Addressing a three-day urban conclave in Uttar Pradesh's state capital Lucknow on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to light two 'diyas' in their houses on Diwali this year.
"I have learnt that 7.5 lakh diyas will be lit in Ayodhya during 'Deepotsav' and if all those people who have benefitted from the PM Awas Yojana light two diyas each outside their houses, we will have 18 lakh diyas because nine lakh people have got their houses under this scheme. Let us compete with the power of light," Modi said.
"Even Lord Ram will be happy if you do this," he added.
Speaking at the 'New Urban India Conclave', the Prime Minister said his government had not only increased the size of houses under the scheme but also ensured facilities like water and power.
"A house becomes a home when one has basic amenities. The previous state government did not give houses to the poor even though the Central government was providing all the money. After Yogi Adityanath became Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, he has already given nine lakh houses," Modi added.
He said, "The opposition always wants to know what Modi has done. Today I am telling them that I have made three crore poor people into 'lakhpatis' (rich) through just the PM Awas Yojana."
The Prime Minister stressed that the use of technology cannot only ensure development but also ensure a better and healthier life for the people.
"Lucknow is known for 'pehle aap, pehle aap' but this is the time to say 'pehle aap' to technology. Whether it is waste management, sewage treatment plants, electric buses or pre-fabricated houses -- all this is possible only through technology," he said.
By introducing LED lights on streets, an amount of Rs one lakh crore had been saved which is now being used in other welfare schemes, Modi added.
The Prime Minister spoke virtually with three women who had been given houses under the PM Awas Yojana and gave the keys of the houses to 75,000 beneficiaries.
He laid the foundation of 75 development schemes worth Rs 4,737 crore to mark 75 years of India's Independence and dedicated them to the people. Modi also flagged-off 75 electric buses.
Earlier, the Prime Minister saw an exhibition put up for the urban conclave, highlighting the new development schemes.