Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the "Gujarat Gaurav Abhiyan" in Vadodara, Gujarat, on June 18, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the "Gujarat Gaurav Abhiyan" in Vadodara, Gujarat, on June 18, 2022

Modi says rapid development and empowerment of women essential for progress of India

Vadodara, June 18, 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the rapid development of women and their empowerment was essential for the progress of 21st century of India.

"Today India is making plans and taking decisions keeping in mind the needs and aspirations of women," he said after inaugurating and laying the foundation stone of development projects worth Rs 21,000 crore at the Gujarat Gaurav Abhiyan here.

Beneficiaries of the various programmes, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel, Union and State Ministers, elected representatives of the people and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Modi said the projects launched today would give strength to the conception of India's development through the development of Gujarat.

He said the huge investment being made in maternal health, houses for the poor, connectivity and higher education would give a boost to the industrial development of Gujarat.

Many of these projects, he said, are related to the health, nutrition and empowerment of women. He said today, the efforts of the double-engine government to make women empowerment the fulcrum of development got a new push by the blessings of Maa Kalika, referring to the redeveloped temple of Shree Kalika Mata at Pavagadh Hill near here that he had inaugurated earlier in the day.

Modi began by saying that today was a day of "Matru Vandana" (mother worship) for him. He had started the day by seeking blessings from his mother, who entered her 100th year today.

He said the government had thrown open opportunities in all sectors for women and drawn up schemes for their empowerment, keeping in mind every phase of their life cycle.

“Vadodara is a suitable city for the celebration of matru shakti because it is a city giving sanskars like a mother. Vadodara is a city of Sanskaras. This city takes care of those who come here in every way, supports them in happiness and sorrow and gives opportunities to move forward," he said.

He said the city had inspired personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Arvind, Vinoba Bhave and Babasaheb Ambedakar.

He also recalled the role that the city played in his personal journey. He also said that in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections he was blessed by both Vadodara and Varanasi, the two constituencies from where he was elected before he gave up the former seat.

The Prime Minister reiterated the importance of maternal and women's health.

"Mother’s health is important not only for her but for the entire family, especially for the child. Malnutrition was a big challenge here two decades ago when Gujarat gave me the opportunity to serve. Since then we started working in this direction one after the other, whose fruitful results are being seen today," he said.

He also talked about measures to deal with the sickle-cell disease in tribal areas.

He said that the decision to celebrate September as "Poshan Mah" -nutrition month - would help the women in Gujarat. Beyond nutrition, the government has worked to provide a conducive environment to women through schemes like Swachh Bharat and Ujjwala, he said.

“We have tried to give more opportunities in the decision-making space, to promote women in Gujarat at every level. Understanding the management ability of women, sisters have been given leadership roles in many projects related to the village,” he said.

The Prime MInister also reiterated the commitment to ensure a central role for women in the financial decision-making of the family. Jan Dhan Accounts, Mudra Yojna and Swarojgar Yojana are contributing towards this cause.

He also listed measures for the welfare of the urban poor and middle class. Urban poor families have already received 7.5 lakh houses. As many as 4.5 lakh middle class families have received help in construction of houses, he said. Schemes for fair rent and Swanidhi Yojna are also helping the rural poor and middle class segment, he said.

Modi said that, along with welfare measures, work is on for industrial and infrastructure development of the state.

He said the measures the measures for tourism development in Gujarat would benefit Vadodara a great deal. Pavagadh and Kevadia have been developed as tourism hubs. Vadodara is witnessing massive improvement in railways and aviation infrastructure.

Similarly, institutions like Central university, Rail University and Birsa Munda Tribal University are bringing new energy in the education sector, he added.

The projects launched by the Prime Minister today included railway projects worth more than Rs 16,000 crore which he dedicated to the nation or laid the foundation stones for.

These include dedication to the nation of the 357 km New Palanpur-Madar section of the Dedicated Freight Corridor; gauge conversion of the 166 km long Ahmedabad-Botad section; and the electrification of the 81 km long Palanpur-Mitha section, among others.

He laid the foundation stones of the redevelopment of Surat, Udhna, Somnath and Sabarmati stations, along with foundation stones of other initiatives in the railway sector. These projects will help lower logistics cost and boost industry and agriculture sector in the region. They will also improve connectivity in the region and enhance passenger amenities.

Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, a total of 1.38 lakh houses were dedicated to the nation by Modi, including houses worth around Rs 1,800 crore in urban areas and houses worth over Rs 1,530 crore in rural areas. In addition, the ground-breaking ceremony of around 3,000 houses worth over Rs 310 crore was done.

During the programme, dedicated and laid the foundation stones of various development works at Kheda, Anand, Vadodara, Chhota Udepur, and Panchmahals, worth over Rs 680 crore, which are aimed at furthering ease of living in the region.

He will laid the foundation stone of Gujarat Central University in Kundhela village of Dabhoi taluka of Vadodara district. Located at about 20 km from Vadodara city, the university will be constructed at a cost of around Rs 425 crore and will cater to higher education needs of over 2,500 students.

With a focus on improving maternal and child health, the Prime Minister launched the "Mukhyamantri Matrushakti Yojana", which will have an outlay of Rs 800 crore. Under the scheme, pregnant and lactating mothers will be given 2 kg of chickpeas, 1 kg of tur dal and 1 kg of edible oil free of cost from Anganwadi Centres every month.

He also disbursed around Rs 120 crore towards "Poshan Sudha Yojana", which is now being extended to all tribal beneficiaries in the state. This step is being taken after the success of the experiment of providing pregnant and lactating mothers from tribal districts with iron and calcium tablets and education on nutrition.


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