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“Finance minister P Chidambaram,” Narendra Modi said in a speech laced with digs at the UPA, “thinks my knowledge of economics can be written at the back of a postage stamp. Actually, I need even less. My vision of economic policy is one word — trusteeship”; if people have faith in a government’s ability to deliver, they will invest,” the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said on Thursday. After the earthquake in Kutch, he said, there was great despondency but because there was faith in the government, the state was back on its feet in three years. “I don’t need knowledge of economics, I will have people who understand that.”
Speaking to a gathering of investors from over 26 countries, the organisers of the event said, Modi repeatedly emphasised the role of good implementation while outlining some new ideas as well. Some of the prominent investment firms represented in the meeting were Fidelity, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Carlyle Global Market Strategies, Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management and GLG Partners.
Talking of decentralisation and second-generation reforms, Modi said the Prime Minister and his Cabinet could not possibly shoulder the burden of growth, it had to be the PM along with the CMs. “If I come to power I will ensure states get more freedom, I understand their pain. So far, most of the Prime Ministers are from the Delhi environment,” he said. The chief minister of Gujarat said, “Like a doctor prescribes a new test for each new problem, we ordain a new law for each problem — I think party manifestos should talk of how many laws they will abolish if they come to power.”
One of the reasons why soliciting investment has become a bad word, Modi felt, was that people think investment is only about industry, that only a few will benefit. However, the need and scope for investment in agriculture was also huge and had tremendous transformational potential. “Think of the need for investment in education, or in biotechnology or environment technology — IT is no longer the buzzword, it is now BT and ET,” Modi added.
The example of Gujarat’s Solar Mission was cited by him as an example of how much investment was needed, how implementation and not incentives were the key to attracting this, and how careful thought needed to be put in by policy makers — and yes, this was, he said, a good