Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a new train between his parliamentary constituency Varanasi and Patna on while highlighting the role his government's schemes like 'Ayushman Bharat' and 'Pradhan Mantri Poshan Yojana' were playing to better the lives of the poor, especially women.
He also urged IITians and other bright minds to find ways of harness solar energy for cooking and also spoke for a fest encouraging waste to wealth concepts.
Overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response from the people, Modi, who was accompanied by French first couple, President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, said Varanasi was his second home.
Addressing a public meeting at the DLW Grounds here after a visit to Mirzapur, where he along with Macron launched a 75 MW solar power plant, the prime minister spoke of his government's welfare initiatives.
The Ayushman Bharat will go a long way in helping the poor and the downtrodden to foot hospital bills. He said the scheme was launched to ensure the poor did not face dearth of funds for medical care.
"If one member of a poor family falls ill, the entire family gets disturbed, and the financial position is affected badly," he said.
Modi also mentioned the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Mission 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 said the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana was launched to safeguard the health of women and children by providing clean cooking fuel, as he stressed the use of solar energy to cook food.
"I urge youths and IITians to promote clean cooking by harnessing solar energy in an innovative manner," he said. Modi also handed over keys to a large number of beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
He lauded the concept of "kachra mahotsav" to highlight the use of waste products and make wealth out of them.
Taking a dig at political rivals, Modi said 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," he said. Modi thanked the people of his constituency for the "warmth" shown towards him and the visiting French dignitary.