Gujarat CM Narendra Modi provided a glimpse of his governance agenda were he to become Prime Minister of India while delivering the leader’s speech at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi on Saturday.
The three items high on his agenda would be eradicating corruption, combating food inflation and providing good governance.
The Gujarat Chief Minister said the biggest damage inflicted by UPA-1 and UPA-2 on nation is grievous blow to federalism. On corruption, he said, “Person at top has to be of impeccable integrity. State must be policy-driven, make policy black and white, take away discretionary power of Government.” Modi said, “In this country every citizen needs protection. Don’t segregate. State should not discriminate.”
Asked will his party find it difficult to get allies, Modi said, “That’s not how politics works, it’s media perception and obsession.”
Modi said India should become a net supplier of weapons from a net buyer of weapons. On technology, Modi emphasised on harnessing technology to bring about transparency. On accountability, Modi said, “Stop the transfer industry as Gujarat has done it.”
“We have to be true democrats. Administration has to put people ahead, make them stakeholders,” he said. “Our mindset is our biggest problem. Why can’t we see every challenge as an opportunity?” he asked.
Shri Narendra Modi addressing the India Today Coclave 2013
The Gujarat CM said don’t dream of becoming somebody, dream of doing something. “This is my mantra for India’s young,” he said. On integrated development, he suggested sourcing material for industry from within country. On democracy dividend he said this is one of our strengths. “Along with demographic dividend we can take on China,” he said.
“Ideas need to be institutionalised. Individual centric Government can never deliver,” Modi said. He said with the help of technology we can bring about transparency. “This country can be freed from corruption through harnessing of technology. We have done it in Gujarat,” Modi said.
Modi emphasised on empowering citizens through e-governance. “That’s the way to change situation,” he said. The Gujarat CM said a radical shift is needed in governance approach. “Shift also needed in popular perception,” he said.
Stating that how work on canal inaugurated by Nehru still continuing, he said Sujalam Sufalam canal completed in just two years.
On tax evaders, the The Gujarat CM said, “Tell tax evaders they will be unmasked, exposed, shamed.” This is how to collect 98 per cent tax — the NaMo way. He defined the idea of ‘India First’ — whatever work you are doing, you are doing for your country. “Inculcate this realization,” he said.
Modi said if NREGA could be named as Development Guarantee Scheme to make people stakeholders in nation building.
The Gujarat CM said create pride in India, pride in being Indian. Modi said with India’s innate wisdom, innate qualities and innate abilities, we can win. “That’s how we did it in Gujarat,” he said.
Pushing his innovative reformist views, he proposed private sector participation by introducing Parikrama Yatra which would be privately owned and run Government-owned tracks. They would essentially be meant for pilgrims of all faiths and link places of pilgrimage from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Clearly this would set the path to subsequent massive private sector participation in one of the biggest railways of the world.
On public sector disinvestment, he said PSUs are born to die, either prematurely, or middle-aged. Along with them, thousands of families also die.
Till nowthere were two options to deal with PSUs. Either shut them or sell them. In Gujarat, Modi said, we tried a third option of modernising PSUs, introducing new technologies and professionalising their operation. That has worked.
“My personal philosophy,” said Modi, “is that Government has no business doing business.”
Modi made it abundantly clear that the best Government is one that is policy-driven, transparent and gets out of areas where it does not belong. In brief, minimum Government, maximum governance.
When asked who in the BJP is stopping him from coming to Delhi, Modi said, “I am sitting in Delhi. If someone had stopped me, how could I be sitting here.”
“I have never dreamt of becoming someone in life. I have always tried to do something. Mostly people dream of becoming someone and die. I have never followed this,” he said.
The three-time Gujarat Chief Minister said people should be happy to note that the BJP runs in a democratic way where decisions are taken democratically by its Parliamentary Board and “not on the basis of one family”.
10:40 pm: Narendra Modi's time at the conclave ends. He receives a token of appreciation from Aroon Purie.
10:38 pm: Modi is asked what advice he has for the youth. He answers that it is not right to say that there are no good people in politics. We need to find and encourage people who have intelligent ideas for the development of the country. He says that during the last Panchayat elections in his State, he found that rural candidates were better educated than urban ones.
10:33 pm: Modi is asked by a guest from overseas greets Modi in Gujarati and asks how he would whole and heal the nation. Modi replies that national sentiment in favour of development and growth will change the nation, and bring it together.
10:24 pm: Modi is asked if he thinks he will be able to work the Gujarat magic across India with a coalition Government. He replies by saying that it is unfair to say coalition is a hindrance in the path of development. He says the problem is lack of initiative and lethargy in matters of policy-making.
10:22 pm: Modi is asked about his recent comment on 'secularism'. He is asked if minorities do not deserve protection. Modi replies saying that all Indians deserve protection and that includes everyone.
10:19 pm: Modi is asked why he opposed FDI in multibrand retail. He replies that the Government of India forgets that India has a federal structure. UPA has hurt the federal structure of the country greatly. The FDI decision was also imposed on States. He demanded a consultation process as the tradition seems to have disappeared. FDI is not merely about small traders. It is about the dumping of global commodities in India's local markets and the shutting down of local manufacturing sector.
10:16 pm: General VK Malik asks Modi for his point of view on national security. Our defence budget is Two lakh crore rupees. Most of this money goes out of the country for defence purchases. Modi replies that he has a dream that India should supply weapons to the world. Defence manufacturing companies were present at the Vibrant Gujarat summit.
10:12 pm: Modi is asked about his criticism of Government policy on Pakistan. He replies good relations with all neighbouring countries are important. Diplomacy and trade relations are what can smooth things out between India and Pakistan as well.
10:10 pm: An audience member asks Modi to comment on China's increased military might and how India should react to it. Modi replies the sun has set on military power and economic power as deciders of nations' fates. Today, knowledge decides the world's fates. India shines every time the world has been in an age of knowledge.
10:07 pm: Modi says people should be proud that India has a political party that has its own constitution and follows rules, as opposed to being run by a family.
10:06 pm: When asked who is stopping him from coming to Delhi, Modi points out that he is, in fact, in Delhi right now.
10:06 pm: An audience member asks for guidance from Narendra Modi. Modi says we have the good fortune of living for the nation (as opposed to dying for it).
10:04 pm: Government of India statistics say Gujarat has the least unemployment in the country.
10:01 pm: Modi says that in the 2001 census and says he only got to see the report by 2004. He found that gender and nutrition were the two issues facing Gujarat. From 2005, Gujarat has initiated holistic measures to change the state of affairs on both counts. The recent CAG report, says Modi, has also vindicated his stand and declared Gujarat the most improved on the malnourishment front.
9:58 pm: Modi is asked about his comment on women being malnourished because of fashion-consciousness. He explains that his full response at the time was that poverty was not the only reason for malnourishment. Health-consciousness and beauty-consciousness are two different things. Even prosperous families suffer because of this.
9:56 pm: Rahul Kanwal cites statistics and asks why industrialists in Gujarat prosper but the poor have not grown at the same rate. Modi answers that his State imports poor people from all over the country and his Government is working hard towards upliftment of these people.
9:54 pm: On money for electoral purposes, Modi says asking for money is not considered wrong in India. He has got its money from the people and not from the rich.
9:52 pm: On corruption, Modi says the state has to be policy-driven. Government officials' greatest grief is transfers. Gujarat has shut down the 'transfer industry'. People moving about means problems moving about. People staying in one place means increase in accountability.
9:49 pm: Modi says Gujarat has learnt to turn tragedies into opportunities. Secondly, he says democracy isn't limited to voting. True-spirit-democracy will have to incorporate people -- youth and women -- into the effort of the nation's development.
9:45 pm: Narendra Modi now begins answering questions. Aroon Purie asks if Modi is ready to take charge of the country. Modi answers that it is not necessary for him to come to Delhi. All people in Delhi need to do is learn from the example of Gujarat. Poorie asks a more direct question -- does Modi want to be PM. Modi answers one should want to 'be'. They should aspire to 'do'.
9:42 pm: It is not enough to build buses. Making sure the conductor behaves well with the people is what constitutes good governance. Modi concludes his address at the conclave to roaring applause.
9:41 pm: Modi tells of another meeting he had with the Prime Minister. They spoke of the fences on the borders with Pakistan and Modi suggested that solar power panels be built across the border. But this proposal also, was never put into practice.
9:39 pm: Modi says he wrote to the Prime Minister suggesting an alliance of nations which get plenty of sun. Research should be conducted into harvesting solar power. But the proposal was never worked upon.
9:37 pm: Gujarat has the world's largest canal network. Canals are topped with solar panels and these make sure that a one kilometre stretch of canals provides one megawatt of electricity. Water evaporation decreases and land, which might otherwise have had to be occupied for the panels, is also saved.
9:36 pm: Modi says train coach building can be privatised. Delhi metro coaches are manufactured in Gujarat in any case.
9:33 pm: Modi speaks of Indian Railway. Looking back at Rail Budgets of the last 10 years, Modi asks if there is any link between development and what Budgets have been promising. Rail connectivity with ports is of vital importance. Modi asks if roads are only built to carry Government vehicles. Airports also receive private planes as well as Government vehicles. There are markets all around and all we need is the thinking and initiatives to capture them.
9:29 pm: Modi recalls how once he was sitting with the Prime Minister. He told the PM that if they select 500 towns in India and created fertilisers for farmers working from outside towns, the towns will get clean. Modi also suggested the lowering of demand of chemical fertilisers. He made a report on this suggestion and submitted it to the Government. The Central Government has been sitting on the suggestion for three years.
9:24 pm: Modi speaks of a tyre company inauguration. He told the owner that he would have to grow rubber trees in Gujarat. Gujarat's tribals will grow rubber in the State and nothing will be imported. Integrated development is the key.
9:22 pm: We have two things that can help us dominate over China. One is the demographic dividend -- we are a young nation where most people are below 35 years of age. Secondly, we have the formidable advantage of being a democracy. We need to work these two strategies when making our place on the global front.
9:21 pm: Fifty per cent of the nation's GDP was under one roof during the Vibrant Gujarat summit this year, says Modi. The ideas at work in Gujarat are not otherworldly, they are common sense.
9:19 pm: Modi says he has brought about transparency and profit of over 2000 crore rupees with the help of technology. Ideas need to be institutionalised. Leader-centric and personality-centric ideas may work for a few works but they can't last.
9:17 pm: Modi talks about the corruption in ration cards and says that digitisation has made sure that the system worked without errors and malpractice.
9:15 pm: Modi says that the grievance redressal system is the greatest strength of the Gujarat model. The poorest of people in Gujarat can go and talk to the bureaucrats. It is people whose empowerment has made sure that entire departments started getting better.
9:12 pm: Modi tells the story of two friends who went hunting. They were not expecting a tiger and didn't have guns. So when the tiger appeared, they showed it their gun licenses. Modi says that is pretty much what is happening in the country today.
9:11 pm: If Gujarat's bureaucratic shift is valid and worth making, Modi asks, can the same change not be effected across India? Governments boast of giving people rights. But the Constitution of India has already provided us with many rights. What we need is not rights -- we need action.
9:09 pm: Modi talks about how he conducts bureaucratic work. Bureaucratic mindset during British rule was to keep the empire happy. Today we are an independent country and our bureaucrats need to work for the people and not the Government.
9:06 pm: Farmers in Gujarat used to agitate because of lack of electricity. Modi says he told farmers to stop relying on electricity. Modi told them they don't need electricity, they need water. Today, farmers in Gujarat have started thinking of agriculture as water-based.
9:04 pm: Democracy is a collaboration between the people and the Government, says Modi. In Gujarat, development is a combined effort.
9:04 pm: Modi talks about the Sujalam Sufalam canal project says meetings were held with farmers and they were given charge of various aspects of the project and the work was completed in 2 years.
9:02 pm: Modi tells his audience that Income Tax Department was instructed to adopt stern measures against tax defaulters and Gujarat reached the 98 per cent level. The money was used to develop those municipalities.
9:00 pm: Modi recalls his urban development drive of 2005 and says that when he decided to remove buildings, he was told that it was election year and it was not the best of ideas to continue work. But Modi continued work since it had already started.
8:57 pm: Modi brings back the days of the independence struggle and says that as Gandhi said, every work people do is for the nation. That spirit of community is what made India a free country. Government, Modi says, can not change the nation. It is people who must bring about real change.
8:55 pm: Modi tells an anecdote regarding a group of stone workers who were working hard. While most said they were working to sustain themselves, one man said he was building a temple. Modi points out that it is this matter of mindset that will decide our future.
8:53 pm: Modi talks about the NREGA scheme and says he would have preferred a 'Development Guarantee Scheme' instead. What if, he asks, people were told they had to contribute 100 days to the development of the country instead of telling people they are poor and need jobs to sustain themselves?
8:52 pm: Asking, "Do we use what we have or do we complain about the things we do not have?" Modi says Gujarati pride has had a great role in the State's development. Progress and development depend on minds and morales. The task is not difficult, says Modi.
8:49 pm: Narendra Modi resumes his address and says that his intention is to speak on the topic 'NaMo Mantra' and adds that there is no 'mantra'. But India has some intrinsic qualities -- evolved thinking and ancient wisdom combined -- are what are behind the success of Gujarat.
8:47 pm: The film goes on to elaborate on innovations in governance brought about by the Gujarat Government. It also speaks of continued improvement in various development metrics through the years.
8:43 pm: The short film showcasing the Gujarat model tells of Gujarat Government's development initiatives with respect to agriculture, milk production, animal husbandry, shows that Gujarat grew at an impressive 9 per cent in the agriculture sector, a percentile much more than India's. The film also elaborates on Gujarat's successes in water resource management, electricity management (Gujarat is a power surplus State), public delivery systems, human resource development and education.
8:35 pm: Narendra Modi begins his address at the India Today Conclave 2013 by thanking everyone present and saying that he would like to show a short film before he starts his speech.
8:30 pm: Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi arrives on stage to begin his address. India Today Group Chairman Aroon Purie gives welcome address. Purie calls Modi a great communicator and hails him for his achievements in Gujarat.
7:30 pm: Narendra Modi will speak at the India Today Conclave from 8 pm Saturday on what is his mantra of creating a vibrant Gujarat. Can Modi's Gujarat Model be replicated in India? As Prime Minister, what would he do differently for India? We will bring you his speech live through minute-to-minute updates.