Varanasi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode an e-boat and an e-rickshaw in Varanasi on Sunday and said India has to become stronger by empowering its poor. The prime minister flew into Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency, after launching the Pradhar Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, under which free LPG connections will be given to five crore poor women, earlier in Ballia.
"Schemes that strengthen the people are important, not schemes that strengthen vote banks. India has to become stronger," Modi said at the Assi Ghat after the boat ride on the Ganges. "We are empowering the poor so that they can battle poverty," he added. "Our experience during the Jan Dhan Yojana brought out the richness of the poor," he said.
"And it is really satisfying to work day and night for the poor." The prime minister added: "This nation, our government and our banks -- they are for the poor." Modi began his day at Ballia, where he gave away some cooking gas connections to people. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana will provide free LPG connections to five crore women belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families between 2016 and 2019.
Modi then went to Varanasi and distributed e-rickshaws and launched a scheme for environment-friendly e-boats at the Assi Ghat. He also took out time to interact with the beneficiaries of the e-rickshaws. In Ballia, Modi vowed to better the living conditions for the poor of the country. "This is a government for the poor. Whatever we do will be for the poor," he said. "We have worked a lot on labour related issues."
He said schemes "must be made for the welfare of the poor not keeping in mind considerations of the ballot box". Modi greeted the workers, or shramiks as he described them, on the occasion of May 1, Labour Day. "I laud the hard work of all shramiks and appreciate their role in the progress of India. In this century, our mantra should be: All shramiks of the world, let's make the world one. Unite the world."
He said the central government was working to allocate "tremendous resources" to develop Uttar Pradesh. "Fruits of development have to reach the eastern part of India and then we will gain strength in the fight against poverty." He described Ballia as a land of revolutionaries.
"Ballia gave us Mangal Pandey. People from here give their lives to the nation. Connectivity in this region, rail lines, bridges... These issues were ignored but I congratulate local MPs for ensuring this changes."