Speaking at two events on Monday in the city, Modi vigorously supported an open architecture of Centre-state relations to provide the room for faster development. According to him, meeting the education gap and health needs for Indias young population was a bipartisan requirement. Political parties need to rise above the rhetoric to provide for these concerns on priority, he said.
Modi made his comments at the the annual session of Ficci Ladies Organisation and an event organised by a media network. While he said his party had decided to oppose foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, he accepted there was need for larger investment from abroad in defence production. Without saying if he supported a hike in the cap from the current 26%, he said India could easily emerge as a leading arms manufacturer. The foreign investors would be keen to use the trained and abundant Indian labour in this sector, he pointed out.
Modis economic agenda was spelt out just days after his chief rival Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addressed the CII annual general meeting. The two are expected to be among the chief contenders for the Prime Ministers seat in the general elections scheduled for 2014.
While Gandhi had focussed on support from the industry for an inclusive agenda that was clearly pitched against Modi, the latter said development of the states cannot be done on the basis of their gotra a loose reference to political affiliation.
The BJP parliamentary board member also said he favoured removing labour issues from the concurrent list in the Constitution. There could be no one size fits all solution for labour issues, he said. All political parties have used the labour constituency, either as agitators or as means for development, he said and added there is consequently room for each to craft their own solution wherever they are in power.
On womens issues Modi said: We have to create a modern India, we have to take pride in our women and their power. We have to empower them through demonstrable actions. Like in Gujarat, properties registered in the name of women should be free of stamp duty. Such a step he said would ensure that benefits of empowerment spread from the family to the larger society.