The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of multiple development initiatives worth over Rs. 1970 crore in Vyara, Tapi. The projects include the improvement of the road from Saputara to the Statue of Unity along with the construction of missing links, and water supply projects worth over Rs 300 crore in Tapi and Narmada districts.
Acknowledging the enthusiasm and affection of the people present on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that he felt blessed to be a recipient of their affection for two decades. He said, “You all have come here from far and wide. Seeing your energy, your enthusiasm, the mind becomes happy and my energy levels get a boost”. “I am trying”, he continued “to repay this debt by working for your development wholeheartedly. Even today, the foundation stone of projects worth hundreds of crores of rupees related to the development of this entire tribal area, including Tapi and Narmada, has been laid.”
The Prime Minister said that the country has seen two types of politics regarding tribal interests and the welfare of tribal communities. On the one hand, there are parties which do not care for tribal interests and have a history of making false promises to the tribals while on the other hand there is a party like BJP, which always gave top priority to tribal welfare. “While earlier governments made fun of tribal traditions, we on the other hand respect the tribal traditions, ” he continued, “Welfare of tribal communities is our foremost priority and wherever we have formed the government, we have given top priority to tribal welfare.”
Speaking on the welfare of tribal communities, the Prime Minister further said “My tribal brothers and sisters should have their own pucca house with electricity, gas connection, toilet, a road leading to the house, a medical centre nearby, means of income in the vicinity, and a school for children.” He further added that Gujarat has seen unprecedented development. The Prime Minister informed that every village in Gujarat has 24 hours electricity today, but the first place where every village was connected with an electricity facility was the tribal district of Dang. “About a decade and a half ago, under Jyotirgram Yojana, the target of 100 percent electrification was achieved in more than 300 villages of Dang district. This inspiration from Dang district led us to undertake electrification of all villages in the country when you sent me to Delhi as Prime Minister”, the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister threw light on the Wadi Yojana that was undertaken to give new life to agriculture in tribal areas. Shri Modi recalled the earlier situation when it was difficult to grow and buy millet-maize in the tribal areas. “Today, cashew is cultivated in tribal areas along with fruits like mango, guava and lemon”, the Prime Minister pointed out. He credited the Wadi Yojana for this positive change and informed that through this scheme, tribal farmers were assisted in cultivating fruits, teak and bamboo on barren land. “Today this program is going on in many districts of Gujarat”, he said. The Prime Minister remembered that President Dr Abdul Kalam had come to see it in Valsad district and he also praised the project very much.
Shri Modi also talked about the changed water situation in Gujarat. In Gujarat, water grids were laid on the lines of electricity grids. a canal and lift irrigation network was constructed in the entire Gujarat including Tapi. Water was lifted from Daba Kantha canal and then the water facility in Tapi district increased. He informed that the Ukai scheme is being built with an investment of hundreds of crores of rupees and the projects for which the foundation stone has been laid today will further improve the water facility. “There was a time when only a quarter of the households in Gujarat had a water connection. Today 100% of households in Gujarat have piped drinking water”, the Prime Minister said.
Throwing light on Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana, the Prime Minister informed that it was conceived and implemented to fulfil every basic need and aspiration of the tribal society in Gujarat. “Today we are seeing that many daughters from Tapi and other adjoining tribal districts are going to school and college here. Now many sons and daughters of tribal society are studying science, becoming doctors and engineers” he said. The Prime Minister recalled that when these youngsters were born 20-25 years ago, there were very few schools in the entire tribal belt from Umargam to Ambaji and barely enough facilities to study science. The Prime Minister informed that under the Mission School of Excellence which was inaugurated yesterday in Gujarat, about 4,000 schools in tribal talukas will be modernised.
In the last two decades, the Prime Minister informed that more than 10 thousand schools have been built in tribal areas, Eklavya Model School and special residential schools for daughters have been set up. Birsa Munda Tribal University of Narmada and Shri Govind Guru Vishwavidyalaya of Godhra are providing opportunities for higher education to tribal youth. The budget for scholarships for tribal children has now been more than doubled. The Prime Minister underlined, “The number of Eklavya schools has also increased manifold.” For our tribal children, we made special arrangements for education and also gave financial help to study abroad”, he said. The Prime Minister also reiterated the benefits of bringing transparency in sports through campaigns like Khelo India and providing new opportunities for the tribal children to grow and develop their potential.
The Prime Minister said that the Gujarat government has spent more than one lakh crore rupees on Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana. Now in the second phase of this scheme, the Gujarat government is again going to spend more than one lakh crore rupees, he informed. With this, many new schools for tribal children, many hostels, new medical colleges, and nursing colleges will also be built. “Under this scheme, the government is also preparing to build more than 2.5 lakh houses for the tribals. In the last few years, more than 6 lakh houses and land leases have been given to about one lakh tribal families in tribal areas”, he said.
“Our resolve”, the Prime Minister said, “is to make the tribal society completely free from problems of malnutrition. That’s why the central government has started a huge ‘Poshan Abhiyan’ through which thousands of rupees are being given to help mothers eat nutritious food during pregnancy.” A huge campaign is going on under Mission Indradhanush to ensure that mothers and children get vaccinated on time. Now it has been more than two and a half years since free ration is being given to the poor all over the country. The central government is spending more than Rs 3 lakh crore on this. So far, about 10 crore free gas connections have been given in the country for our mothers and sisters to stay away from diseases caused by smoke. Lakhs of tribal families have got the facility of free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh per year under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
Highlighting the efforts of the government in restoring the forgotten legacy of the tribal community in the history of India’s freedom movement, the Prime Minister remarked that the tribal community has a very rich legacy. He said, “Now for the first time, the country is celebrating the birth anniversary of Lord Birsa Munda on 15th November as Tribal Pride Day.” He further added that the contributions of tribal freedom fighters are being preserved and showcased through museums across the country. Recalling the time when a Tribal Ministry did not exist, the Prime Minister pointed out that it was Atal Ji’s government which formed the tribal ministry for the first time. “The Gram Sadak Yojana was started during Atal Ji’s government, which resulted in many benefits for the tribal areas. “Our government has done the work of ending the injustice being done to the tribals”, he added. The Prime Minister further informed that the budget related to tribal welfare has also been increased by more than three times in the last 8 years thereby creating new opportunities for employment and self-employment for our tribal youth.
“This partnership of development should be strengthened continuously”, the Prime Minister said as he urged everyone to join the efforts of the Double Engine government to enhance the potential of the tribal youth. “With Sabka Prayas, we will build a developed Gujarat, and a developed India.”, the Prime Minister concluded.
Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Patel, Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Mangubhai Patel, Members of Parliament, Shri C R Patil, Shri KC Patel, Shri Mansukh Vasava and Shri Prabhubhai Vasava, and Ministers of Gujarat Government, Shri Rushikesh Patel, Shri Nareshbhai Patel, Shri Mukeshbhai Patel, Shri Jagdish Panchal, and Shri Jitubhai Chaudhary were those present on occasion among others.