SURAT: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India has become the fifth largest economy in the world and this is not an ordinary achievement.
"Every Indian is feeling proud of it. We need to maintain this enthusiasm," Modi said.
He was virtually addressing beneficiaries of various government schemes and those present at a mega medical camp organised in Olpad area of Surat city in Gujarat, where the Assembly polls are due later this year.
The PM interacted with some of the beneficiaries and appealed to farmers to switch to natural farming, saying this will result in better yield at minimum cost.
He lauded the Gujarat government and referred to the BJP-led state and the Centre as "double engine government".
"Recently, India has become the fifth largest economy in the world. This achievement gave us confidence to work even harder and achieve bigger goals in this Amrit Kaal. This progress is not ordinary. Every Indian is feeling proud about it. We need to maintain this enthusiasm," the PM said.
Referring to the Centre's Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Modi said, "As many as three crore houses were built by the government across the country for the poor during the last 8 years. Of these, nearly 10 lakh houses were constructed in Gujarat alone."
Modi praised the health infrastructure in Gujarat, saying the state has a robust network of multispecialty hospitals.
"The number of medical colleges has gone up from 11 to 31 in the last two decades. An All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is coming up (in Rajkot) and several new medical colleges are also proposed for the state," he said.
The entire event and the medical camp were organised by Gujarat Minister of State for Agriculture, Energy and Petrochemicals Mukesh Patel, who is the MLA from Olpad in Surat.
On the occasion, Modi urged doctors deployed at the medical camp to talk to patients about their lifestyle and the importance of having nutritious food, which can keep people away from many illnesses.
He said nearly four crore people in the country, including 30 lakh in Gujarat, have already availed benefit of the Centre's Ayushman Bharat scheme, which provides health cover of up to Rs five lakh per family in a year.
Praising the Gujarat government, Modi said 97 per cent of rural homes in the state are now getting drinking water through the ambitious 'Nal Se Jal' scheme.
"Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, farmers across the country have received Rs two lakh crore through direct transfer so far. Sixty lakh farmers from Gujarat and nearly 1.25 lakh farmers from Surat have availed the benefit of this scheme," he said.
He said farmers earlier used to get nothing despite tall promises made by previous governments at the Centre.
"But, the interests of farmers are always a priority for our double engine government. That is the reason why farmers of the country and Gujarat give us their blessings," he said.
Before the address, Modi virtually interacted with some of the beneficiaries of the state and centrally sponsored schemes, such as the widow pension, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and the Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
While talking to Sukhdevsinh Rana, a differently-abled farmer, the PM appealed to all cultivators to switch to natural farming, saying this would provide better yield with minimum cost.
During his interaction with Kanchanben Patel, a widow from Olpad taluka, Modi asked if coastal villages in Olpad are now getting clean drinking water.
Patel informed the PM that the government has resolved the issue.
Talking to another widow Kirtiben Patel, Modi appealed to her to spread awareness about various government schemes in her village so that no eligible person is left behind in getting the benefits....