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Compare Gujarat with Japan: Modi tells NRIs

The Gujarat CM said if India was among fastest growing economies with 7% growth, his state was rising at 15.6%.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 14:10 IST

Asserting that Gujarat has surged far ahead of other Indian states, Chief Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said his state should be compared with China, Japan and Germany and seen as having set a benchmark in "vision, efficiency and transparency".

Making a strong pitch before NRI and PIO delegates at the 4th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas here, Modi said his state, which was recording a growth rate of 15.6 per cent that was the "highest in Asia", will serve as an engine for the country's growth and development.

Reeling out statistics after statistics that was a parameter of the "tremendous strides" his state had made in manifold areas of the economy, from farm sector to manufacturing and from energy to basic infrastructure, Modi, in an extempore speech that earned repeated applause at the commodious Hyderabad International Convention Centre, said a reason was for the state's success was its "policy-driven development".

The Chief Minister said the state's policies were reflected in the fact that 84 per cent of India's foreign direct investment inflows were into Gujarat and the remaining 16 per cent were divided among the rest of the country. No one contested that claim.

Modi's address was heard in rapt attention by, among others, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and the chief ministers of Bihar, Maharashtra, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh, besides ministers and top officials from Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

The Chief Minister said if India was among the fastest growing economies with a growth rate of around seven per cent, Gujarat was galloping at 15.6 per cent. He also said that while India was struggling to achieve a four-per cent farm sector growth, his state's agriculture output was expanding by 11.2 per cent.

Referring to various areas of infrastructure, Modi said his state was extending 24-hour, uninterrupted and three-phase electricity to 14,000 out of 18,000 villages.

He said Gujarat was also a benchmark for water management - that was responsible for the high farm sector growth - with concepts like rainwater harvesting and interlinking of rivers commonplace in the state.

The state's aggregate agriculture output, he said, was Rs 250 billion ($5.5 billion) of which cotton alone was contributing Rs 100 billion ($2.2 billion). "China is in queue and vying to buy cotton from our state," he said.

He also said that the state's success in the farm sector was the result of value added agro-processing.

"While other states have linked farmers with electricity, we have linked them to the supply of water. If we give them water, electricity will follow automatically."

Modi also said that specific emphasis was being given to all areas of transportation - from road development to ports and railways. "We are the only state where there is a private railway."

The Gujarat Chief Minister - who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is the principal opposition in the central government - also said that his state will be the country's capital for special economic zones with as many as 11 such zones coming up in the state.

In this regard, he said he was also ready to implement radical labour reforms and was awaiting a nod from the central government. "I would like Ahluwalia, who is a friend of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to get the process expedited."

Modi also said that his state had 50,000 km of state-of-the-art optical fibre communications link and 2,200 km of gas grid for industrial use, with 8,000 villages having access to pipelined water.

Modi claimed that much had already been done in the area of transparency to prevent corruption by having transparent policy-driven economic growth with no grey areas. "We have done away with 22 types of inspection by the state and encouraged self-certification."

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 11:34 IST