If we give more powers to States, the whole country will change: Modi

Strongly advocating a collaboration of the Centre with States, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, said the Prime Minister should include all Chief Ministers in his team along with the Union Cabinet to efficiently run the government.

Criticising the Centre for not joining forces with the States, Mr. Modi said here on Sunday that the Centre always seemed to be competing with State governments.

He also took a dig at the Centre for blaming coalition compulsions for corruption and said running the government should not be the end-goal.

“States are the strength of our country, the Centre owes its existence to the States. If we recognise the aspirations of the States and give them more powers, the whole country will change,” he said.

Speaking at a programme ‘Economic Growth — The Way Forward’ where he took questions and presented his views on how to tackle key issues of unemployment, migration, protracted legal battles among others, he made a constant reference to the Gujarat model and various initiatives for ensuring “good governance.”

Mr. Modi cited the example of Surat where workers have been able to turn diamond cutting and polishing into a cottage industry owing to 24x7 power supply in the State, thereby also checking migration to cities in search of livelihood.

To a question on how to generate jobs for the youth, he spoke of the ‘Five F formula’ where the policy of ‘farm to fibre to factory to fashion to foreign’ [end-to-end service in one place] should be followed.

Later, speaking at the International Conference on Indian Economy, he took a dig at Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for commenting on his economic knowledge. Reacting to the Finance Minister’s jibe that his knowledge can fit the back of a postage stamp, he said his knowledge was limited to a word “trusteeship.”

“My knowledge is so small that you do not even need a postal stamp to write it. It is encapsulated in just one word — trustee, like Gandhiji talked of trusteeship. You are the trustee of the country’s resources, not its owner. For me, this much knowledge is enough,” he said.

Inclusive agenda

Referring to the BJP’s economic agenda he said: “We must build an agenda for speedy yet sustainable economic growth that is inclusive of all, respectful of individuals, responsive to innovation and responsible towards the future generations. We must build an economic agenda that leads to increased standards of living and social justice.”

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