The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today described Varanasi as an important part of India`s heritage, and underlined his resolve to restore it to its position of global pre-eminence. He was interacting with leading citizens from various strata of society in Varanasi. He said he is talking to and receiving suggestions from a lot of people in this regard. 

The Prime Minister gave examples of the redevelopment of London post World War 2, which retained its original character; and the redevelopment of Bhuj post the 2001 earthquake. He said Kashi needs similar renewal. 

Ruling out any big announcements, the Prime Minister mentioned some key elements of his vision for Varanasi`s renewal: 

Making Banaras Hindu University a wi-fi university; modernizing it and placing it alongside the best universities of the world. 

Separate toilets for boys and girls in schools. 

Cleaning of the Ganga using latest technology. 

Provision of clean drinking water. 

Modernization of the Ganga ghats ensuring dignity of women. 

Creating a contemporary ambience and feel for the Ganga aarti, using modern lighting. 

Running a special "Palace on wheels" train for Kashi. 

Small battery operated cars for Kashi. 

Solid waste management for the town. 

Enough seating for everyone at Varanasi railway station. 

Modern restrooms in public places. 

Solar lighting in public places. 

Creating a global market for handlooms and handicrafts using e-commerce. 

Free emergency ambulance service. 

The Prime Minister remarked that thanks to modern tools of communication, he had perhaps received more support than even Mahatma Gandhi for the Swachhta Abhiyaan. He said awareness is growing among people. An atmosphere is being created where people will start hating dirt. 

The Prime Minister said that on the basis of his experience over the last six months, he sees no reason why the country should remain where it is today. Noting that the whole world is looking to India today, he said it is up to India to take best advantage of the situation. 

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State Visit of Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa (July 23-27, 2018)
July 23, 2018

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, will pay a State Visit to Republic of Rwanda (23-24 July), Republic of Uganda (24-25 July) and Republic of South Africa (25-27 July). This will be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Rwanda and the first visit by our Prime Minister to Uganda in over 20 years. The visit to South Africa is in the context of BRICS Summit.

Prime Minister’s official engagement in Rwanda and Uganda include bilateral meetings with the Presidents, delegation level talks and meetings with the business and the Indian communities. In Rwanda, Prime Minister will visit the Genocide Memorial and participate in an event on "Girinka” (one cow per family), a national social protection scheme of Rwanda personally initiated by President Paul Kagame. In Uganda, Prime Minister will deliver a Keynote address at the Parliament of Uganda – the first Indian Prime Minister to address the Ugandan Parliament.

In South Africa, the Prime Minister will have bilateral meeting with the South African President and will attend the BRICS Summit and other BRICS related meetings. Bilateral meetings with participating countries on the sidelines of BRICS meetings are also planned.

India shares close, warm and friendly relations with Africa which are cemented by robust development partnership and a large presence of the Indian Diaspora. A number of agreements and MoUs in the areas of Defence, trade, culture, Agriculture and Dairy cooperation are scheduled to be signed during the visit.

Over the last few years, there has been a significant intensification of our engagement in various fields with African countries and there have been as many as 23 outgoing visits to Africa at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister in the last four years. Africa has been the top priority of India’s Foreign Policy. The visit of Prime Minister to Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa will further strengthen our relations with the African continent.