Despite the global slowdown, our growth rates in Gujarat have not been impacted very adversely. We have acquired an element of resilience in the economy. It stands equally on all three important pillars — manufacturing, services and agriculture. We have, thus, not only been able to sail through, but have maintained 10 per cent plus growth rate in all the three sectors. Our economy has sustained itself and sustained our jobs and livelihoods. In fact, many of our entrepreneurs have used this time for internal corrections.
You will be happy to know that owing to these corrections, we were able to withstand the shocks without any labour retrenchment. Even more satisfying is the fact that the managements and labour force have managed the situation in a collaborative manner. This is what Gujarat is known for. Togetherness is our biggest strength. We know how to get together. We know how to stand together. And we know how to grow together.
Today’s world is characterised by two phenomena — the power of technology and the power of information. We in India are further fascinated by the power of our youth. We have to harness this and to put it to our advantage. We, in Gujarat, have specifically made efforts to use all these three drivers of the modern world. I am a firm believer in three pillars of progress in the modern world: skill, speed and scale. We are using technology to bring in speed in governance and in execution of programmes. We are focusing on skill development of our youth in a big way. We are also visualising projects that are innovative, ambitious and futuristic. I firmly believe that this century is India’s century. And to be realistically so, it has to be the century of the Indian youth.
Gujarat has evolved and implemented many innovative and far-reaching solutions to India’s old and historic problems. Whether it be water conservation or electrifying rural areas. Whether it be ensuring institutional deliveries or enrolling the girl child in education. I say here with utmost sincerity that the development model of Gujarat provides numerous insights for the developing world. We have created a model which makes use of local resources and local talent. At the same time, it offers solutions which are right and relevant in the global perspective.
Our model of development has brought smiles on millions of faces. My government and I are not only committed to fulfil these expectations but to do more than expected. The good thing about the whole situation is that what we promised during the elections is only a continuation and expansion of what we had already planned. We have completed our first phase of development, and now we are ushering in the second phase-a more robust, more dynamic, and more modernised Gujarat.
I would like to give you some examples of what constitutes our global vision. Our per capita consumption of electricity is double the average of India but two-third of the average of the developed world. We have committed to make it on a par with the developed world. Similarly, we have said that cooking gas would be made available to all urban households through pipeline. We have assured our people to construct five million new houses. We have committed to covering even the remaining 30 per cent of the households with piped water.
We have resolved that we will enhance the income of our farmers manifold by scientific agri-practices and agro-processing. We have already provided round-the-clock power and broadband connectivity up to the village level. Now, we have promised wi-fi connectivity across the state. We have undertaken to modernise our industrial clusters and make our small and cottage industries stronger. Simultaneously, we will be setting up world-class investment regions and smart cities, world-class ports, road, rail, logistics, health, education, transport, sanitation, environmental and tourism infrastructure... Gujarat has always been a high potential location and a rewarding economy. You will find an opportunity in every sector of the economy. You will also find proactive policy provisions and hand-holding mechanisms to support you. Very recently, a survey has been conducted on the economic freedom of Indian states. I am happy to say Gujarat has ranked first. I welcome you all with your ideas, initiatives, innovations and entrepreneurship. I invite and encourage you to build your homes and brighten your hopes in Gujarat. I urge you to make Gujarat a productive field for the seeds of your dreams.
Hard-core financial investments will always be a desired phenomenon for the economy. However, we have deliberately added newer areas in the agenda of this summit. This time, our focus is on knowledge, technology and innovation. We want our youth and our SMEs [small and medium enterprises] to particularly benefit from this. The emphasis is on research and development, knowledge-sharing and building cross-cultural partnerships. We want this summit to become a bridge of technology. We want this summit to become an incubator for innovators and entrepreneurs. We want it to become a global university preparing bright men and women. We want this summit to be a light house for sustainable development. There cannot be a better place than Mahatma Mandir for this purpose, dedicated to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.
History has repeatedly shown us that the economic models based on exploitation will not work. There was a time when exploitation of labour was an issue. We tried to find solutions to it. Today, exploitation of nature and its resources is a burning issue. I will go a step further... Only such partnerships will be able to offer the sustainability we desire in our economic, social and personal lives. So, I reiterate that this event is not just about investments. It is not just about projects which give financial returns. It is about injecting positivity in the economic environment. It is about inducting togetherness in our socio-economic activities. It is about bringing global and local inclusiveness in our economic processes.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s inaugural speech at Vibrant Gujarat 2013, at Gandhinagar on January 11