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Gandhinagar, Friday: Chief Minister Narendra Modi today announced ‘Swarnim Seva Township' scheme to provide plots free-of-cost with planned civic infrastructure for the homeless in rural areas, as part of the state's golden jubilee celebration.

Addressing a Garib Kalyan Mela at Dholka taluka town, he said that his government is committed to empower the poor and free them from the shackles of debt by eliminating the middlemen. The plan is to deploy the state administration in implementing the scheme in a concerted move with the people's participation.

He said that thousands of crores have been spent on poor in the past too, but the poor remained where they were. The need is for the people to decide not to remain poor any more. The state treasury is not for the government but for 5.5-crore people, and the poor have the first right in the kitty. The ‘sakhi mandals' were involved in the management of Rs.1,000-crore Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in the past.

Mr. Modi recalled that 50 Garib Kalyan Melas held last year provided the poor the energy and confidence to fight poverty, during when 21-lakh people received Rs.2,700-crore.

While assistance worth Rs.1.59-crore were disbursed to 5,303 beneficiaries at Dholka today, he said that 300 such talukas and city wards are proposed to be covered in the sixth round of Garib Kalyan Mela during the current year.

Minister of State for Industries Saurabh Patel said the government has decided to provide electricity to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families at Rs.1.50 per unit up to first 30 units to ensure every hut is lit.

Former Agriculture Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma wished the dividing line between towns and villages be erased fast, by proving urban facilities in rural areas. He listed Jyoti Gram and Chiranjivi Yojna, EMRI-108 as some of the schemes.

Prominent among others who attended the Dholka Mela included Minister of State for Home Amit Shah, MPs, MLAs, Ahmedabad Mayor Kanaji Thakor and AUDA Chairman Dharmendra Shah.

Commissionerate of Information, Gujarat

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