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Modi launches LPG scheme for poor

During the launch, Modi said policies made by previous governments was not keeping in mind the welfare of poor but only ballot boxes

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Narendra Modi

Press Trust of India  |  Ballia (UP) 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) presents a cooking gas connection to a woman from a Below Poverty Line family during the  launch of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, in Ballia on Sunday (Photo: PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) presents a cooking gas connection to a woman from a Below Poverty Line family during the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, in Ballia on Sunday (Photo: PTI)

Setting development and poverty eradication as the agenda for the next Uttar Pradesh elections, Prime Minister on Sunday launched a Rs 8,000-crore scheme to provide 50 million free liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) connections to poor families and attacked previous governments for not doing much, despite many prime ministers being elected from the state.

“Uttar Pradesh gave many prime ministers. But, poverty increased. Number of poor increased. (Governments) could not empower poor to fight poverty. There were many promises and policies were made. But, these schemes were not framed keeping in mind the interest of poor. Rather, the focus was on ballot box (election),” Modi said.



Elaborating on abject poverty in eastern Uttar Pradesh, he said, “In 1955, in Nehru's presence, an MP from Ghazipur raised the issue of people washing cow dung to find grain to eat. After that, a Patel commission was set up, which gave many recommendations for the state. Now after 50 years, what happened to those suggestions, God knows.” Poverty, he said, could be eradicated only if poor are empowered, given the resources and opportunities, as well as education, jobs, houses, drinking water and electricity.

He questioned the policies pursued by the previous government for poverty eradication, saying poverty had only increased in the past years.

“We are working to fight poverty,” he said, adding under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, free LPG connections would be provided in the name of women members of Below Poverty Line households.

In the first year, 15 million such connections will be released and the target of 50 million will be completed in three years, he said. Taking a dig at speculation that this event was organised to launch the state election campaign, he said, “Those who are political pundits are saying Modi has come here for sounding the election bugle. I have not. I chose Ballia for launch of the scheme as the district's average gas connection penetration is 8 out of 100, which is one of the lowest in the country.”


Polls in the state are due in 2017 as the term of the assembly ending in May.

Explaining about development eliminating poverty, Modi said, “We have done the unthinkable...we have made petroleum sector work for the the poor. It was not considered the sector for the poor.” The launch coincided with May Day and Modi attacked previous governments for doing little for poor. “Policies made by previous governments was not keeping in mind the welfare of poor but only ballot boxes,” he said.

"In my first speech in Central Hall of Parliament after BJP government came to power (in 2014), I had said my government is dedicated to the poor.

"Whatever this government does, will be for the benefit of the poor and for the welfare of poor," he said as he listed out initiatives like raising minimum pension to Rs 1,000 and introduction of labour identification number (LIN).

The maximum wage that entitles bonus to workers has been raised to Rs 21,000 from Rs 10,000 per month previously, while bonus limit too has been doubled to Rs 7,000.

Provident fund (PF) portability has been provided to help utilise the Rs 27,000 crore of retirement benefits lying unused because of workers changing jobs or cities.

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First Published: Mon, May 02 2016. 00:13 IST
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