Namaskar! Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Vijay Rupani ji, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Nitinbhai Patel ji, my colleague in Parliament and Gujarat BJP President Shri C.R. Patil ji, all the beneficiaries of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, brothers and sisters!
The sustained process of development and belief in the last few years is taking Gujarat to new heights. The Government of Gujarat has implemented every scheme with the spirit of service in the interest of our sisters, farmers and poor families. Today, free ration is being distributed to lakhs of families of Gujaratunder the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. This free ration lessens concerns of the poor during the global pandemic andgives them confidence. This scheme is not starting from today, it has been going on for almost a year so that no poor in this country goes to bed hungry.
My dear brothers and sisters,
As a result, there is confidence among the poorbecause they feel that no matter how big the challenge, the country is with them. A little while back I had the opportunity to interact with some of the beneficiaries, and I found that they were brimming with a new self-confidence.
After independence, almost every government had talked about providing cheap food to the poor. The scope and budget of cheap ration schemes went on increasing year after year, but the effect it should have had remained limited. The country's food reserves grew, but hunger and malnutrition did not decline in that proportion. A big reason for this was that there was no effective delivery system and some malpractices also creeped up in the system, along with selfish elements. The process was given a facelift after 2014 to alter the situation. New technology was made the medium of this change. Crores of fake beneficiaries were removed from the system. Ration cardswere linked with Aadhaar and digital technology was encouraged in government ration shops. Today the result is in front of us.
Brothers and sisters,
The biggest calamity of the century has not only befallen on India, but on the entire world, and the entire human race. There was a crisis in the livelihoodof people and trade and business came to a halt due to Corona lockdowns. But the country did not let its citizens sleep hungry. Unfortunately, along with infection, people in many countries of the world are facing a severe crisis of starvation. But India recognized this crisis from the very day of infection and acted on it. Therefore, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is being praised all over the world. Prominent experts are praising that India is providing free food grains to its more than 80 crore people during this pandemic. This country is spending more than Rs 2 lakh crore on this scheme. There is only one purpose that not a single Indian should go hungry. In addition to the quota of wheat at Rs 2/kg and rice at Rs 3/kg, 5 kg of wheat and rice is being given free to every beneficiary. In effect, almost double the amount of ration is being provided to the ration card holders than before this scheme was launched. This scheme is going to last till Diwali, and no poor will have to dip into their pocketsfor rations.In Gujarat also, about 3.5 crore beneficiaries are getting the benefit of free ration. I would also commend the Gujarat government for giving priority to the workers who came to work from other parts of the country. Lakhs of workers affected due to Corona lockdowns have benefited from the scheme. There were many such companions who either did not have ration cards, or their ration card was from other states. Gujarat is among the states which first implemented the scheme of One Nation, One Ration Card. Lakhs of workers of Gujarat are getting the benefit of the One Nation, One Ration Card.
Brothers and sisters,
There was a time when development in the country was limited to big cities only. There too, development meant building big flyovers, roads, metros in specific areas, and away from villages and towns. Development had nothing to do with the common man. Over the years, the country has changed this approach. Today the country wants to work in both directions and wants to move on two tracks. The country also needs new infrastructure. Lakhs of crores of rupees are also being spent on infrastructure, people are also getting employment, but at the same time, new norms are also being established for ease of livingto improve the quality of life of the common human being. Empowerment of the poor is being accorded top priority now.When two crore poor families are given houses, it means that they will now be able to live free from the fear of cold, heat and rain. Moreover, when a person has his own house, there is a realization of self-respect. He makes new resolutions and works very hard along with the family to realize those resolutions. When 10 crore families are liberated from going out to defecate, it means that their standard of living has improved. Earlier, the poor thought that only prosperous families had toilets in their homes. The poor had to wait for the darkness to go out in the open. But when the poor get a toilet, they see themselves at par with the rich and a new confidence is born. Similarly, when the poor of the country connect to the banking system through the Jan Dhan accounts andhave access to mobile banking,they feel empowered, they get new opportunities. It is said in our country:
That is the basis of our potential is the happiness of our life. We cannot get happiness by running after happiness. In order to ensure that we have to do the prescribed work, we have to achieve something. Similarly, empowerment also comes from good health, education, convenience and dignity. When crores of poor get free treatment through Ayushman Yojana, they are empowered health wise. When the facility of reservation is ensured for the weaker sections, then these sections are empowered through education. When roads connect villages with cities, when poor families get free gas and electricity connections, these facilities empower them. When a person gets health, education and other facilities then he thinks about his progress and the progress of the country. Now there are schemes like Mudra,SVANidhi to fulfill these dreams. There are several schemes in India which are providing a dignified life to the poor, becoming a medium of empowerment with respect.
Brothers and sisters,
Gujarat understands very well how life changes when the dreams of ordinary human beings get opportunities and when schemes start reaching their homes. Once, in a large part of Gujarat, mothers and sisters had to walk for many kilometers to get water. All our mothers and sisters are witnesses. A train had to be sent to Rajkot for water. One had to dig a pit outside the house and fill buckets with water with the help of a bowl from an underground pipe. But today, the water of mother Narmada is reaching even in the Kutch, where no one even imagined, from Sardar Sarovar Dam, SauniYojna and through the vast network of canals. There is a saying that remembering Mother Narmada leads to virtue. Today Mother Narmada herself goes to villages and houses in Gujarat. Mother Narmada herself comes to your doors and blesses you. It is the outcome of these efforts that today Gujarat is not far away from the goal of providing 100% tap water. Slowly, the entire country is feeling this speed, the change in the life of common people. Even after decades of independence, only 30 million rural households in the country were connected with the tap water. Now under the Jal Jeevan Abhiyan, more than 4.5 crore families have been connected with piped water across the country in just two years and that is why my mothers and sisters bless me.
Brothers and sisters,
Gujarat is also witnessing the benefits of the double engine government. Today, a new stream of development is not only flowing from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, but Gujarat has one of the world's biggest attractions in the form of the Statue of Unity. The upcoming Renewable Energy Park in Kutch is going to place Gujarat in the renewable energy map of the world. Modern and grand infrastructure projects related to rail and air connectivity are being developed in Gujarat. Metro connectivity is expanding rapidly in Gujarat's cities like Ahmedabad and Surat. Appreciable work is also being done in Gujarat in healthcare and medical education. Better medical infrastructure prepared in Gujarat has played a big role in handling the biggest medical emergency of 100 years.
There are many such initiatives in the entire country, including Gujarat, which have led to the confidence of every countryman and every region. And it is this self-confidence which is a great sutra to overcome every challenge and to realize every dream. The recent example is the performance of our athletes in the Olympics. This time the highest number of players from India have qualified in the Olympics. Remember, we have done this while battling the biggest disaster of 100 years. There are many events in which we have qualified for the first time. Not only did they qualify, but they are also giving tough competition. Our players are doing their best in every event. The renewed confidence of New India is visible in every event in this Olympics. Our players are challenging the players ranked higher than them and their teams. The zeal, passion and spirit of Indian players is at the highest level today. This confidence comes when the right talent is identified and encouraged. This confidence comes when the systems change and become transparent. This new confidence is becoming the identity of New India. Today this confidence is visible in every small and big village, town, poor, middle class youth, in every corner of India.
We have to continue with this belief in the fight against Corona and also in our vaccination campaign. In this environment of global pandemic, we have to maintain our vigilance continuously. While the country is moving fast towards 50 crore vaccinations today, Gujarat is also approaching the milestone of 30 million vaccine doses. We also have to vaccinate ourselves, wear masks and avoid being part of the crowd as much as possible. We are noticing that the countries, where the use of masks was discontinued, are requesting the people to wear masks again. We have to proceed with caution and safety.
Today when we are organizing such a grand program on Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, I want the countrymen to undertake one more resolution. This resolution is to awaken new inspiration for nation building. We have to take up this sacred resolution on 75 years of Independence, in the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence. In these resolutions, poor-rich, women-men, Dalit-deprived are equal partners. May Gujarat fulfill all its resolutions in the forthcoming years and further strengthen its splendid identity in the world!With this wish, I wish you all the very best. Once again, many congratulations to all the beneficiaries of the Anna Yojana !!! Many thanks to all of you!!!