Varanasi: On a visit to his Lok Sabha constituency on "Good Governance day", Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday ruled out privatisation of the railways but asked people not be wary of foreign and private capital being utilised for improving infrastructure of the national transporter.
"There is a misunderstanding that the railways is being privatised. However, I want to make it clear that we are not privatising the railways. We cannot go in this direction. You don't have to worry. It is neither our wish nor thinking," he said, asking the unions not to pay heed to "rumours" in this regard.
"Railways has shaped my life, nobody can love it more than me," PM Narendra Modi said in Varanasi.
Sharing his vision of linking the national transporter with his 'Make in India' campaign, the Prime Minister made it clear that he planned to utilise the enormous capital available with business establishments within the country as well as abroad for improving the infrastructure.
Modi recalled his childhood days when he had sold tea near a railway station, saying, "I have an association with the railways that is older than what most of the railway employees can claim to have."
The Prime Minister also made a strong pitch for producing good teachers in large numbers as he launched a mission in the name of BHU founder and Bharat Ratna awardee Madan Mohan Malaviya for teachers' training.
He said that the whole world is looking at India with great expectations "but we are not ready".
He advocated introduction of a five-year training course after schooling for those aspiring to pursue a career in teaching and said an environment needs to be created for producing teachers who are rooted in the country's culture and tradition and can be exported in lakhs as there is a large demand globally.
The Prime Minister began his visit by paying floral tributes at a statue of Malviya at BHU. He, thereafter, visited Assi Ghat and expressed satisfaction over the cleanliness drive which he had launched by wielding a spade there last month.
He also wielded the broom in Vishwanath lane, a narrow street near the Assi Ghat, to encourage extending the cleanliness drive further in the ancient temple town.
Speaking from a make-shift stage on the banks of the
Ganga, Modi nominated nine more individuals/institutions for taking forward the "Swachch Bharat Abhiyan".
These included former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma, danseuse Sonal Mansingh, Eenadu Group of Publications and its head Ramoji Rao, Today Group led by Aroon Purie and Magsaysay Award winner Kiran Bedi.
Others named by Modi were Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya, the famous "dabbawallah" tiffin service providers of Mumbai and the Institute for Chartered Accountants in India.
The Prime Minister, thereafter laid the foundation stone for an "Inter University Centre for Teachers' Education" in the BHU campus where he also launched "Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Training" -- a Rs 900 crore HRD Ministry initiative.
He inaugurated Campus Connect -- a wi-fi facility for the sprawling varsity campus and Sanskriti -- a five-day cultural festival.
Favouring introduction of a five-year degree course for those interested in taking up teaching as a profession, Modi said, "They can start getting relevant education after Class XII just like their counterparts in the field of law do.
"The richest and the poorest are alike in their desire for good education for their children. The 21st century has been called the century of knowledge in which the world is looking at India with huge expectations. We need to proclaim that we are ready," he said.
"We must transform our education policy in a way which enables us to export millions of top-class teachers to countries across the world", the Prime Minister said to a round of applause.
At the function which was part of "Good Governance Day" celebrations, Modi denounced the practice of female foeticide prevailing in the country, saying "there is no bigger sin" than this and sought the help of people in the field of art and culture in "shaking" the society so stop the menace.
"In a country where Rani Laxmi Bai is hailed, there is the practice of female foeticide. There is no bigger sin," he said.