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3 extremely satisfying days with the future of Gujarat

 

Dear Friends,

For the next three days, the entire Team Gujarat goes to school! Yes, senior Ministers, officials and myself are going to spend the next three days in the rural areas of Gujarat, going to villages and asking parents to educate their children as a part of the Shala Praveshotsav and Kanya Kelavani Abhiyan 2013-2014. We will go to the rural areas of Gujarat on 13th-14th-15th June and in the urban areas of Gujarat on 20th-21st-22nd June.

I vividly recall when I had taken over as the Chief Minister, an official came to me to discuss dropout rate in our primary schools. The numbers that were in front of me left me startled! Why does such a vibrant state have such high drop out rates? Why is the girl child lagging behind in primary education? We decided to tackle this menace immediately and that is how the Kanya Kelavani Abhiyan was born.

Be it scorching heat or thunderous rain, my Cabinet colleagues, officials and I set out to the villages, we tell the parents, give us your child so that we can take them to school. I can say without doubt that taking a toddler to school is one of the most satisfying moments in my many years in public life. There is no better joy than laying the foundations of a strong future for these little children.

After a decade of doing this, I am glad to share that our efforts have received immense success. The drop out rate, which stood at 17.83% in 2003-2004 has drastically come down to 2.04% in 2012-2013 for Standard 1-5 and the drop out rates for Class 1-7 has dropped significantly from 33.73% in 2003-2004 to 7.08% this year. The results of the Kanya Kelavani Abhiyan are also for all to see. In the last decade, female literacy has increased from 57.80% to 70.73% today.

While there is tremendous improvement, we want to go higher. You must have noticed that whenever results of the Class X and XII Board Exams are announced, the most common headline is- girls outshine boys yet again. It just shows that if we give the right opportunity to our women, they can do wonders. This is what we seek to do through the Kanya Kelavani Abhiyan and Shala Praveshotsav.

We noticed that a common reason for the high drop out rate among girl students was lack of adequate sanitation facilities. Thus, we constructed over 71,000 sanitation blocks. Similarly, we saw that the state did not have enough classrooms to facilitate quality education for our youngsters so we built over 1,04,000 classrooms in the last decade. We did not stop there. In this age, where technology is constantly redefining the world, it is a crime to keep our youth away from these advances. That is why we have equipped over 20,000 schools with computer facilities. 

Friends, let us all become partners in this quest for ensuring education for all.  Look in your neighbourhood, in your offices, ask your support staff if they send their children to school and if they do not, inspire them to do so. Education brings employment as well as opportunity. And, by doing this, we are not only safeguarding the future of the child but also adding a new strength to the future of Gujarat. We are also doing a great service for our nation, who will greatly benefit from the intellectual power of these youngsters, the seeds of which we are fortunate to sow today.

 

Yours,

Narendra Modi

 

 

Shri Narendra Modi's audio message at the start of Kanya Kelavani and Shala Praveshotsav 2013-14

‘মন কী বাত’ৰ বাবে আপোনাৰ ধাৰণা আৰু পৰামৰ্শ এতিয়াই শ্বেয়াৰ কৰক!
সেৱা আৰু সমৰ্পণৰ ২০ বছৰক সূচিত কৰা ২০ খন আলোকচিত্ৰ
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Reforms by Conviction and Incentives
June 22, 2021
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The Covid-19 pandemic has come with whole new set of challenges to Governments across the world in terms of policy-making. India is no exception. Raising enough resources for public welfare while ensuring sustainability is proving to be one of the biggest challenges.

In this back-drop of financial crunch seen across the world, do you know that Indian states were able to borrow significantly more in 2020-21? It would perhaps pleasantly surprise you that states were able to raise an extra Rs 1.06 lakh crores in 2020-21. This significant increase in availability of resources was made possible by an approach of Centre-State bhagidari. 

When we formulated our economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to ensure that our solutions do not follow a ‘one size fits all’ model. For a federal country of continental dimensions, finding policy instruments at the national level to promote reforms by State Governments is indeed challenging. But, we had faith in the robustness of our federal polity and we moved ahead in the spirit of Centre-State bhagidari. 

In May 2020, as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package, the Government of India announced that State Governments would be allowed enhanced borrowing for 2020-21. An extra 2% of GSDP was allowed, of which 1% was made conditional on the implementation of certain economic reforms. This nudge for reform is rare in Indian public finance. This was a nudge, incentivising the states to adopt progressive policies to avail additional funds. The results of this exercise are not only encouraging but also run contrary to the notion that there are limited takers for sound economic policies.

The four reforms to which additional borrowings were linked (with 0.25% of GDP tied to each one) had two characteristics. Firstly, each of the reforms was linked to improving the Ease of Living to the public and particularly the poor, the vulnerable, and the middle class. Secondly, they also promoted fiscal sustainability.

The first reform under the ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ policy required State Governments to ensure that all ration cards in the State under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) were seeded with the Aadhaar number of all family members and that all Fair Price Shops had Electronic Point of Sale devices. The main benefit from this is that migrant workers can draw their food ration from anywhere in the country. Apart from these benefits to citizens, there is the financial benefit from the elimination of bogus cards & duplicate members. 17 states completed this reform and were granted additional borrowings amounting to Rs. 37,600 crores. 

The second reform, aimed at improving ease of doing business, required states to ensure that renewal of business-related licences under 7 Acts is made automatic, online and non-discretionary on mere payment of fees. Another requirement was implementation of a computerized random inspection system and prior notice of inspection to reduce harassment and corruption under a further 12 Acts. This reform (covering 19 laws) is of particular help to micro and small enterprises, who suffer the most from the burden of the ‘inspector raj'. It also promotes an improved investment climate, greater investment and faster growth. 20 states completed this reform and were allowed additional borrowing of Rs. 39,521 crores. 

The 15th Finance Commission and several academics have emphasised the crucial importance of sound property taxation. The third reform required states to notify floor rates of property tax and of water & sewerage charges, in consonance with stamp duty guideline values for property transactions and current costs respectively, in urban areas. This would enable better quality of services to the urban poor and middle class, support better infrastructure and stimulate growth. Property tax is also progressive in its incidence and thus the poor in urban areas would benefit the most. This reform also benefits municipal staff who often face delay in payment of wages. 11 states completed these reforms and were granted additional borrowing of Rs. 15,957 crores. 

The fourth reform was introduction of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in lieu of free electricity supply to farmers. The requirement was for formulation of a state-wide scheme with actual implementation in one district on a pilot basis by year end. Additional borrowing of 0.15% of GSDP was linked to this. A component was also provided for reduction in technical & commercial losses and another for reducing the gap between revenues and costs (0.05% of GSDP for each). This improves the finances of distribution companies, promotes conservation of water and energy and improves service quality through better financial and technical performance. 13 states implemented at least one component, while 6 states implemented the DBT component. As a result, Rs. 13,201 crore of additional borrowings was permitted. 

Overall, 23 states availed of additional borrowings of Rs. 1.06 lakh crores out of a potential of Rs. 2.14 lakh crores. As a result, the aggregate borrowing permission granted to states for 2020-21 (conditional and unconditional) was 4.5% of the initially estimated GSDP. 

For a large nation with complex challenges as ours, this was a unique experience. We have often seen that for various reasons, schemes and reforms remain un-operational often for years. This was a pleasant departure from the past where the Centre & States came together to roll out public friendly reforms in a short span of time amidst the pandemic. This was made possible due to our approach of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas. Officials who have been working on these reforms suggest that without this incentive of additional funds, enactment of these policies would have taken years. India has seen a model of ‘reforms by stealth and compulsion’. This is a new model of ‘reforms by conviction and incentives’. I am thankful to all the states who took the lead in ushering in these policies amidst tough times for the betterment of their citizens. We shall continue working together for the rapid progress of 130 crore Indians.