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His Excellency Mr. Hugo Swire,

Mr. James Bevan, High Commissioner of UK

Members of British delegation,

My Colleagues and friends!

At the outset I welcome, His Excellency Mr. Hugo Swire, my friend Mr. James Bevan and members of the British delegation to the land of Mahatma Gandhi. Indeed, its matter of great satisfaction that relation between UK and Gujarat is on fast track. We have lasting relations with Great Britain and are co-travelers in this journey of progress, development and wellbeing of humanity.

As you know, in last January, we organized Vibrant Gujarat Summit wherein 121 countries participated. In this summit, in addition to our other partners, UK – India Business Council was also a partner organization. The UK Trade Commission also participated in the Trade Expo. In fact, Indian Diaspora present in UK forms the strongest bridge between UK and India in general and Gujarat in particular.

Friends, as we all know, Mr. Hugo Swire has been a great advocate of close cooperation and collaboration between UK and Gujarat. I take this opportunity to thank him for guiding this process and leading from the front. His travel to Gujarat to participate in this event shows how much importance UK Government attaches to this partnership. This also shows his commitment to promote UK – Gujarat collaboration.

Gujarat is one of the most industrialized states of India and today attracts investments from different parts of world, in various sectors. Many Gujarat–based companies are also investing in UK and creating jobs. This two-way investment helps both the countries. I would like to see this grow, and grow faster.

You will be happy to note that Gujarat is becoming energy hub of India. Gujarat has been a model for the development of natural gas and energy industry in the country. For the benefit of everyone, let me highlight few points:

  • Gujarat has the largest refining capacity, which is 43 percent of the total installed capacity of the India.
  • State has the largest pipelines network, which accounts for one-third of the total pipeline network of the country.
  • Gujarat has already developed 2 LNG terminals, which handles almost 80% of India’s LNG imports.
  • State is having surplus electricity generation and exports the power to other parts of the country.
  • Gujarat has accorded highest priority to climate change and therefore focus is on clean energy i.e. wind and solar energy. More than 60 percent of India’s total solar and wind power is produced in Gujarat.
  • Gujarat energy utilities are rated best in the country. Yesterday, Union Government released the report wherein all four A+ rated utilities are from Gujarat.
Gujarat has adopted the path of faster development but protection of environment has been given highest priority. To protect environment and reduce carbon footprints, consumption of natural gas is promoted in a big way. Today, Gujarat accounts almost one-third of the total natural gas consumed in the country.

To ensure inclusive growth and development, we are expanding the gas supply network in rural areas. Today City Gas Distribution in Gujarat covers 1.1 million households and sell 1.2 million kilogram CNG per day catering to 700 thousand vehicles.

Friends, business needs progressive policies. My Government not only evolve such policies but evolve with active participation of all stakeholders. With 1,650 km long coastline, we have LNG Terminal policy which promotes and facilitates more LNG terminals in the State.

With excellent infrastructure, now industries are in all parts of the state. In fact, as a part of equitable and all round development, we promote industries to go to remote areas also. With this, demand for clean energy has risen and with state-wide grid, Gujarat is the only state in the country, which can provide the required energy to any industry at anywhere in the state.

Perhaps because of such progressive policies and its transparent implementation, today Gujarat is known as Growth Engine of India. The people of Gujarat are proud that in spite of two massive downturn in world economy, Gujarat has achieved double digit growth during the last decade.

Friends, to facilitate and achieve faster growth and development, you need well trained manpower backed by first class research input. To cater the human resource need of oil and gas industry, Government of Gujarat has set up Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University. I’m sure that this will help in catering the human resource need of the oil and gas industry in the state.

I must reiterate the commitment of my Government to promote clean fuel and clean energy to cater the need of such a fast growing economy. State will facilitate the expansion of infrastructure to develop oil and gas sector. We will continue to pursue our goal to make Gujarat a gas–based economy.  

I’m happy to witness this signing of MoU between GSPC and British Gas. This will ensure that growth of gas sector continues. It is heartening to note that not only Gujarat and UK, but our companies are also joining hands in providing not only energy security but come out with such initiatives which also ‘protect environment’ and minimize the adverse impact of climate change.

I would like to congratulate GSPC and British Gas for entering into this historic agreement and wish them a great success. I also take this opportunity to request His Excellency Mr. Hugo Swire to come back to Gujarat with more time at his disposal. I thank him for taking personal interest in promoting and expanding UK – Gujarat relations. I’m sure that relation between UK and Gujarat will grow further and attain a great height for the benefit of all.

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October 25, 2021
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“In post-independence India, health infrastructure did not get the required attention for a very long time and citizens had to run from pillar to post for proper treatment, leading to worsening of the condition and financial strain”
“Government at the Center and in the state understands the pain of the poor, downtrodden, oppressed, backward and middle class”
“Through PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission an entire ecosystem for services from treatment to critical research will be created in every corner of the country”
“PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, along with health, is also a medium of aatmnirbharta.”
“Heart of Kashi is the same, the mind is the same, but sincere efforts are being made to improve the body”
“Today, from technology to health, unprecedented facilities are being created in BHU. Young friends from all over the country are coming here for studies”

Har Har Mahadev!

May I start with your permission! Greetings to all the brothers and sisters of Kashi, the holy land of Har Har Mahadev, Baba Vishwanath and Mother Annapurna! Happy Diwali, Dev Deepawali, Annakoot, Bhai Duj, Prakashotsav and Chhath to all of you!

Governor of Uttar Pradesh Smt. Anandiben Patel ji, energetic Chief Minister of UP Yogi Adityanath ji, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya ji, other ministers of the UP government, our colleague at the Centre Mahendra Nath Pandey ji, state ministers Anil Rajbhar ji, Neelkanth Tiwari ji, Ravindra Jaiswal ji, other ministers, our colleagues in Parliament Smt Seema Dwivedi ji and B.P. Saroj ji, Mayor of Varanasi Smt Mridula Jaiswal ji, other public representatives, health professionals associated with district hospitals and medical institutes across the country and my brothers and sisters of Banaras.

The country achieved a major milestone of 100 crore vaccine doses in its fight against the corona pandemic. With the blessings of Baba Vishwanath, the unwavering glory of Maa Ganga and the unshakable faith of the people of Kashi, the campaign of free vaccine for all is progressing with success. I respectfully greet all of you. Sometime back today, I got the privilege of dedicating nine new medical colleges to Uttar Pradesh. This will greatly benefit crores of poor, Dalit-backward-exploited-deprived people of Purvanchal and the entire UP, all sections of society, and they will be spared from the troubles of visiting big hospitals in other cities.

Friends,

There is a verse:

मुक्ति जन्म महि जानि,ज्ञान खानिअघ हानि कर।

जहं बस सम्भु भवानि,सो कासी सेइअ कस न।।

That is, Shiva and Shakti reside in Kashi. Kashi, the powerhouse of knowledge, relieves us from both pain and suffering. Then what better place than Kashi to start such a mega plan related to health and such a huge resolution to get rid of diseases and sufferings? My brothers and sisters of Kashi, two big events are taking place from this platform. First, an Indian government scheme worth more than Rs. 64,000 crores for the entire country is being launched today from the holy land of Kashi. And secondly, projects worth thousands of crores of rupees for the development of Kashi and Purvanchal are being inaugurated. And if we add both these schemes, I can say that projects worth about 75,000 crore rupees are either being launched or dedicated. Mahadev's blessings are also there in these schemes being launched from Kashi. And where there is the blessing of Mahadev, then well-being and success is assured. And when Mahadev's blessings are there, then freedom from suffering is also inevitable.

Friends,

I have had the privilege of dedicating Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission worth Rs. 64,000 crores to the nation from Kashi to strengthen the health infrastructure of the entire country including UP, to prepare ourselves better for the prevention of pandemics in future and to instill confidence and self-reliance in our health system up to the village and block level. Today infrastructure projects worth Rs 5,000 crore for Kashi have also been inaugurated. This includes projects for beautification of the Ghats, the cleanliness of Ganga and Varuna rivers, bridges, parking places and many other facilities in BHU. This festival of development in this festive season from Kashi to make life easy, healthy and prosperous will give new energy, strength and confidence to the entire country. Many congratulations to all the 130 crore countrymen living across the villages and cities, including Kashi!

Brothers and sisters,

Health is considered to be the basic basis of every action in our country. Investing for a healthy body has always been considered a good investment. But for long after independence, not much attention was paid to health facilities. The governments, which ruled for long in the country, neglected instead of developing the country's healthcare system. There was either no hospital in the villages and if there was one then there was no one to treat. There were no facilities for tests in the block-level hospitals. Even if the test was done, there were doubts about its accuracy. Upon reaching a district hospital, one used to be detected with a serious disease that required surgery. Since there were no such facilities for surgery, one had to rush to a bigger hospital which was crowded and there used to be a long waiting period. We are all witness to the fact that the patient and his entire family used to face a host of problems and as a result a serious illness would worsen and entail a financial burden on the poor.

Friends,

The huge gap in our healthcare system created an ever-lasting anxiety among the poor and middle class regarding treatment. The Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission is a solution to these flaws of the country's healthcare system. Our health system is being prepared today so that we are ready and able to deal with any epidemic in future. Efforts are also made that the disease is detected early and there are no delays in the investigation. The goal is to strengthen the critical healthcare network from village to block, district, regional and national levels in the country in the next four-five years. Special focus is on the states which lack health facilities critically, particularly our North East and hilly states like Uttarakhand and Himachal.

Friends,

There are three major aspects of the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission to address the different gaps in the health sector of the country. The first relates to the creation of elaborate facilities for diagnostics and treatment. Under this, Health and Wellness Centers are being opened in villages and cities, where there will be facilities for early detection of diseases. Facilities like free medical consultations, free tests and free medicines will be available in these centers. If the disease is detected in time, then there are less chances of it getting malignant. More than 35,000 new beds will be prepared for the treatment of critical illnesses in more than 600 districts. Referral facilities will be provided in the remaining 125 districts. At the national level, a plan is afoot to develop necessary facilities in 12 central hospitals for training and other capacity building. Under this scheme, 15 emergency operation centers running 24x7 will also be created in the states to strengthen the surgery network.

Friends,

The second aspect of the scheme is related to the testing network for diagnosis of diseases. Under this mission, necessary infrastructure will be developed for the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases. Integrated Public Health Labs will be set up in 730 districts and Block Public Health Units in 3,500 identified blocks in the country. Five Regional National Centers for Disease Control, 20 Metropolitan Units and 15 BSL Labs will further strengthen this network.

Brothers and sisters,

The third aspect of this mission is the expansion and empowerment of epidemic related research institutions. At present, there are 80 viral diagnostics and research labs in the country. These will be improved further. Bio-safety level-3 labs are needed in epidemics. Therefore, 15 such new labs will be made operational. Apart from this, four new National Institutes of Virology and one National Institute for One Health are also being established in the country. The WHO's Regional Research Platform for South Asia will also strengthen this network of research. In short, a complete ecosystem from treatment to critical research will be developed in each and every part of the country through the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission.

Friends,

Well, this should have been done decades ago. But I do not need to describe the situation. We are continuously improving for the last seven years but now it needs to be done on a very large scale and with a very aggressive approach. A few days ago, I launched GatiShakti, a mega nationwide infrastructure program for the entire country, from Delhi. Today this second big mission worth 64,000 crore rupees for health is being launched from the land of Kashi to keep every citizen of the country healthy.

Friends,

When such a health infrastructure is developed, it not only improves the health service, it also creates a complete employment environment. Doctors, paramedics, labs, pharmacies, cleanliness, offices, travel and transport, food outlets and other such jobs are going to be created through this scheme. We have seen that if a big hospital is built, then a whole city settles around it which becomes the center of livelihood for the activities related to the hospital. It becomes the center of great economic activity. Hence, the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission is a medium of health as well as economic self-reliance. This is a part of the efforts being made for holistic healthcare. Holistic healthcare means it should be accessible and affordable to all. Holistic healthcare means where the focus is on health as well as wellness. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission, Ujjwala Yojana, Poshan Abhiyan, Mission Indradhanush, many such campaigns have saved crores of poor of the country from diseases. The Ayushman Bharat scheme has also provided free treatment to more than two crore poor people in the hospitals. Many problems related to treatment are being solved through the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.

Brothers and sisters,

For those who were in the government for long before us, healthcare had been a means of earning money and scams. They kept running away from the troubles of the poor. Today there is a government at the Center and in the state which understands the pain of the poor, downtrodden, oppressed, backward, middle class, everybody. We are working round the clock to improve health facilities in the country. Earlier, public money used to go into scams, and to the chests of such people, today money is being spent in mega projects. Therefore, today the country is also dealing with the biggest pandemic in history and is also building infrastructure worth lakhs of crores of rupees for a self-reliant India.

Friends,

While increasing the medical facilities, it is necessary that the number of doctors and paramedical staff is also increased in the same proportion. The speed with which new medical colleges are being opened in UP will have a great impact on the number of medical seats and doctors. Due to the increase in the number of seats, now the child of poor parents will also be able to dream of becoming a doctor and fulfill it.

Brothers and sisters,

The country is going to get many more doctors in the next 10-12 years than the number of doctors in the country in 70 years after independence. You can imagine the kind of work happening in the medical field in the country. When there are more doctors, they will be available easily in every nook and corner of the country. This is the new India which has moved beyond scarcities and is in the process to fulfill every aspiration.

Brothers and sisters,

What would be the situation in Kashi today had the pace of work continued in the same way as in the past in the country or in Uttar Pradesh? They had left the world's oldest city Kashi, a symbol of India's cultural heritage, on its own. Hanging electric wires, patchy roads, the plight of Ghats and the Ganges, jams, pollution, chaos was normal. Today the heart and soul of Kashi is the same, but sincere efforts are being made to improve its body. The amount of work done in Varanasi in the last seven years has not been done in the last several decades.

Brothers and sisters,

You have experienced jams in Kashi over the years in the absence of a Ring Road. Waiting for the opening of 'No Entry' had become a habit of the people of Banaras. Now with the opening of the Ring Road, one need not disturb the people of the city while traveling to Prayagraj, Lucknow, Sultanpur, Azamgarh, Ghazipur, Gorakhpur, Delhi, Kolkata, or anywhere in the country. Moreover, the Ring Road is now connected to the four-lane national highway till Birnon in Ghazipur. There are service road facilities at various places also. This has facilitated the movement in many villages as well as Prayagraj, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Bihar and Nepal. This will not only make travel easier, business will get a boost and the transport cost will also come down.

Brothers and sisters,

Unless there is a dedicated infrastructure in the country, the pace of development remains incomplete. With the two new bridges on the Varuna River, it has become easier for dozens of villages to travel to the city. This will greatly facilitate the people of Prayagraj, Bhadohi and Mirzapur commuting to the airport. Those associated with the carpet industry will also be benefited. It will also facilitate devotees desiring to visit Maa Vindhyavasini by going to Mirzapur directly from the airport. Several projects related to roads, bridges and parking lots have been dedicated to the residents of Kashi today, which will make life easier in and around the city. The modern executive lounge at the railway station will further enhance the convenience of the passengers.

Friends,

Extensive work has been carried out in the last few years for the cleanliness and purity of Ganga ji, the result of which is in front of us today. Efforts are also being made to ensure that the dirty water from the houses does not enter the Ganges. Now a modern treatment plant has started functioning in Ramnagar to treat sewage flowing from five drains. As a result, more than 50,000 people are getting direct benefit. Along with Ganga ji, Varuna's cleanliness is also being prioritised. Varuna, a victim of neglect for a long time, was on the verge of losing her existence. The channelization plan was worked out to save Varuna. Today clean water is also reaching Varuna and 13 small and big drains are also being treated. Pathways, railings, lighting, pucca ghats, stairs, many such facilities are also being completed on both the banks of the Varuna.

Friends,

Kashi is an important center of spiritual as well as rural economy. Many facilities have been developed in the last few years to ensure the produce of the farmers of entire Purvanchal including Kashi to the markets of the country and abroad. Modern infrastructure from perishable cargo handling centers to packaging and processing has been developed here. As part of this, the Lal Bahadur Shastri Fruit and Vegetable Market has been modernized and renovated, which will be of great help to the farmers. With the construction of the Bio-CNG plant in Shahanshahpur, biogas along with thousands of metric tonnes of organic manure will also be available to the farmers.

Brothers and sisters,

A major achievement of Kashi in the past few years is the progress of BHU again towards excellence in the world. Unprecedented facilities from technology to health are being developed in BHU. Young people from all over the country are coming here for studies. The residential facilities that have been built here for hundreds of students will also prove to be helpful to them. The hostel facilities especially for hundreds of girl students will give further impetus in realizing the vision of Malviya ji. It will help us to realize his vision of providing higher and modern education to the daughters.

Brothers and sisters,

All these development projects are going to realize our resolve of self-reliance. Kashi and the entire region is known for its amazing clay artists, craftsmen and weavers who create magic on cloth. The production of Khadi and other cottage industries in Varanasi has increased by about 60 percent and sales by about 90 percent in the last five years due to the efforts of the government. Therefore, I would urge all the countrymen to take care of the Diwali of these companions as well. We have to be vocal for the local right from the decoration of our houses, to our clothes and Diwali lamps. If you make a lot of local purchases from Dhanteras to Diwali, everyone's Diwali will be filled with happiness. And when I talk about vocal for local, I have seen that our TV media only shows earthen lamps. Vocal for local is not limited only to lamps. It includes all products in which the sweat of my countrymen is there and has the fragrance of the soil of my country. And once it becomes our habit to buy the country-made products, then production will also increase and so will employment and the poorest of the poor will also get work. We can do this together and we can bring a big change with everyone's efforts.

Friends,

Once again, many congratulations to the entire country for the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission and to Kashi for many development projects. Once again many advance wishes to all of you for all the upcoming festivals. Thank you very much!