With Panchamrut, Modi targets 10.2 % Growth

Ahmedabad, June 8: | Updated: Jun 9 2003, 05:30am hrs
Flush with his states ability to achieve a 9.5 per cent growth rate this year against 4-6 per cent in the last couple of years on account of the double whammy of the 2001 earthquake and drought, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is now targeting a growth rate of 10.2 per cent over the next five years through his panchamrut scheme.

In an exclusive interview to FE, Mr Modi said his government had chalked out a development plan to achieve this target on account of the fact that the Planning Commission and the Finance Commission were banking on the state to help the country achieve an overall growth rate of 8.2 per cent in the next five year plan.

Elaborating on the panchamrut plan, Modi said it rested on the five major planks of gyan shakti (power of knowledge), jal shakti (power of water resources), Urja shakti (power of energy resources), jan shakti (power of human resources) and raksha shakti (power of defence).

The Gujarat chief minister claimed that of these, jal shakti would be used to spur languishing agricultural growth in the state with the target of achieving at least 4 per cent growth in the agricultural sector. We are aware that electricity and water are the crucial infrastructure required for irrigation and for this, we have expedited the Narmada yojana.

Apart from the Narmada yojana under which hundreds of parched villages in the perenially arid regions of Saurashtra have already started receiving water while efforts are also under way to promote construction of check dams with the joint efforts of the state government and the public, Mr Modi revealed. Large industrial houses are also being asked to construct large check dams in their areas of operation in the state.

The state government is also taking steps to educate people on how to construct their own temporary check dams by simply filling old gunny sacks with mud which will also go a long way in fulfilling irrigation needs. Similarly, we will henceforth be proving subsidy for drip irrigation to farmers directly, the chief minister said. He said the states laws were also being changed to spur water conservation. For instance, the government has stopped issuing non-agricultural permission for any new constructions to be undertaken unless rain harvesting systems are also constructed within the premises.

Finally, the chief minister said efforts were also on to teach farmers how to change crop patterns and choose those crops which required minimum water and reaped maximum profits. They can, for instance, switch over to cultivation of fruits and horticulture, he elaborated.