Calling for an end to the practice of female foeticide and urging people not to depend on the government for resolving all problems, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said “those who look upon the girl child as a liability should think how will mankind survive if we are left in a world with no women”.
“If we kill the girl child in the mother’s womb, how will this world function? If in a village only 800 girls are born against 1,000 boys, then 200 boys will remain unmarried. What will happen to the village, what will happen to this world? Should the government alone be fixing this problem?” Modi told the people of Jayapur, a village he adopted in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi.
“At times, I tell the poor to celebrate the birth of a daughter. In some families, fights break out if a girl is born. The poor daughter-in-law is at the receiving end… A daughter is the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi, so we should take pride when she arrives.”
Asking villagers to celebrate the birthday of the village to let the sense of attachment grow, Modi suggested that they plant at least five saplings in a corner of their field if a girl is born. “When the daughter is 20 years old, the trees will also be as old. And when she has to be married, the trees can be sold to meet the wedding expenses,” he said.
Speaking on issues ranging from potholed roads to crumbling social structure, the Prime Minister regretted that the condition of villages had not improved in the last 60 years. Blaming policies made in Delhi and Lucknow, he said “big people” made such big talk that these could not be executed on the ground. “Our people need to give up the mindset that the government is the doer and they are only beneficiaries. The Adarsh Gram Yojana is an effort in that direction. It aims to empower villagers and provide them with opportunities to exercise these choices,” he said.
Recalling his meeting with top bureaucrats over tea during Diwali, he said he told them to spend a few days in the place of their first posting to see if conditions of these places had improved while they rose to such high positions. “I want to bring about a awakening so that those moving ahead in life should see to it that those who have played a role in their rise should also progress.”
The Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, he said, will help MPs and officials understand the needs of villages. “I have not adopted this village as MP but this village has adopted me… The MPs are not doing any favour by adopting a village under this scheme, the villages are doing a favour by adopting them, and it is matter of pride.”
Referring to a report which said 40 per cent of children died young in a neighbouring country because they did not wash their hands before eating, Modi said villagers should pledge that they will not let their children eat without washing hands.
Speaking in Varanasi, where he laid the foundation stone of a trade facilitation centre and craft museum and inaugurated a powerloom service centre, Modi asked weavers to use technology to step up production of Banarasi sarees, improve the quality of work and design to cater to the needs of an assured market since there was going to be a demand for at least 20 crore Banarasi sarees.
He said every Indian family wants to gift at least one Banarasi saree to a daughter on her marriage and more than 20 crore girls would be getting married in the next few years. “Do you realise that such a huge consumer market is waiting for you in the country? That is an assured market. But you are doing your work normally as you have been doing for a long time. You need to increase production to fulfill the demand and keep your customer base intact.” He said Banarasi sarees were known worldwide and there is a Banaras Street in Boston.
He asked weavers to go for e-commerce, advanced technology to compete in the global market. Modi said his government was working on the manufacture of advanced machines for weavers and improvement of skills. “There is need for drastic change in this sector.And that is beginning from Varanasi today.”
He said his government had announced a package of Rs 2,375 crore to revive banks which had closed because of scams and financial losses. “There are 16 such banks in eastern UP districts including Varanasi that will get benefit from that package. You will all benefit from these banks,” Modi said.