Villages the soul of the country says Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accused the Congress of neglecting the development of cities during its long rule in the country and said his government had come out with new ideas and approach on urban governance.
Villages were the "soul" of the country, while cities were its "energy" centres, he said, addressing a public meeting here.
"The development of civic amenities and infrastructure in cities did not match the growth in population. Under the previous Congress rule, cities remained neglected," he alleged.
However, after the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre in 2014, the approach towards urban governance changed, Modi claimed.
The prime minister said his government's schemes like Swachh Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, Smart City and AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) laid the foundation of a "New India".
Under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, three times more houses were constructed in four years than the ten years of the Congress-led UPA rule (2004-14), he said.
"If we went by the speed of the UPA regime, we would have taken 20 years to do what we achieved in four years," Modi said.
He said his government had provided a transparent and corruption-free administration in the last four years and people were experiencing its results.
Referring to Indore, the prime minister said the city had shown those making fun of his government's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan how change can be accomplished.
The commercial hub of Madhya Pradesh last month emerged as the cleanest city in the country in the Centre's nationwide cleanliness survey. This was the second time Indore was adjudged the cleanest city.
"So far, 2,300 cities in 18 states have been declared ODF (open defecation-free) and on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi next year, the dream of a Swachh Bharat will be fulfilled," he said.
Modi said 8.30 crore toilets were constructed in the country in the last four years, 65 lakhs of them in Madhya Pradesh alone.