Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM’s address at the laying of foundation stone, inauguration & dedication of railway infra projects via Video Conferencing

Posted On: 26 FEB 2024 2:35PM by PIB Delhi

Namaskar!

Today's event exemplifies the new work ethos of New Bharat. Whatever Bharat undertakes today, it does so with unprecedented speed and scale. Present-day Bharat no longer confines itself to small dreams; rather, it aspires ambitiously and tirelessly strives to realise those aspirations. This resolute spirit is palpable in the 'Viksit Bharat Viksit Railway' programme. I extend my congratulations to all friends from across the nation involved in this initiative. We are joined by hundreds of thousands of individuals from over 500 railway stations and more than 1500 other locations, including Honourable Governors, Chief Ministers, Central and State Government Ministers, MPs, MLAs, local representatives, distinguished citizens, Padma Awardees, veterans of Bharat's freedom movement, and our future generation or young friends!

Today, in your presence, the foundation stones of over 2000 railway-related projects have been laid and inaugurated. As we embark on the third term of this government starting from June, the scale and pace of our work are astounding everyone. Just a few days ago, I had the privilege of inaugurating numerous prestigious educational institutions like IITs and IIMs collectively from Jammu. Yesterday, from Rajkot, I inaugurated five AIIMS and numerous medical facilities simultaneously. And now, in today's programme, the foundation stones have been laid for the modernization of over 500 railway stations in more than 300 districts across 27 states. The newly inaugurated Gomtinagar railway station in Uttar Pradesh is truly impressive. Furthermore, over 1500 road, overbridge, and underpass projects are included in today's agenda. These projects, valued at Rs 40 thousand crores, are being executed concurrently. Just a few months ago, we launched the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme, kickstarting the modernization of over 500 stations. Today's programme represents a significant advancement in this endeavour, illustrating the rapid pace at which Bharat's progress is advancing. I extend my best wishes to all the states and to all my fellow citizens across the country.

Friends,

Today, I wish to extend a special congratulations to my young friends. When Modi speaks of a developed Bharat, its architects and greatest beneficiaries are the youth of our nation. The projects unveiled today will offer new employment and self-employment prospects to thousands of young people across the country. The revitalization of the Railways will also be advantageous for those who are currently studying in schools and colleges, as well as those under the age of 30-35. A developed Bharat is the vision of our youth's dreams, and therefore, they have the foremost right to shape its future. I am gratified to see thousands of students from all corners of the nation expressing their dreams for a developed Indian Railways through various competitions, with many of these young individuals receiving awards. I wish each and every one of them the very best. I want to convey to every youth of our nation that your aspirations are Modi's commitments. Your dreams, your diligence, and Modi's determination constitute the foundation of a developed Bharat.

Friends,

I am delighted that these Amrit-Bharat stations will serve as symbols of both heritage and development. For instance, the Baleshwar Railway Station in Odisha has been designed on the theme of the Lord Jagannath Temple. The local architecture is showcased at the Rangpo Railway Station in Sikkim. Hand-block printing from the 16th century is depicted at the Sanganer Railway Station in Rajasthan. The design of Kumbakonam station in Tamil Nadu draws inspiration from the architecture of the Chola period, while the Ahmedabad Railway Station is inspired by the Modhera Sun Temple. Similarly, the station at Dwarka in Gujarat takes inspiration from the Dwarkadhish temple. The railway station of IT City Gurgaon will be exclusively dedicated to IT. Thus, the Amrit Bharat Station will be showcasing the unique specialties of each city to the world. Special attention has been given to the convenience of the disabled and elderly in the construction of these stations.

Friends,

In the past decade, we have witnessed the emergence of a new Bharat, and the transformation within the Railways is evident before our eyes. The amenities that were once merely imagined by the people of our nation are now becoming a reality. A decade ago, concepts like the Vande Bharat, a modern semi-high-speed train, or the Amrit Bharat, a modern luxury train, were unheard of. Similarly, the notion of a luxurious rail service like Namo Bharat or the rapid electrification of Indian Railways seemed far-fetched. The importance of cleanliness on trains and at stations was once considered a major challenge, but today, it has become a routine aspect of daily life. Unmanned gates, which were once commonplace, have been replaced by overbridges and underbridges, ensuring seamless and accident-free travel. Additionally, modern facilities once exclusive to airports are now accessible to people from all walks of life, including the poor and middle class who rely on rail travel.

Friends,

For decades, the Railways bore the brunt of our political selfishness. However, it is now emerging as the cornerstone of Ease of Travel for our citizens. The Railways, previously criticized for operating at a loss, is currently undergoing its most significant transformation phase. This progress is a result of Bharat's ascent from the 11th to the 5th largest economy globally. A decade ago, when we ranked 11th, the average budget for Railways was approximately Rs 45 thousand crores. Today, as the 5th largest economic power, this year's railway budget exceeds Rs 2.5 lakh crore. Just imagine the strength we will possess when we ascend to become the third largest economic superpower in the world. Therefore, Modi is diligently working towards positioning Bharat as the third largest economy in the world as soon as possible.

But friends,

There is another crucial aspect to consider. No matter how abundant the water in rivers and canals, if the embankment is breached, very little water will reach the farmer's fields. Similarly, regardless of the size of the budget, if corruption and malpractice persist, the tangible impact of that budget will never be visible on the ground. Over the past decade, we have thwarted significant scams and the misappropriation of government funds. Consequently, the pace of laying new railway lines has doubled. Today, Indian Railways is extending its reach from Jammu and Kashmir to the North East, reaching places previously unimaginable. The completion of the dedicated freight corridor spanning over 2500 kilometers exemplifies the honest execution of projects. This signifies that every penny of taxpayers' money, including ticket revenue, is being utilized for the benefit of railway passengers. The Government of India offers approximately a 50 percent discount on every train ticket.

Friends,

Just as interest accrues on money deposited in banks, every penny spent on infrastructure generates new sources of income and employment opportunities. The construction of a new railway line provides employment to a diverse range of individuals, from labourers to engineers, while also creating job prospects in ancillary industries such as cement, steel, and transportation. This massive investment, amounting to lakhs of crores of rupees, serves as a guarantee of thousands of jobs. As stations become larger and more modern, attracting more trains and passengers, nearby street vendors stand to benefit. Our railways will also promote the products of small farmers, artisans, and Vishwakarma friends. To facilitate this, special shops have been established at stations under the 'One Station One Product scheme', while thousands of stalls have been set up to help them sell their products.

Friends,

Indian Railways not only provides convenience to passengers but also serves as the primary facilitator of the agricultural and industrial progress of the nation. Faster train speeds save time and expedite the transportation of perishable goods such as milk, fish, and fruits to the market. This, in turn, reduces industrial costs and bolsters initiatives like 'Make in India' and the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' campaign. Today, Bharat is viewed as the most attractive destination for investment worldwide, largely due to its modern infrastructure. Over the next five years, as thousands of stations undergo modernization and the capacity of Indian Railways expands, another significant investment revolution will unfold. Once again, I extend my best wishes to Indian Railways for its transformation campaign. The collective participation of lakhs of people, including respected Chief Ministers and Governors, in today's programme marks a significant milestone in Bharat's cultural landscape. I believe this event was a well organized one. I am confident that today's event sets a positive precedent for future endeavours. Let us continue to utilize our time wisely and accelerate development in all directions, as we have witnessed today. 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/VJ/IG/AK



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