Amid expectation that the Centre might soon announce a booster shot for the economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi
on Saturday reiterated his government’s promise of providing every poor person, whether living in rural or urban areas, a house by 2022. The PM said his government and party’s agenda was development, not merely votes.
“When crores of houses are built across the country, it will require bricks, cement, iron and wood. It will generate jobs for thousands and open up new avenues of income and employment,” the PM said at a public rally in his Lok Sabha
He inaugurated the first “Pashu Arogya Mela” (cattle health fair) on the second day of his two-day visit.
Indications are the Modi
government might announce a package for power, housing and social welfare programmes to generate jobs and perk up demand. Officials said 24x7 power supply to all could be among the big-ticket announcements. On the whole, discussions have been held on a stimulus package of Rs 40,000-50,000 crore after gross domestic product (GDP) growth plunged to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017-18.
There is expectation that the PM might announce the stimulus package during his speech at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national
executive meeting in New Delhi on Monday. The speech will be open to media and televised live. The PM’s Mann ki Baat
address is scheduled for Sunday morning. The PM will also give a report card of the various social welfare schemes launched to commemorate the birth centenary of Jan Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya, whose birthday falls on Monday.
In his pubic address on Saturday, the PM said: “If Modi
will not take up such an arduous task, who else will,” noting that crores of families were still homeless. The PM said that by 2022, when the country celebrates 75th year of Independence, “every poor, whether in urban or rural area, will get a home”. The PM also distributed Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana certificates to some beneficiaries.
He said the Opposition indulges in vote bank politics. "Some politicians work only when it fetches them votes. But we have been brought up in a different culture. For us, the nation is above all and it is our top-most priority, not votes," he said.
Stressing that his government's prime agenda was development, he said, "Governance is not about politics or winning elections. The priority is the well-being of the nation." "Our (BJP) politics is not for votes, our culture is different. In politics, people do only that task which yields votes, but our character is different," Modi
Referring to the mega animal fair spread over 1800 acres of land here, he said "these animals don't go to cast their ballot. They are not anyone's voters." The Prime Minister also promised to double farm income by 2022. He said farmers need to be encouraged to adopt dairy farming and animal husbandry as alternative sources of income.
On corruption, Modi
said his government had "waged a war" against black money and graft, for which the poor has had to suffer because of "the loot" by the dishonest. "A common honest man suffers as the corrupt used to loot him. The campaign for honesty is now moving forward like a festival. The way in which our trader brothers are associating with GST
and Aadhar, every penny of the people will be spent for their welfare. We are moving forward fast," he said.
He also attacked the previous Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh. "The previous government had no interest in giving homes to the poor. After mounting pressure, they gave a list of only 10,000. But the current (Yogi Adityanath) government has given a list of lakhs of people to avail benefit," he said. Uttar Pradesh is a key state if BJP is to return to power at the Centre in 2019.
The PM also spoke about his ‘Swachha’, or Clean, India campaign. He quoted a survey and said toilets at home can save up to Rs 50,000 per annum if hygienic practices are adopted. Praising the people of the village, where he laid the foundation of a toilet, for naming it as "Izzatghar" (the home of honour), Modi
said "I liked this word so much. Where there is Izzatghar, there is honour of our mothers and sisters. I also congratulate the state government for recognising it as Izzatghar. In the days to come, those who are concerned about their honour, will construct more Izzatghar."
The PM said many new projects have been launched for cleanliness in Varanasi, including a Rs 600-crore sewer treatment plant and a unit to generate power from garbage.
On the first day of his visit, Modi
inaugurated 17 infra projects worth over Rs 1000 crore including the Ramnagar-Samne Ghat bridge and the Balua Ghat bridge. He also flagged off the third Mahamana Express train between Varanasi, his constituency, and Vadodara in Gujarat, his home state.