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‘Discipline in government expenditure is difficult, but needed’

Gujarat was the first State to eliminate its revenue deficit in 2005: Modi

‘Increase in number of check dams has transformed agriculture in Gujarat’

Bangalore: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi argued for the replication of the “Gujarat model of development” across the country. Addressing members of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) here on Saturday, he listed the achievements of his government, which, he claimed, has “energised the debate on governance in India”.

Mr. Modi said Gujarat was the first State to eliminate its revenue deficit in 2005. The deficit had amounted to Rs. 6,700 crore before he assumed office in 2001, he said. “This has been achieved without levying any new taxes since I assumed office,” he said. “Discipline in government expenditure is difficult, but needs to be done for the sake of the people,” he added.

The turnaround

He pointed out that public sector undertakings (PSU) owned by the State Government and the Gujarat State Electricity Board (GSEB) had been in deep trouble before the BJP Government assumed office. The GSEB, whose accumulated loss was Rs. 2,500 crore before he assumed office, now had profits of Rs. 400 crore. “This has been achieved without an increase in tariffs,” he said. The turnaround of the GSEB, he said, had been achieved “by plugging the leakages, increasing the plant load factor (PLF) of the generating units, improving the quality of fuel and by improving revenue collection methods.”

Infrastructure

Referring to the measures taken to improve infrastructure facilities, Mr. Modi said: “Everything in Gujarat is based on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).” The private sector invests 60 per cent of the capital, the State the remaining portion. There were only 12,000 check dams in 2001; there are now over three lakh check dams in the State. Mr. Modi said this had “transformed” agriculture in the State, which is essentially rain-fed.

Success story

“As a result of these measures, Gujarat is the only State in the country where the water table has gone up,” he claimed.

Sprinklers and drip irrigation methods, he said, were adopted for sugarcane cultivation and would soon be extended to paddy.

These successes, he said, have enabled the State to slow down rural-urban migration by 30 per cent in the last few years.

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