Governor of Madhya Pradesh and my very old colleague Shri Mangubhai Patel, who spent his entire life in the welfare of the tribal community, for the uplift of the tribal society, this is how the Governor of Madhya Pradesh Shri Mangubhai is. Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh, all other ministers of the state government, MPs, MLAs and all the sisters and brothers joining this programme from different parts of Madhya Pradesh!
Many congratulations to all of you for this food distribution event being organized under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. Under the scheme, a grand campaign is on in Madhya Pradesh to reach out to about 5 crore beneficiaries for free ration. This scheme is not new. Since the Corona struck a year and a half ago, more than 80 crore poor people of this country are being provided free ration. But I never got an opportunity to be in the midst of the poor and speak with them. Today the Madhya Pradesh government has given me this opportunity. Though far away, I can still see my poor brothers and sisters and receive their blessings. Because of that I get strength to keep doing something or the other for the poor. I get energy from your blessings. Right now, I was talking to some brothers and sisters of our Madhya Pradesh and got to know that free food grains from the government during this crisis have been a big relief to every family. There was a satisfaction in their words, there was confidence in them. However, it is sad that the flood like situation has developed in many districts of MP affecting the lives and livelihoods of many friends. The Government of India and the entire country stands with Madhya Pradesh in this hour of distress. Shivraj ji and his entire team are visiting the affected areas to expedite relif and rescue work. Be it NDRF, Central forces or our Air Force personnel, all help is being extended to the state government to deal with this situation.
Brothers and sisters,
The impact of any disaster is far-reaching. The biggest disaster to have hit the entire humanity in a hundred years is in the form of Corona. No country in the world had such a horrible experience at the beginning of last year. When the corona infection started spreading early last year, the attention of the entire world immediately turned to its health facilities. Everyone got involved in strengthening their medical facilities. But for our country with such a large population, the challenge can be considered even bigger than the rest of the world. We had to prepare medical infrastructure for prevention and treatment of corona, and simultaneously solve other problems arising out of this crisis. Economic activities came to a standstill around the world to prevent corona and movement was banned. This measure was bound to create more crises for India. But all of us worked together to meet this challenge. We had to provide free ration to crores of people so that there would be no starvation like situation. Many of our companions move from villages to cities for work. We also had to make arrangements for their food and lodging and ensure proper employment for them on their return to villages. These challenges were there in every corner of the country, which made India's fight and the challenges more formidable than the rest of the world.
No matter how big the challenge, but when the country faces it jointly, then ways are also found and the problem is also solved. To deal with the crisis arising out of Corona, India gave top priority to the poor in its strategy. Be it the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana or the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rozgar Yojana, the ration and employment of the poor and laborers was taken care of from day one. In this entire period, free ration has been provided to more than 80 crore countrymen. Besides wheat, rice and pulses, gas cylinders were also given free of cost to more than 8 crore poor families during the lockdown. That is food grains to 80 crore people and gas cylinders to 8 crore people. Moreover, about 30,000 crore rupees were also directly transferred to Jan Dhan bank accounts of more than 20 crore sisters. Thousands of crores of rupees were also deposited in the bank accounts of workers and farmers. Two days later, on August 9, thousands of crores of rupees are going to be transferred directly to the bank accounts of about 10-11 crore farmer families.
Along with all these arrangements, India also put greater emphasis on Made in India vaccines. This is the reason why India has its own vaccines today. These vaccines are effective as well as safe. Yesterday, India crossed the important milestone of administering 50 crore vaccine doses. The vaccines being administered in India in a week are more than the total population of several countries in the world. This is the new potential of a new India, AatmaNirbhar Bharat. Earlier, we would lag behind the rest of the world. Today we are many steps ahead of the world. We have to accelerate this pace of vaccination in the near future.
It exhibits the strength of India which is dealing simultaneously with so many fronts caused due to Corona. The facility of One Nation, One Ration Card is being provided to the workers working in other states. The scheme of fair rent has been implemented in big cities so that the workers do not have to live in the slums. Under the PM SVANidhi scheme, easy and cheaper loans from banks are being made available to street vendors so that they can resume their business. Our construction and infrastructure sectors are a huge source of employment. Therefore, rapid infrastructure projects have been undertaken all over the country.
In this crisis of livelihood around the world, it is constantly being ensured that there is minimum loss in India. Many steps have been taken in the last year and continue to be taken. Lakhs of crore rupees have been provided to small and micro industries so that they can continue with their business. The government also ensured that agriculture and all its allied activities should continue smoothly. We came up with innovative solutions to help the farmers. Madhya Pradesh has also done a commendable job in this regard. The farmers of Madhya Pradesh produced record food grains and the government also ensured their record procurement at MSP. I have been told that the maximum numbers of procurement centers were set up in MP for the purchase of wheat. Madhya Pradesh bought wheat from its more than 17 lakh farmers and directly transferred more than 25,000 crore rupees to them.
Brothers and sisters,
The biggest advantage of the double engine government is that the state government further enhances the schemes of the central government. Work is being undertaken at a rapid pace in Madhya Pradesh, be it skill development, health infrastructure, digital infra or rail-road connectivity. Under the leadership of Shivraj ji, Madhya Pradesh has left behind the identity of BIMARU state long back. Otherwise, I remember the condition of the roads of MP. There used to be news of so many big scams from here. Today the cities of MP are creating new paradigms of cleanliness and development.
Brothers and sisters,
Today, if the government schemes are being implemented faster, then the reason is a change in the functioning of the government. There was a distortion in the earlier government system. They used to ask questions about the poor and would answer themselves. It was not thought earlier to whom the benefit is to be given. Some people used to think, why the poor need roads, they need bread first. Some people would also question the need of providing gas cylinders to the poor because they would cook food even on wooden stoves. There was also a thought that the one who had no money to keep, what would he do with the bank account? Why are you after bank accounts? There were questions that if a loan was given to the poor, how would he repay it? For decades, such questions kept the poor away from facilities. It kind of became a big excuse for not doing anything. Neither the road reached the poor, neither the poor got gas, electricity, neither a pucca house to live in, neither the bank account of the poor was opened, nor did water reach the poor. The result was that the poor were deprived of basic facilities for decades and they struggled throughout for small needs, now what shall we call it? They would recite the word poor 100 times a day, sing songs for the poor. This was their behavior! These things are called hypocrisy. They would not give facilities but would sympathize with them fictitiously. But we, who have risen from the ground, come from among you. We have experienced your happiness and sorrow closely, and that's why we are working for you differently. We have grown up bearing the brunt of such a system! Therefore, in the last few years, efforts are being made to strengthen the poor in the true sense of empowerment. Today, roads are being built in every village of the country, new jobs are being created, farmers have access to markets and the poor are able to reach the hospital on time in case of illness. Due to the opening of Jan Dhan accounts of the poor in the country, they got connected with the banking system. Today they are getting benefits directly, getting easy loans without any middlemen. Pucca houses, electricity, water, gas and toilet facilities have given respect, confidence to the poor, and freedom from humiliation and suffering. Similarly, crores of self-employed people are running their businesses through Mudra loans, and they are also giving employment to others.
Those who used to say that digital India, cheap data and the internet do not matter to the poor, today these very people are experiencing the true power of Digital India.
Brothers and sisters,
Another huge campaign has been launched in the country to empower villages, poor and tribal communities. This campaign encourages our handicrafts, handloom, and our workmanship of cloth. This campaign is about becoming vocal towards the local. With this spirit, the country is celebrating the National Handloom Day today. When we are celebrating 75 years of independence, the Amrit Mahotsav of independence, the importance of this day, 7th August, assumes more significance. Let us all remember that on 7th August, 1905, the Swadeshi movement was started. Taking inspiration from this historic day, the date of 7th August has been dedicated to handloom. It is a day to show respect to our wonderful craftsmen, artists in the villages, tribal areas and to give a global platform to their products.
Brothers and sisters,
Today, when the country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of independence, this handloom day assumes even more importance. We all know the great contribution of our charkha (spinning wheel) and khadi in our freedom struggle. Over the years, the country has given a lot of respect to Khadi. Khadi, which was once forgotten, has now become a new brand. Now that we are on a new journey towards 100 years of independence, we have to strengthen the same spirit of Khadi which was prevalent during the independence movement. We have to be vocal for the local for AatmaNirbhar Bharat. Madhya Pradesh has a rich tradition of handicrafts ranging from Khadi to silk. I urge all of you and the entire country to definitely buy some local handicraft products in the forthcoming festivals and promote our handicrafts.
I would also request you not to forget Corona in the midst of the excitement of the festivities. We have to stop the third wave of Corona. We all have to work together to ensure this. Masks, vaccines and distance of two yards are very important. We have to take a pledge for a healthy and prosperous India. Once again my very best wishes to all of you. Today millions of citizens have gathered at more than 25,000 free ration shops across Madhya Pradesh. I bow to them and assure them that we will come out of this crisis which has troubled the entire human race. Together we will save everyone and will ensure victory by following all the rules. I wish you all the very best. Thank you!