Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, during a visit to Surat, said the Centre is planning laws that ensure doctors prescribe only generic medicines and not branded medicines. “After assuming office, mechanisms will be put in to bring down prices of medicines even if that meant pharma companies are unhappy with us,” he said. Modi is travelling through Gujarat in the run-up to the 2017 Assembly elections in the state, where he is expected to be the face of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The prime minister inaugurated the 550-bed Kiran Super-Specialty Hospital in Surat built at a cost of Rs 400 crore. Modi said, “The poor must have access to quality and affordable healthcare…There are powerful people who are unhappy with me. But, my commitment is to provide affordable healthcare for poor and the middle class,” he said.

He also spoke about his government’s flagship scheme Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, saying it was linked to the government’s efforts towards a healthier India. “We need to focus on preventive healthcare as well.” Modi also said drug-makers were angry with him as he had pitched for cutting the prices of heat stents. “I told them those for Rs 40,000 should be given for Rs 6,000-7,000 and the ones worth Rs 1.5 lakh should go for Rs 20,000,” he said.

He also urged all citizens to unite and serve the nation with their hard work. “Our nation was neither built, not can it be run by governments, kings and politicians, but only by the service and hard work of its people,” he said at the public meeting.

Later, Modi inaugurated a diamond manufacturing unit of Hare Krishna Exports in Surat. Modi also said he was going to visit Israel in July “on behalf” of the diamond makers in Surat. “I’m soon going to Israel, in fact I’m the first Prime Minister to go to Israel, and I’m going there on your behalf. You have trading relations with that country,” he said.

Modi is scheduled to visit Bajipura village in Tapi district later in the day where he will inaugurate a cattle feed plant and an ice-cream plant of Sumul Dairy. He will also lay the foundation stone for a dairy products plant at Nava Pardi.

Modi reached Surat on Sunday night and conducted a road show from the airport to the Circuit House.