'He has conquered new heights'
Today's centre of attraction Shri Dilipbhai, Shri Ashok Advani, Shri Shashi Ruia and all the other respected people present over here.
I AM THANKFUL to Ashokji that I got a chance to meet you people. I congratulate Dilipbhai for the honoured award received. I know Dilipbhai for many years; he speaks very little and is shy by nature. But he has conquered new heights and will continue to do it.
Speaking of the pharmaceutical industry ... in the whole of India, Gujarat has contributed the most, and, to top it all, Gujarati people are the most involved in this industry outside India. The core fact behind it comes from the so-called game changers denned these days - our ancestors who started the first pharmacy college in India 50 years ago in Ahmedabad. Due to the foundation of this college, human resource developed in the country and India found its roots in this sector.
I am being introduced as the longest running chief minister and I want to cite a small example - when I got the responsibility of Gujarat state for the first time, our state was financially deficit. We had a total deficit of Rs. 6,7OO crore, and, today, we are a surplus state.
When I started my career as the chief minister of Gujarat, people used to request power supply for just dinner purposes, which shows that Gujarat was short of power supply. From there, we started our journey in the power sector and now we are the only state in the country where three-phase uninterrupted power is being supplied. We don't know the meaning of load shedding. In the rest of the country, if power supply is received, it becomes news; while in Gujarat, news is created when there are power cuts. We had a deficit of 2,000 MW but, with our innovations, the situation has changed. In our country, all state-owned electricity companies are in huge debt. When I became Gujarat's CM, our power companies were making Rs. 2,600 crore losses per year. I added Rs. 900 crore to it by giving discount to schools and farmers, and the total reached Rs. 3,500 crore. We are now Rs. 700 crore profits. During the last 10 years, we have doubled the power production and it is great to know that we haven't increased the tariff by a single rupee. We can do this by taking precautions and stopping leakages.
We initiated solar energy power production. Gujarat was the first state in the country that introduced the solar policy and then the Central government followed with the same. When we started the policy, we quoted a rate of Rs. 12, while the Central government quotes Rs. 19. And it was made mandatory that suppliers go for them. But it went the other way round and they came to us at less rates and now Gujarat is a world leader in the field of solar energy production. It's been seen that all public sector units have a definite end. In our state, we have many well-known companies which were in debt and they were funded by the government in 2001. We concentrated on many issues and professionalised them and now they have become four times profitable. Things can be changed if we give proper attention and Gujarat is the best example.
In the agricultural sector during the last 20 years, all the governments have been targeting 4 per cent growth, which has still been unachievable. Gujarat is a state where we face draught in seven out of every 10 years, and we only have the Narmada River. We started a mass movement of rain water harvesting and made lakhs of check dams to stop water. And Gujarat is the only state where the water table has increased from 3 metres to 13 metres. You'll be happy to know that our agricultural growth is 11 per cent, while other states do not have even 4 per cent growth in the last 10 years. In 2001, total production of cotton in Gujarat was 23 lakh bales, whereas today the number has reached 1.23 crore; but, for some reason, today, the Central government has banned the export, which is adversely affecting trade relations with other countries. No buyer will take interest if the policies of the government fluctuate. Our prime minister is an economist; yet, I don't know why this decision was taken. Last year, due to the fluctuating policies of this government, farmers in Gujarat faced a total loss of Rs. 14, 000 crore.
In Gujarat, we conduct cattle healthcare camps, where we have eradicated 112 common cattle diseases. Gujarat is the only state in the world where we conduct cattle cataract operations and dental check-ups. Due to this, I guarantee that if you have tea in Singapore, it will contain milk from Gujarat.
We were not known for our agricultural sector, but now I guarantee that if you visit Europe, you will find bhindi (lady's finger), which are grown in Bardoli (Gujarat). And, you will also find in Afghanistan tomatoes that have come from Gujarat, We are also concentrating on service and tourist sectors. We all know that Gujaratis are the best tourists, but Gujarat had no attractions for the tourism sector - apart from the Gir forest and Somnath and Dwarka temples. In the last three years, we had commenced aggressive campaigns for it and now Gujarat tourism has grown by 40 per cent, which is double the growth figure for Indian tourism. We are growing in all sectors - whether it is service, agriculture or tourism. This was possible because we turned development into a mass movement. We took an example from our freedom struggle in which many individuals gave up their lives. But Mahatma Gandhi's contribution, whereby he converted our freedom struggle into a mass movement that resulted in our freedom, was unique. In this manner, development should be a mass movement in which every individual in the country should think of the country's development. We created this type of environment in Gujarat. Now we have started to see the future. When I came into power, there were 11 universities in my state and now we have 41. We are initiating a world-class intimation centre - 'I CREATE' - which will help the young people innovate with a spark and thus help in our growth.
Till date, India imports a lot of weapons and equipment for defence purposes. Gujarat is taking initiatives to make India self-sufficient in the sector of defence by bringing out a new policy -for those interested in this field; we will make Gujarat a heavenly place for them. In this way, we will help our nation in its defence.
Gujarat is coming up with many new cities -states within the state - which are very modern. You all must have heard of our gift city, Dholka, which is coming up. It is a special investment region that is double the size of Shanghai and will be the biggest in the world. All of you can imagine how much Gujarat will benefit from it and Mumbai will directly benefit from it because all the money earned in Gujarat is being deposited in banks located in Mumbai. I don't have a problem with that. I wish luck to the bankers over here. I am thankful to have got the opportunity to come here and I again congratulate Mr Dilipbhai and his family.