Prime Minister's Office
azadi ka amrit mahotsav

English rendering of PM’s address at the Sashakt Nari-Viksit Bharat programme

Posted On: 11 MAR 2024 3:26PM by PIB Delhi

My esteemed cabinet colleagues, Shri Giriraj Singh ji, Shri Arjun Munda ji, Shri Mansukh Mandaviya ji, and sisters from various parts of the country, have gathered here in large numbers. Additionally, lakhs of women across the country are also connected to us via video. I extend a warm welcome and heartfelt congratulations to all of you. As I look around this auditorium, it strikes me that this looks like a mini-Bharat. People from every corner and speaking every language of Bharat are represented here. My heartiest congratulations to each and every one of you!

Today's programme marks a historic moment in the realm of women's empowerment. I have had the privilege of distributing 1000 modern drones to women's Self-Help Groups (SHGs) under the NaMo Drone Didi campaign. It is worth noting that over 1 crore sisters in the country have become 'Lakhpati Didis' through various schemes and diligent efforts. This is no small feat. Just moments ago, I had a conversation with a teenage sister who proudly shared that she earns between 60,000 to 80,000 rupees every month through her business. We can now inspire the youth of our country by showcasing examples like hers—a sister in the village earning a substantial income from her business. Look at her confidence! Yes, the young lady is sitting right there, raising her hand. Hearing such stories fills me with immense confidence and optimism. It reaffirms that we are in the right country where positive outcomes are achievable. We may conceive schemes and plans, but it is your dedication and tangible results that truly make a difference. Your achievements not only inspire but also motivate government officials to expedite progress. Therefore, I have resolved to surpass the target of creating 3 crore 'Lakhpati Didis'. To this end, an amount of Rs 10,000 crore has been transferred to the accounts of these women today. Once again, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of you sisters!

Mothers and sisters,

In any country or society, progress can only be achieved by enhancing the dignity of women and providing them with new opportunities. Regrettably, previous governments in the country never prioritized the lives and issues of women like yourselves, leaving you to fend for yourselves. My observation is that when our mothers and sisters are given even a slight opportunity and support, they no longer require assistance; they become pillars of support themselves. This realization struck me even more profoundly when I began addressing women's empowerment issues from the ramparts of the Red Fort. I am the first Prime Minister to have addressed the challenges faced by our mothers and sisters due to the lack of toilets and the hardships endured by village women in their daily lives in my address from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

I am the first Prime Minister to have brought up the issue of sanitary pads and the health risks posed to women who cook with wood-fired stoves, inhaling the equivalent of 400 cigarettes' worth of smoke every day. I am the first Prime Minister who mentioned the problems faced by all women due to lack of tap water at home and announced the Jal Jeevan Mission for the same. I am the first Prime Minister to have emphasized the importance of every woman having a bank account and to have spoken out against derogatory remarks made about women in my address from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

I am the first Prime Minister to have highlighted the double standard where daughters are questioned about their whereabouts when returning home late, while sons are not held to the same scrutiny. Why don't you ask your sons? This issue was raised by me from the Red Fort as well. Today, I want to convey to every woman, sister, and daughter in the country that whenever I spoke about your empowerment from the Red Fort, it was disheartening that political parties like the Congress chose to ridicule, mock and insult me.

Friends,

Modi's sensitivities and policies have been shaped by his experiences at the grassroots level. The observations made during my childhood, within my community, and through my interactions with families in villages across the country are evident in my current approach and plans. Consequently, these schemes aim to alleviate the challenges faced by mothers, sisters, and daughters, making their lives easier. Leaders who are solely focused on their own families cannot comprehend this perspective. The core principle underlying many of our government's schemes is to alleviate the hardships faced by lakhs of mothers and sisters throughout the nation.

My mothers and sisters,

Previous governments may have introduced one or two schemes under the banner of women empowerment, but Modi revolutionized this approach. Since assuming office in 2014, we have devised and successfully implemented plans catering to every stage of a woman's life cycle. From the moment of birth until the final breath of a woman, Modi remains committed to serving the women of Bharat through various initiatives. To combat female foeticide, we launched the Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao campaign. Financial assistance of Rs 6,000 is provided to every pregnant woman to ensure proper nutrition during pregnancy. The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana was introduced to secure a bright future for daughters, offering attractive interest rates. For those aspiring to start a business, the Mudra Yojana provides substantial support. We extended maternity leave to 26 weeks to safeguard women's careers. Initiatives like the Ayushman Yojana, offering free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh, and Jan Aushadhi Kendra, providing medicines at an 80% discount, are benefiting mothers, sisters, and daughters the most across the country.

Mothers and sisters,

Modi doesn't shy away from challenges; he confronts them head-on and strives for lasting solutions. I understand that to empower women in Bharat, we must enhance their economic participation. Hence, we have kept this aspect in mind in every decision and plan of our government. Allow me to illustrate this with an example, dear mothers and sisters. You are aware that traditionally, property ownership was primarily in the man's name. Whether it was land, a shop, or a house, it typically belonged to a man. What about the women of the household? That's why we ensured that women's names were registered for houses available under the PM Awas scheme. You have also witnessed how in the past, it was mostly men who operated new cars, tractors, and other machinery. People wondered if daughters could handle such tasks. Similarly, when new appliances like TVs or phones were introduced in households, men assumed they were naturally adept with them. However, our society is evolving beyond these outdated notions and mindset. Today's program serves as another testament to this progress. These daughters and sisters of ours are pioneering drone technology, which will revolutionize Bharat's agriculture.

Our sisters will demonstrate modern farming techniques using drones. I recently visited the fields and witnessed the skills of these drone pilots, the Namo drone didis. Recently, I had the opportunity to converse with a drone didi on 'Mann Ki Baat'. She shared, "I engage in various tasks throughout the day and earn significantly. Moreover, my confidence has soared, and my stature within the village has escalated. My identity in the village has undergone a remarkable transformation. Previously, I couldn't even ride a bicycle, but now villagers acknowledge me as a pilot." I firmly believe that the women of our country can spearhead the technological revolution of 21st century Bharat. We have already seen their remarkable achievements in the space sector, IT industry, and scientific fields. Bharat boasts the highest number of women commercial pilots globally. We have the highest number of daughters flying airplanes. Whether it's flying commercial airplanes or operating drones for farming, Indian daughters are leading the way. You must have witnessed on TV during the Republic Day celebrations being held at the 'Kartavya Path' on 26th January how women showcased their strength and prowess as the whole nation was watching the event.

Friends,

Drone technology is poised for significant expansion within the country in the upcoming years. Drones are set to become a potent means for transporting small quantities of milk, vegetables, and other products to the nearest markets. They will play a pivotal role in delivering medicines and transporting medical test samples, thereby offering myriad possibilities for the future. The women partaking in the Namo Drone Didi Scheme and training to become drone pilots are anticipated to unlock numerous opportunities ahead.

Mothers and sisters,

The proliferation of women's self-help groups across Bharat over the past decade stands as a remarkable subject for research. These groups have scripted a new narrative of women's empowerment in the country. Today, I extend my admiration to every sister involved in these Self-Help Groups and wish them success. Their diligent efforts have elevated women's Self-Help Groups to pivotal players in nation-building. The count of women engaged in such groups has surpassed 10 crores. Over the last 10 years, our government not only fostered the growth of these Self-Help Groups but also opened bank accounts for 98 percent of them—nearly 100 percent. Additionally, the government has augmented the assistance provided to these groups by Rs 20 lakh from the previous Rs 8 lakh crore—an exponential increase. More than Rs 8 lakh crore worth of aid has flowed into the hands of these sisters directly from the banks, significantly benefiting rural areas, especially women. And sisters possess a notable characteristic—their greatest quality is 'frugality'; they do not squander, but rather save. The ability to save is also an indicator of a promising future. Whenever I converse with these sisters, they share innovative insights, demonstrating their confidence, surpassing ordinary expectations. The extensive development of roads and highways in rural areas has further facilitated these groups. Now lakhpati didis are able to sell their products easily in the city. Improved connectivity has encouraged urban dwellers to visit villages and purchase directly from these groups. As a result, the income of Self-Help Group members has tripled over the past five years, owing to similar factors.

Friends,

Those sisters whose dreams and aspirations were once limited are now expanding their roles in nation-building. Today, new opportunities are emerging in villages, with new positions being established. Thousands of Bank Sakhi, Krishi Sakhi, Pashu Sakhi, Matsya Sakhi, and didis affiliated with the service sector are providing essential services in rural areas. These didis are driving forward various national initiatives, from healthcare to Digital India. Over 50% of those spearheading the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan are women, and over 50% of the beneficiaries are also women. This string of successes only bolsters my confidence in the power of women. I assure every mother, sister, and daughter in the country that our third term will mark a new chapter in the advancement of women's empowerment.

Furthermore, I have observed that many sisters, Self-Help Groups have also initiated various activities as well as businesses within their villages. They organize sports competitions and encourage other self-help group sisters. They reach out to girls who are pursuing education and facilitate interactions with influential figures. The self-help group sisters warmly welcome and honour girls who excel in sports within the village. I have noticed that in some schools, these women from the Self-Help Group are invited to give speeches, sharing the secrets of their success, and the students and teachers eagerly listen. This signifies a significant revolution. To the didis of the Self-Help Groups, I present schemes like the Drone Didi scheme, placing them at your disposal. I firmly believe that the mothers and sisters to whom I present these opportunities will not only soar drones into the sky but will also elevate the nation's resolve to new heights.

However, there exists a scheme and I urge the women from the Self-Help Groups to step forward. I have introduced the 'PM Surya Ghar' scheme. The unique feature of 'PM Surya Ghar' is that it offers free electricity, essentially a zero electricity bill. Now, can you accomplish this task or not? Can you achieve it? If you assure me then I will provide all the details. Can you do it? Sure? We have resolved that every household should install solar panels on their roofs, harness electricity from the sun's rays, and utilize it within the household. Only a few households consume more than 300 units of electricity. If a household has fans, air conditioning, a refrigerator, and a washing machine, it operates within 300 units. This means you will receive zero electricity bill, absolutely zero. Furthermore, if you produce surplus electricity, you might question that electricity generation is the task of the large factories and wealthy individuals, what can we, the poor, do? This is what Modi has initiated; now even the poor will generate electricity, establishing a power plant at their homes. The excess electricity generated will be purchased by the government, providing additional income to our sisters and their families.

Therefore, if you visit the PM Surya Ghar or any common centre in your vicinity, you can apply there. I urge all the sisters of Self-Help Groups to take the initiative and extend this scheme to every household. Assume responsibility for this business. Witness how much significant electricity-related work can now be accomplished by my sisters, and I have complete confidence that when every household receives a zero unit electricity bill... a complete zero bill, they are bound to shower their blessings! Isn’t it? And will the money they save not benefit their families? Therefore, the sisters of our Self-Help Groups can maximise the benefits of this scheme by leading it in their villages. I have also informed the government that wherever the sisters of Self-Help Groups step forward for this endeavour, we will give them priority, and I am determined to successfully advance this campaign of zero electricity bill.

Once again, I extend my best wishes to you all.

Thank you very much.

 

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

 

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DS/RT/IG/AK



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