At PBD Modi dumps his speech, says Oppn-ruled states neglected
Using the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas platform to attack the Centre, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday suggested that states ruled by Opposition parties do not have its "blessings" and said whatever his state has achieved on the development front was on its own resources.
Enthused by the applause from the audience, Modi dumped his prepared speech copy and criticised the Centre in front of the overseas Indians and said there was no response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his suggestion to set up solar production units in desert areas in Rajasthan and Gujarat along the border with Pakistan.
"Rajasthan Chief Minister (Ashok Ghelot) said he has the blessings of the central government and the prime minister. But we are not fortunate enough. We don't get anything. We have to do everything on our own," he said in his address at the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
Modi was given a standing ovation by the audience after his 30-minute speech during which he highlighted the growth achieved in his state.
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Image: Gujarat CM delivers a speech at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jaipur
'Gujarat does not seek money from Centre for developmental projects'
Claiming that Gujarat does not seek money from Centre for its developmental projects, the chief minister said he once wrote a letter to Dr Singh asking him to provide Gujarat a satellite but the Centre was "confused" on what should be done.
"I wrote a letter to the prime minister last year. Usually, what will a chief minister write to a prime minister? He will seek funds. But I never write letters seeking funds. This letter was asking the prime minister to allot a satellite for Gujarat. But they were confused on what to do," he said.
However, he said the state received a full-fledged transponder of 36 MHz Q-band on the Indian space communication satellite, which will enable the state implement long distance education system across 12 sectors at a time that will used to improve governance, distance learning programme and telemedicine.
On the setting up of solar production units, Modi said, "I once suggested to the prime minister to set up solar energy units in desert areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat along the international border to achieve dual objectives of protection of border and generation of solar energy."
"You know what happened," he said, without elaborating. Modi also said the Centre should convert the economic slowdown into an opportunity through scale, speed and skill. "The recession can be converted into an opportunity for the country by following the principles of scale, speed and skill," he said.
"During the 2008 slowdown, I suggested to the prime minister to hold a round-table meeting. The prime minister appreciated the suggestions. Since we cannot wait for a longer period, we took an initiative on our own and organised a global investors meet in which delegates from 100 countries participated and MoUs worth $ 450 million were signed," he said.
Image: Modi slammed the Centre on Monday
'Centre should convert economic slowdown into opportunity'
Modi also said that his state was generating far more solar power than Rajasthan. "Rajasthan receives 8500 MW power in all.But we are surplus in power by 4,000 MW. By the end of 2012, we will have a surplus energy of 7,000 MW," he said.
"People in Gujarat would be surprised if there is a power cut unlike other states," he said to drive home his point that the state is power surplus.
In his written speech, Modi suggested that his state's model where people are made "equal partners" in development process could be emulated to achieve inclusive growth. Modi, often touted as the development mascot of the western Indian state, said one should stop limiting terms like 'development' and 'growth' only for economic development and should learn to formulate ideas for the future.
"Our vision is to develop the country as a whole while focusing on development in our state of Gujarat which has seen tremendous progress. We turned crisis into opportunities and presented a new model before the country," he said.
"We took major initiatives in the sectors of non-conventional energy sector, agriculture, industrial growth, education and presented a different picture. Gujarat is the first state to take several initiatives that included launching of a solar policy, setting up of University of Forensic science and security agencies from across the globe are working with the university," he said.
Modi said that NRIs and people of Indian origin have set up temples in their host countries but the temples lack priests, so he decided to make available priests by preparing them in an institute for temple management.
"We trained priests and are proud to have export priests to 15 countries. Not only this, we are not looking for exporting teachers to strengthen cultural ties with the Indian diaspora. In this direction, we set up a separate university to prepare teachers and we have a vision to send them abroad on high salary packages," he said.
Talking about agricultural development, he said that at a time when the country's agriculture growth is around 3 per cent, Gujarat has seen agriculture growth of 11 per cent during the last decade. He said that milk production has also increased by 60 per cent and milk, vegetables are being exported.
Image: Modi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh