Pitching his state’s development as a model for the nation, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is eyeing for a bigger role.
Speaking at the event organised by Indian Merchants Chamber in Mumbai, Modi began by saying that the foundation of both Gujarat and Maharashtra were laid on the same day on 1 May, 1960 and despite the lack of natural resources, Gujarat had a different story to tell.
“If six crore Gujarati people can turn around the fate, then so can 125 crore Indians,” he announced to an applause.
He said that he ruled over a small poor state that has 15 per cent tribal population with no perennial rivers and no raw materials. “We do not have diamond mines, yet nine of the 10 diamonds being sold in the world have passed through a Gujarati hand. We do not have iron ore, yet we lead in the steel industry. Though we do not have many great rivers like the rest of India, we have registered agricultural growth of 10 per cent consistently for the last 10 years,” said Modi. He dismissed the claims of his critics that Gujarat was always developed.
“When I became the Chief Minister for the first time in 2001, even before I took oath, the most number of re
quests from people were pertaining to power. I was asked to at least ensure power after sunset during dinner time. Today, we are power surplus and in some years, we would be donating it,” said Modi.
He said that all these could happen because of the focus on giving impetus to rural economy. “The foundation of a sound economy of a state lies in the rural region. The rural economy grows when the purchasing power of the villagers increases,” said Modi.
He said that in Gujarat, each farmer had a soil health card, which gave information about all the parameters of the soil that would enable him to take right decision in farming.
“In 10 years 9 lakh hectares of land came under drip irrigation and in 40 years 1,200 hectares came under drip irrigation in Gujarat,” said Modi.
He said that addressing issues of infrastructure in agro sector was the key to sustaining consistent agricultural growth. “It is a sad state of affairs in rest of the country,” said Modi.
He said that Centre was not allowing Gujarat to install a gate on the Sardar Sarovar project. “By installing the gate, Maharashtra would be getting the double the power it is getting now. Maharashtra is suffering a loss of `400 crore annually because the Union Government is permitting the installation of the gate,” said Modi. He said that a high powered committee monitored by the PMO on good governance listed five key points and in his state four of these are already implemented.