which it should be constructed.
We didn't entrust the work of construction to government contractors. Rather we entrusted the work to the family itself. When a family builds its own house, the joy is ineffable and consequently every family of every village of Gujarat has constructed beautiful houses.
We have started a scheme for poverty alleviation by empowering the poor. There were banks but the poor could not enter the banks. Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, we brought banks at the doorstep of the poor.
There was a time when only the rich had electricity connection in their homes. The poor used to think whether their houses would ever be free from darkness. Today with the help of UJALA scheme and Saubhagya scheme we have undertaken the responsibility of providing electricity connections to every household. In the coming 1-1.5 years, no house in India will be without electricity connection.
This in a way is an endeavor to make radical changes in their lives with the assurance of toilet, electricity, drinking water and gas stove in their houses.
My dear brothers and sisters,
You, the people of Gujarat have nurtured me and have brought me up. Gujarat has taught me a lot of things. Whatever I have learnt from you, because of that I am trying to fulfill the dreams in a time bound manner. We have dreamt of building an India where every family will possess its own house by 2022 that will mark 75 years of Independence.
There was a time when news used to flash the grand houses of the politicians; but now the media talks about the grand houses of the poor.
This is such a Prime Minister, who joins the families in their 'House Warming ceremony; who shares their enthusiasm and joy by coming to Valsad and conducting a video conference.
Brothers and sisters,
The last week was extremely painful for us. Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji passed away but the scheme named after him i.e. the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana that aims at connecting the villages with metaled roads. The work is moving at a rapid pace to finish the task on time.
In short, efforts are being made in the direction of bringing about radical changes. You might have seen that the daughters living in remote areas are getting job opportunities after skill development. I have got the opportunity to provide evidence for the same.
The problems of the country can be easily eliminated, dreams of the common man can be fulfilled and we are constantly making efforts to fulfill those.
My brothers and sisters from Valsad,
I was to visit this place a few days ago but had to cancel it due to rainfall. These days whenever it rains, it pours; when it doesn't, there is a dry spell for weeks together. Some areas of Gujarat were flooded with rain water while other areas didn't receive rainfall at all! However, Gujarat was blessed with rainfall in some parts. The coming year will also be wonderful! I believe it will be highly beneficial for agriculture.
My dear brothers and sisters of Valsad,
Thank you for attending the conference and patiently sitting for so long. I cannot thank you enough for attending the function in such large numbers.
My best wishes to all the mothers and sisters on the occasion of Rakshabandhan.
Thank you so much!