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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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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.