Success has even more detractors than it has fathers. Accolades and brickbats have been the story of the Gujarat International Tech-Finance City or the GIFT City that has attracted eyeballs and envy in equal measures ever since its inception for it being the first-of-its-kind in India. Vision of a state (Gujarat) and business acumen of an infrastructure giant (IL&FS), took on the challenge when there was no one to pick the gauntlet. Sooner than expected, it rose to #6 in Asia and #10 amongst top 92 financial centres in the world. Praised by businesses in India and abroad, it has remained in headlines for the wow factor. Recently, there has been a concerted campaign making sensational claims against the project. Whether there is an element of truth or is it a case of jealousy, vendetta and detractors at work? Dr Gursharan Dhanjal, Editor, INCLUSION, speaks with Ajay Pandey, MD & Group CEO, GIFT City to find out:
Gurgaon will be a Smart City in addition to Karnal and Faridabad. May be, we will not get the financial assistance from the Centre meant under the Smart City Mission, we will develop it from the state funds. The Central government will provide the technical assistance in the first phase. Considering the population of the state only two cities had to be chosen from Haryana in the list of 100 Smart Cities to be developed with the Central government assistance across the country.
Based on the learnings of implementation of urban development schemes in the country in the past and particularly, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), a paradigm shift has been brought in our efforts to recast the country's urban landscape. The essential features of this new approach being: bottom-up planning, based on citizen participation in prioritisation of projects and formulation of plans, complete autonomy for states and urban local bodies in appraising and approving projects, selection of cities and towns for inclusion in new urban sector schemes and allocation and release of funds based on an objective criteria, convergence of different schemes to enable integrated planning and better utilisation of resources of central and state governments and unprecedented resource empowerment of states and urban local bodies.
"You have to dream before your dreams can come true." This famous quote of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who himself turned his dream into a reality as a nuclear scientist and has "ignited" many minds with his ideas, is perhaps the most appropriate theme for present day India aspiring to become an economic and knowledge superpower.It is the culmination of the dreams of 1.2 billion people that has led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ideate his plan of making the $2 trillion economy a $20 trillion behemoth within the next two decades, eradicating poverty and making India a knowledge society.
Nearly two years ago, INCLUSION ran a special edition featuring 'State of Governance' in which some well-known authors analysed the reasons behind some of the vexed issues confronting India like the dispartiies in development performance among states, shrivelled grassroots governance, barriers to social mobility and the frailties in the justice system. The series of articles underlined a fact that has not diminished in value-the acute need to "develop a credible framework for assessing quality of governance in various states that could possibly provide an agenda for governance reforms," as our Editorial put it.
Since taking over as Prime Minister last May, Narendra Modi has made several major announcements-smart cities, bullet trains, Digital India, Make in India, Jan Dhan, to name a few. Recently, he talked about taking India from a $2-trillion economy to a $20-trillion one. Of course, one day, some time in the future India will be a $20 trillion economy. But, what is the timeframe we should be looking at-15-20 years, 30 years or 40 years? In a subtle way, can India become a $20 trillion economy within a generation?
In 1947, when we gained Independence, the biggest challenge in front of us was the security of the nation. It was a huge and a difficult task. And many believed that India would not be able to keep its political integrity intact.
It's really a pity and a challenge to the system particularly those who are in power, that even after 67 years of Independence, we have a lot of people living below poverty line. We have issues like rural-urban divide and serious economic disparities. Then we hear of farmers' suicides and sometimes of hunger deaths here and there. And then we get criticisms about the system not being sensitive to the vulnerable sections.