If 6 crore Gujaratis can, so can 125 crore Indians: Modi

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Mumbai, May 2: Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke with members of the Indian Merchants' Chamber (IMC) and All India Business Council (AIBC) at an interactive meet here.

The event was attended by prominent businesspersons from Mumbai. The turnout was huge, showing the Gujarat chief minister's immense popularity.

While introducing Modi, IMC president Niranjan Hiranandani described the latter as ‘‘An Idea whose time has come, a movement who has changed the face of Gujarat' and as someone ‘‘who has shown that the development of this country can be taken to a new level". AIBC president Mathura Das Mehta also praised Modi's development work in his state.

Here are some of the high points if Modi's speech:

1. Politics as usual goes on but for the first time I can see a genuine anger among the people

Modi said political goes on as usual but for the first time, it was seen that the people are genuinely angry. Whether it is through social media like twitter or public protests at the Jantar Mantar, the people are expressing their deep dissent. Modi said these protests are not the ordinary ‘Humari Mange Poori Karo' movements and say that the people are not able to see what's happening today. The BJP leader asked if Indians can afford to keep the nation in such a bad condition.

2. I speak on the basis of my experience in Gujarat, it is possible to change things!

Modi said whatever he says is based on his experience in his own state. Describing himself as a "humble servant of a small state", Modi said Gujarat doesn't have perennial rivers but a desert, a huge tribal population, a 1,600-kilometre long coastline but no raw material.

He said despite the challenge, the state has brought changes. According to Modi, is 6 crore Gujaratis can accomplish this by having faith and leaving despair, 125 crore Indians can also do it.

Despite this, if a state & their people can leave despair, have faith in themselves & bring change, if 6 cr Gujaratis can do so, then 125 crore Indians can.

3. We have to increase purchasing power of people in rural areas

Modi asked why a country, which has great rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Krishna and Godavari, grows just at 2 or 3 per cent. He said agricultural growth is very important for the development of the rural economy. He said the purchasing power of the rural people needs to be increased. He said the model of development is based on three pillars, namely, 1/3 agriculture, 1/3 manufacturing and 1/3 services sector.

He said when Gujarat and Maharashtra were separated, people were pessimistic about Gujarat's future, asking what they had to help them go forward.

When Gujarat and Maharashtra were separated, get the newspapers...people asked what will happen to Gujarat? What do they have? He said Gujarat was known to be a traders' state once, but today, it has been transformed into a manufacturing state.

The chief minister said Gujarat was the first state in the country to provide soil health cards. Besides, it started a movement of micro irrigation and took the mantra ‘per drop more crop'. Modi said only 1,200 hectares were under drip irrigation in 40 years. In the last one decade, the land area was increased to 9 lakh hectares.

Modi said Kutch started exporting mangoes, something which not many had imagined, while Banaskanta's pomegranate made a good name. The place had also seen a record in potato production.

Stressing agro infrastructure, Modi said the state is also working on agro technology. He said the Gujarat government has decided to hold an international agro-tech fair next year. Many farmers from the state go to Israel agro fair, he said.

4. We want to go ahead with integrated approach towards development

Modi said when he had taken over as the chief minister of Gujarat in 2001, the people urged him to ensure that their households didn't become dark at the time of dinner owing to power failure. The chief minister said his administration met the challenge and despite having no coal mines, Gujarat became a energy-surplus state.

He said an agreement had been made between Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh regarding Sardar Sarovar Dam. As per the agreement, MP gets the maximum power, followed by Maharashtra and Gujarat. He criticized the Centre, saying the latter was not allowing the installation of ready gates.

Modi said he had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh many a times on this but nothing happened. He said Gujarat ccan double the power supply to Maharashtra if these gates are installed. He said the Centre's reluctance is making Maharahstra face losses worth Rs 400 crore.

Modi said Gujarat developed its agricultural sector mainly by stressing on three pillars, namely, regular farming, animal husbandry and forest farming. He also proudly claimed that medical camps for cattle are organized in Gujarat, which reflects the inclusive growth accomplished in the state.

He also mentioned that Gujarat was never a tourist destination but work has been undertaken to ensure that the tourism sector is developed. Modi said that Gujarat's tourism growth is double of the national growth rate.
He also spoke on the state government's efforts on skill development. He said they have recently won the PM's award for excellence because of their efforts.

5. Administrative stability is a reason for success

Modi said the main reason to achieve success in governance is administrative stability. He said officers stay in office for three years and they must perform during that period. He also stressed that a state should not discriminate and follow policies. He said corruption find a scope to grow only when there are grey areas. He mentioned that the Gujarat government encouraged transparency by starting chintan shibirs (contemplation camps).

According to the leader, the people must be encouraged to take decisions. He said his government had put all its policies online for public review and asked people to give suggestions. He also spoke about putting ownership in bureaucracy and as a result, the latter got empowered.

6. India has Demographic and Democratic Dividends

Modi said India, being the youngest nation in the world, has a demographic dividend. And with that, the nation also has a democratic dividend owing to its institutions.

Modi said to compete with the Chinese, India should focus on skill, scale and speed. He said it is important to showcase our strength before the world.

He said he had requested the prime minister to begin a Mumbai-Ahmedabad Metro and also build a Statue of Unity to commemorate Sardar Patel, who had united India. He said the statue would be made double the height of the Statue of Liberty in the USA.

7. There should be no compromise on skill and work must be on a large scale

Modi said the leadership should have the courage to take decisions. He cited the examples of cleaning up the Ganga and Sabarmati rivers. While the former is yet to be cleaned up, Modi invited all to see the current condition of the Sabarmati.

He said there should be no compromise on skill and work must always be undertaken on a large scale. The CM also said his government is planning to set up the largest solar park of Asia in the state.

8. A government should be driven by institutions and not individuals

Stressing the above point, Modi said he believes in PPPP model, which means People Public Private Partnership.
He asked if Kutch can witness an agriculture revolution, then why can't the rest of the country? He also asked if Gujarat can lead the steel industry without iron ore, then why can't the nation?

He regretted that constitutional institutions in the country are being degraded and a government should be driven by institutions and not individuals. He said the idea of India succeeded because our ideas have been institutionalized. He said through it, weaknesses can be identified and overcome.

When asked about the importance of the federal structure, Modi said it was a sacrosanct feature of our democracy and should not be toyed with. He said the federal system is India's biggest strength.

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