Prime Minister Narendra Modi today lauded the steps taken by Haryana towards improving the adverse sex ratio and called upon the people of the state to take a pledge in its golden jubilee year to protect the girl child.
Speaking at an official function to celebrate the golden jubilee of the state's formation here, he said Haryana has taken fast strides in development and its people have made a mark in all spheres of life, and thus the state has the potential to steer the country forward and act as its growth engine.
"Haryana has the potential to steer the country forward as it is in such a position where it can provide this strength. If we move by bringing a change from the village and from each one's land, it will have an effect across the country.
"If we move forward keeping public interest and participation in mind, then we can achieve something. I am confident that Haryana has much strength to take the country forward and can act as its growth engine," he told a big gathering at the Tau Devi Lal stadium here.
He also commended Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for some of the districts been declared open defecation free.
"We should make entire Haryana open defecation free during this golden jubilee year and I have full hope that the state can do it," he said.
Modi asked if every Haryanvi takes one step forward this golden jubilee and the state takes 2.5 crore steps forward, can any state go ahead of Haryana.
Haryana, which was carved out of the then joint Punjab on November 1, 1966, turned 50 today.
"Should we not make Haryana number one? There are many strengths which we are yet to recognise. Haryana that surrounds Delhi can steer the national capital forward," he said.
On protecting the girl child, he said, "This golden jubilee year, every Haryanvi should take a pledge to save the girl child and there should be no let up in this regard and the girl child will not be allowed to be killed in the mother's womb. There cannot be a bigger occasion for golden jubilee than this."
He also thanked the elders and mothers of Haryana who took upon themselves to protect the girl child and helped in improving the sex ratio.
Modi said he has also pondered why in a state with such values, which is always ready to accept new things and has been ahead in many areas, unborn girls are killed in mother's womb.
He said in such a distinguished state, female foeticide cannot exist and noted that Haryana has undertaken an effort to ensure it does not happen.
"I want to commend people of Haryana that they respected the sentiment when I had begged for saving lives of girls when I launched Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao campaign (from Panipat in January 2015).
"Today, I can say with satisfaction, that people of Haryana respected this sentiment. Gender ratio has improved in the country and if any state is making fast improvement in this, it is Haryana," he said, noting that the daughters of Haryana, who have not just just Haryana proud with their feats, but the entire country.
On the menace of open defecation, Modi said, "Imagine that 15 years have passed in the 21st century's and still our mothers and sisters have to go to defecate in the open. There can be nothing more shameful than this", and called for stepping up efforts in this regard.
Acknowledging the contribution of Haryana in various fields, he said despite being a comparatively small state, people of Haryana have excelled in all aspects of life.
"It is believed that Haryana has only farmers but see the exemplary success of businessmen from Haryana.
"Today every 10th soldier in army is from Haryana and not only this, people from the state have excelled in business in various states and across the globe," he said.
"Daughters of Haryana have made India very proud on multiple occasions."
Modi said today is a day to look back at the time when Haryana was formed and its aim.
"May the process of transformation begin in our villages and when this happens, the development of Haryana will receive an impetus."
He also lauded the steps taken by the state government in making Haryana kerosene free and said eight districts have already become free and the state has pledged to make the entire state kerosene free by March next year that will help eliminate pilferage by middlemen and brokers and conserve environment and foreign exchange.
Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, Chief Minister Khattar, several Union ministers, ministers of the Khattar cabinet, several MLAs from the state, besides others were also present on the occasion.
Modi also launched three schemes 'Deen Dayal Jan Awas Yojana', Automation of Fair Price Shops and Kerosene Free Haryana.
Speaking on the occasion, Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki said the 'swarna jayanti' celebrations would continue up to October 31, 2017.
After implementation of various schemes of the central and state governments, Haryana would truly reflect the aspirations of the people, he said.
Stressing the need to work with the spirit of 'Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas', he urged the people to take a pledge and participate in the development of the state.
Chief Minister Khattar said, "We are celebrating the swarna jayanti of Haryana, and not of any party or government. Haryana came into existence on this day in 1966 and the state has achieved tremendous progress in many fields during this period. Now the state government is working for the development of the state and following the mantra 'Haryana Ek-Haryanavi Ek'."
Referring to the the 'Ek Bharat-Shresth Bharat' programme launched on the occasion of the anniversary of Vallabhbhai Patel, the Chief Minister said the state government would work in tandem with Telangana.
On the occasion, Khattar also recalled when Haryana was carved out as a separate state in 1966, how as a 12-year-old boy then he like many others used to study under a lantern.
He recalled how things have changed since then and Haryana have made progress in various fields.
"When Haryana came into being as a separate state, at that time some people even raised doubt whether the newly formed state will be able to pay salaries to its employees and whether it can undertake development," he said.
Now that very state is a frontrunner in various fields including sports, foodgrain and milk production, on industrial front or in making contribution to the country's armed forces, he said.