Place : New Delhi Speech Date :18-03-2011

  • A holistic view of human life and the surroundings is essential for our sustainable development and India presents a premier model in a situation like this .
  • To balance between development and economic growth, we have to look towards Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Even in the midst of robustness, there may be small devices and structures which are closer to the nature. Even amidst the mega creations, there may be small mechanisms which can empower and take care of the last person.
  • Gujarat's model of development is an amazing mix of the big and small; robust and inclusive; fast and yet sustainable.
  • India has the power of new energy in the form of its youth.
  • India has the strength of its tradition in the form of its caring culture.
  • India has the warmth of participation in the form of its democracy.

“Leadership in an Emerging Nation: Balancing Development and Economic Growth”

 Mr. Birthe Foster, the Chairperson of EBG, Excellencies, Leaders of the European and Indian corporate world, Ladies and Gentlemen!

At the very outset, I wish to compliment the organizers for choosing this topic. It is not only relevant for the economy but also for the humanity. It is also a matter very close to my heart. Such deliberations help us a lot in learning from each other. I have been a firm believer in noble intentions in every human being. We all want to do good. And the collective wisdom does give us the way forward. In fact, the term leadership has a wider meaning. There are leaders in every walk of life. The real work of a true leader is to unleash that creativity of the people around him. If we encourage leaders in all fields, there would be automatic balance in the society and economy. We have to work on this collective strength of the people.

Friends! I think after the world wars, this is the most critical moment in human history. Established theories are getting diluted. Our beliefs are getting tested. Our structures are still looking for the capacity to withstand the nature. Our safety nets are not safe enough. Our systems are not strong to safeguard us before human and natural adventures. Employment and livelihood is not secure for all time. Infrastructure and amenities are not sustainable. But we have to live and have to live in a better way. For this, we have to make this world a better place to live. Not only for ourselves, but also for the coming generations. The option is not to escape from the reality. The option is also not to disappear from this planet. There is a common belief that if you are living at a particular place, you are better off. But recent economic crisis and natural disasters have shown that it is not so. So WHERE do we live is not an important question. To my mind, the important question is HOW do we live?

Friends! To say conclusively as to how do we live is not easy. Unfortunately, there are very few models left on which we can rely. All philosophies have been tested. All technologies have been tried. The industrial revolution gave us the confidence that we can make anything. The world wars gave the confidence that we can destroy anything. But when it comes to development of all, no theory, philosophy or strategy has proved to be enough. There have been elections, civil unrest and wars in the name of equality and justice. But we all know where we stand. What is the reason for this situation? The answer, to my mind, is within us. We have to look within. The biggest problem of the present model of development is that it is based on exploitation. Exploitation of nature and its resources. Exploitation of the poor by the rich. Exploitation of one part of the world by another part. Exploitation of the feelings of the common man through dreams of consumerism. It will not work for a long time.

The answer is not in exploitation. The answer is in nurturing. We have to find and exchange technologies which ensure maximum productivity from minimum usage of natural resources. The ‘throw away' culture is not sustainable. This is leading to a mad rush of consumerism. By the time we get used to one particular model of an instrument, there is a newer version. What we need is satisfaction and value for the consumer. Only the satisfaction of the producer is not enough. Moreover, we have to use our resources in a manner that the same is available in equal or greater measure for the posterity. Unfortunately, the term ‘development' has become a limited concept. It is understood as relating only to economic development and physical wellbeing. Moreover, it attempts to meet only the present demands. While nurturing takes a holistic view of the situation. It combines the people, resources and amenities. It combines the past, the present and the future . A holistic view of human life and the surroundings is essential for our sustainable development . I can say that such models are available in many emerging nations . I have the humility to say that India presents a premier model in a situation like this .

India has been a society and culture of nurturing and nourishment . We have been told to thank and seek forgiveness from the mother earth as soon as we get up in the morning . We have been told not only to plant trees but to preserve and worship them . We have been told to raise cattle, feed them and pray for their well being if we want our good fortunes . We have been told to treat the entire universe as one family . These thoughts are embedded in our culture and scriptures . Since ancient times, our society has practiced them . However, it was Mahatma Gandhi who showed us that these ideals work even in the modern age . Friends! In this light, I can answer your topic in one line. And the answer is that we have to look towards Mahatma Gandhi. There can not be a better guide to balance the conflicting demands of present day. The conflicts are there for economic growth, disaster management and ecological conservation. The challenge is to ensure smooth, equitable and sustainable development .

Thus, living in harmony with the nature; living with compassion for others is the only way to live happily . I have not read anything more profound than what Gandhi has told for the people like us sitting here . And this is relevant for the entire topic of today. He said, “If you are in a dilemma, just remember the face of the last person who is going to be affected by your decision”. So, ‘UNTO THE LAST' is the best guiding principle for balancing the economic growth and development. However, we have misinterpreted it to mean just ‘trickle down' of wealth and development . This is not enough .

Just distribution is not enough . It will not reach till the last person . It will not reach to him at the time when he needs it . It will not be available in the manner he needs it . What we need is the models of development where people are not just beneficiaries . Rather they are made equal partners in the process of development . People should be in the beginning of the development cycle, not at the end . Someone had said ‘Small is Beautiful' . But, unfortunately, small became a synonym of poverty . Actually, it is not so . Even in the midst of robustness, there may be small devices and structures which are closer to the nature . Even amidst the mega creations, there may be small mechanisms which empower and take care of the last person . This is essential . The ‘Big' will not be sustainable unless its foundation lies in the small . Small devices, small mechanisms, and above all, the feelings of the small man .

Friends! You must be aware that Gujarat is the birth place of Gandhi . And then who else will follow what he said, if we don't . I must admit that our eyes are always on robust and faster economic growth . I always say ‘Gujarat's growth is needed for India's growth' . We are committed to contribute immensely to India's faster growth . However, Gujarat's growth model is very different . It is a very unique model .

  • Our Growth is with active participation of people
  • Our Growth is a mass movement
  • Our growth is both robust and pervasive
  • Our growth is both quantitative and qualitative
Friends! ‘India Has Emerged' is the buzz word all around the world today . However, to make India's emergence steady and sustainable, we in the States have to put up strong foundations . I am happy to say that Gujarat represents the elements of such a strong foundation . Its fundamentals are strong . They are strong not in a particular sector but all across the economic sectors . Its vibrancy can be felt not only in economic activities but also in social life . Its richness can be seen not only in its infrastructure but also in its flora and fauna.
  • Gujarat is a place where rural development has kept pace with urban Growth
  • Gujarat is a place where agriculture has kept pace with industry
  • Gujarat is a place where wellbeing of workers has kept pace with industrialization
Friends! Gujarat has emerged as the Growth Engine of India not only because it contributes immensely in its economic growth . Actually, the bigger success is that it has an amazing mix of the big and small; robust and inclusive; fast and yet sustainable . It has done wonderfully well on both the Macro and the Micro indicators . Our growth rate of GDP has been in double digits for a decade . At the same time, the per capita income of the people has also grown at the fastest rate of 13.8% . Not only the multinationals and big companies have done well, but a large number of SMEs have also prospered . Not only the industry has grown at 13% but agriculture has also grown at 9.6% . We have not only created world's largest multi-purpose dam but also several hundred thousands of small water harvesting structures . We have not only added Megawatts to our electric generation, but have also taken to the remotest households giving them power on a 24X7 basis (Jyotigram scheme) . We have not only created world class roads and ports, but also rooms and toilets in all our schools . We have not only created world class institutions, but have also ensured 100% enrollment in elementary education .

Gujarat's growth is sufficiently uniform and inclusive . However, our present emphasis is on better Human Development Index . On the one hand, we have created world class hospitals . At the same time, we have made the poor people get easy access to the medical facilities (Chiranjeevi Yojna) . On the 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 . There is a long list of the things in Gujarat which are innovative, modern and progressive . And yet they are humanitarian solutions to our problems . This is the reason that Gujarat's multi-faceted growth and excellence has been recognized not only in the country but in the entire world . This is because we work with people . We work holistically and strengthen the entire value chain .

To give a few examples:

  • In water: From harvesting to its economic use leading to high agri-productivity
  • In agriculture: from farm to factory, from factory to fashion from fashion to foreign .
  • In energy: from generation to management and its conservation and saving
  • In forestry: from conservation to social forestry to creation of forests based on the planets and stars
Gujarat represents an enterprising spirit . It has a development friendly environment . Gujarat is a place where democratization has gone to the next level of innovation . We have created participatory institutions of new age which will be reckoned as models in the years to come . Our Panchayati Raj and Co-operative institutions have taken deep roots . To add to that, we have launched several long-lasting initiatives . One of them is a technology enabled State wide Grievance Redressal System called SWAGAT . The United Nations has given Public Service Award to my office for this programme . Similarly, in our attempt to take the Government closer to the people, we have reorganized our sub-district level administration . Our efforts in Good Governance have been applauded the world over . We have received more than 200 national and international awards in the last eight years . 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 . We are constantly improving our standards . Alongwith many offices of the State, my own office is an ISO certified office .

Friends! To sum up, I must reiterate that if you want sustainability in development, the whole world has to be viewed as one organic unit . We have seen that in bad times of the Global economy, it was the emerging nations who sustained the pace of economy . They did it through creation of demand for the products and thus creation of jobs . It was they who helped in sustaining global recovery during the recession . However, even when the time is good, the whole world treats them just as markets . I will give you only one example . We all know that thermal energy is too expensive from the viewpoint of its carbon footprint . We have seen recently that even Nuclear energy can be very expensive for human lives . Their adverse impacts are felt for several generations . The developed world wants renewable and eco-friendly sources of energy to be exploited . This is indeed the need of the hour . But then we are not getting the technology at cheaper prices . We all know that given the high input prices, we can not do it with the desired momentum . We, in Gujarat, have started harnessing the wind and solar energy in a big way . I am personally committed for it and we are going ahead . I firmly believe that we must tackle the issues impacting the climate . We can not ignore it any longer . In fact, in order to give focus and to work in organised manner on the climate change issues, we have created a full fledged department for Climate Change . We have taken a lot of measures in this direction . Some of these measures have been listed in my recent book ‘Convenient Action' .

So, if we want the world to be a better place to live, we have to treat it as one unit. If we want economic growth to be pervasive, we have to make people its partners . If we want the process of development to be sustainable, we have to work with the environment. If we want our coming generations to enjoy the fruits of development, we have to nurture the nature . Even at the cost of repetition, I would say that India is an excellent model in this regard . India has the power of new energy in the form of its youth. India has the strength of its tradition in the form of its caring culture. India has the warmth of participation in the form of its democracy. The whole world has seen during the recession that India has its inherent strength to withstand a crisis. A strength, which is rooted in its universal thinking and interdependence .

And friends ! Gujarat always represents the best of what is India

Thank You!

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Baba Saheb Ambedkar was a person with universal vision: PM Modi
April 14, 2021
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We have to give opportunities to the youth according to their potential. Our efforts towards this is the only tribute to Baba Saheb Ambedkar: PM


Present with me in this programme, Gujarat Governor Acharya Shri Dev Vrat ji, the country’s Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank ji, Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Vijay Rupani ji, Education Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Singh ji, Chairman of UGC Prof. D.P.Singh ji, Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ami Upadhyay ji, Association of Indian Universities President Prof. Taj Pratap ji, all dignitaries and friends.

Today when the country is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Independence, the occasion of Babasaheb Ambedkar ji's birth anniversary also connects us with that great yagna and also with the inspiration of the future. On behalf of the grateful nation and all the countrymen, I pay my respectful homage to Babasaheb.


During the freedom struggle, millions and millions of our freedom fighters dreamt of a harmonious and inclusive India. Babasaheb made the beginning in realizing those dreams in the form of the Constitution to the country. Today India is creating a new future and achieving new dimensions of success by following the same Constitution.


Today, the 95th meeting of the Vice Chancellors of Association of Indian Universities is taking place on this auspicious day. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University has announced the establishment of 'Babasaheb Samarasta Chair'. The four books written by Shri Kishore Makwana ji have also been released on Babasaheb's life, his thoughts and ideals. I congratulate all the dignitaries involved in these efforts.


India has been the mother of democracy in the world. Democracy has been an integral part of our civilization and our way of life. Babasaheb laid a strong foundation to independent India so the nation could move forward while strengthening its democratic heritage. When we read and understand Babasaheb, we realize that he was a person of universal vision.

There is a clear vision of Babasaheb's philosophy in Shri Kishore Makwana ji's books. While one of his books introduces Babasaheb’s “Jeevan Darshan” (philosophy of life), the other focuses on “Vyakti Darshan” (individual philosophy). Similarly, the third book highlights Babasaheb's “Rashtra Darshan” (national philosophy), whereas the fourth book “Aayam Darshan” will introduce his philosophy of dimension to the countrymen.  These four philosophies are no less than modern scriptures in themselves.

I would like our new generation in colleges and universities to read more and more of such books. All these dimensions, whether it is the inclusive society, the concern for the rights of the Dalit-deprived society, the question of upliftment and contribution of women, or Babasaheb's vision on education and especially on higher education, will offer an opportunity to the youth of the country to understand Babasaheb.


Doctor Ambedkar would say:

"My three revered deities are -- Knowledge, self-respect and politeness.” Self-respect comes with knowledge and makes a person aware of his or her rights. Through equal rights, social harmony emerges and the country progresses.

We are all familiar with Babasaheb's struggles of life. The position that Babasaheb reached after so many struggles is a great inspiration for all of us. Our education system and universities have this responsibility to carry the country forward on the path shown by Babasaheb Ambedkar. And when it is the issue of common goals and shared efforts as a nation, collective efforts become the means of accomplishment.

Therefore, I think the role of Association of Indian Universities becomes very important. AIU also has the legacy of scholars like Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan ji, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Smt. Hansa Mehta and Dr. Zakir Hussain.

Dr. Radhakrishnan ji would say: “The end-product of education should be a free creative man, who can battle against historical circumstances and adversities of nature”.

It implies that education should be such which should liberate the person, so that he can think openly, and make something new with a new thinking. He believed that we should develop our education management as a unit of the entire world. But at the same time, he emphasized the Indian character of education. This becomes even more important in the global scenario today.

Here special issues were released on the new 'National Education Policy' and plan for its implementation. These issues are detailed documents how National Education Policy is a futuristic policy, a policy of global parameters. You all scholars are familiar with the nuances of the National Education Policy. The purpose of education that Dr. Radhakrishnan ji spoke about is reflected in the core of this policy.

I am told that this time the theme of the seminar is - 'Implementing National Educational Policy-2020 to Transforming Higher Education in India'. All of you deserve congratulations for this.

I have been constantly discussing NEP with experts. National Education Policy is as practical as its implementation.


You have dedicated your entire life to education. You all know very well that every student has his own capability and capacity. Based on these capabilities, students and teachers also have three questions.

First: What can they do?

Second: What is their potential if they are properly taught?

And, third, what they want to do?

What a student can do is his inner strength. But if we add institutional strength to his inner strength, his development becomes expansive. With this combination, our youth can do what they want to do. Therefore, the country’s special emphasis is on skill development. As the country is moving ahead with the mission of the AatmaNirbhar Bharat, the role and demand of skilled youths is also increasing.


In view of the strength of skills, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had placed greater emphasis on the collaboration of educational institutions and industries decades ago. Today, the country has immense opportunities, and there are new industries of modern times. India is being looked upon as a future centre of Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D printing, Virtual Reality, Robotics, mobile technology, geo-informatics, smart healthcare and defence sector. The country is taking huge steps to meet these requirements.

Indian Institutes of Skills are being set up in three big metropolitans of the country. The first batch of the Indian Institute of Skills has already started in Mumbai a few months ago in December. The Future Skills Initiative was launched with NASSCOM in 2018. This initiative offers training in more than 150 skill sets in 10 emerging technologies.


The new National Policy on Education also provides for NETF which emphasizes the maximum use of technology in education. We want all universities to be multi-disciplinary. We want to give flexibility to students so that they can complete courses anywhere easily through the easy entry-exit and Academic Bank of Credit. Every university in the country will have to work together to achieve all these goals. All the Vice Chancellors have to pay special attention to this.

A huge skill pool will be created in our universities for the new possibilities that we can create in the country. All of you are requested to work in this direction more expeditiously and the work should be completed within a stipulated time.


The country is rapidly transforming the lives of the poor, Dalits, the victims, the exploited and the deprived following the footsteps of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Babasaheb talked about equal opportunities and equal rights. Today, schemes like Jan Dhan accounts are leading to financial inclusion of every person and through DBT money is reaching directly to their accounts.  The BHIM UPI that was launched for the digital economy has become a great strength for the poor today. Today, every poor person is getting a house and free electricity connection. Similarly, work is in the progress to provide clean water to villages under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

When there was a corona crisis, the country stood up for the poor and the labourers. There is no discrimination among the poor and the rich in the world's largest vaccination program. This is the path shown by Babasaheb and these are his ideals.


Babasaheb always emphasized on women empowerment and made many efforts in this direction. It is with this vision that the country is giving new opportunities to its daughters today. From toilets at home and schools to combat roles in the army, women are at the centre of every policy of the country today.

Similarly, the country is working to spread Babasaheb's message to the people. The places associated with Babasaheb are being developed as Panch Teerth.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to dedicate the Dr. Ambedkar International Centre. Today, this Centre is emerging as a centre of research on social and economic issues and on Babasaheb's life.


Today, we are close to 75 years of independence, and we have goals for the next 25 years. The country’s future, the future goals and successes of the country are linked to our youth. It is our youth who will fulfill these resolutions. We have to give opportunities to the youth of the country to the best of their ability.

I am confident that our collective resolve and conscious efforts of the education world will realise this dream of a New India.

Our efforts and the hard work will be our tribute to Babasaheb.

With these good wishes, I once again thank you all very much. I wish you all the very best on Navratri. I also extend my special greetings on the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Many thanks.