Shri Narendra Modi addressed the National Summit on Inclusive Urban Development at Gandhinagar’s Mahatma Mandir on the morning of Thursday 17th October 2013. Shri Narendra Modi affirmed that instead of treating urbanisation as a burden, it should be treated as an opportunity and a matter of strength. He said, “We kept expressing concerns about villages reducing and the number of people in cities increasing. But what if we had accepted the truth from Day 1? Urbanisation is not something on which we can express tears. It is not a challenge. Why not consider it as a strength? Once you see it like an opportunity, work can be done effectively and there will be great results.” He rightly pointed that with urbanisation happening at a great pace, the old mindset cannot change anything. What is needed is invigorating our approach with things like latest technology and modern initiatives like solid waste management, waste water treatment etc.
Narendra Modi ji said that the glory of a city does not merely come by installing big gates or infrastructure only but it comes when each and every person of the city is integrated into the development journey. Shri Modi even talked about increasing the human resource development potential among the urban population, which can go a long way in developing our cities.
Modi ji inspired the gathering to look ahead at two events that can go a long way towards India’s urban regeneration. Shri Modi urged the people to look at 2022, when India will celebrate 75th year of Independence and asked them to think on how they dream their city to be in 2022. The other is to work towards clean cities keeping in mind the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, a Yug Purush who gave lot of importance to cleanliness during his lifetime.
At the same time, Shri Modi shared the Gujarat Government’s Rurban Mantra. In this context he shared, “We came up with the Rurban concept- Aatma Gaanv Ki, Suvidha Sheher Ki (the spirit of the village and the facilities associated with a city).” Shri Modi talked about the success of initiatives like the Jyotigram Yojana which gave three phase uninterrupted power to the villages due to which migration to the cities reduced. Modi ji opined that the vision of the Gujarat Government is two fold- to enable people to remain in the villages and to strengthen the cities as well. Modi ji also called for embracing Jan Bhagidari model in the cities of Gujarat, even throwing light on his PPPP model going a step ahead of the PPP model.
Shri Modi also called for leading from the front with new ideas in the field of urban development. He shared the Gujarat Government’s dream to make Gandhinagar a solar city, which would be an effort towards mitigating global warming. Mr. Modi recalled his meeting with the Prime Minister a few years ago where he gave the idea of choosing 500 cities all over India where the focus would be on solid waste management and waste water treatment. Shri Modi also urged the PM to look at next generation programme of JNNURM. Modi ji shared that the PM appreciated the idea but nothing happened. Gujarat did pilot testing as well but again, there was no response from the Centre, forcing the Gujarat government to start these initiatives in their cities so that it can be effective in the times to come.
During his speech Shri Modi congratulated the authorities for organizing the National Summit on Inclusive Urban Development. Describing as an unofficial parliament of urban India, Shri Modi expressed confidence that the sessions during the summit would be fruitful and the suggestions would go a long way in making the future of urban India brighter. 26 states of India, over 400 districts and many Mayors, Deputy Mayors and other officials from various Indian cities attended the summit.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Takeshi Yagi, the Honourable Ambassador of Japan said that he has very fond memories of his visit to Gandhinagar for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2013. He welcomed the idea of holding thematic summits like this. Ambassador Yagi talked about the close ties between Japan and Gujarat, saying that ten years ago there were 6 Japanese companies in Gujarat but today there are more than 60 companies with several other companies yet to come.
Dr. M Ramachandran, former Secretary Urban Development (Government of India) listed out the challenges faced by urban India today including water shortage, waste management and sanitation.
Urban Development Minister (Government of Gujarat) Smt. Anandiben Patel welcomed the dignitaries on behalf of the Government of Gujarat and talked about the role of cities in the growth of nations. She said that urbanisation cannot be seen as a burden but should be an opportunity. She then talked about Gujarat’s efforts in creating better cities be it the BRTS in Ahmedabad and Rajkot, the changes in Surat, the Sabarmati Riverfront and Kankaria Lake projects.She opined that Gujarat has presented a new model of urban development.
A coffee table book ‘Gujarat: Unveiling Urban Development; Emerging Trends’ was released by Shri Narendra Modi on the occasion.