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PM Modi positions India as future growth powerhouse

By, Ahmedabad
Sep 28, 2023 06:14 AM IST

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that India will soon emerge as a global economic powerhouse and aims to make the country a global growth engine. He accused previous Congress-led governments of discouraging foreign investors from coming to Gujarat. Modi made these statements at an event to mark 20 years of success of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, which aims to woo global investors. He also criticized the previous government for putting hurdles in his way and refusing to attend the summit. The next edition of the summit is scheduled to take place in January.

India will soon emerge as a global economic powerhouse, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday as he declared that his aim is to make the country a global growth engine and accused the previous Congress-led governments of trying to discourage foreign investors from coming to Gujarat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel being served tea by a robot at Science City, in Ahmedabad, Wednesday. (PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel being served tea by a robot at Science City, in Ahmedabad, Wednesday. (PTI)

Speaking at an event to mark 20 years of success of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, Modi said his government sowed the seeds of a Vibrant Gujarat 20 years ago, and it developed into a big tree.

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“We are standing at such a phase that India will soon emerge as global economic powerhouse,” he said. “It was my guarantee to you from a few years from now, in front of your eyes, India will be among three top economies of the world.”

He said that the summit — aimed at wooing global investors — was started 20 years ago to make the state a growth engine for India. “After 2014, our aim became to make India a global growth engine,” he said.

He also hit out at the previous United Progressive Alliance government, saying central ministers would refuse to attend the event and even threatened foreign investors to discourage them from participating.

“...those who ran the central government saw Gujarat’s development through the prism of politics ...In-person, they would tell me that they would like to attend but would later refuse,” Modi said.

Reacting to the PM’s speech, Gujarat Congress president and Rajya Sabha MP, Shaktisinh Gohil said, “They should not imply that they are solely responsible for Gujarat’s progress. In the past, when there were no Vibrant Gujarat summits, the state still held the top rank in development, and at that time, the Congress was in power.”

Modi — who was Gujarat’s chief minister when the summit was launched in September 2003 — alleged that far from cooperating, the previous government put hurdles in his way. “Twenty years have passed... we cherish all the memories — both sweet and bitter. Today, the entire world is watching Vibrant Gujarat.”

He said foreign investors chose to invest in Gujarat despite challenges due to their positive experiences — good, transparent, policy-driven governance, fairness, and equitable growth opportunities. “I have always maintained that Gujarat’s progress shows the progress of the entire nation.”

Modi said the summit, whose next edition is scheduled to take place in January, may be a brand for the world, but it is his bond with Gujarat’s 70 million people. “It is a bond of limitless love.”

He referred to Swami Vivekananda’s wisdom to emphasise three stages of an idea — initial laughter, criticism, and eventual acceptance. He added it was particularly true of an idea ahead of its time.

Modi recalled the challenging circumstances under which he took over as CM in 2002. He referred to the 2001 earthquake, which left thousands dead. “Gujarat grappled with famine. The Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank collapsed... 133 more banks were severely affected. The state’s financial sector was in dire straits. At that time, I assumed the role of a leader for the first time.”

Modi said it was a new role for him with no prior experience in running a government. “Then, violence erupted in Gujarat in the wake of the heart-rending Godhra incident.”

He said the challenges were beyond anyone’s imagination. “As chief minister, I had limited experience, but my faith in Gujarat and its people remained unwavering.” He referred to agenda-driven doomsayers and a conspiracy to defame Gujarat. “Those who had an agenda were trying to interpret things in their own way. They said that Gujarat’s industrialists, and traders will go away... the state will be shattered in a way that it will become a burden for the country.”

He said an attempt was made to create an atmosphere of despair. “It was said that Gujarat will never be able to again stand on its feet. I took a pledge that whatever the situation, I would get Gujarat out of this. We were not only thinking of rejuvenation but also of the future.”

He said the summit became an important medium against this backdrop. “It allowed us to talk to the world, to show it the industrial might of the country through Gujarat, and India’s talent and rich heritage.”

Modi said there were no big hotels in Gujarat when the summit started. “In 2009, when Vibrant Gujarat was organised, there was a slowdown in the world. Everyone told me not to hold it as it would be a flop. I told them then it would not stop. If it flops, we will be criticised but it should not stop.”

He said the number of participants has grown from 100 in 2003 to over 40,000 from 135 countries. “Thirty exhibitors then and now over 2000.”

Modi recalled the humble beginnings of the summit in makeshift tents. “Instead of hotels, business houses and university guest houses generously provided accommodation for guests.”

He said the inception of the summit was truly an unprecedented and unheard-of idea. “Its resounding success inspired other states to follow suit, reflecting the groundbreaking nature of the initiative.”

Modi said the vision was to accomplish something that had not been attempted at a national level. “Establishing a partnership with a developed country was a groundbreaking move. It surprised many about how a state could achieve such a feat. However grand the idea and imaginative, the vision and path to success demanded meticulous planning and relentless effort.”

He said the summit’s evolution from a one-time event into an enduring institution is a testament to its impact. “Its influence extends far beyond the event itself, with a continuous process that operates within and outside the government, both before and after the event. With each edition, Vibrant Gujarat reached new heights, relentlessly focusing on infrastructure development and economic progress.”

Questioning the PM’s comments on the success of the summit, Gohil said, “The MoUs signed during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit (VGGIS) have largely remained on paper. I call upon the Prime Minister to release the actual figures regarding how many of these MoUs have translated into real investments. The Gujarat government, which claims to have generated extensive employment during these summits, should provide concrete data on employment in the state.”

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