Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said his aim is to make India a global growth engine and expressed confidence that the country will soon emerge as an economic powerhouse of the world.
Speaking at an event to mark 20 years of success of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Modi said they sowed small seeds of a “Vibrant Gujarat” 20 years ago, and today it has developed into a big tree.
Modi also said that Vibrant Gujarat became a success at such a time when the previous central government (UPA dispensation) was “indifferent” to the industrial progress of the state.
“We organised Vibrant Gujarat to make the state a growth engine of India. The country has seen this imagination becoming a reality. In 2014, when I was given the opportunity to serve the country, my aim was to make India a global growth engine,” Modi said addressing a gathering of industrialists and businessmen.
Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and state BJP president C R Paatil were also present on the occasion.
“We are standing at such a phase that India will soon emerge as a global economic powerhouse,” Modi said, adding that global agencies and experts are today talking on similar lines.
“In a few years, India will be among the world’s top three economies. This is Modi’s guarantee,” the PM said.
He appealed to the country’s industry to think of sectors where India can explore new possibilities or strengthen itself, and how Vibrant Gujartat can give momentum to this mission.
Modi highlighted how from a humble beginning, the Vibrant Gujarat events have turned into an institution and many states later followed it by organising their own investment summits.
Swami Vivekananda said that every work passes through three stages- first it is mocked, later it faces opposition and finally it is accepted, especially when the idea is ahead of time, Modi noted, comparing the success of Vibrant Gujarat and how it passed through different stages.
Today the world can see the success of Vibrant Gujarat, he said.
“But when it was (first) organised, the then central government showed indifference to Gujarat’s development. I have always talked about India’s development through Gujarat’s development, but those in power at the Centre had also associated Gujarat’s development with politics,” Modi said.
The then ministers in the central government used to refuse to attend the summit, he said.
“They told me personally they would join, but later refused, perhaps after pressure from the top. Far from support, they were busy creating hurdles,” he said, adding that even foreign investors were threatened not to go to Gujarat.
“Despite such threats, foreign investors visited Gujarat even when there was no special incentive here. They came here because they could experience good governance, fair governance, policy-driven governance, an equal system of growth, and a transparent government in daily life,” he said.
Recalling the first Vibrant Gujarat Summit in 2003, Modi said it became a success because of the state’s people in whom he had huge trust.
He said he was a first-time chief minister and faced crises such as the 2001 earthquake, preceding drought years, collapse of cooperative banks, the 2002 Godhra tragedy and the state-wide violence in its aftermath.
“Even then, those with an agenda analysed the events in their own way. They said the youth, industry and business will leave Gujarat, and Gujarat will be destroyed in such a way that it will become a burden for the country,” the PM said.
There was a conspiracy to defame Gujarat globally, and an attempt was made to create a situation of hopelessness, he said.
“It was said that Gujarat will never stand on its feet. Amid such a crisis, I took a pledge that whatever the situation, I will take Gujarat out of all this,” Modi said, adding that Vibrant Gujarat became an important medium for the same.
“It became a medium to increase the confidence of Gujarat and make it face the world confidently,” he said.
The summit became a medium to showcase Gujarat’s decision-making process and its focussed approach to the world, Modi said.
The event became a medium to showcase the industrial capacity of India, including Gujarat, to the world, infinite possibilities of the country’s various sectors, use of India’s talent within the country, and a medium to show India’s cultural tradition to the world, he said.
When Vibrant Gujarat was launched, there were no big hotels for foreign delegates to stay, he said.
Modi recalled that when the summit was organised in 2009 amid global recession, everybody including his then officers suggested that it be cancelled, but he decided to continue. The 2009 summit added a new chapter of success, he added.
From a few hundred participants in 2003, today more than 40,000 delegates participate, In 2003, only a handful of countries participated. Today, more than 135 countries participate. From 30 exhibitors in 2003, the number has grown to more than 2,000 now, he said.
Behind the success of Vibrant Gujarat are core elements like idea, imagination and implementation, Modi said.
The concept was unheard of in the country, but people understood its importance with time. After some time, other states also started organising their own business and investor summits, he said.
“We showed courage to make a developed country our partner country. It was hard to think of a small state to make a developed country its partner,” he said.
However good ideas and imagination, to mobilise the entire system and develop a vision is a very big thing, Modi said.
To organise something of this scale, big planning, investment in capacity building, eye on every detail and hard work is required, he noted.
“From being a one-time event, today Vibrant Gujarat has become an institution whose system and process continue round the year,” the PM said.
He said Vibrant Gujarat achieved a new height of success every time because the process was institutionalised.
Modi said through the summit, the state government (then headed by him) tried to benefit all the states. “Very few have understood my thinking,” he added.
In the 21st century, Gujarat has become an agricultural powerhouse, financial hub and established its identity as an industry and finance ecosystem, Modi said.
It has also helped strengthen the state’s trade-based reputation, as the summit worked as “an incubator of ideas, innovation and industry,” the prime minister said.
In the last two decades of Vibrant Gujarat journey, the state has seen growth in several sectors, Modi said.
He said within today’s deeply connected world, financial cooperation among institutions is rising fast, and Gujarat already has the GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), the relevance of which is increasing day by day.
“We should increase our effort to make the GIFT City a globally competitive financial market place. For this, we can take benefit from our large domestic demand. Vibrant Gujarat should strengthen the GIFT City to make its global presence,” he said.
Amid the success of Vibrant Gujarat, there is no time to pause, Modi said, as the next 20 years are more important than the past 20 years.
“This is the time for India to make a roadmap to become a developed, self-reliant country. I am certain that you will all think in this direction and take steps for the same,” he said.
The PM also inaugurated an exhibition put up at the Science City here to mark 20 years of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. He also visited various attractions at the Science City, including an aquarium, a robotic gallery and a nature park.