Economics & Politics / Political

“Govt. has no business to be in business” : Mr. Prime Minister, this is what we want to hear from you…

Mr. Prime Minister, this is what we want to hear from you…

We seriously need a  roadmap to remove the road blocks and regain the growth Momentum, is it too tough a task to ask for. A country which seriously needs economic development to improve the conditions of its billion+ population. A country, which is the second largest populated country on the earth and has the potential to become the second largest economy in the world.

In the fast few days, we have heard a lot, the facts about the sliding Indian growth story, the government’s side of story which is more like excuses blaming everything and everybody except for those in high power who are the one responsible for this mess.

And now we got to hear from the person who evokes passionate outburst from all sides, Sh Narendra Modi, hate him or love him, one just can not ignore him.

Actually, this is what we wanted to hear from the famous economist PM of of India. Sh. Man Mohan Singh, who has been credited for the Economic Liberalization initiatives in India during the 1990’s, sadly few  remembers and give the due credit to the then Prime Minister Sh. Narasimha Rao.

Alas, we hardly get to hear the PM Singh these days on any issue, leave alone the Economic situation in India, which is currently in its worst shape. GDP growth rate is coming down, inflation is up, big ticket economic reform are put into cold storage, corruption is at its peak, if having the Govt. ministers (of cabinet rank) in jail wasn’t enough, even the PM Singh is under the suspicion now, investigation is underway in the CoalGate scam which seems to have happened under when the Coal Ministry was under the direct control of Prime Minister’s Office. How long will we see this Govt. keep dodging, they will have to bite the bullet sooner or later and who is a better person than PM Singh who should come forward, take direct ownership and responsibility of governing India. Please take action, and be ready to face the consequences of your action, Sir, you are not a government servant any more who can hide behind the facade of rule books, policies & procedural systems of governance. You are the leader of Indian Parliament, (even if you are not elected directly by the people), and you must behave like a leader.

I guess all this rhetoric of mine will fall on the deaf ears, the Govt. these days is not treating public criticism as a feedback but rather as conspiracies and bad publicity. Well no amount of positive PR can help the current free fall that the current govt. is going through, it is no conspiracy but the result of their own bad Karma. Hope someone realizes it before it is too late even for the future governments to recover the situation and take India back on the path of high economic growth, development. We need to see India Shine once again, people can have their doubts about the slogan and the people behind the slogan, but I sincerely hope to see the Indian shine once again. To see the confidence back into the all classes of people, all sector of economy. This darkness of negativity and pessimism must end.

Therefore Mr. Prime Minister, this is what we want to hear from you… but even when it is coming from a man who oppose politically, as an economist, if what he says is making sense to you, JUST DO IT…

I sincerely hope & pray that the Prime Minister and the current Government finds some time to read the interview given by Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi to ET  Red carpet, not red tape for investors, is the way out of economic crisis: Narendra Modi 

A good advice is a good advice, no matter from where it comes, take it, and start doing the right things, or just vacate the position. India has sufficient brains & talent to fill up the vacuum. There are enough leaders & thinkers to lead the country. Now it is time for the current Government to either bite the bullet or just say good bye and retreat to their safe heavens. Let those take the center-stage who have the guts to do so.

Red carpet, not red tape for investors, is the way out of India’s worsening economic crisis, says Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader, who recently set off speculations over his prime ministerial ambitions, laughs off suggestions that Congress may turn the 2014 general election into a Modi versus Rahul Gandhicontest. 

In a rare interview with PR Ramesh, Modi says Congress president Sonia Gandhi had failed to prevent a landslide victory for BJP even as she spearheaded her party’s campaign. Excerpts:

Industry has been raising concerns over fate of its investments in a slowing economy. What is the way out?

It is a crisis. In the new economic scenario, the government can’t do all that is needed to pump up growth. We have to encourage private investment, not just in infrastructure but also in the social sector. We have to open up new investment avenues for people who want to invest.

But before any individual or company invests, they look for safety of their money and profit from the investment. We can provide safety for their money through clarity in policies, transparency in decision-making and decent implementation. Is the UPA government able to do these? The answer is: NO.

So, what can be done to revive sentiment?

As I said, there should be clarity and purpose while making policies. We should create an atmosphere where people can make investment from their office or home. Ambiguities and waffling in policy-making should go.

Foreign investors, too, have begun to doubt the India story. How can this impression be changed?

First, the government should stop painting a rosy picture. If the prime minister accepts reality, he can find an answer. But the problem is that he does not believe in what he is doing. He is not able to even take his decisions to their logical end.

The Indo-US nuclear deal is a case in point. The prime minister was ready to sacrifice his government for the nuclear deal. Has he been able to implement it? No! Sound policies and stamina to implement them alone can convince the investor.

Will the BJP help the prime minister in taking the deal forward?

Why should the BJP take the lead? We were told that the nuclear deal was his principal achievement. What is he doing to implement it? You should put the question to the prime minister, who claimed that it was the answer to our energy crisis and the biggest policy trophy of UPA-1.

The prime minister and the Congress have been maintaining that the Opposition-run state governments are not aiding the Centre’s efforts to put the economy back on rails…

The charge is baseless. Look at what the Centre is doing to state governments’ efforts to attract investment. Iron ore is available in abundance in Odisha. But the Congress and the government led by it at the Centre are opposing entry of steel companies into the state.

They don’t want the state government to perform and they place hurdles. This is naturally making investors jittery. They want to work with the state governments but the Centre is playing the obstructionist.

The Centre went to the extent of unleashing enforcement agencies on those who promised investments in Gujarat at the Vibrant Gujarat meet. They should stop preaching and do what they are expected to do – govern.

But the government is trying to put in place a mechanism…

They prepare reports on various issues and then analyse them. Reports take two years to be prepared and then they go an unending analysing trip. There is no real action.

How has Gujarat managed to present an alternative model?

Gujarat is a very successful model. Look at the investment auto companies have made in the state. Every auto major has its plant in my state. It is because of the efficiency of the state government. We have best quality infrastructure, skilled labour and zero man-day loss.

We plan our skill development and infrastructure with the future in mind. In 2012, we plan for 2015. The result is for everyone to see. Gujarat, which accounts for 5% of the country’s population, accounts for 16% of the nation’s industrial production and 22% exports.

What should be the role of the government in business?

The government has no business to be in business. It should play the role of a facilitator. In my state, investors don’t have to grease the palm of politicians or bureaucrats. There are well laid-out policies. I believe that country can progress only if we end red-tapism. No red tape, only red carpet, is my policy towards investors.

Your critics, however, say that the aam admi is not part of your development agenda…

Only the reality-challenged will buy into this nonsense. How can a state, which has above 10% growth inagriculture, be seen to be having a bias towards big business? This over 10% growth rate is made possible through constructive interventions by the state government. Mind you, the national average of agricultural production is only 3%.

Since you have raised this issue, I would like to explain the initiatives that we have taken for the less privileged. I will give you a few examples. Kite festival is a big event in Gujarat. Mainly BPL families are engaged in kite-making. The total business a few years ago was a paltry 32 crore.

This year, it will cross Rs 5,000 crore. Women’s self-help groups are another example. The government has signed a tripartite agreement with SHGs and corporates. Now, 35 corporates are involved in the project, providing SHGs marketing facility.

We have two lakh people engaged in this and the turnover is Rs 1,600 crore. Our effort is to take it to Rs 5,000 crore. Last month, we ensured jobs for 65,000 students from ITIs. There are many such initiatives for students, artisans etc.

Your opponents, particularly in the Congress, say that the funds meant for development do not reach the target groups…

Again, this charge has no merit because the media and our rivals refuse to see what we are doing at the ground level. Rajiv Gandhi once said that only 15 paise out of 1 allocation reach the intended beneficiary. But we have ensured that 100% of the money that is allocated from Gandhinagar reaches people.

I can say without any hesitation that we have the best delivery system. We hold melas to identify beneficiaries through a transparent procedure. We recently held 300 melas across the state and distributed Rs 8,000 crore for self-employment.

I have a coastline spanning 1,600 km. We have spent Rs 18,000 crore for education, health and other needs of fishermen, who are mostly Muslims.

So, why is it that we get to hear praise showered on you mainly by the likes of Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani?

That’s because the media is not willing to hear beyond what Tatas and Ambanis say. They talked about me and Gujarat at the Vibrant Gujarat meet. It is an event held once in two years. But does the media pay the same kind of attention to the Krishi Mahostavs that are being held here?

For 30 days, every year, one lakh employees of my government hold a farmers’ outreach programme. These officials work in sweltering heat to help my farmers increase productivity.

Do small businessmen get the same treatment as big players under your regime?

I must tell you about this visit of a young boy to my office. He was a Gujarati Muslim boy, born and brought up in South Africa. He sought my help to set up a unit in the state. I spent 10 minutes with him and it did not appear to me that he had the wherewithal to set up business.

I directed him to the collector of Vadodara. He turned up 13 months later with an invitation for the inauguration of a factory that he was associated with. The next time I saw him was three months later. I was told that he was working with the Bombardier plant in Gujarat.

They supply coaches to the Delhi Metro. In 19 months, he was part of an established business. That is what hassle-free governance can do to people.

You have been accusing the Centre of step-motherly treatment to states run by Opposition parties. But the Centre says that this attack is misplaced…

I can reel out at least 100 examples to prove my point. When Atalji was the prime minister, Gujarat and Assam used to get the same royalty on crude. One of the first decisions that the Manmohan Singh took was to slash our share. We are losing around Rs 5,400 crore on this account.

We don’t get money from PMGSY ( Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana). We need money for upgrading rural roads. But they say money can be given only for new roads. We also don’t get money from SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) programme. If this is not injustice, what is?

Is the economic crisis affecting the credibility of the government at the Centre?

The country is paying a huge cost. Many foreign governments are connecting with state governments rather than with the Centre. In the past two years, three important leaders from Japan, including two former prime ministers, visited Gujarat to discuss economic initiatives.

Many see you taking the centre stage in your party in 2014…

I am busy making things better in Gujarat. I am 100% involved in it. I never spare time for issues outside Gujarat.

Of late, there have been articles in the BJP and RSS mouthpieces criticising you…

No comments.

Don’t you think the BJP should project someone as its prime ministerial candidate?

You can ask this question in 10,000 different ways, but my answer will be the same – I am only involved with governance in Gujarat.

But isn’t it true that the BJP has a leadership crisis while the Congress doesn’t?

If the ruling party at the Centre is clear about their prime ministerial nominee, let them announce it.

What should the BJP do to become the principal beneficiary of the popular resentment against the Congress?

I will agree with the assessment that there is popular revulsion for Congress. But I would not like to say through the media what should be done. We will discuss these issues in the party.

Despite the SIT clean chit, there is no let-up in the criticism against your government. Do you think the latest court verdict has helped the government boost its image?

It is an issue for a small group with vested interests. For them, this is an industry.

Has your government succeeded in addressing the grievances of Muslims?

What is the way to gauge popular mood? We have won the confidence of the people of Gujarat in 2002, 2004 parliamentary elections, 2005 local bodies election, 2007 assembly polls, 2009 Lok Sabha election and 2010 local bodies poll.

Yet, your critics persist with their charge…

As I said, it is an industry. Where were these so-called secularists when Indira Gandhi promised the rule of Bible in the northeast and attempted to create a Hindu backlash in Jammu and Kashmir during a general election? I don’t remember any ‘secularist’ even displaying manufactured rage.

I must point out that the past 10 years have been the first riot-free decade in the past 400 years. Look at the recorded history of the state from 1736 and you will see riots breaking out at regular intervals. Has anyone heard of even curfew being imposed in any town of Gujarat in recent years?

What would be your party’s strategy if the Congress tries to convert the next Lok Sabha elections into a Modi versus Rahul Gandhi combat?

That is for the Congress to decide. But Sonia Gandhi spearheaded her party’s campaign in 2007 and she had deployed 10 of her chief ministers in that election – which gave the BJP a record mandate.

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