Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas: My 11 Years Journey in Gujarat

Published By : Admin | October 7, 2012 | 18:35 IST

 

Dear Friends,

It was on this day, 11 years ago that I had got the opportunity to serve the people of Gujarat as Chief Minister. This 11-year journey devoted in service of the people of Gujarat has been memorable and extremely satisfying. It has been a learning experience for me that I tremendously cherish. Today, Gujarat has become synonymous with progress and with our Mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ we have come out with a model of development that has touched the lives of each and every citizen.

When I assumed office Gujarat was reeling under the effects of a severe Earthquake that had struck the state on the morning of 26th January 2001. Back then, people had written off Gujarat and it was deemed as impossible that the state would be up and running. But, with speedy rehabilitation and reconstruction initiatives that have now become a role model all across as well as the unwavering spirit of resilience of the people of Gujarat we were able to begin our march to development in a very short period of time! Now, Kutch has emerged as one of India’s fastest growing districts.

Back in 2001, people often requested me to atleast provide electricity at the time of their evening meal. We went even further and conceived the ‘Jyotigram Yojana’ in 2003 that provided 24/7, 3-phase uninterrupted power even to the villages of Gujarat. The results of this are for all to see- not only has the rural economy been substantially empowered but also migration to cities has reduced.

This initiative is a first of its kind across the nation. But, we went a step ahead in April this year when Gujarat dedicated 600 MW solar power to the nation! We are also making quick progress in other sources of renewable energy. Some people asked me, “Modi ji your state is already power surplus and still you are thinking about this?” I tell them that we are doing this not for the present but for the future generations.

Along with power, we made a determined effort to harness the Jal Shakti and in 2002 we came up with WASMO, an initiative that seeks to provide potable water in all villages across the state. Combining public participation and effective water management, today we have over 17,700 water committees across the state! You would be interested to know that most of these committees are run by women and WASMO bagged the United Nations Public Service Award for ‘fostering participation in policy making decisions through innovative mechanisms.’

An area in which I always wanted to leave an impeccable mark of Governance is primary education and especially for the girl child. That is why in 2004 we commenced a massive enrollment drive called the Kanya Kelavani and Shala Praveshotsav. Today we have received 100% enrollment in school and the drop out rates have successfully reduced to 2% over the last decade. I must share that even more memorable than being sworn in as CM are the times when I get the opportunity to take small children to school on their first day! This initiative has helped many youngsters in building a future for themselves and their families.

Behind the development of Gujarat is the power of our Nari Shakti! To make a difference in the lives of our women, the Chiranjeevi Yojana was born in 2005 with an aim to provide pioneering free of cost medical treatment to women in hospitals. The Chiranjeevi Yojana has left a major mark in improving maternal health and the health of the infant. For effective participation of women in the development process Nari Gaurav Niti was initiated in 2006. This is a first of its kind policy for the overall empowerment of women. In order to make women financially independent the Mission Mangalam initiative was launched in 2010. Today, I am proud to say that businesses worth Rs. 1,600 crore are in the hands of 2.5 lakh Sakhi Mandals. You can imagine the difference it has made in the lives of so many women of Gujarat!

Earlier Gujarat was known for its industry and with a perpetual drought threat and lack of perennial rivers, agriculture and Gujarat were seen as stark contrasts. No longer today! Our Krishi Mahotsavs transformed Gujarat’s agrarian landscape and have played a major role in ushering in India’s 2nd green revolution from Gujarat. Not only has agriculture income increased over 4 times, Gujarat’s agriculture is growing at a record 11% for the last decade. Our farmers are doing some very innovative things, which you must come and see!

Ofcourse, industrial growth has scaled colossal heights in the past decade. Gujarat is home to a wide canvas of industries and with the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Summits started in 2003, the state has received tremendous investment from all over the world.

No progress is complete till we focus on delivery of effective healthcare and that is why this year the Gujarat Government took the path breaking decision of giving poor patients a cover of up to Rs. 2 lakh for critical treatment under the Mukhya Mantri Amrutam (MAA) Yojana. Our 108 Emergency services that have been running on the roads since 2007 have already been lauded for their operations all over. They have saved over 1.75 lakh lives and provided assistance in 10 lakh pregnancy cases.

In order to free people from the clutches of poverty the Garib Kalyan Melas were launched in 2009 in which over 85 lakh poor beneficiaries have received assistance worth Rs. 13,000 crore through over 1000 Garib Kalyan Melas. As a means to decentralize administration and empowering our Talukas the ATVT Yojana came into being last year and Jan Seva Kendras were established that provide 124 kinds of services to the people.

Friends, through these initiatives I am trying to encapsulate the unique journey of development that we have adopted for 11 years. I always say that our sole agenda is development and it will continue to be so in the future. In the last 11 years we have achieved a lot but there is a lot more we are yet to achieve and I am sure in the coming years with your support we will create a Gujarat that is both Bhavya (Excellent) and Divya (Divine).

I am extremely thankful to my fellow Karyakartas of the Bharatiya Janata Party for their steadfast support and giving an ordinary person like me an opportunity to serve the people of Gujarat.

This journey of 11 years would not have been possible without the constant support of more than 6 lakh Karma Yogis of Team Gujarat. It is their perseverance and devotedness that has enabled Gujarat to scale newer heights of development.

And finally I bow to the spirit of the 6 crore people of Gujarat. It is your love and affection that keeps me going, inspires me to work even harder and scale newer and newer heights of progress. I consider myself extremely blessed that I have got this opportunity to work for you!

 

Jai Jai Garvi Gujarat

Narendra Modi

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Today, India’s former Vice President and respected statesman Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu Garu turns 75. I wish him a long and healthy life and also extend my greetings to all his well-wishers and supporters. This is an occasion to celebrate a leader whose life journey showcases dedication, adaptability and an unwavering commitment to public service. From his early days in the political arena to his tenure as Vice President, Venkaiah Garu’s career exemplifies his unique ability to navigate the complexities of Indian politics with ease and humility. His eloquence, wit and steadfast focus on developmental issues have earned him respect across party lines.

Venkaiah Garu and I have been associated with each other for decades. We have worked together and I have also learnt a lot from him. If there is one thing that has remained common in his life, it is the love for people. His brush with activism and politics began in Andhra Pradesh with student politics as a student leader. Considering his talent, oratory and organisational skills, he would have been welcomed in any political party but he preferred to work with the Sangh Parivar because he was inspired by the vision of Nation First. He was associated with the RSS, ABVP and then strengthened the Jana Sangh and the BJP.

When the Emergency was imposed almost 50 years ago, young Venkaiah Garu immersed himself in the anti-Emergency movement. He was imprisoned and that too for inviting Loknayak JP to Andhra Pradesh. This commitment to democracy would be seen time and again in his political career. In the mid-1980s, when the great NTR’s Government was unceremoniously dismissed by the Congress, he was again at the forefront of the movement to protect democratic principles.

Venkaiah Garu has always been comfortable swimming even against the most formidable tides. In 1978, Andhra Pradesh voted for the Congress but he beat the trend and was elected as a young MLA. Five years later, when the NTR Tsunami swept the state, he got elected as a BJP MLA, thus paving the way for the BJP’s growth across the state.

All those who have heard Venkaiah Garu speak will vouch for his oratory skills. He is certainly a wordsmith but he is as much a worksmith. Since his days as a young MLA, he began to be respected for the rigour he put in to legislative affairs and speaking for people of his constituency. No less than a stalwart like NTR noted his talent and even wanted him to join his Party but Venkaiah Garu refused to deviate from his core ideology. He went on to play a big role in strengthening the BJP in Andhra Pradesh, going across the villages and connecting with people from all walks of life. He led the Party on the floor of the Assembly and even became the AP BJP President.

It was in the 1990s that the BJP central leadership took note of Venkaiah Garu’s efforts and thus in 1993 began his stint in national politics when he was appointed the Party’s All India General Secretary. It was truly a remarkable moment for a man, who as a teenager would go around announcing the visits of Atal Ji and Advani Ji, to be working directly with them. As the General Secretary, he was focused on how to bring our Party to power and ensure that the nation get their first ever BJP Prime Minister. After the move to Delhi, there was no looking back and he rose to become the National President of the Party.

In 2000, when Atal Ji was keen to induct Venkaiah Garu in the government as a Minister, Venkaiah Garu instantly conveyed his preference for the Rural Development Ministry. This left everyone including Atal Ji puzzled. After all, here was a leader who was being asked which portfolio he wants and his first choice was Rural Development. But, Venkaiah Garu was clear- he was a Kisan Putra, he had spent his early days in the villages and thus, if there was one area he wished to work, it was rural development. As Minister, he was closely associated with the conception and rolling out of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana.’ Years later, when the NDA Government of 2014 assumed office, he handled the crucial portfolios of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. It was during his tenure that we launched the important Swachh Bharat Mission and important urban development related schemes. Perhaps, he is one of the only leaders to have worked for both rural and urban development for such an extensive period.

When I came to Delhi in 2014, I was an outsider to the national capital, having worked in Gujarat for the previous decade and a half. In such times, Venkaiah Garu’s insights were very handy. He was an effective Parliamentary Affairs Minister - he knew the essence of bipartisanship but at the same time he drew a line when it came to Parliamentary norms and rules.

In 2017, our Alliance nominated him as our Vice-Presidential candidate. We faced a dilemma – we thought about how the big shoes of Venkaiah Garu would be impossible to fill, but at the same time, we also knew there was no better candidate for the Vice Presidency than him. I can never forget one of the speeches he gave when he resigned as Minister and MP. He could not control his tears when he recalled his association with the Party and efforts to build it. It gave a glimpse of his deep-rooted commitment and passion. Upon becoming the Vice President, he undertook various steps that also enhanced the dignity of the office. He was an outstanding Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, ensuring that young MPs, women MPs and first time MPs get the opportunity to speak. He put great emphasis on attendance, making the Committees more effective and also raising the level of debate in the House.

When the decision to remove Articles 370 and 35(A) were placed on the floor of the Rajya Sabha, it was Venkaiah Garu who was on the Chair. I am sure it was such an emotional moment for him- the young boy who was drawn to Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s dream of a united India was on the Chair when this was finally achieved.

Apart from work and politics, Venkaiah Garu is a voracious reader and writer too. For the people in Delhi, he is known as the person who brought the glorious Telugu culture to the city. His Ugadi and Sankranti programmes are clearly among the most cherished gatherings in town. I have always known Venkaiah Garu as someone who loves food and also hosting people. But, off late, his self-control has also been visible to everyone. His commitment to fitness is seen in how he still plays badminton and enjoys his brisk walk.

Even after the Vice Presidency, Venkaiah Garu has led an active public life. On the issues that he is passionate about or on various developments that take place across the nation, he calls me and asks me about it. I met him most recently when our government returned to office for the third term. He was delighted and conveyed his best wishes to me and our team. I wish him once again on this milestone. I hope young Karyakartas, elected representatives and all those who have a passion to serve learn from his life and imbibe those values. It is people like him who make our nation better and more vibrant.