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PM Modi woos Varanasi with pro-poor schemes, projects worth Rs 8 bn

Press Trust of India/Varanasi 13 Mar 18 | 06:43 AM

PM Modi at an event in Varanasi. Photo: Twitter.

With Lok Sabha elections just in a year's time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday launched a slew of schemes for poor and emphasised on harnessing solar energy for cooking.

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The PM also flagged off a new train -- Kanshi-Patna Jan Shatabdi Express -- between Varanasi and Patna on the demand of the people from the area.

Overwhlemed by the massive response from the people of his Lok Sabha constituency during his visit, during which he was accompanied by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, Modi said people have given them a wonderful welcome and thanked them for it.

"Seeing this, every household in France will enquire where is Varanasi which gave such a rousing welcome to our President," he said.

He was addressing a public meeting at the DLW Grounds here after winding up his visit to adjoining Mirzapur, where Modi and Macron dedicated a 75-MW solar power plant. Modi also inaugurated or laid the foundation stone of various development projects worth over Rs 8 billion.

He also handed over the keys, cheques and certificates to beneficiaries of various schemes.

The prime minister announced "Ayushman (blessed with long life) Bharat" scheme to ensure better health care facilities for the poor and said it would go a long way in helping the downtrodden foot hospital bills.

The scheme will be implemented with the help of insurance companies and the poor who can't afford costly treatment will be able to get help up to Rs 500,000 annually. This will create a network of hospitals and employment opportunity in the healthcare sector, he said.

"If one member of a family of a poor man falls ill, the entire family gets disturbed, and his financial position is affected badly," he said.

Modi also announced Pradhan Mantri Poshan Mission Yojana (PMPM scheme) to ensure nutrition to children, especially girls.

"If girls in their teens, who are likely to become mothers in another few years, are weak, how can their offsprings be strong and healthy?" he posed.

The prime minister, who had earlier launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to safeguard the health of women and children by providing clean cooking fuel, today stressed on the use of solar energy for making food.

"This is an effort to bring a change in the lifestyle in the countryside. I urge youths and IITians to promote clean cooking by harnessing solar energy in an innovative manner," he said.

He also lauded the concept of "kachra (waste) mahotsav" to highlight the use of waste products and make wealth out of the useless articles.

Modi took a dig at his political rivals, saying he was sure that they would poke fun at him for his novel idea.

"I was impressed by the music generated by youths using discarded utensils," Modi, who took a round of 'kachara se jugaad' exhibition, said.

Earlier, Modi thanked the people of his constituency for the "warmth" shown by them towards him and the visiting French dignitary.

"I would like to thank the residents of Varanasi...Today Varanasi has done wonders. The way Varanasi welcomed the French president, and honoured him, people in every house in France will ask where is Varanasi where a grand welcome and honour was accorded to him (the French president)," he said.

Stressing on the need for cleanliness in Varanasi, he said "our ancestors have done wonders" for the city and its cleanliness has to be ensured so that people from the entire world come here.

Terming the DLW as his second home and also the industrial identity of Varanasi, he said the government was working towards its development and expansion so that more employment opportunities could be created.

The Prime Minister praised Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath terming him as a popular and dedicated leader who is working on a mission mode to implement government schemes like the Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojna.

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