I welcome you all in Gujarat..! It is a good occasion for me to meet all of you who have come from all over the world. Hon. Minister is also there from Mizoram, I welcome him specially..!
Now a days, Gujarat is in the map of tourism..! There was a time, Gujarat was never a tourist destination. Gujaratis are the best tourists, wherever and whenever you go, anywhere in the world, you will find Gujaratis. They will start with ‘Kem chho..!’, but Gujarat was never a tourist destination. But during last five years, thanks to the various activities for the promotion of tourism, our tourism growth rate is double compared to the average national growth of tourism. And one major thing which has been developed in tourism sector is ‘Conference Tourism’. And we are lucky that now a days so many conferences are organized here in Gujarat, people prefer the venue in Gujarat and that also is one of the best occasions for the development of tourism. And this infrastructure in YMCA, credit goes to John, will help us promote the conference tourism. And I am sure that this will also be a part of my desire.
I was just talking to John, and I would like to talk to Rolland also, that can we organize a national level large conference here in Ahmedabad or Gandhinagar..? In the month of October, atleast 10 members from each chapter, means 10,000 people from all over India… in October, there will be very good weather, we have ‘Mahatma Mandir’ where we have one of the biggest convention center in India… So if you can decide today in your meeting that in the month of October we can organize a meeting of all the 1000 chapters in Gujarat. I will be happy to host that..!
The mission that we have taken regarding youth empowerment is dear to my heart..! Now a days we are talking about 21st century. People say that 21st century will be of Asia’s century, few say that 21st century will be of China’s century, few people say that 21stcentury will be India’s century..! Are we going to do anything or not..? Or simply we will wait to get a chance..? No, we have to work hard, and then only we can achieve this goal..! And we are lucky, India is lucky that today 65% population of this country is below 35 years of age. 65% population of the country is below 35..! We are so lucky that we have such a huge youth power with us..! But the tragedy of our country is that politicians and for the ruling parties, by and large, think about the youth voters. For them youth is just a voter..! They are useful just to cast a vote..! We have to change that mindset. And for me, youth is not simply a voter, but to me youth is a power of this country..! We have to change this focus..! Unless and until we do not believe that youth is the power of this country, we cannot grow..! And when you have such a huge young population, and not only physically, they have new ideas, they have a very good risk taking capacity, they can achieve so many things..! And to help and empower youth, in Gujarat we have taken lots of initiatives. Every year we organize ‘Khel Mahakumbh’. Even in the rural areas, the Government organizes sports competitions. Last year 1.8 million people participated in this ‘Khel Mahakumbh’, the sports competition programme..! एक राज्य में 18 लाख नौजवान खेलकूद की स्पर्धा में हिस्सा ले ये अपने आप में बहुत बड़ी घटना है..! और जब मैं ‘खेल महाकुंभ’ को ऑर्गनाइज़ करता हूँ... For me the sports is not simply a sport, it is my conviction. Sports bring ‘Sportsman Spirit’..! Only sports can bring this sportsman spirit to the society..! And until and unless you don’t have sportsman spirit in the society, there can’t be any harmony..! And that is why, the conviction is not just to promote the sports, but to bring sportsman spirit..! And for the any healthy society, even in the family, sportsman spirit gives a better environment to grow family life..! And that’s why, to bring this culture we are focusing on sports in ‘Khel Mahakumbh’..!
We need to know that not only sports, our youth has power, but at the same time हम लोगों के मन में करुणा हो, और क्रिश्चियानिटी में तो करुणा की बहुत बातें होती हैं... करुणा हमारा स्वभाव कैसे बने..! और इसलिए हमने एक काम किया, not only sports program, but we promoted sports for the specially abled children. When internationally any sports programs for the specially abled children are organized, hardly 1000 players take part in such programs. In my State, last year when we organized an Olympic program for the specially abled children, more than 70,000 children participated..! Yesterday I was at the ‘Yoga University’ for the inauguration, in Gujarat we have started the first university of this kind..! I requested the organizers of that university, I told them to start a special Yoga for the specially abled children. And with Yoga, we can grow the child also, and it will be the greatest service to the society..!
We know that as far as education is concerned, Kerala is leading in this country and the greatest contribution from the different societies, all the Dharma Gurus, whether it’s from Christianity, Hinduism or even Narayan Guru himself… because of this reason, today as far as education is concerned, Kerala is leading..! We Gujarati people, हम लक्ष्मी के पूजारी हैं, अब उनको सरस्वती के पूजारी भी बनाना चाहते हैं..! और हम मानते हैं कि अगर सरस्वती नहीं है, तो लक्ष्मी टीकती नहीं है..! So we took an initiative especially for the girls’ education. And my goal is 100% education in the State, 100% enrollment… and we are doing very huge campaign for that. In the month of June, when the temperature is 45 in Gujarat, I used to go to the villages for 3 days, all my ministers and officers go to the villages..! We stay there, we meet poor people, and we request them that please send your children to school. And today I am proud to say that we have already achieved 100% enrollment target..!
To empower youth and if we want to make 21st century, India’s century, what is the essence of that..? I can say, ‘Skill Development’ is the need of the hour..! Unless and until we don’t focus on Skill Development, we can’t do anything..! Sometimes we meet young people and ask them, what do you do..? The answer we get is, ‘Sir, I’m Graduate..!’ Again you ask, what can you do..? He will say that I am Graduate..! Ask him again that fine, but what can you do..? He will show the certificate..! But if you ask whether you can drive, can you operate computer or can you cook..? He will say, No..! He is simply a graduate..! So, we have to change this environment. We have a skill development program and Gujarat is the first state in India where we have started ‘Skill University’..! Our special focus is on the Skill Development of the youth. You see, in China… why people are talking about China..? There is a vast movement in China for Skill Development. In India, we will have to focus on Skill Development. Each and every girl & boy must have an opportunity to develop their skills..! We must provide an opportunity, we must give direction, we must give infrastructure..! Unless and until we don’t provide all these, we will lose this youth power..! And that’s why our another focus is on ‘Skill Development’ and that is what we are doing..! And at the same time, when we are talking about ‘Skill University’, we are talking about ‘Skill Development Programs’, we have started ‘Kaushalya Vardhan Center’, KVC..! And you will be surprised to know that three years back in our National Development Council (NDC) meeting, where our Prime Minister was the Chairman and all the Chief Ministers were present and some 800-1000 people of the country were there. The Prime Minister was talking about Skill Development Program. The Central Govt. gave consultancy for the same to some known organization. It was out-sourced..! For two years this committee was working, but there was no output..! At the same time, we did not wait for the Central Govt. to do something. We started our work on our own, and started ‘Kaushalya Vardhan Kendra’. And today in my State, more than 1000 KVCs are there, lacs of young girls and boys have opted for the skill development program. And after two years, the Central Govt. had to change the idea and declared that this out-sourced consultancy cannot do anything, we will have to adopt the Gujarat model and now all over India, Gujarat’s KVC model has been accepted..! So, to empower the youth, we have done something.
At the same time, if India wants to grow, we have to do research and development..! We have to do some innovations..! New research is totally lacking in our country. Unless and until you don’t do the research, you cannot contribute, you cannot go to the new era of the manufacturing sector. We have to do that..! Gujarat is a state where we have started ‘iCreate’ institution..! This ‘iCreate’ institution is for the young people who are interested in innovations, those who are god-gifted, brilliants..! We want to provide proper infrastructure and environment to those who are interested in research, who want to contribute..! There are people who have their own ideas, they can do something, but they can’t go to the market, though they have ideas, innovations, research capabilities… but they can’t do..! In this ‘iCreate’ institution, students can come to my state from anywhere in India, if they have some ideas, if they have some innovation, if they want to do any research, we will provide all the facilities to them and they can contribute to the country for the next generation..! Mr. Narayan Murthy is the Chairman of this institution. We are going to provide world-class infrastructure, two centers are already coming-up.
So, for the development of the youth and empowering the youth, we have taken lot of initiatives. I have started one program, Chief Minister’s Fellowship..! It is a new innovative program in India. No one is doing this, but we have started in Gujarat. I give opportunity to the youth that if you want to do something for the country, if you want to know the governance, if you want to work with the Government, here is the opportunity, you can come and join with the Government..! And I am happy to say that the students and young people who are getting 3-4 crore rupees salary per annum, left their jobs, came to my State, they are working with me in my office and are getting hardly Rs. 30,000..! Even though, since last two years young girls and boys are working for the innovative governance in my State. On the website also, you can visit the page of ‘Chief Minister Fellowship’. All the YMCA members can go to this website and find out how they can become a part of the Chief Minister’s Fellowship and if they think that they can contribute to this country, there is a scope in my State..! This is called empowerment of the youth..! I welcome each and everyone who wants to do this..!
And off-course, I am very active on the social media..! All you YMCA members can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. I am easily available..! I will give one small example, what is the strength of this social media..! I face lot of problems because of few NGOs and all. There was one judgment of the Supreme Court in my favour. So, on that very day my Tweet was, ‘God is Great..!’, simple words, nothing else..! But I am happy to announce here, immediately by and large from all the churches, thousands of Fathers, Bishops and Reverends sent me blessings just because of this once sentence, ‘God is Great’..! So one can understand the strength and power of this social media..! And on that very day, I was connected with so many churches and was in direct contact with them, with the help of social media only..! I am sure that even YMCA can be a part of it and I will be happy to be in touch with the members of YMCA. We can have this mechanism for the live contacts. And whenever anything is required from the Govt. of Gujarat or from the people of Gujarat, we will be happy to do, whatever we can for the betterment of the society..!