Narendra Modi’s evolution from the quintessential Organization Man of the BJP to one of India’s finest practitioners of the Art of Governance tells a story of grit and determination.
On 7th October 2001 Narendra Modi was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The quick transition he had to make from the world of being a political worker and organizer into that of being an administrator and running a government did allow him the time to train for the post. Shri Modi had to navigate administrative matters, function in an adverse climate for the BJP as well as deal with a hostile political environment from Day One. Even his party colleagues considered him an outsider with no knowledge of governance. But he rose to challenge right from the word go.
The First 100 Days
Narendra Modi’s first 100 days as Gujarat’s Chief Minister offers a glimpse into how Shri Modi while getting accustomed to his responsibilities, also started bringing about an unconventional approach to reform governance and proposing out-of-the-box ideas to shake up the status-quo of the BJP. It is in these 100 days that we see Narendra Modi working with the bureaucracy in Gujarat to cut down administrative red tape and simplifying procedures in order to speed up the rehabilitation efforts in Kutch after the devastating earthquake.
The first 100 days also opens a window to understanding Narendra Modi’s principles – do away with wasteful spending, lead by example, be a good listener and a fast learner. The first 100 days also reveal his belief in an inclusive value system, which is evident by his prioritizing the Education of the Girl Child and incentivizing villages with development funds that chose consensus over contests.
Lastly, in the first three months in power, he empowered the people in their own state and made them partners in governance. He spent the eve of Diwali in Kutch with the victims of the earthquake and ledthe rehabilitation efforts on mission mode. Shri Modi demonstrated how Gujarat could turn the corner and recover rapidly from a crisis with a firm focus on Politics of Development and Good Governance.
Narendra Modi’s path to creating a Vibrant Gujarat as an example of Development and Governance was not easy. The path was ridden with adversities and challenges, both natural and man-made, including some from within his party. But his strong leadership qualities stood him in good stead through the trying times. Even before Narendra Modi could embark upon the task of Power Reforms, the events of 2002 tested his resilience.
The unfortunate loss of life combined with the loss of confidence in Gujarat’s ability to recover would have forced a lesser man into abdication of responsibility and resignation from office. Narendra Modi, however, was made of a different moral fibre. He withstood intense criticism from national and international media as well as endured immense pressure from political opponents tocarry on with his goal of good governance.
And There Was Light: Jyotigram Yojana
One shining example of how Shri Narendra Modi showed strong leadership in the face of grave political adversity would be the Jyotigram initiative to reform the power sector of Gujarat. Jyotigram was a revolutionary idea to deliver 24x7 electricity across Gujarat from the mega-cities to the remote tribal villages.
Immediately farmers rose in protest against the plan. Despite many high profile run-ins with farmer lobbies, Narendra Modi remained firm on his vision of ensuring 24x7 electricity thus ensuring Jyotigram was a statewide success. Through Jyotigram Narendra Modi demonstrated that his strong leadership coupled with his inclusive approach to governance could change the fortunes of every strata of society. Till date his basic motto remains - “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” (Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth).
Government over politics
Narendra Modi has always believed that governance is more important than politics. He never let political differences get in the way of finding solutions to developmental challenges. The completion of the Sardar Sarovar Project and the manner in which Narendra Modi ensured the waters of Narmada flowed into Gujarat, shows how Good Governance involvesa balance of consensus and wisdom.
Shri Modi tactfully negotiated with the neighboring states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to speed up the project and in the process roped in Congress Chief Ministers in support of his initiative in an act of bi-partisanship rarely seen in today’s political climate.
By decentralizing water management for both drinking as well as water for irrigation, Shri Modi demonstrated the understanding that a government’s job is not only to set up mega projects but also address the last mile of service delivery.
A Click away from Progress
Narendra Modi’s focus on executing projects and his eye for detail explain why so much of his efforts over the last decade had to do with getting the last mile of service delivery right.
This is evident in the innovative use of technology in areas as diverse as Geo-Spatial Mapping to E-Courts as well as in the imaginative manner in which the Citizen-Government interface was refashioned through initiatives like SWAGAT and One Day Governance.
Shri Modi is also well known for his decentralization efforts like ATVT that took Development Planning and Governance down to the Taluka level and brought it closer to the village. Shri Modi’s firm belief in taking executive “actions” rather than legislating more “acts” is reflected in how industries benefited from a Single Window System even as Transparency and Efficiency was brought into areas like Environmental Clearance with the use of Technology.
3 Pillars of Success
Narendra Modi built Gujarat’s success story on the three pillars of Agriculture, Industry and Services. During his tenure Gujarat witnessed over 10% agriculture growth, which is a remarkable feat considering Gujarat was known as a drought prone state. Through initiatives like Krishi Mahotsav, he transformed the lives of farmers in his state. His biennial Vibrant Gujarat Summit brought record investment to Gujarat thus giving a boost to employment creation across the state. Gujarat has also emerged under his leadership as a haven for medium and small-scale industries.
Importance of institutions
Shri Narendra Modi’s mettle as an Administrator was tested twice. Once in 2006 during the great floods of Surat and again in 2008 when terrorists attacked many cities in Gujarat. On both occasions Shri Modi’s efforts at institutionalizing best practices made the difference.
The institutionalized approach to disaster management, which took shape during the rehabilitation efforts in Kutch in 2001-2002, also came handy during the Indian Ocean tsunami and the devastating floods in Uttarakhand.
The institutionalized approach to law enforcement saw the Gujarat Police under Narendra Modi’s watch solve the 2008 serial blasts case in record time. The mark of a real leader in the areas of Administration and Governance is the institutional legacy he or she leaves behind. On that count Shri Modi’s progressive thinking saw the establishment of a diverse set of Institutions ranging from a Petroleum University to address our Energy Security to a Forensics and Raksha University to address our Internal Security.
Shri Modi’s institutional legacy reflects his firm belief that Good Governance is not just about addressing today’s problems but about anticipating and preparing for tomorrow’s challenges.
Believer in convergence
As Shri Narendra Modi prepares to assume Office as India’s next Prime Minister, his approach to administration and governance stands out for its convergent thinking. Shri Modi’s philosophy is “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance” which is evident in his Pancha-Amrut construct,which converges Government functions around a shared mission while bringing down vertical silos and eliminating walls between ministries and departments.
According to Shri Modi the fundamental challenge of the Government in India is convergent thinking and an Integrated approach to execution. In Shri Modi’s various efforts over the years - from developing non-conventional sources of energy to investing in next generation urban infrastructure - one sees an attempt to converge administration and governance. This convergence will hold India in good in the years to come.
From 2001 to 2013, Shri Narendra Modi’s evolution as India’s finest practitioner of the art of governance is reflected in the many awards his government received from both National and International media.
"Everyone knows Modi is a strong leader and an able administrator. My best wishes and prayers are always with him. I wish him all the best for his future and hope all the dreams and plans he has for India, come true" - Rajinikanth, Superstar
"I have met Narendra Modi, he appears to be a good man, he has done good work in Gujarat" - H. H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, Spiritual Leader and the founder of Art of Living Foundation
"Narendrabhai is like my brother. All of us want to see him become the Prime Minister. On the auspicious occasion of Diwali, I hope our wishes would come true" - Smt. Lata Mangeshkar, Renowned Singer
"Right now the country needed persons of integrity in important offices. In one word, we need Narendra Modi." - Shri Arun Shourie, Former Union Minister, Journalist and Author
"Shri Narendra Modi is God sent for us at this juncture.He will become the next Prime Minister. He will bring laurels to the country" - Shri Cho Ramaswamy, Editor, “Thuglak”
Shri Narendra Modi as India’s 14th Prime Minister brings with him a rich and hands-on experience as one of India’s most successful chief ministers and one of its finest administrators.