Excerpts from a Speech at the 87th annual function of ASSOCHAM
New Delhi - June 3, 2008
BJP will evolve a blueprint for Indian model of development
‘Why an Indian model of development is needed
It seems to me that just as India's economic growth was earlier heavily influenced by the Soviet model, now it has swung to the other end of the pendulum by imitating the western model. India's current problems cannot be solved, and future needs cannot be fulfilled, by following yet another alien model.
I must point out here that just as my party was against excessive state control of the economy, it was also opposed to the idea of the state having no role in the economic life of the nation. In other words, we have never favoured free enterprise, trickle-down theory, etc. The democratic state has a definite and inescapable duty to orient economic growth towards desirable social ends what in the Indian ethos is termed as Bahujan
Hitaya, Bahujan Sukhaya (for the welfare and happiness of the masses). The concept of
Antyodaya (development of the 'last man' in society) has been extolled by both Mahatma
Gandhi and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, who was the principal ideologue and
inspirational guide for the political movement that gave birth to the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and, later, to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Indeed, economic growth should not only benefit every individual and every section in society, but it should also be protective of the environment. This too is an integral part of the Indian outlook towards the relationship between man and nature. In recent decades, concern for environmental degradation has grown allover the world. And so is the awareness that the western model of development is not quite environment-friendly.
It is equally important to remind ourselves that man's material development should become the springboard for his higher development in the spheres of arts, culture and spirituality. Integral development of man and society is what the best minds of India have emphasized down the ages.
This being the case, I am more convinced than ever before that we in India have to evolve an Indian model of development that is in alignment with India's needs, is guided by the
Indian outlook towards life, and relies on the full participation of Indians themselves.
Haven't many countries around the world been trying to evolve their own model of development, based on their specific conditions, constraints, resources and cultures? I can cite the example of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, Russia and several others.
The time has come for all the key players who are associated with India's economic
growth - those in governments at the Centre and in states, in the political establishment, business community, economists and other professionals, mass media, and others – to evolve a common approach towards how to achieve accelerated growth with the primary objective of poverty eradication, productive employment generation, equitable development of all sections of our society and all regions of our country, and significant.In the months ahead, it will be the endeavour of the BJP to prepare a blueprint for this Indian model of development. In this effort, we seek the views and suggestions from ASSOCHAM, other business associations, think tanks, etc.
Critical importance of Good Governance
As far as the BJP is concerned, let me tell you what our broad approach is. We believe that good governance - honest, corruption-free, efficient and result-oriented - is the remedy to many problems afflicting our country. In the Indian context, good governance also entails priority attention to those areas of economic growth where a majority of Indians are engaged. Corporate India has done well thanks to the sustained high-level institutional attention it has received. Non-corporate India has suffered because it has received inadequate and patchy attention. This must change.
Naturally, therefore, there is an urgent need to end the long neglect of agriculture; small, medium and village-based enterprises; arts and crafts, and informal sectors of the economy in both rural and urban areas. No doubt, central and state governments have a major role to play in bringing about this change. But I believe that a key area of governance reforms is effective empowerment of Panchayats in villages and municipal bodies in towns and cities.
My party has always believed in decentralization. On the contrary, the structure of governance that successive Congress governments have erected is excessively centralized, and detrimental to both democracy and development. Therefore, it will be our endeavour, if we get an opportunity to govern at the Centre, to transfer many powers and functions from New Delhi to state capitals, and urge the state governments to transfer many of their own powers and functions to local bodies.
A new component in my own understanding of economic growth is the enormous power
of technology, especially Information Technology, in releasing the creative potential of humanity. As is famously said, Information Technology has sounded the death of distance. It is bridging the gap between continents, nations and also between urban and rural areas. I believe that its power can be utilized to bring about a revolutionary transformation in Indian society. Therefore, how to bring IT to every Indian village and to every sector of the Indian economy will be an important part of the blueprint for the Indian model of development that I have just mentioned.
Let us create opportunities for Young India
The greatest and most urgent need today, in order to achieve faster and balanced growth, is to enhance opportunities for our people at all levels. There is an enormous, almost limitless, reservoir of young talent all across India. What many of them lack is opportunities. When they get the right opportunities, they invariably amaze us with their achievements.
4 Let me illustrate this by recalling what all of us saw at the just-concluded IPL 20Twenty tournament. Many of the stars who shone in the tournament were those - Yusuf Pathan, Shikhar Dhavan, Swapnil Asnodkar, to name a few - whose names most of us had not heard of. At least I had not, although I have a fairly avid interest in cricket, both because I used to play the game in -my student days and because my son Jayant is an encyclopedia on the subject. When these young players got the opportunity, their talent flowered. This is where I see the crucial importance of infrastructure development, be it physical or social infrastructure. I think that infrastructure development is both an opportunitymaximiser and opportunity-democratiser. Thus, when the Vajpayee government built the Golden Quadrilateral, or pucca rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, it opened new paths of progress for both the big and small sectors of the economy. It helped both Corporate India and Non-Corporate India. In a significant way, it promoted economic democracy.
Similarly, when the Gujarat government provided 24x7 power supply to almost all the villages and hamlets in the state through the Jyotigram Yojana, it enabled tens of thousands of poor students to study better, besides creating new employment and wealthcreation opportunities for villagers. Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi has recently announced a plan to bring broadband connectivity to every village in the state.
Obviously, this too will create new opportunities and possibilities on a large scale, bringing Gujarat's villages closer to the Global Village.
Let me give another example. The latest issue of India Today carries a touching story about how three innovative health initiatives in Madhya Pradesh - Janani Suraksha, Janani Express and Matri Shakti - have brought about a remarkable improvement in the care of pregnant women and the newborn. In 2004, MP figured among states with the highest maternal mortality rate (498 per lakh)and infant mortality rate (76 per thousand). These two parameters are a part of the UN Human Development Index, in which India fares quite poorly. Indeed, MP was until recently considered a BIMARU state because of its poor health indicators. Now in 2008, thanks to the three programmes implemented by our party's government in Bhopal, maternal mortality rate has declined to 354 and infant mortality rate to 66.’
‘It goes without saying that no single party and no single section of society can achieve this goal. It has to be a collective national effort.
In a small way, our community of businessmen and professionals has shown in recent years what India is capable of. Now a far greater challenge, and also a far more rewarding opportunity, awaits us - that of showing what one billion empowered people will be capable in the years to come.
Let us pledge to work together for unleashing the full potential of our great nation.’