Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday criticised former prime minister Indira Gandhi saying she nationalised banks across the country claiming that it was for the betterment of the poor, but did not actually ensure that they had access to banking facilities.
Addressing a gathering at a felicitation function organised for him by local BJP leaders in Somnath, PM Modi repeated his charge that the Congress had made little effort for the development of the country. “They erect poles in one village, unload cable at another and talk of installing a transformer in the third. Can electricity ever reach by such efforts? Elections come and go. But we have adopted a comprehensive approach to development and we insist on completing work in one go,” said Modi.
The PM further said that girls used to drop out of schools as there were no toilets. He added that when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, he launched a drive to construct toilets in schools and now it was being replicated at national level.
All these efforts, the PM said, were directed at the upliftment of the poor. Modi also took a dig at the Congress and former prime minister Indira Gandhi saying they talked much about the poor but did not do much to improve their condition. “Indiraben nationalised banks saying they were meant for the poor. But did you see any poor on the doorsteps of any bank? In fact, we forced banks to open accounts for the poor under Jan Dhan scheme. The poor used to wonder when the rich would swipe plastic card and make payment. But now the poor also have cards. RuPay cards have been issued to 21 crore people,” said the PM.
The PM was in Somnath to offer pooja at the famous Somnath temple, the shrine of Lord Shiva and also to attend annual meetings of Shree Somnath Trust (SST), a Junagadh-registered religious organisation which manages Somnath temple. BJP national president Amit Shah, senior BJP leader LK Advani as well as former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who all are also trustees of the SST, were also present at the meeting. Keshubhai, who is chairman of the board of trustees of the SST presided over the meeting.
Modi repeated his announcement of converting eight state highways of Gujarat into national highways. He also spoke about the projects earmarked for Gujarat coastline under Sagarmala initiative of the Central government and a proposed Rs 500 crore sea link to connect Okha to Bet Dwarka.
Referring to the colours in the National Flag, Modi said his government wanted to bring about saffron revolution, green revolution, white revolution and blue revolution in the country. “We want to harness solar and wind energy to bring about saffron revolution, that is revolution in energy sector…. By green revolution, we want to double income of farmers by year 2022. For that, sprinkle and drip irrigation systems will have to be adopted, soil health testing will have to be done and make fertiliser available in sufficient quantity,” he said.
He announced that the Central government had decided two days ago to allow the export of groundnut so that prices of the commodity don’t fall, and farmers of Saurashtra, who have harvested a bumper crop of the oilseed this year, do not have to suffer.
He further added that white revolution was aimed at scientific dairy farming and attempts to raise per capita milk yield, which is as low as one-fourth in comparison to a few countries. He also stressed in bringing about a blue revolution by developing seacoast and exploiting marine resources which can uplift fishermen and also drive growth of ports and other industries.
“We are also considering a scheme for poor fishermen. If five fishermen come together and form a society, they will be given bank loan for purchasing bigger fishing boat which can go beyond 12 nautical miles for fishing. Central government will provide 50 per cent subsidy for purchasing such fishing boats,” Modi announced while asking Junagadh MP Rajesh Chudasama and Rajya Sabha member from this region, Chunibhai Gohel to provide inputs for the proposed scheme.
From Somnath, the PM went to union territory of Diu located off Saurashtra coast and addressed a gathering there also. He urged Diu residents to set an example in rainwater harvesting also as they had done in harnessing solar energy and ensuring cleanliness on the tiny island.