A man with a mission
Mr Narendra Modi has the distinction of being the longest serving Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat. He firstly assumed this responsibility in October 2001. Thereafter, he has had sweeping victories in two successive Assembly Elections held in December 2002 and December 2007. He has also won successive elections of the local bodies including the Panchayats, Municipalities and Municipal Corporations. The victory of 2007 is a reaffirmation of the people’s faith in his leadership, statesmanship and governance which he displayed in last six years as Chief Minister.
Passionate and progressive, a poet at heart and author of a few books, tech-savvy, Mr Narendra Modi is one of the most responsive political leaders in India. Born to a middle class family in the Mehsana district of Gujarat in 1950, a masters in political science, he entered social youth right at the beginning of his youth, in the early seventies.
He is widely regarded as a youthful and energetic leader with innovative thoughts and determination to implement them. He has successfully communicated his vision to 55 million people of Gujarat and has been able to instill a sense of confidence in what they have and a hope for a golden tomorrow. A wide cross section of the people of Gujarat, cutting across religions, income groups and political affiliations, continue to adore Mr Narendra Modi as an able and visionary leader. An astute politician, a skilled orator and a deft negotiator, Mr. Narendra Modi has earned the love and affection of the people from villages and cities alike which makes him a rare leader of the masses. When he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat for the first time in October 2001, he hardly had any experience of state administration. But his utmost commitment and dedication have rendered him an outstanding administrator and given him an unique achievement of being ranked as the Best Chief Minister of the country in a number of surveys by professional agencies. Even recently, after being elected for the new term, in February 2008, he has been voted as the Best Chief Minister by the people across the country.
When the Modi government was sworn-in in October 2001, the economy of Gujarat was reeling under several adverse trends, particularly natural calamities. The state had witnessed successive droughts, devastating cyclones even before it was hit by a disastrous earthquake in January 2001. The growth in various sectors was stagnant, major parts of the state were facing water scarcity, infrastructure was in shambles and investments had slowed down. Moreover, the mood of the people was despondent. The biggest challenge was to resurrect the spirits and the economy, revive the livelihoods and to reconstruct the infrastructure including those in the earthquake affected areas. Thousands of earthquake affected people were living in temporary shelters without any basic infrastructure. However Modi, a master strategist enriched by national and international exposure and experience, decided to take the bull by its horns and turned an adversity into an opportunity. He re-oriented and re-organized government’s administrative structure, embarked upon a massive exercise for rehabilitation of people, reconstruction of infrastructure, recreation of the business environment and rejuvenation of the traditional entrepreneurial spirit of Gujarat. This successfully put Gujarat back on the road to progress and prosperity. Gujarat is now popularly known as "Vibrant Gujarat".
Even when the reconstruction and rehabilitation was going on, Modi did not lose sight of the bigger and larger picture. He emphasized on all-inclusive and uniform development of all communities and regions In the very first year of his tenure, he came out with an integrated strategy for overall development of the State. It is known as Panchamrut (five nectars) and includes Jal Shakti: Harnessing of Water Resources, Gyan Shakti: Quality and coverage in Education, Jan Shakti: Development of Human Resources, Urja Shakti: Power of energy sources and Raksha Shakti: Security and well being of people. Gujarat has registered a GDP growth of over 10% over past five years which is the highest growth rate among all the states in India.. The efforts of his government have resulted into metamorphosis of a revenue deficit state into a revenue surplus state.
He mooted a model of development through people’s participation. USP of his development model has been : a quantum leap (think big) and change right from the roots (no cosmetic changes). A large number of water harvesting structures like check dams, farm ponds and initiatives like Krishi Mahotsav (agricultural festival) and Kanya kelavani campaign (girl child education drive) are its examples. Agriculture production quadrupled from Rs.9000 crores to 34,000 crores. Gujarat leads in energy production with 1878 megawatts of power generation. Through the Jyotigram yojana, he has been able to supply uninterrupted three phase round the clock electricity to all the 18,000 villages of the state. The rural economy is now vibrant owing to this and the villages have turned into centers of production. The state has ushered in a water revolution with creation of a large number of water harvesting structures and popularization of micro-irrigation techniques. Gujarat is the only state where, under the project e gram vishwa gram, all the 18000 villages are being provided broadband connectivity.
Qualitative change has been brought in health services and health infrastructure alongwith schemes like Chiranjeevi and Balbhog which are novel initiatives to ensure a healthy mother and child. Focus on cent per cent enrollment of children through campaigns like Kanya kelavani and Shaala praveshotsav and resultant drooping drop out rates have been able to reverse the trend of high illiteracy rate from Gujarat. The focus is putting Gujarat at par with the developed regions in Human Development Index and work towards the achieving Millenium Development Goals declared by the UN. To ensure all round, all inclusive and uniform development, comprehensive and well conceived packages like Vanbandhu kalyan (tribal welfare), Sagarkhedu (development of coastal dwellers), Garib samruddhi (upliftment of urban poor) are under implementation.
Mr. Modi believes in the fact that good infrastructure is the driver of economic development. He therefore, paid utmost attention on physical and social infrastructure and involved private sector in their development. The rapid and qualitative development of ports, roads, railways, LNG terminals, gas distribution and water distribution networks and other infrastructure facilities are being discussed nationwide. Setting up of Statewide gas grid and water grid are exemplary achievements in infrastructure. He has also created excellent infrastructure at tourist and religious places. Urban sector has been enlivened by up gradation of civic amenities and emphasis on cleanliness and greening and reduction of vehicular pollution. The well conceived, meticulously planned and professionally organized Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Biennial Summits held in 2003, 2005 and 2007 have put Gujarat as a preferred investment destination among global investors. These summits have not only attracted investments worth billions of USD but also created huge employment opportunities in the state. Its logical fall out is skill development for various class of people on a massive scale.
One of the key factors catalyzing Gujarat’s emergence as the most preferred investment destination is its security. Gujarat has the lowest crime rate in the country in last six years. Terrorist nexus, mafias and gangs have all lost grounds here.
A leader who believes in team-work and a good work culture, Mr Modi has launched an ambitious training programme for the 500,000 government employees in Gujarat which is being watched in awe by every other state. Many of his initiatives like evening courts, interlinking of rivers, jyotigram, grievance redressal through SWAGAT online and others are being viewed as models for replication at the national level. The state is now rated as the best e-governed state in the country. With his focus on cent per cent computerization of the villages and emphasis on quick disposal of people’s grievances, the state is set to usher into village level e-governance. Narendra Modi government has bagged about eighty awards including the ones at the international level like the UN Sasakawa award for disaster reduction, CAPAM Gold award for able governance, World Bank’s Green award for environment friendly work during rebuilding after the earthquake, UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Award and award from Global Interpolis, Singapore. Gujarat is today rated as the best state in bio technology initiatives too. Gujarat has been rated as the best state in investment climate and economic freedom. The awards , received for achievements on several fronts including agriculture, energy and water management, IT and BT and e-governance; themselves reveal the multi sectoral nature of development.
Mr Modi worked as the General Secretary of the BJP’s (Bhartiya Janata Party) Gujarat unit since 1988. In 1995 Mr Modi was asked by his party to play a role at the national level – he was appointed as Secretary of the BJP’s national unit at New Delhi. He was promoted as General Secretary (Organisation) in 1998, a post he held until October 2001, when he was chosen to be the chief minister of one of India’s most progressive states, Gujarat. During his stint at the national level, Mr Modi was asked to oversee the affairs of several state level BJP units, including the sensitive and crucial states like Jammu & Kashmir and the equally sensitive north-eastern states besides the state like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh etc. He is being credited for successfully revamping the party organization in several states. While working at the national level, Mr Modi emerged as an important spokesman for the party and played a key role on several important occasions.
Modi’s model of good governance is being applauded within the country and beyond. The way he has won the hearts of people of Gujarat and his popularity at the national level show that ‘Good governance is also good politics’