Popular Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Bhupendra Bhai Patel, my cabinet colleagues Mansukh Bhai, Parshottam Rupala and Anupriya ji; Gujarat's BJP President Shri C.R. Patil, Sardardham's President Shri Gagji Bhai Sutariya, all revered members of Patidar society, all the eminent guests from within the country and abroad, friends from the industrial world, ladies and gentlemen!
Today's programme is of such significance that everyone from the Government of Gujarat as well as Gujarat's Bharatiya Janata Party would have been here with you. But today another programme clashed with this programme. BJP's National President is also in Ahmedabad today. There is another very important event with all the MPs, MLAs and Ministers. So I said, "I'm going, I'll handle things there". They were all apprehensive about it; but I told them that I would come here and there is no need to worry; they could carry on their respective programmes.
I am glad to see so many familiar faces in front of me. We all know that Surat is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and today you all are taking new resolutions in Surat. Heartiest congratulations to you all! Within a span of a few months, I have got the chance to once again meet my friends associated with Sardardham. You have enhanced Gujarat and India's glory before the world. This is a proof of our shared resolve, shared commitment towards Gujarat and towards India.
When the country was just freed from colonial rule, during the early days of independence, Sardar Saheb had said something very crucial in those difficult times. Pay attention to Sardar Saheb's powerful words. He had said, 'There is no dearth of wealth and resources in India. We just have to put our minds and our resources to their best use'. I would say, as we are striding ahead with a resolution for the coming 25 years, we should never forget these words of Sardar Saheb. Today India has so much. We just have to strengthen our self-confidence and our spirit of self-reliance. This confidence will grow only when there is participation of everyone in development and everyone puts efforts.
In the last 8 years, efforts are being made to instill a new confidence in business, enterprise and creativity in the country. The government is constantly making efforts through its policies and action to develop such an environment in the country that a youngster from even an ordinary family can become an entrepreneur, can dream of becoming an entrepreneur and can be proud of entrepreneurship.
Make in India, Make for the world - I believe, work is being done to make this a new culture of New India. Therefore, work related to development of infrastructure for modern connectivity, construction of new cities, development of smart facilities in old cities, freeing the country from the burden of rules and regulations, paperwork compliances, and handholding of innovative ideas, is being done simultaneously.
Today, the Mudra Yojana is encouraging those people of the country to start their businesses, who had never ever thought about it. 'Start-Up India' is showing the path to those innovative talents to become a Unicorn who had never thought about it before. Production Linked Incentive i.e. PLI scheme has not only filled the old sectors with a lot of enthusiasm for 'Make in India' but has also created immense possibilities of development of new sectors like semiconductors.
Now see, despite the unprecedented challenges of the Corona period, the MSME sector in the country is developing rapidly today. With the help of lakhs of crores of rupees, crores of jobs in the MSME sector were saved and today this sector is creating new employment opportunities rapidly. Even a countryman doing a very small business or a street vendor feels connected with the growth story of India today. For the first time, he is included in the formal banking system though the PM Svanidhi Yojana. Recently our government has extended this scheme till December 2024.
Small or big, every business makes a significant contribution to the development of the country. This spirit of 'Sabka Prayas' or everyone's effort is becoming the strength of New India in the 'Amrit Kaal'. I am glad that you are discussing this topic in great detail in this year's summit.
As I am meeting the people of Surat and the people gathered here from all over the country and abroad in such a large number, Gagjibhai's words have evoked a new hope and enthusiasm in us. Gagjibhai always has something motivational to say. If you talk to Gagjibhai, there is no room for despair. It has become Gagjibhai's nature to do something new, to do something for the society with a lot of devotion; and because of this he succeeds in every work.
Frankly speaking, we have to think that just buying and selling land is not everything. I have no problem with whatever work or profession someone chooses. But should we keep doing only that? I agree that offering big schemes, building huge flats and bungalows is a good profession. Or, we might be excellent in the field of diamonds. But today I want to take you to a different realm. And I believe that Gagjibhai understands me. So Gagjibhai will get what I am saying. Even though this summit is held every two years; but I have an idea. Gagjibhai, you can form 10-15 groups. And 25-30 percent of the people should be elderly, who are experienced while 40-50 percent should be enthusiastic youth, who know about the newer and modern things. Divide different topics among them. Ask them, what new options are available if we want to take Gujarat and India forward; what raw materials could be used; what about the market and the required changes in policies of the government that might create a problem? They should work on a topic each. And your small group should also provide documents and input to the government to help frame government policies. They could point out the limitations in the policies or suggest reforms to move forward.
So, think and discuss these things and then come up with a simple document for the banking sector. Banks generally do not always come forward in these things, I know. Every week people from the diamond sector or the banking sector come and complain against each other. So where is the loophole in the policies? What should be our priorities? Similarly, we have to think about the technology of financing in the business world - FinTech. We have to take up different issues. Maybe this time we can take up ten topics. Involve outside experts and academicians in these ten subjects. We must think in terms of global standards for everything. And I assure you that if this group seeks an appointment with me with such documents, then I am definitely going to watch its presentation. And by involving the different departments of the government, together, we will change the policies if needed. We will also make changes in the courses of the University, if required. There are some courses which are taught in the university, but they have now become outdated. You can brainstorm about reforms in aspects related to skill development. Just think about it, so that your team can work on it. Secondly, Government of India has formulated the National Education Policy (NEP).
NEP in India has received such a good response. It is something to be proud of. Be it the people of various political ideologies in India, be it the people from the academic world, everyone has appreciated it. You can form a team regarding this too because I have seen that the people here are making great efforts in education too. But after studying this National Education Policy, and getting input from the people who have been in academics, and other people of Gujarat, we will make any required changes to the policies and systems so that the people in every corner of India get 100% benefits out of the National Education Policy. Thirdly, I have one more thing to tell you, my friends. 99 percent of you sitting here are farmers' sons. Now I feel really delighted that you deal in crores of rupees in Surat. But our roots are linked to our fields, to farming. It is the legacy of our ancestors. Now tell me, although we have progressed so much, has our agriculture progressed proportionately? Is your farming sector getting enough investment? Builders come and build buildings on your land and earn money. You too earn something, but that is a different matter. The water of Narmada is now reaching every nook and corner of Gujarat. Believe me, it can be a big business in true sense to modernise Gujarat's agriculture. You have the ability to fill the stomach of the world. But we do not make full use of our resources.
A few progressive farmers must have done that very well. I request you to form a team to study the entire land of Gujarat with the help of Agriculture University and the Agriculture Department. Just imagine, about 50 years ago, Sardar Saheb was among the visionaries. In Gujarat, if animal husbandry and the dairy industry had not developed, Gujarat would have seen hard times. And if we had not developed the dairy sector, what would have happened to our farmers in the villages? Today there has been an increase in the prices. Today the world knows the name of Amul. Be it Banas Dairy or the Sagar Dairy, now there is a dairy in Kathiawad and Kutch. Animal husbandry and milk got a lot of boost from this. Can we also boost the agriculture sector too? If I don't pin my hopes on the agro-based industries, then where should I? You have the power to polish and make a farmer's hardwork shine just like you can make a diamond shine. So food processing is a huge sector.
There is huge market potential all over the world. We are still far behind in this sector. The reason is the lack of private investment in the farming sector. And there are many small farmers here; some with one acre land while some with two acres of land. But by planning on a large scale we can start modern farming with good farm production. Just imagine, the sons of farmers like you deal in billions and trillions! But my country has to import edible oil worth 80 thousand crores from other countries. In such a scenario, should I pin my hopes on you or not? Can we bring this change or not? Talking about self-reliance, being self-reliant only in diamonds is not enough. And that's why the Government of India has formulated the FPO scheme for the food processing sector. It is an organization for small farmers' products. The Government of India provides a lot of funds. Just imagine how big this sector is! Similarly, 90 percent of you go to the market to buy organic products; you check the label several times to ensure that you are buying organic products. When you go to buy mangoes, you ensure that it is organic. Now even the mothers and sisters at home ask us if we have brought organic products or not. Even at the dining table, we talk of organic vegetables while eating.
Now this attraction has reached our dining tables because of the great initiatives taken by our Gujarat's Governor Acharya Devvrat ji. He is running the campaign vigouriously to promote organic farming. The farmers of Gujarat have now embraced natural farming. Can we add business knowledge to natural farming? Just as the dairy industry could develop due to the different products made out of milk, the same strength lies in the cow dung. We have formulated the Gobardhan scheme, a very big project by the Government of India. Can all the industrialists develop a model for cow dung just like the dairy models that exist in the district you belong to? We can generate gas, sell it to the gas industry and natural manure can also be produced from it. And all that should reach the people too. There is a project here in Umreth and also in Kashi. Banas Dairy has done a great job. It's all connected with farming. Can we too do something similar? Gujarat has a dream. Can its farmers also become energy producers? Farming, field and industry - why don't we explain to our farmers that the land on the borders of their farm can be utilized. Two metres of land is wasted due to fencing between the lands of two neighbours. Our farmer can become an energy provider besides being a food producer by just putting solar panels on that land. Our villages can prosper. The Gujarat government has framed a policy. As per the policy framed, when the farmer generates electricity, the government buys it. But all of you, the industrialists will have to join the initiative.
The young generation will have to join it. That's why I request you to provide funds for villages. Can you help me with this? And I would say with 100 percent confidence that you can! In the same way, we can do something to serve people on 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'. It's our dream. In the past, in case of a major event or a major victory, a 'Vijaystambha' or a 'victory tower' used to be placed in the village. Sometimes a huge gate used to be erected in a village in case of a big event or a victory. We have been witnessing this in history. What special thing can we do to mark 75 years of independence that the coming generations will remember? They will remember that this particular work was accomplished in the 75th year of independence in their village. And that's why I have asked the people to do a small thing. Can we create 75 major ponds in each district? I have named this campaign 'Amrit Sarovar' to create 75 ponds in each district. Just imagine the results, if you are successful in accomplishing that. When I was in Gujarat we talked about building check dams. I made all the people of Surat to be associated with it. You all had helped me in accomplishing that too. And in Gujarat, we had framed a complete plan of the check dam. Consequently, the water levels increased from the ground. When the level of water rose, the price of land also increased. Now we have to build 75 ponds in every district.
That should not be some small or an ordinary pond. It should become the centre of tourism, the centre of attraction. The ponds should be such that the elders of the village should feel like going there as soon as the sun sets. We need 75 ponds in each district. On 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' can you take the responsibility of building ponds, be it 5 districts, 10 districts or 15 districts? And can you do something before this year's 15th August? You might be thinking that you used to talk about setting up factories here, but Modi sahib is sending you back to where you came from. But this is the power of our roots. The reason why we are flourishing today is because our roots have been strong. Can we think of something to strengthen those roots so that they do not dry up? And it also involves technology, scope for modernity and has the power to capture the world market. Quality farm produce and food processing is a huge strength. I have just held a major summit related to Ayurveda in Gujarat.
The demand for India's Ayurveda is increasing in the world. It has increased even more after Corona. I have seen that some young people have set up good start-ups in the field of Ayurveda. Can we take the lead in holistic healthcare for the world by entering this field? There are so many sectors that we can create a new economic empire even by going outside the cities of Surat, Ahmedabad and Baroda. And I have another request for you. Whatever you do, whatever you decide, please avoid the major cities. I remember when I started the Jyotigram scheme to provide 24 hours electricity, some of the boys came out with flags to protest. They had no idea how people used to spend time in the darkness. I remember that there used to be diamond polishing benches in Surat, where about 25 people used to live in each cramped shanty. When the Jyotigram scheme came and 24 hours electricity was available, they thought that now that electricity was available for 24 hours, why couldn’t they go to Bhavnagar district or Amreli district and set up the bench? Many people went back to the villages and set up the bench. They used to do their household work and farming; at the same time serve elderly parents and in their free time, they also polished diamonds. Did they benefit or not? The change that took place with the availability of electricity for 24 hours had resulted in shifting the polishing bench to the villages of Gujarat. You have done this in front of my eyes. And that's why I can't stop praising you. That's why today I am saying that you should decide and start working, not in the top 15-20 cities of Gujarat, but in the smaller cities, towns and villages. There will be savings in investment.
Land will be cheap; buildings will be cheap; labour will be cheap and Gujarat will expand. The scope of development will increase. And now is the time to pick 25 to 30 such small towns and work on them. Who had heard the name of Surat 30 years ago? But now has it gone ahead or not? Similarly, I have to develop small towns. A new city can come up next to the city. So can you think in this direction as you have gathered for this Summit? Be it the academic world, the business circle or FinTech, I wish to talk to you regarding a long-term plan because I know and trust you. I assign work to you because I trust you. Even if 2 out of 10 tasks are left, at least 8 things will be done and you will definitely do it. Others won't do it, that's why I tell you. If you say, 'Modi sahib, I don't want to do it', then I will stop asking for it. But if you do, I will definitely ask you to do it.
If you do not, then I will not. And you have been listening to this because you do the work. Whatever I have asked you to do till today, you have done that all. And that's why I have expectations from you, friends, with a new faith. Now we have to think global. We can't think small. There is no looking back. And I believe that our youth have done a commendable job. The third generation of the families are now doing really well in studies. Many boys from your city come to meet me. I am always very happy to meet them. They come up with completely new ideas. They come forward with the desire to innovate. There are children with new learning instincts too. This is a huge asset. Even though this Summit happens after every 2 years, we should carry this summit forward keeping them in mind. But in the intervening one year, we can work on the insights given by the group that we have formed and go ahead with their ideas. We can work on 8 to 10 big ideas and give our best. And after two years we can pick 10 new ideas. So I am sure that your entire team is a new brainstorming team. It is a team with futuristic ideas, a team that makes good use of technology. I wish you all the best. I am grateful that I got the opportunity to talk to all of you. I was able to speak my mind. Take as much as you can out of it.
See you again, Ram-Ram.