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NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday laid the foundation stone of development projects worth over 1500 crore in the spiritual city of Varanasi during a visit, an official statement said. The projects are expected to help in the overall development of the city. 

One of the projects is a 475 crore dairy to be built at a food park. The project to be spread across 30 acres of land will have a facility for processing 500,000 litre of milk a day, the statement said.  

Modi also digitally transferred about 35 crore bonus to the bank accounts of more than 170,000 milk producers associated with the dairy and kicked off a biogas power plant in the city. 

To reduce the land ownership issues at grassroot level, the Prime Minister virtually distributed the rural residential rights record under the Swamitva scheme of the Panchayati Raj ministry to over two million residents of Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was present on the occasion. 

Modi underlined the importance of livestock during the event, emphasising that livelihood of eight crore families is supported by livestock. “Strengthening India's dairy sector is one of the top priorities of our government," the statement said quoting the Prime Minister. 

Milk production in the country has increased by about 45% compared to 6-7 years ago and today India produces about 22% of the world's milk, the statement said. “I am happy that today UP is not only the largest milk producing state in the country, it is also significantly ahead in the expansion of the dairy sector", the statement said quoting Modi. 

The Prime Minister expressed his firm belief in the role of the dairy sector and animal husbandry. Animal husbandry can become a huge source of additional income for more than 100 million small farmers in the country, the statement said. India's dairy products have a huge market abroad which offers growth potential. Modi also said animal husbandry is a great way for the economic upliftment of women and to further their entrepreneurship.  

Projects in the education sector that were inaugurated by the Prime Minister include the union education ministry’s Inter University Centre for Teachers Education, built at a cost of around 107 crore and a Teachers Education Centre at Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, built at a cost of over 7 crore.

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