Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar to the nation and said his government was working on spreading digital literacy to every part of India, among all age groups and sections of society.
"In this day and age, we cannot afford to have a digital divide," he asserted, adding that a Digital India guarantees transparency, effective service delivery and good governance.
Addressing a public meeting here, at which a large number of IIT students were also present, Mr. Modi said, "You are IIT-ians, I was a Tea-ian when I was young," referring to the times when he used to sell tea on railway platforms.
"On this day, a few years ago, I took oath as Chief Minister for the first time. Till then, I had never even been an MLA. I had decided that whatever I will do, I will do to the best of my abilities," the Prime Minister said.
He also felicitated trainees under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan.
Mr. Modi said academics should not be examination-driven and there should be focus on innovation.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi began his two-day visit to the state by offering prayers at the Dwarkadheesh Temple at Dwarka.
He also unveiled plaques to mark the laying of foundation stones for a bridge between Okha and Beyt Dwarka; and other road development projects.
The Prime Minister said he saw a new energy and enthusiasm in Dwarka today. He said the bridge whose foundation stone has been laid, is a means to reconnect with our ancient heritage. It will boost tourism, which will generate employment, he added, noting that development will be the key to promoting tourism.
He recalled how lack of infrastructure, led to difficulties and challenges for the people of Beyt Dwarka, some years ago.
Mr. Modi said that the development of the tourism sector cannot happen in isolation. He said that if we want to draw more tourists to Gir, we should also inspire the tourists to visit other nearby places like Dwarka.
Building of infrastructure should enhance economic activities and add to the atmosphere of development, the Prime Minister said. "We want development of ports and port-led development; the blue economy should help further the progress of India," he added.
The Prime Minister said that the Government of India is taking steps towards the empowerment of fishermen. He said Kandla Port is seeing unprecedented growth because resources were devoted to improve the port. He said a new lease of life has been given to Alang, and steps taken for the welfare of the labourers working there.
He said that the Government is modernising the marine security apparatus. An institute for this will be set up in this Devbhoomi of Dwarka, he added.
Speaking on the decisions taken by consensus in the GST Council meeting yesterday, the Prime Minister said that when there is trust in a government and when policies are made with best intentions, it is natural for people to support it for the best interests of the nation.
The Prime Minister asserted that the Government wants to help fulfil the aspirations of the people, and fight poverty.
He said that the world's attention is being drawn to India, and people are coming to invest here. "I see Gujarat contributing actively to the development of India and congratulate the Gujarat Government," he said.
Mr. Modi later addressed a public meeting at Chotila, in Surendranagar district. He laid the foundation stones for a greenfield airport for Rajkot; six-laning of Ahmedabad-Rajkot National Highway; and four-laning of Rajkot-Morbi State Highway. He also dedicated to the nation, a fully automatic milk processing and packaging plant; and a drinking water distribution pipeline for Joravarnagar and Ratanpur area of Surendranagar.
The Prime Minister said that it was hard to imagine an airport in Surendranagar district. He said such development works empower citizens.
He said aviation cannot be about rich people. We have made aviation affordable and within reach of the lesser privileged, he added.
The Prime Minister said that the definition of development has changed. From the days when handpumps were seen to be a sign of development, today the waters of the Narmada River have been brought for the benefit of citizens. He said Surendranagar district tends to benefit a lot from the waters of the Narmada. He urged people to use water responsibly, and conserve every drop. The Prime Minister said that the Sursagar Dairy would bring enormous benefit to the people. He also recalled how former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel had worked towards making better and safer roads.