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Fruits of progress are now reaching the poorest: PM Modi

PM Modi said in his speech that the government now was confident enough to ask people whether they had to bribe anyone to get benefits of the housing scheme.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2018 23:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Modi,Government schemes,Modi speech
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during the Gandhinagar-based Gujarat Forensic Science University convocation in Gandhinagar on Thursday.(PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated development projects worth over Rs 2,300 crore on his whirlwind Gujarat tour on Thursday, and reasserted that his government had provided corruption-free benefits to the people of India and had cut out the middlemen who siphoned funds in previous regimes.

Modi’s daylong visit to his home state — he attended three events in the state and a meeting of the Somnath Trust — were in line with the government’s concerted effort to showcase its welfare schemes ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Bringing up a statement by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi that if the Centre released one rupee, only 15 paise reached the poor, Modi said that the era of middlemen in fund disbursement was over. “If Re 1 is released by Delhi, 100 paise reaches the poor,” he said.

Making rural housing the centrepiece of his visit, the prime minister presided over a collective e-grahpravesh (e-house warming) at Jujwa village in south Gujarat’s Valsad for units constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G). He interacted through videoconference with beneficiaries from 26 of the 33 districts of Gujarat.

Modi said in his speech that the government now was confident enough to ask people whether they had to bribe anyone to get benefits of the housing scheme. “They are happy to receive full share of their right,” he said.

Modi claimed that not a single family in the country will be homeless by 2022, when India will celebrate its 75th independence anniversary. Targets have been set to complete 10 million new pucca houses in rural areas by March 2019 and 29.5 million by 2022 under the government’s ‘Housing for All’ scheme.

According to data from the Rural Development Ministry website, 1.82 million houses were completed under the erstwhile scheme in 2015-16, while the number rose to over 3.2 million in 2016-17 and 4.45 million in 2017-18 after taking into account houses built under the new scheme and completion of incomplete houses started under the previous scheme. He also spoke about government schemes on water distribution, electrification of villages, and the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme that is referred to as ‘Modicare’.

After Valsad, Modi flew to Junagadh in Saurashtra and inaugurated a 300-bed hospital and medical college by the Gujarat Medical Research Society.

“The government has started Jan Aushadhi stores, which are reducing the prices of medicines. It is important that the poor and the middle-class gets access to affordable medicines,” Modi said at the event.

He added that the government’s emphasis on cleanliness was being universally appreciated. “When I used to talk about cleanliness, they (Opposition) used to make fun of me. Is this the PM’s work... to make toilets, clear garbage? Had all these works been done 70 years back, the country would have been disease-free by now,” Modi said.

The prime minister then presided over the fourth convocation ceremony of Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhinagar, before being joined by party president Amit Shah and former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani for the annual Somnath Trust meeting.

The Congress dismissed Modi’s visit as showmanship, with the party’s state president Amit Chavda asking why the prime minister was silent on “scams” such as the Rafale fighter aircraft deal.

“He (the PM) should also clarify how many houses have been constructed in Gujarat of the 50 lakh promised by him in 2012 (when Modi was the state’s chief minister),” Chavda added.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Aug 23, 2018 23:22 IST