Friends, the leadership of both these schools of thought rested with a Gujarati. Shyamji Krishna Varma established the India House in London and was regarded as a leader of the armed revolution. He gave direction to many of the revolutionaries and Mahatma Gandhi who gave India independence was from Gujarat.
Friends, many great people have made sacrifices, spent their youth in prison, done penance, given up their lives, so that our country attains freedom. It is because of their tireless efforts that this dream became a reality: We got Independence! It has been more than six decades since we attained freedom but the nation is still worried about getting
Surajya. The country eagerly awaits Surajya!
My friends, if we are to stake out our place on the path of progress that the world is travelling on, our first goal should be to strengthen
Surajya. And when I say strengthen
Surajya - in the language you are familiar with, then the right words are: Good Governance.
Today the whole world is talking about Gujarat’s development journey. Now if you were to examine this journey in detail, then you would realize we have focused on good governance. When I talk about good governance and when I talk about my governance model, I talk about P2-G2: Pro-People, Good Governance. Normally, administration in this country plays the role of a fire-fighter. The administration reacts after problems arise and then tries to solve them. Friends, the role of administration is to visualize situations, anticipate problems, find ways to change the situation and create new facilities and opportunities. However, for the last six decades we have failed to do so. The result of all this is, that today, in the entire country, there is an environment of pessimism. The country is in a state of gloom. People think, “What is the point of making efforts? Everyone is a thief.” Some people even regret being born in this country and feel like going elsewhere to pursue career opportunities. This sentiment is resonating in the country. However, I think differently. I have been governing Gujarat for a while now – this is my fourth term. I can tell you with experience: that with these very laws, this very constitution, these very rules and regulations, these very employees, these same files, these offices - in spite of all these - we can move ahead. We can do a lot.
Friends, all of you who are sitting here will perceive situations differently. (Lifts the glass that is half-filled with water). The optimists will say, “This glass is half full,” while the pessimists will say, “This glass is half empty.” I don’t agree with either of these views. I have a third view. I say, “This glass is completely full; half with water, and half with air.”
Friends, I am very hopeful and confident that we can change the present situation. Recently, an ambassador from a foreign country came to see me. After a while, the conversation drifted to politics.
He asked me, “What do you think are the two main challenges for India?” I told him that the most important challenge for us is to effectively use opportunity. He asked me what I meant. I told him that our nation is the youngest nation in the world. 65% of our population is below the age 35. People of Europe and China are ageing. Ours is the world’s youngest nation. However, it is our great misfortune that this huge demographic dividend, which is a great opportunity, is not being used properly. “What about the other challenge?” he asked me. I told him that my country is not poor. Our country, especially the eastern region, has abundant natural resources. We are not efficiently using these resources and therefore we are constantly losing opportunities and are not moving towards prosperity. It is a challenge to capture opportunities, channelize them, develop them, and transform them into wealth and development. We must overcome this challenge.
We have emphasized one important aspect while building the Gujarat development model. We don’t try to set up our tent on a single pillar. As a result, our entire model has been developed on three pillars: One-third on agriculture, one-third on industry, and one-third on the service sector. Our endeavour is to ensure the uniform progress of these three sectors and if ever one of these sectors lags behind the other two or faces any difficulty, then the other two will support it. As a result, the state’s economy is never weak.
As students and as followers of Google Guru you will have this information on your fingertips – for 20 years, our nation has set a growth target of 4% in agriculture, but eventually we achieved a growth-rate of 2 to 2.5%. Gujarat has never been an agriculture-driven economy. The state is essentially a desert. The situation in our state is such that here we have “Registan” (desert), and on the other side we have Pakistan. In Gujarat, crops are solely dependent on rain. The state experienced water scarcity in 7 out of 10 years and in spite of that we have created history by achieving an annual agriculture growth rate of 10% in the past decade.
This has not happened suddenly. We have had to work very hard for this. You must have seen extensive media coverage of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. One was held recently, people from 121 countries attended it. However, the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, a biennial event, lasts only for 2 days. On the other hand, every summer, when the temperature is almost 44 degrees, I conduct a month-long Krishi Mahotsav (farm fair). Along with me, more than 1 lakh government officials go to the villages, reach out to the farmers, highlight lab-to-land knowledge transfer and agriculture-related innovations.
Friends, in India, people don’t have health cards; but Gujarat is a state where farmers have “soil health cards.” As a result, farmers know the inherent strengths and deficiencies of their lands. Consequently, farmers know the types of fertilizers they need, the appropriate seasons and the crops that are suitable for their land. Additionally, we have carried out a mass movement for water conservation. We have constructed more than 6 lac structures to preserve water. While the water table in the entire country is going down, we are the only exceptional state where the water table is going up.
We are a cotton-growing state. When I became chief minister of Gujarat for the first time, in 2001-2002 our total cotton production was 23 lakh bales. Now our cotton production is 1,23,00,000 bales.
However, if we settle down at this point a farmer will not get what he deserves. To ensure value addition we have introduced a new textile policy. The motivation behind introducing this textile policy is to reduce the efforts which cotton growers have to put in, to sell their produce. I have a 5-F formula: Farm to fibre, fibre to fabric, fabric to fashion, and fashion to foreign. Cotton growing, cloth and garment manufacturing and export of readymade garments will be done from the same place. This will increase the farmer’s income. This is why we should have an integrated approach. This industrial revolution will make farmers financially strong.
Coupled with agriculture is animal husbandry. There probably isn’t one among you, not using milk produced in Gujarat. Gujarat exports large quantities of milk to places like Delhi and Singapore. Gujarat also exports vegetables to Europe and Afghanistan. If you go to Europe and eat “
bhindi” rest assured, that
bhindi has come from Gujarat. If you go to Singapore and ask for milk, remember this, it has probably come from Gujarat. Go to Afghanistan and eat tomatoes – you can write it down, those tomatoes came from Gujarat.
Friends, I will give you a small example, which illustrates transformation of the agriculture sector in Gujarat. There is a tribal belt near the Maharashtra border, which I frequently visited when I was not in politics. Farmers from the area later visited me. They said, “Sir please do something about our roads.” I replied, “You have decent tar roads, what’s the problem?” They then said, “Sir, yes there are good tar roads, but we still need some improvement. We grow export bananas to Finland. When our bananas are transported in trucks, we lose 20% of the bananas as they are crushed because the ride is jerky. So we want paver roads.” Friends, even all places in Delhi might not have paver roads! Just reflect for a moment on the farsightedness of our citizens! They want paver roads so that they can export bananas to the world! Friends, if my fellow citizens can aspire to do so much, then I can clearly see a bright future for my country!
Friends, let us turn to the topic of animal husbandry. Every year we conduct almost 2500 to 3000 medical camps for cattle. During these camps we do medical check-ups and operations. Today, after 6 years of constant effort, 120 cattle diseases have been totally eradicated. Moreover, the result of this is that the total milk production has increased by 80%. An increase in milk production leads to an increase in farmer’s incomes. This results in the increase of the village income and then the village’s purchasing power goes up. When the village purchasing power goes up, only then does the state economy improve. It has been our focus to increase the farmers’ purchasing power. The purchasing power only goes up only if the growth chart of our economic development is consistent. If it is unstable, then it is not a good sign. You need consistency in growth, which is what we have been monitoring and doing for 10 years.
Friends, let us talk about the service sector. Gujarat was not very well known in the service sector. One of the biggest areas in the service sector is hospitality; another is tourism. Gujaratis are the best tourists. Go to any part of the world and you will find Gujarati people – even in a five-star hotel, a Gujarati will open his lunch box and eat thepla.
However, Gujarat was never a tourist destination. Friends, for the last 5 years we have been making constant efforts. The rate of growth of the tourism sector in Gujarat has been double that of the national tourism growth–rate for the past 3 years. Amitabh Bachchan, himself comes into your homes every day and says, “
Kuch din toh guzaro Gujarat mein” I am sure you will go there someday – and maybe you would even like to settle down in Gujarat. In the service sector, we have made a lot of efforts and it has borne positive outcomes.
Friends, let us turn to the education sector. In 2001-02, we had 11 universities in our state. Today we have 42 universities. We are the first in the world to have a Forensic Sciences University. Today, in the whole world, the nature of crime has changed. Someone sitting in Holland can hack your bank account and steal money. Cyber crime is increasing. Economic offenses are increasing. If we want to stop these crimes, then forensic science is the only way. And nowhere else in the world is there a Forensic Sciences University – we are the first in the world. The University has developed a global reputation and today, Israel, which is well-known in the world for security and developed nations like Australia and Canada have collaborated with our Forensic Sciences University and are partners in its development.
Friends, Gujarat is the first state in the country to set up a Raksha Shakti University. These days, people in Delhi are angry and concerned about the law and order situation. Everyone is concerned and I have not come here to criticize - but can we search for solutions? Today, what is the police recruitment process? It is done, based on physical abilities. If someone is 6 feet tall, he is enlisted. Then the person undergoes training for 6-8 months after which the person is given a uniform and a gun and then the law is in the person’s hands. Friends, this needs to change and that is why we have started a Raksha Shakti University. Anyone who wants to pursue a security-related career can join the Raksha Shakti University after 10th standard for a 3-year or 5-year course. The person is then taught subjects like mob psychology, law, the constitution among others. This will ensure quality manpower in the police force.
Today, the Gujarat police force is the most youthful in India. The Government has enrolled youth in large numbers. We insist that they be techno-savvy. Today, even constables are very techno-savvy.
Friends, we are the first to start a university like the IITE – the Indian Institute of Teachers Education. Today, in our country we have IIMs, which mould executives who then go on to run companies. However, for families, both rich and poor, good education is the most important need. Every father and mother wants good teachers for their kids.
Friends, why don’t we introduce a scientific method of training teachers? We are the first in India to start a training university for teachers, the Indian Institute of Teachers Education. After 12th standard, those interested in pursuing teaching as a career will be trained for 5 years. I have a dream. The whole world needs millions and millions of teachers. We have an army of young people. We export everything – why not send teachers abroad? When a businessman goes abroad, he earns money but when a teacher goes abroad, he or she influences an entire generation! This is the strength of knowledge.
Friends, India must look at things with this perspective and vision. We shouldn’t confine ourselves to a small comfort-zone. The reason we are falling behind in the Industrial Development sector is that we are not paying attention to technology up-gradation.
There was a time when Ahmedabad was called the ‘Manchester of India.’ There were cloth mills everywhere – you could see their chimneys everywhere. That entire business was destroyed 30-40 years ago. Why? Don’t people need clothes? No, the market for clothes was very big. The Industry got destroyed because technology up-gradation that was needed to remain competitive was not done. Friends, if India has to secure its place in this changing world, then technology up-gradation is a must.
Today, the eyes of the entire world are focussed on India. Why? Because the world thinks that India is a large bazaar. The whole world intends to dump their goods in our markets. They believe they can sell easily in India. However, the need of the hour is that we should start considering the world as our bazaar and lead in the manufacturing sector by selling our products across the globe.
For this, branding is essential. You may not know this because most of you are too young, but if you are as old as Ajay or me, you can relate to what I am about to say. When we were young, if people saw anything with the label “Made in Japan” in the market, they bought it. Even if it was as simple as a pen no one asked which company manufactured it, where it was made, or anything else, as long as it was “Made in Japan.” Friends, why don’t we make the brand of “Made in India” famous around the world?
There are many aspects to building a credible brand. Now, recently, I had visited Japan at the invitation of the Japanese Government. Everywhere I looked: crockery in the hotel, biscuit packets, travel tickets, there were slogans. I was amazed. And what were the slogans about? Eight years later, Japan will host the Olympics. Yet by posting slogans like “we are ready for the Olympics,” “we are waiting for the Olympics,” “be ready for the Olympics” a buzz is being created about the Olympics. Even before the actual games happen, tremendous national sprit is being forged! Instead, what did we do? To understand how the world treats such events I would like to give you South Korea’s example. I also request all of you, whenever possible, to study the full history of South Korea’s development. A nation that obtained independence after us, one that was once ranked low even among developing nations, hosted the Olympics. And when South Korea hosted the Olympics, the whole world was amazed, and that was a turning point for South Korea. The whole world acknowledged South Korea as a nation whose time had come.
Friends, we hosted the Commonwealth Games. For a nation of 1 billion such an event is an excellent branding opportunity! When we think in global terms, we must do such branding! And in this context, I would like to tell you about the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. On arriving, I was talking with Mr. Jain and I asked him what all of you would wanted to listen. Now I am going to talk on the themes he suggested. He suggested that I talk about Gujarat’s global relevance.
You will be happy to hear this! I was busy until the end of December with the elections. I was sworn in during the last week of December. I had ten days to prepare for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, which was to be held on January 11. Due to the efforts of my entire team in institutionalizing things, within a span of 10 days we ensured the participation of 121 countries! 50% of the GDP of the country was under one roof! When the world looks at this, they develop the confidence to partner with us. They place their faith in us. Once we get that buy-in, we can be unstoppable. Today Gujarat is benefiting from this and is serving India. We produce salt and there is probably no one among you who has not eaten Gujarat’s salt. That is our mantra: Gujarat’s development for India’s development.
Friends, there is another area, which we have emphasized in Gujarat: the Manufacturing Sector. We have emphasized two things. The first one is ensuring “zero defects” in manufactured products. In order to develop global reputation this should be the first point of emphasis. The second point of emphasis is packaging. Often good things get ruined because of bad packaging. Sometimes, by the time the package is delivered, the item is broken.
Friends, during Pandit Nehru’s time, there was a commission known as the “Hathi commission,” named after Jaisukhlal Hathi. The job of the commission was to determine methods for popularizing Ayurveda – our wonderful natural medicinal system. Their recommendations are very interesting. Today, China is the leading exporter of herbal medicines. Today, in spite of the legacy that our forefathers have bequeathed to us, we are nowhere in the field of international herbal medicine. The Hathi Commission opined that Ayurveda would not become popular until a scientific change is introduced in the packaging of Ayurvedic medicines. In the old days people used to carry Ayurvedic medicine powders in small, unattractive packets. Now, after the packaging has become attractive, Ayurveda has started becoming popular even in India. Friends, we must study and understand the psyche of the consumer, of the buyer, the world over, and develop our manufacturing sector.
Friends, this year is the 150th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s birth year. The whole country is celebrating this occasion. Gujarat is also doing so by announcing it as the “
Friends, we have to decide how we look at the youth of this country. I am concerned that many people, including those from our current political system view our youth simply as “new age voters.” If this is how things remain, then I don’t think we can change the state of our country. I too am from the same political
akhada. But my thinking is different from the rest. I wish that my country views youth not only as “new age voters,” but also accepts them as a “new age power.”
If the country perceives them, as a “new age power,” then our thinking about them will be different. Additionally, we will utilize their strengths in a better manner. Swami Vivekananda had a dream – he had said, “I see clearly that my
Bharat-Mata will one day assume the role of
Jagat Guru. And then my
Bharat-Mata will, in full measure, lead the world.”
Friends, I have great belief in and respect for the words of Swami Vivekananda. These words were uttered 125 years ago, when he was 25 years old. Does it not behove us, during the 150th birth year of Swami Vivekananda, to take an oath to make his words come true? Is it not our responsibility to turn into reality the words of this great man who made India famous the world over? Today, during the 150th birth year of Swami Vivekananda and on the basis of the strength of our youth we must promise to create a prosperous, great India
To move ahead, we must focus on certain things. The whole world says that the 21st century is India’s century. Some say the 21st century is Asia’s century; some say it is China’s century. The reason, I feel the 21st century is India’s is that firstly, whenever humanity has entered an era of knowledge, India has led the way. The 21st century is a century of knowledge. Therefore, I am fully convinced that the 21st century can be India’s.
Secondly, the capabilities to make this century India’s exist within our youth. We are fortunate that in this century, we have the largest army of youngsters in the world.
Thirdly, what is India’s identity? Not now, but 10-15 years ago, India used to be known as a land of snakes and snake-charmers, a land of ghosts, spirits, and black magic. Friends, our youngsters, 20-24 year old youngsters, have gone around the world and changed India’s image.
Fifteen years ago, when I was not the Chief Minister of Gujarat, I visited Taiwan. During my visit, I had an interpreter. On the last day of my tour, we had become quite familiar, he asked quite hesitantly, “Sir, if you don’t mind, I would like to ask you a question.” I said, “Go ahead.” He said, “Sir, do you still have snakes and snake charmers in your nation? Do you still live in a world of ghosts, spirits, and superstitions?” The poor fellow only knew those things. I said “No, these days we are not snake-charmers. We have undergone a major devaluation.” He asked me what that meant. I said, “Our ancestors used to be snake charmers. Our generation is not that good. We have lost our abilities. These days we are mouse-charmers.” Friends, today our youth, who have the computer-mouse at their fingertips, move the whole world. This is the power of our youth. They have highlighted India’s achievements in the world. They have forced the world to look at India through different lenses.
Friends, you might know that when President Clinton came to India he visited a village near Jaipur. In the village, he saw how women running a computer centre. During his visit, one fellow, a dalit member of the village council, who was illiterate, suddenly went up to President Clinton to talk to him. Everyone in the village was shocked and angry. They were afraid he would shame them. This fellow looked President Clinton in the eye, talked to the leader of the free world, and asked him – and the whole world saw this on TV - “Mr. Clinton, do you still think my country is backward? Do you still think of it as drowned in poverty and superstition?” When the interpreter translated this to Mr. Clinton, his face changed, and he replied, “No, I don’t believe this now, and wherever I go in the world, I will tell the world what India really is.” Our youngsters have such capabilities. We are not inferior to anyone in the world. To take on the world, we need to have this self-confidence.
If we are to compete with China in the 21st century, if we are to seize opportunity and compete with the rest of the world we need to concentrate on three things.
Firstly, we should concentrate on Skill Development. Secondly, our Scale must be large, and three, our Speed must be fast. Skill, Scale, and Speed: we must excel in these three things. Our youngsters have enthusiasm, energy, and strength, but their skills are not suitably developed, and so they are not partners in the development journey. We have initiated a campaign for skill development in Gujarat. Lakhs of people have been enrolled in skill development programs and a huge budget has been dedicated for this purpose. Nowhere in the country is this being done on such a huge scale. I told my officers, “Think of what a person needs from birth to death and make a list of the required skills.” They made a list of almost 1000 things which are needed and we aim to start skill development training in all those areas. Today we are developing skills in more and more areas, and that is having a positive effect.
Let us talk about speed. In this country, we work in such a way that in we spend a lot of time on paper. It is my firm opinion that Government has no business doing business. Minimum government, maximum governance – there is no alternative to this.
Friends, you are familiar with the story of the Tata Nano production plant. You must have studied it as a case study. People say – even Ratan Tata says – “we went to Gujarat, and within minutes all work was sorted out, and within no time production started” – all this is well-known. I want to tell you a different story. One day a young man came to my office. He was not very presentable, and his communication skills were very weak. He was Gujarati, but he was born in Africa and later he had moved to Canada and grew up there. We spoke for a few minutes but I thought he was wasting my time. So I told him to meet the Collector of Baroda. Because of the system in my office, the Collector of Baroda was informed.
After thirteen months, this person came to my office again and my PA told me about him. I told the PA, please send him away, don’t allow him in, this guy is a waste of time. And my PA said, “No sir, he has come to give you an invitation.” I said, “An invitation? Okay, send him in.” He came in and said, “Sir, I had met you earlier, and now my factory is ready, and so I want you to inaugurate it.” I was astounded. This person who had met me and whom I thought had no substance was inviting me to the inauguration. Friends, I was tremendously impressed and I accepted the invitation. He also invited me to the launch of the product which was scheduled 6 months after the inauguration. My young friends, you will be amazed at all this. A person who comes to meet me for the first time, inaugurates his factory 13 months later, and 6 months after that launches his first product – and what product did I launch there? The metro that you are so proud of in Delhi - I launched the coach of that metro train.
Think of the speed – an individual who was unsure of the place where he would set up his business finished the first coach and delivered it to Delhi within 19 months. Now every coach on the Delhi metro has been built in Gujarat. Until we work at this speed the world will not wait for us, it will go ahead.
We must work at a very large scale. If you ever have the opportunity, come visit Gandhinagar. There we have built the Mahatma Mandir. It is the largest Convention Centre in India, it was built in 162 days. Friends, scale must be as great as you can imagine.
It is important that we lay emphasis on these things as we move forward on the journey of development. For one thing is certain; the solution to all problems is development. There is no alternative to development. The nation has been destroyed by vote-bank politics. The nation needs development politics. There can be great changes in this nation, if the nation’s politics is based on development.
Friends, I am among those optimistic people for whom, the glass is always full – half with water and half with air. I can see very clearly that Swami Vivekananda’s dream will definitely come true and through the efforts of our young generation, India will once again rise and become a world leader.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be with all of you, to be able to talk to young people like you. Thank you!