Place: New Delhi, Date: 9-01-2011
Ladies and gentlemen!
I am very happy to be in this event once again. It gives me so much pleasure to be with our Diaspora and the Persons of Indian Origin. I have made it a point to attend this event invariably and have attended almost all the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas celebrations, ever since they were introduced way back in 2003.
‘India is emerging' is the buzzword today. And this event provides us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment for making India stronger each day, in every sphere. The love, support and dedication of all of you- India's sons and daughters for your motherland, is one of the major strengths our country has. Your presence here exhibits it.
If India has to emerge in the right earnest, inclusive growth has to be the ‘mantra'. The human civilization has been struggling with this issue since ages. All countries: rich or poor, all administrators: politicians or bureaucrats, all governments: democratic or totalitarian, all systems: capitalist or socialist, have claimed to be working for “inclusive growth”. They have all perhaps done their bit in finding ways for such a growth. There are theories and philosophies propounded for the purpose; there are programmes and schemes announced with that intent. There are measures and machineries put in place. The world has been divided; wars have been fought on the beliefs in this regard. Governments have won and lost elections on this issue. However, the issue still remains. And it becomes more important today than earlier because it affects ever increasing numbers.
If asked personally, each one of us will have a different definition of the term “inclusive growth”, different approaches for analyzing the issue and different strategies for arriving at solutions. However, the term, in common parlance, would mean “growth by which everyone benefits”. There cannot be any dispute with either the letter or spirit of this definition. It is an ideal, which must be achieved. But the fact is that we have not achieved the ideal; we have not achieved them in spite of efforts, theories, wars, elections, slogans, plans and schemes. To achieve the ideal in today's world, in my opinion, we have to make a paradigm shift in our thinking and strategy.
The issue of “inclusive growth” has several dimensions. But ideally all those dimensions should converge to bring happiness on the face of everyone. On lighting a lamp, removal of darkness is a natural sequel. You do not have to make further efforts. Similarly, all pervasive happiness should come as a natural fall out of growth. Light cannot be alienated from a lamp and presence of light has to mean absence of darkness. The fruits of growth and development, in a similar manner, must reach to the last person, to the weakest person, to the most deprived, to the remotest-‘‘unto the last”. Without this, any growth is neither a sound economic theory nor a sound ethical approach nor good model of governance. We can not have situations where the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer. We cannot have pockets of wealth and corridors of poverty co-existing. But this is generally not happening in our existing growth processes. In spite of the light of growth, the darkness of poverty, illiteracy and disease is not disappearing.
Friends, let me now tell what paradigm shift we have brought in our strategy for growth and to make it inclusive. First and foremost, there has to be growth. And the growth has to be across the sectors of economy, across the sections of society, across geographical regions. The second condition is that the people should not have to wait for percolation of the fruits. They have to be active partners right from the beginning. They have to be partners in the process itself. Not only a clueless expectant at the end. I am very happy that Gujarat is going in this direction. And who else should show the wayout of this riddle. It is Gandhi's Gujarat which has to show the way. Gandhi had said “Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.” So, recalling the face of the poorest and the weakest has to be done throughout the process not just at the end. This is the approach which differentiates Gujarat's Governance from many others. Moreover, we are not limited in our horizons. When we recall the faces, it is not only those of the Gujaratis, but of all Indians and of the motherland. That is why, I have personally been displaying that commitment: ‘Gujarat's Growth for India's Growth'.
This decade of Gujarat has been a decade of phenomenal growth. We have not only registered overall double digit GDP growth but our other important sectors also have registered double digit growth. Gujarat is a place where infrastructure development has kept pace with economic Growth. Gujarat is a place where rural development has kept pace with urban Growth. Gujarat is a place where satisfaction of workers has kept pace with industrial Growth.
Industry has grown at 13%;
Our agriculture has grown at 12.8% in last five years and at 9.6% over last seven years. This is thrice the national average.
Industry has grown at 13%
The per capita income of the people has grown at 13.8%.
Gujarat contributes to 22% of exports and 30% of the stock market capitalisation of the country.
However, to my mind, the bigger success is that Gujarat has an amazing mix of the big and small; robust and uniform; fast and sustainable. Not only the multinationals and big companies have done well, but a large number of SMEs have also prospered. We have not only created world's largest multi-purpose dam but also several lakhs of small water harvesting structures. We have not only added Megawatts to our electric generation, but have also taken to the remotest households giving power on a 24X7 basis (Jyotigram scheme). We have not only created world class hospitals but have also made the poor people get good access to medical facilities (Chiranjeevi Yojna). On one hand, we export quality industrial products of the country and on the other, our farmers supply important agri and dairy produce in the foreign countries. Gujarat's multi-faceted growth and excellence in various sectors has been recognised not only in the country but in the entire world. This is because we work to strengthen the entire value chain; we work to maximise the linkages. To give a few examples:
In water: From harvesting to its economic use leading to high agri-productivity
In agri-produce: from farm to factory, from factory to foreign.
In energy: from generation to management efficiency to making the state energy surplus
In education: from universalisation to quality; from quality to excellence and world class R & D
Friends, we have been able to address the needs of backward sections and regions, through a unique convergence approach. We have special programme for our tribal belt: Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojna. Similarly, for the coastal belt, we are implementing the Sagarkhedu yojna. For the most backward talukas of the State, we have a special focus. Recently, we completed a huge round of Garib Kalyan melas and distributed the schematic benefits worth more than Rs. 4000 crores to the needy and the poor.
It has always been my effort that governance is inclusive both in spirit and outcome. And so, we have gone one step further in defining our model of inclusive growth. With people's participation, we have made development a mass movement, a ‘Jan Aandolan'- be it the construction of lakhs of Checkdams, Boribundhs or Khet Talavadis for rainwater harvesting; be it the Teethi Bhojan in thousands of schools for lakhs of children or Sukhdi and milk distribution programme to pregnant poor mothers; be it the Kanya Kelavani Nidhi where people are coming forward in large numbers. to contribute for girl child education or be it ‘Samaydan' programme where lakhs of citizens have donated there crores of valuable hours within a year for the society. These are but a few examples. They all have one thing in common: it is the people in the beginning; people in the middle; people in the end. Gujarat, thus, believes in involvement and empowerment of the people and all the sections of the society. And hence it empowers its farmers with knowledge (Krishi Mahotsav), its youth with skills including soft skills (Centres of Excellence and SCOPE), its women with self employment avenues (Wadi yojana and Sakhi Mandals), its children with nutrition (fortified pre-mix and PPP in mid day meals), its adolescent girls with strength (iron and folic acid); among many others. The result is that there are instances where people living below poverty line, have taken pledge in our Golden Jubilee year, that they will strive to come out of poverty rather than continue enjoying BPL benefits! Their confidence of coming out of the BPL syndrome is itself a great empowerment. Government is just working as a catalyst and a facilitator in their efforts. I feel such a change in mindset can go a long way for India to emerge as a stronger nation.
Friends, our strategy of inclusive growth has a still wider approach. We take care not only of the human beings but our live stock as well. Gujarat is the only state where we carry out operation for cataract of animals! We undertake the dental treatment of animals. We have organized more than 2700 animal health camps in last seven years with the result that today, out of 162 veterinary diseases earlier, we have been able to almost eradicate 112 diseases. Another important dimension of our approach is that while considering inclusiveness, we are not putting barriers of time. We take into consideration not only the present generations but also the generations to come. Our model of inclusive growth builds upon the foundations of the past, uses the present opportunity and preserves the resources for the future generations. Inclusiveness thus includes sustainability. We are undertaking comprehensive efforts with this requirement in mind. We have set up a dedicated department for Climate Change issues– the first provincial government in the world to do so. Recently, we have laid the foundation of a 500 MW Solar Park, the largest in Asia. It is being developed on 1,000-acre wasteland in North Gujarat. The project will check emission of 80-lakh tonnes of carbon-dioxide and save 9-lakh tones of non-renewable fuel like coal every year. Our goal is to become the world leader in Solar Energy. We are already into wind energy in a big way. We have always been a quality and cost conscious community; now we have become carbon conscious too. Gujarat State, today, ranks 1st in gaining Certified Emission Reduction Credits, with accumulated credits worth 400 million Euros, which is 41% of the total issued to India. By adapting green practices in the public sector, Gujarat has also encouraged sustainability State-wide. It has simultaneously structured policies to encourage and facilitate the sustainable use of resources – in areas such as CNG, drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting.
Our efforts for inclusive growth are thus holistic and not piecemeal, well planned and not knee jerk reactions, not for slow changes but for quantum leap; making people the partners in growth not just beneficiaries; addressing the local needs but using the global ideas and technology. And this is why our efforts in Governance have been applauded the world over. We have received more than 200 national and international awards in the last eight years for Good Governance. We are getting such awards on a weekly basis. They are in recognition of excellence in various fields. However, we treat these awards as just milestones in our journey. They are only indicators that we are in the right direction. However, we want to do still better because we want that India must do better. Before sixty years, one man from Gujarat brought political freedom to the country. Now, may be the destiny has cast upon the people of Gujarat the responsibility to bring economic surge and prosperity in the country. I assure you that we are working with that high sense of responsibility. This responsibility means that we have to do better than we have been doing; we also have to do better than others are doing. I am sure, we can and we will. One important strategy in our effort to do better has been a focused approach towards investment related activities. Many of you are aware that under the banner of Vibrant Gujarat, we have institutionalised a biennial investment event after a sustained hard work of eight years. The fifth chapter of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit is being held on 12th and 13th January, 2011. I take this opportunity to personally invite you to visit Gujarat and be our guest during this event.
Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit was started as an organised effort to enhance the pride and creativity among the people, to highlight the potentials of the State and attract investments. This Summit is now fully institutionalised and grown up from a state level event to a Global one. It has also changed its scope from an investment promotion event to a knowledge and technology exchange platform. The last event, which was held in 2009, saw the participation of forty seven countries, with the heads and representatives of various countries. This was in addition to a large number of national and international delegations from varied sectors. This event, which was held in the backdrop of a global recession, surprised everyone with investment agreements of US Dollars 240 billion. However, investment flow in the State is not the sole objective of this event. The bigger objective is to do global networking for knowledge and technology sharing; learn the best practices and involve and encourage our people to think big and take up challenging projects. These events have further ignited the enterprising spirit of the people of Gujarat. But instead of resting here, our effort is to further widen the scope of the event. This time, we have invited the Indian States as well as other countries to make use of this platform. We will help them to do so for business and technology tie ups and agreements for their respective locations. I once again take this opportunity to invite you to this event.
Friends, you are all aware that today's celebration is linked to Mahatma Gandhi's return from South Africa. On this occasion, I would like to tell you about Mahatma Mandhir, an iconic building being built in Gandhinagar, in the Swarnim Jayanti year of Gujarat. Mahatma Mandir is not just a building, its an epitome of our faith in Gandhiji and his principles, it is a symbol of our love for the Father of the Nation, our emotional attachment to the global torch bearer from Gujarat. And that is why, I had appealed to the Non Resident Gujaratis (NRGs) to bring soil and water from their respective places, from all corners of the world and India to be put in the foundation of Mahatma Mandir. And I must acknowledge, in this august gathering, the overwhelming response given by the NRGs to the call. Mahatma Mandir's foundation, thus, has the soil and water from a large number of countries and almost all Indian states. Likewise, we have also put the soil and water from each of the 18000 villages of Gujarat. This way, we have connected the people to the living spirit of the Mahatma and his ever relevant teachings. This was yet another step towards inclusiveness of our brothers and sisters living within and outside Gujarat. This was also a step towards rejuvenating the feeling of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam'. Friends! I can foresee a day when the nations of the world will assemble at ‘Mahatma Mandir' to hold peace talks and take pledges for peace. Not only that, at Mahatma Mandir, with the blessings of Bapu, these talks would not fail; they would be fruitful. Mahatma Mandir will be a light house for all those seeking the path of peace and co-existence across the world. This is not merely a building or a structure but a small effort on this land to keep alive the message given by Bapu.
This year, the Vibrant Gujarat Summit is being held at Mahatma Mandir. You are welcome to the Summit, you are welcome to Mahatma Mandir, you are welcome to Gujarat.