India is taking bold decisions and implementing them with speed: PM Modi

Published By : Admin | January 18, 2021 | 10:30 IST
Metro will further strengthen the connectivity in Ahmedabad and Surat - what are two major business centres of the country: PM Modi
Rapid expansion of metro network in India in recent years shows the gulf between the work done by our government and the previous ones: PM Modi
Before 2014, only 225 km of metro line were operational while over 450 km became operational in the last six years: PM Modi

Namaste, the Governor of Gujarat, Shri Acharya Devvrat ji, my colleagues in the Union Cabinet, Amit Shah ji and Hardeep Singh Puri ji, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani ji, Ministers of Government of Gujarat, MPs and MLAs, my dear brothers and sisters from Ahmedabad and Surat.

Ahmedabad and Surat are getting a very important gift today at the beginning of Uttarayan. The Metro in Ahmedabad and Surat, two major commercial centres in the country, will further strengthen connectivity in these cities. New railway lines and new trains were launched for Kevadiya yesterday. The modern Jan-Shatabdi Express will now go to Kevadiya from Ahmedabad. I congratulate and convey my best wishes to the people of Gujarat for this launch.

Brothers and sisters,

Today, the infrastructure work of more than Rs. 17,000 crore is being launched. The investment worth Rs. 17,000 crore shows that the country is making continuous efforts to build new infrastructure even during this period of corona. In the past few days, infrastructure projects worth thousands of crores of rupees have either been launched across the country or work on new projects has started.

Friends,

Both Ahmedabad and Surat are the cities that empower self-reliance of Gujarat as well as India. I remember, it was a wonderful moment when the Metro started in Ahmedabad. People were standing on the roof. Hardly will anybody forget the happiness that was on people’s faces. I also see how the dreams and identity of Ahmedabad have linked themselves to the Metro. Now, the work for the second phase of Ahmedabad Metro is starting today. The Ahmedabad Metro Rail project will now have a corridor from Motera Stadium to Mahatma Mandir and the other corridor will connect GNLU and Gift City. It will benefit millions of people in the city.

Friends,

Surat is the second largest city in Gujarat after Ahmedabad, which will be connected with the modern public transport system like Metro. The Metro network in Surat will, in a way, connect the important business hubs of the entire city. One corridor will connect Sarthana to the Dream City and the other corridor will connect Bhesan to the Saroli line. The important feature of these Metro projects is that they are also being constructed keeping in mind the requirements of the coming years. That is, the investment that is being made today will provide better facilities to our cities for many years to come.

Brothers and sisters,

The best example of the difference in approach between the earlier governments and our government can be gauged through the expansion of the Metro network in the country. In the 10-12 years before 2014, only 225 kilometres of Metro line was operational. More than 450 kilometres of Metro network has been commissioned in the last six years. At present, work on more than 1000 kms of new Metro networks is going on in 27 cities of the country.

Friends,

There was a time when there was no modern thinking about the construction of Metro in our country. There was no Metro policy in the country. As a result, different kinds of metros with different technology and systems started becoming in different cities. The other problem was that the rest of the city transport system had no coordination with the Metro. Today, we are integrating the transportation system of cities. That is, the buses, the Metro and trains do not run on their own, but work as a collective system and complement each other. The National Common Mobility Card, which was launched in Ahmedabad Metro itself during my visit, is going to help further in this integration in future.

Friends,

We started working on the vision of the immediate requirements of our cities today and what will be required in the coming 10-20 years. Now, take Surat and Gandhinagar for example. Two decades ago, Surat was in the news for an epidemic like plague more than its development. But the natural quality of the people of Surat to embrace everything began to alter the situation. We emphasized the spirit of Surat which is embracing every enterprise. Today, Surat is the eighth largest city in the country according to population, but is also the fourth fastest growing city in the world. Out of every 10 diamonds in the world, nine are carved in Surat. Today, 40 per cent of the total man-made fabric in the country and about 30 per cent of the man-made fiber is produced in Surat. Today, Surat is the second cleanest city in the country.

Brothers and sisters,

All these have been possible with a better planning and inclusive thinking. Earlier, about 20 per cent of the population in Surat lived in slums, now it has come down to six per cent after pucca houses were allotted to the poor. In order to free the city from congestions, several steps, including better traffic management, were taken. Today, there are more than 100 flyovers in Surat, out of which more than 80 have been built in the last 20 years and 8 flyovers are also under construction. Similarly, the capacity of sewage treatment plants was increased. Today, there are about a dozen sewage treatment plants in Surat. Today, Surat is earning 100 crore rupees in revenue due to sewage treatment plants. In the past few years, the best modern hospitals have been built in Surat. All these efforts improved ease of living in Surat. Today, we see Surat as a very good example of ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat’. Surat has emerged as a mini India full of dreams with people coming here to try their luck from Purvanchal, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, North East and every nook and corner of the country, and our industrious people working with complete dedication. All these partners are working together to give new heights to the development of Surat.

Friends,

Similarly, what was the identity of Gandhinagar earlier? It had become a city of government employees, retired people and had become slack and a lazy place that could not be called the city. But we have seen this image of Gandhinagar changing rapidly in the last few years. Now, wherever you go in Gandhinagar, you will find youngsters and a mass of dreams. Today, Gandhinagar has its own identity. IIT Gandhinagar, Gujarat National Law University, National Forensic Science University, Raksha Shakti University, NIFT, etc are the identities of Gandhinagar. Then there is Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Indian Institute of Teacher Education, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, National Institute of Design (NID), BISAG (Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics). Countless, I can say. In such a short time, so much construction work is taking place on the land of Gandhinagar for the people who mould the destiny of India. These institutions did not only change the education sector, but companies also started setting up campuses here, leading to increased employment opportunities for the youth in Gandhinagar. Similarly, the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar is also giving a fillip to the conference tourism. Now professionals, diplomats, thinkers and leaders come here for conferences. This has also given a new identity and direction to the city. Today, the educational institutions, modern railway stations, Gift City and many modern infra projects have made Gandhinagar vibrant and a city of dreams, in a way.

Friends,

Along with Gandhinagar, there are a number of projects in Ahmedabad which have become the hallmark of the city today. Be it the Sabarmati River Front, Kankaria Lake Front, water aerodrome, Ahmedabad Bus Rapid Transit System, the world's largest stadium in Motera, six lanes of Sarkhej-Gandhinagar Highway; so many projects have been developed in the past few years. In a way, while maintaining the mythological character of Ahmedabad, the city is being dressed up with modernity. Ahmedabad has been declared India's first "World Heritage City". Now, a new airport is also going to be built at Dholera near Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad-Dholera Monorail has also been sanctioned recently to connect this airport with Ahmedabad. Similarly, work on bullet trains connecting Ahmedabad and Surat to the country's financial capital Mumbai is also in progress.

Friends,

Over the years, there has been unprecedented growth in rural development besides the cities of Gujarat. The improvement in roads, electricity, water, especially in villages, in the last two decades is a very important chapter of Gujarat's development journey. Today, every village in Gujarat has all weather road connectivity and tribal areas also have better roads.

Friends,

Most of us have seen the period when the villages of Gujarat used to get water from trains and tankers. Today, water has reached every village in Gujarat. Not only that, about 80 per cent of the households is now accessing tap water. Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, 10 lakh new water connections have been provided in the state. Very soon, every household in Gujarat is going to get water from taps.

Friends,

Not only drinking water, today, water has reached the areas of Gujarat where irrigation facility was considered impossible, nobody dreamt. A very comprehensive work has been done to green the drought affected areas of Gujarat, be it the Sardar Sarovar Dam, Sauni Yojana or water grids network. The water of Mother Narmada is now reaching Kutch, which is hundreds of kilometres away. Gujarat is also among the leading states in the country in terms of micro-irrigation.

Brothers and sisters,

Gujarat once faced a huge power crisis. In the villages, the crisis was severe. Today, Gujarat has enough power and is also the leading state in the country in the development of solar energy. A few days ago, work began for the world's largest renewable energy plant in Kutch, which has both solar and wind energy. Today, Gujarat is becoming the first state to provide separate electricity for irrigation under the Sarvodaya Yojana to farmers. In the field of health, Gujarat has continuously empowered health services in villages. The health care schemes that have started in the country in the last six years are also benefiting Gujarat in a very comprehensive way. Under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, 21 lakh people of Gujarat have got free treatment. More than 525 Jan Aushadhi Centres, which provide cheaper medicines, are functioning in Gujarat today. This has led to saving of about Rs. 100 crores to the general families of Gujarat, especially the middle and lower class families. Gujarat is also making rapid progress in providing affordable houses to the rural poor. More than 2.5 lakh houses have been constructed in villages of Gujarat under the PM Awas Yojana (Gramin). Similarly, more than 35 lakh toilets have been built in the villages of Gujarat under the Swachh Bharat Mission. Another example of how fast the work is being done for the development of the villages of Gujarat is the Digital Seva Setu. Through this, ration cards, land related papers, pension schemes, different types of certificates and many such services are being extended to the people of the villages. This Setu was launched in October last year, i.e., four-five months ago. And I am told that this Digital Setu will be available to 8,000 villages very soon. Through this, more than 50 government services would be available to the people of the villages directly. I congratulate the entire team of the Government of Gujarat for this initiative.

Friends,

Today, India is not only taking decisions with self-confidence, but also implementing them expeditiously. Today, India is not just doing big, today India is doing better. Today, the world's largest statue is in India. Today, the world's largest affordable housing program is running in India. Today, the world's largest healthcare assurance program is also running in India. The work to connect six lakh villages with fast Internet is also happening in India. And the world's largest vaccination campaign against corona infection has also started in India a day before yesterday.

Here in Gujarat itself, two things have been completed recently which I would particularly like to mention. These are examples of how fast-completing projects change people's lives. One is the ROPAX service between Ghogha and Hazira and the other is the Girnar ropeway.

Friends,

In November last year, i.e., four months ago, with the commencement of the ROPAX service between Ghogha and Hazira, the years of wait for the people of both Saurashtra and South Gujarat has ended and the people there are getting a lot of benefit. With this service, a road distance of 400 kilometres between Ghogha and Hazira has been reduced to only 90 kilometres through the sea. That is, the travel time has been reduced from 10-12 hours to just 4-5 hours. It is saving time for thousands of people, reducing the expenditure on petrol and diesel and also helping reduce pollution due to lesser vehicles on roads. I am told that more than 50,000 people have availed of this new facility in just two months. More than 14,000 vehicles have also been transported through the ROPAX ferry service. Along with Surat, this new connectivity of Saurashtra has facilitated the farmers and cattle farmers of Saurashtra to deliver fruits, vegetables and milk to Surat. Earlier, fruits, vegetables and milk perished during road transport. Now, the products of cattle farmers and farmers are reaching the cities through the sea rapidly. Similarly, it has become much easier for business associates and labour colleagues in Surat to commute from this ferry service.

Friends,

A few weeks before this ferry service, the ropeway was started in Girnar in the month of October last year, about four-five months ago. Earlier, the only option to visit Girnar Mountain was by climbing 9,000 stairs. Now, the ropeway has given another facility to devotees. Earlier, it took 5-6 hours to reach the temple, now people cover the distance in a few minutes. I am told that in just two-and-a-half months, more than 2.13 lakh people have availed of it so far. You can imagine more than two lakh people in just two-and-a-half months. You can realize the magnitude of this service. And I am sure that the elderly mothers and sisters, the senior people of the family especially, who are visiting the temple are blessing several people like me which gives us the strength to do more work.

Brothers and sisters,

The goal of a new India can be achieved only by realizing the needs and aspirations of the people by working quickly. There is another effort in this direction which is not as much discussed as it should be. This is ‘PRAGATI’, a central-level scheme. When I was in Gujarat, a huge discussion was going on regarding the welcome ceremony. But the PRAGATI programme which is going on in the country is a platform which is playing a vital role in accelerating different schemes of the country and the infrastructure projects. Here, the people associated with the Government know that I also sit for hours in the PRAGATI meetings and discuss each and every project minutely with the state officials, trying to solve their problems. During PRAGATI meetings, I try to find a solution to projects that have been stuck for decades by communicating directly with all the stakeholders. Projects worth over Rs 13 lakh crore have been reviewed in the PRAGATI meetings in the last 5 years. The proper solution to important but incomplete projects for years has been found after reviewing them in these meetings.

Friends,

Cities like Surat get impetus once the schemes stuck for years gather steam. Our industries, and especially small industries, MSMEs, get confidence that they are competing with the markets in the developed world and they also have the same infrastructure like them. Several major steps have been taken for these small industries under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Campaign. On the one hand, loans worth thousands of crores of rupees have been arranged to bail the small industries out of the crisis, on the other, several important decisions have been taken to give more opportunities to MSMEs. The biggest decision the government has made is on the definition of MSMEs, the extent of investment. Earlier, entrepreneurs used to avoid expanding MSMEs fearing loss of government benefits. Now, the government has opened new avenues for these units by removing such restrictions. In addition, the new definition also eliminates the discrimination between manufacturing and service enterprises. This has also created new possibilities in the service sector. It has also ensured that India’s MSMEs get more and more opportunities in government procurements. The endeavour is that our small industries flourish and the labour friends working there get better facilities and better life.

Friends,

Behind these huge efforts are the youth of India of the 21st century and their countless aspirations -- aspirations that are difficult to meet in the absence of infrastructure and security. I am sure that those difficulties have to be overcome, dreams have to be enabled and the resolutions have to be realized. I am sure that these metro projects in Ahmedabad and Surat will meet the aspirations and expectations of every friend in these cities.

With this belief, I congratulate all the brothers and sisters of Gujarat, especially the citizens of Ahmedabad and Surat.

Many many thanks!

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PM Modi's interview to News X
May 21, 2024

In an interview to News X, Prime Minister Modi addressed the issue of toxic language in elections, explained why the Opposition frequently discussed him, and shared his views on job creation. He criticized the Congress' tax plans and appeasement politics.

Rishabh Gulati: A very warm welcome to the viewers of NewsX and India News. I’m Rishabh Gulati and with me is Aishwarya Sharma of The Sunday Guardian and Rana Yashwant. In today’s special episode, we proudly welcome a renowned ‘rashtra sevak’, and the Prime Minister of India in this Amrit Kaal, Hon’ble Shri Narendra Modi. Mr Prime Minister, you took the time to speak to us, we are very grateful.

Prime Minister: Namaskar, my warm greetings to all your viewers.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, the first question that comes to mind is about the Opposition, and it seems that the biggest item on their poll agenda is Narendra Modi. Why, in your opinion, do they talk so much about Narendra Modi?

Prime Minister: To understand why they discuss Narendra Modi, we must first understand the Opposition. To understand them, one can examine the administration between 2004 and 2014.

The Opposition has not been able to play a strong role. Even as the Opposition, the way they are falling apart, they did not play a constructive role of any kind. Despite deep discussions, they haven’t been able to bring serious issues to the public attention. They thought that by their antics, taking up space in the media, they would be able to keep their boat afloat. Even in this election, I have seen that they make fresh attempts every day to acquire media space, be it by making videos, nonsensical statements, or behaving in a way that people don’t normally behave. So they do this to acquire space in the media. Now abusing Modi is one such antic, where, if nothing else, they are guaranteed publicity. Even a small-time politician, if he bad-mouths me, will get about an hour of media attention. Perhaps they see Modi as a ladder to climb up in their political career.

 

Aishwarya Sharma: Mr Prime Minister, the I.N.D.I. alliance is talking about wealth redistribution. Do you think this is possible, and will the voters of the country be influenced by such a scheme?

Prime Minister: You can’t examine this in isolation. You must look at their overall thought process. When their (Congress) manifesto was released, I had said the manifesto had the imprint of the Muslim League. There was a statement made by Dr Manmohan Singh… I had attended the meeting in which he said that ‘Muslims have the first right to India’s resources.’ Now when I raised this in public, their media ecosystem raised a storm saying that ‘Modi is lying,’. So two days later, I brought Manmohan Singh’s press conference forward and put it in front of them. Then they stopped talking. So this was one example. Now in their Manifesto, they have said that they will give reservation (to Muslims) even when allotting government contracts.

So today, when a bridge is to be built somewhere, what is the criteria for awarding the contract? The company bidding is evaluated based on how resourceful they are, their experience, their capability, their ability to deliver on time, all these things. Now they say that they want to give reservations to the minorities, to the Muslims, in this process as well. It all adds up. Now when they say that they will impose inheritance tax, it means that taxes that go to the government, who will stand to benefit from it? It’s the same people that Manmohan Singh ji talked about. If you join the dots, this is the logic that comes from it. How will the country accept this? Secondly, has any developing country in the world indulged in such madness? Today, India needs to work hard to rise above its problems. We have made this attempt and pulled 25 crore people out of poverty. Where there used to be a few hundred start-ups, there are now over 1.25 lakh start-ups, and there are Unicorns. You must go among the people and work with energy, and that will bring the right result.

 

Rana Yashwant: Mr Prime Minister, the Ram Mandir has been built in Ayodhya, the consecration of Ram Lalla took place and there was joy among the people. In all this, there is Iqbal Ansari, who has fought the legal battle, and is an important person. He comes, holding a placard that says ‘Modi ka Parivaar’. Today, the minority community identifies with your policies and welfare schemes. Your opinion?

Prime Minister: Since you’ve brought up Ram Mandir and Iqbal Ansari, I will narrate an incident. Ram Mandir should have been built right after Independence. In all these years, it wasn’t built because they (Congress) felt it would affect their vote bank. Attempts were made in the Courts till the very end to stop it. It is a fact that Congress hindered the building of the Ram Mandir. Despite this, when the Supreme Court judgment came through, the Court constituted a trust, and the trust members, let go of all past differences and went to invite the Congress Party members to the consecration ceremony. They rejected the invitation. The same people went to invite Iqbal Ansari. The ironic thing is, that Iqbal Ansari, who fought the Babri Masjid case his entire life, respected the Supreme Court’s verdict and attended the ‘Shilanyas’ and the ‘Pran Prathistha’ ceremony as well. This is what I think, as far as Iqbal Ansari is concerned.

Now if you want to talk about secularism, it is my very serious allegation, that for over 75 years, through a very well-crafted conspiracy, a false narrative has been fed to the nation. It has been embedded in the nation from before our birth. Sardar Patel was targeted by this narrative, and maybe, today it may be my turn, tomorrow someone else… Why do they cry out ‘secularism’ over and over again? It’s because they want to divert the world’s attention from their communal activities.

They cry ‘thief’ over and over when they have defrauded the people, and they do this because they think crying ‘thief’ will divert the public’s attention. This is their ploy. I have called them out in front of everyone, that they are the ones who are communal. India’s constitution does not allow you to indulge in such sectarian acts, and I have brought out several such examples, like I mentioned earlier that they called the Muslims the rightful inheritors of India’s wealth. I am exposing them. They (Congress) hide behind their politics of appeasement and instead accuse me of being communal. I am talking about those communal parties that wear the ‘nikab’ of secularism and indulge in hardcore communalism. I find three things common among these people. They are hardcore sectarians, they are extremely casteist, and they are hardcore dynasts. They are so full of these three things that they can’t come out of it.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, you have spoken about lifting 25 crore people out of poverty. 80 crore poor people are receiving ration – it is necessary now and will be so in the future as well. What do you have to say about how crucial it will be in the future?

Prime Minister: When Manmohan Singh ji was the Prime Minister, news was rife with reports of food grains getting spoilt. So, the Supreme Court asked the government as to why the grains were not being distributed among the poor. Manmohan Singh ji, who was the Prime Minister then, stated on record that they could not distribute the grains and that it was impossible to do it. That is the consequence of his thinking. I faced the same issue, especially during COVID-19. My first goal was to ensure that a stove should be lit in every poor household. So, I started working on it. I have stated this for the next five years as well because in the lives of those who come out of poverty…

For example, one returns home from the hospital. The treatment has been done but precaution is necessary. A doctor advises you to take rest for a particular duration after returning home, tells you what to eat and what to refrain from consuming, and what to take care of. Why? The illness has already been addressed, but if anything is jeopardized then the condition of the person would return to what it was. That is why poor people who escape poverty need handholding. They should not return to that state in any condition. Once they escape poverty, they should be empowered to stand strong. In my understanding, in the next five years, those who have escaped poverty should be able to firmly stand on their feet. Any unfortunate incident in their family, should not push them to poverty again. And only then will the country eradicate poverty.

 

Aishwarya Sharma: Mr Prime Minister, our country is the youngest country. Under your tenure, 10 lakh government jobs have been filled. Now, the Opposition has vowed to fill 30 lakh government jobs. In your third term, how do you plan to boost employment opportunities for the youth?

Prime Minister: You must have read the SKOCH report that was released. I hope your TV channel studies the SKOCH report in detail and conducts a TV debate on this. They have analysed some 20 to 22 schemes of the government. They have published statistics about how many person-year-hours have been obtained. They have revealed how many hours it takes to build 4 crore houses and how many people it employs. They have published data for about 22 different parameters.

They have stated that 50 crore people have accrued benefits. Secondly, we brought the Mudra Yojana. We give bank loans without any guarantee. We have disbursed loans worth Rs 23 Lakh Crore. 80% of those who have received these loans are first-timers. Some have started their businesses and have employed a few people in this process. Start-ups used to be in the thousands and now they are in lakhs. People have been employed in this process, right? Consider that a 1000-kilometre road is being built and think about how many jobs are created. So, if a 2000-kilometre road is being built more people will be employed, right? Today, road and rail construction has doubled, electrification has doubled, and mobile towers are reaching every corner of India. All this is being created by people who have received jobs. That is why a lie is being peddled.

 What’s important is that we must move towards creating jobs for ourselves. The youth in this country are in the mood to do something and be productive and we must help them. We must encourage them. Our Mudra Yojana does exactly that. We also run the SVANidhi scheme. There are countless street hawkers, who are poor people. But today, they are taking money from the bank to run their businesses. Due to this, they can save money and expand their business. Earlier, a street hawker would sit on the footpath and now his goal is to buy a lorry. One who would owned a lorry earlier now wishes to provide home delivery services. Their aspirations are rising. This is why I believe that while people receive the benefits of government schemes, which will eventually result in development, we must also focus on several other areas.

 

Rana Yashwant: Prime Minister, your government works on the principle of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. Beneficiaries avail welfare schemes without any discrimination – caste, religion, or community. Yet, the Opposition maintains that Muslims do not accrue the same benefits from these welfare schemes.

Prime Minister: You are the first person from whom I’ve heard this. The unique aspect of my government, in terms of delivering welfare schemes, has not raised any questions regarding discrimination.

 

Rana Yashwant: The Opposition has to say this.

Prime Minister: Even the Opposition does not say this. You are the first person from whom I’ve heard this. I have never heard this from anybody because everyone knows… and Muslims themselves say that they receive all benefits.

The primary reason is that I have two principles. First, 100% saturation. For example, if poor people must be given houses, complete delivery must take place. If 100% delivery is the goal, then where does the scope of discrimination even arise? Whether it is providing gas connections, building toilets, ensuring tap water connections, I believe in 100% delivery. Yes, some people will receive the benefits in January, some in April and some in November, but the scheme will apply to all and 100%. I believe that true secularism is when 100% delivery is done. Social justice is when 100% is done. So, if my mission is 100% saturation… and nobody has made this charge yet. They don’t have the courage to say it. I have lived in Gujarat as well, and on this topic, nobody can prop up any charges against me.

 

Rishabh Gulati: Mr Prime Minister, you have taken out time to sit with us and relay your ‘Mann Ki Baat’. Thank you so much. Best of luck for the polls ahead.

Prime Minister: I thank you all. I have been campaigning day and night…

 

Rana Yashwant: You are constantly on the move. We see you morning until night on the run…

Rishabh Gulati: Today, you had a big rally at 8 in the morning.

Prime Minister: I started my day at 6 am and went to Jagannath Puri temple to offer my prayers. Since then I have been traveling and have at last got time to meet you.

 

Rana Yashwant: Where ever you go, Jagannath or Kashi, there is a sea of people that comes to greet you. You have experienced it yourself.

Prime Minister: I realise that my responsibilities are now increasing. I also see that the public has taken ownership of elections. Political parties are not fighting the elections. The public has taken ownership of this election. And the results will be as desired by the public.

Thank you!