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I Work To Make Citizens’ Life Better, It’s The Only Objective

As soon as I was declared chief minister, I knew I had a great responsibility towards the people of the state. I have inherited the legacy of none other than Modi, and it was necessary to uphold that image and carry it forward into the future

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Q: As the chief minister of Gujarat, you have been entrusted with the task of carrying out the legacy of development set by now Prime Minister Narendra Modi. What challenges did you initially face?

As soon as I was declared chief minister, I knew I had a great responsibility towards the people of the state. I have inherited the legacy of none other than Modi, and it was necessary to uphold that image and carry it forward into the future. To that end, I decided to build my government around four ideals — decisiveness, transparency, sensitivity and progressiveness — that I consider necessary for holistic development and effective governance. In the past one year, my government has successfully abided by these four principles in its functioning, and has won the trust of the citizens with its work.

In the last one year, we have walked the path that Modi showed us for the development of the state. We have always kept people at the centre of our initiatives. Looking back at the past year, I can confidently say that we have further propelled Gujarat’s growth story and also built faith among the people of this state.

 

Q: Did you ever feel outside interference while discharging your responsibilities as the chief minister?

We, in BJP, believe in working together for a common goal. In the year gone by, my government has followed Modi’s call of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas” and has sincerely taken forward the growth story of Gujarat.

Since coming to power in May 2014, the NDA government has always worked on the ideology of cooperative federalism. The current central government has sought to make states, ‘partners in its endeavour’, in order to effectively implement citizen-centric schemes. Our government has effectively implemented central schemes such as the Ujala Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission, Make in India, Start up India, Smart City Mission, Digital India, etc., in a manner best suited for our citizens. And because of our successful collaboration, Gujarat has prospered.

I take pride in stating that Gujarat under Modi’s leadership has helped India redefine ‘good governance’ and ‘development model’. Our objective is to continuously work for the benefit of the people. To ensure growth for all and fulfilment of aspirations of each class, Gujarat government has emerged as a transparent, sensitive, decisive and progressive government.

Q: Your party high-command has shown great confidence in you by handing over the reigns of the state to you and that is evident from the way you were chosen to succeed Anandiben Patel who had to step down in the middle of her tenure. What did you do to make yourself different from others?

For the last 15 years, the state has had BJP-led government. I, as a member of Bhartiya Janta Party, work with the same value system to achieve holistic development as my predecessors did. Modi initiated the politics of development, and carried it forward for 13 years. My predecessor Patel took the baton of development further.

I am committed to fulfill the hopes and wishes of people and take the Gujarat growth story forward on a fast track. Earning janvishwas (faith of people) was the main objective of the government and we have managed to do that. I am extremely grateful to the people of Gujarat for the faith they have shown in me and their support. I have worked tirelessly with my colleagues in this government to repay their dedication in full.

Initiatives such as ‘Seva Setu’ have played a huge role in increasing people’s faith in the government. This initiative was designed to spare the citizens of Gujarat the chore of the countless visits to district-level government offices, and to the headquarters in Gandhinagar to avail routine services such as accessing government schemes and their benefits, processing Aadhar and other identity cards, etc. The government has set up a mechanism that reaches out to the people in a unique way, delivering these core services at their doorstep. The aim was to ensure continuity in development and effective administration.

In addition to this, our government has passed a fee regulation Act that will help in curbing private schools from overcharging their students. We recently took out the Gujarat Animal Preservation Bill 2017 to put a ban on illegal trading of cows. Also, in order to fully cleanse Gujarat from the influence of alcohol and drugs, our government further strengthened its existing laws on prohibition and banned hookah bars. 

Q: Do you believe you are doing your best to meet expectations of your party high-command? Any instance when you got appreciation from the party leadership for your performance?

As I stated earlier, politics for me is a means to public service. I work to make citizens’ life better, and that is the only objective. It is also the objective of my party. In the past one year, the Gujarat government has taken 475 major decisions for the welfare of the people. Our government has carried forward Modi’s tradition of giving priority to agriculture, industry and service sector as well as simplification of laws and strengthening civic infrastructural facilities.

In the areas of health and education, our government has taken many sensitive decisions, including opening 150 plus Jan Aushadhi stores, bringing more people under the ambit of MA Amrutam and MA Vatsalya Yojana, starting digital classes in government schools, offering subsidised smart tablets to students, etc.

Other programmes that reaffirm our progressive approach are implementation of the Shramik Annapurna Yojana, various schemes for farmers, SAUNI Yojna, Sujalam Sufalam Yojna, Shravan Tirth Yojna, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Rooftop Solar Scheme, Seema Darshan programme, subsidy on onion and potato, securing Heritage City status for Ahmedabad, completion of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam project, and many more.

Q: Ahmedabad has recently been declared India’s first world heritage city by UNESCO under your leadership. How did your government contribute to this?

It is a wonderful achievement indeed. After a quest of more than 15 years, Ahmedabad has now been officially recognised as the first city in India to have the UNESCO ‘Heritage City’ tag. It is a rare honour bestowed upon Ahmedabad by UNESCO.

The state government, Amdavad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the people of Ahmedabad have worked nonstop for the coveted title. In April 2010, at the Asian World Heritage City Conference in Ahmedabad, a major push for the status was made by Modi himself as the then chief minister of Gujarat, and a formal proposal was submitted for the inclusion of Ahmedabad as a ‘World Heritage City’.

To celebrate this wonderful achievement, a Heritage Festival was organised in Ahmedabad. The heritage sites were decorated in order to make them even more attractive for the locals as well as tourists. Heritage walks, essay writing, painting competitions and a conference featuring archaeological experts from India and the world were organised as part of the celebrations.