The Road to De­vel­op­ment

India Today - - WINNING - by Jayant Sri­ram

As In­dia’s long­est-ever elec­tion draws near, the din is get­ting louder. And in this noise, sev­eral im­por­tant ques­tions are lost. Has UPA 2 re­ally given the coun­try noth­ing ex­cept mega scams? Has the Cen­tre turned a blind eye to the needs of people in states? What is the eco­nomic model of BJP that is be­ing touted as the cure for all eco­nomic ills? It was to tackle these ques­tions that Union Min­is­ter of IT and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Kapil Sibal and Ra­jasthan Chief Min­is­ter Va­sund­hara Raje took the stage at the In­dia To­day Con­clave. They may rep­re­sent op­pos­ing po­lit­i­cal ide­olo­gies but both are among their par­ties’ bright­est stars and most ac­com­plished speak­ers. Ex­cerpts from their en­gag­ing con­ver­sa­tion: ON UPA’s WORK Sibal I don’t know whether what we have done in the last 10 years, which is phenom­e­nal, has ac­tu­ally im­pacted people. I don’t know if people re­alise that, for in­stance, from 1950 to 2004, we built only 15 uni­ver­si­ties, but in the 10 years since, we have built 14. Raje He says we have done well in ed­u­ca­tion but as far as Ra­jasthan is con­cerned, the dropout rate has risen. They an­nounced three uni­ver­si­ties for us but they are still not on ground. ON SUB­SI­DIES Sibal If BJP-ruled states are giv­ing food to the poor at Re 1, why are you say­ing we should not be giv­ing it at Rs 3? I don’t un­der­stand this crit­i­cism. Raje When the states are al­ready giv­ing food, why are you wast­ing the na­tion’s money? Don’t du­pli­cate the scheme. Also, one size doesn’t fit all. What As­sam needs and what Ra­jasthan needs are dif­fer­ent, and sit­ting in Delhi, you can’t know that. ON MODI­NOMICS Sibal Modi­nomics, ac­cord­ing to me, is giv­ing land to Gau­tam Adani so he can fund your poll cam­paign. Raje In BJP-run states, roads have been built, elec­tric­ity is avail­able, farm­ers are find­ing mar­kets and businesses are com­ing in droves. Am­bas­sadors from dif­fer­ent coun­tries are com­ing to Gu­jarat, Mad­hya Pradesh, Ch­hat­tis­garh and now to Ra­jasthan. This ob­vi­ously is hap­pen­ing in states that have al­lowed growth to take place. Sibal Gu­jarat is sev­enth in the coun­try as far as at­tract­ing FDI is con­cerned. Yet, ev­ery­body says businesses are com­ing to Gu­jarat like nowhere else. Delhi gets more FDI than Gu­jarat. In fact, Gu­jarat isn’t No.1 in any­thing—it’s 14th in ed­u­ca­tion, it’s prob­a­bly among the three states with most mal­nu­tri­tion. Raje Modi can’t wave a wand and give 100 per cent in ev­ery sin­gle field, but what he has done has cer­tainly made a dif­fer­ence to his people.

VA­SUND­HARARAJE KAPIL SIBAL

Pho­to­graphs by RO­HIT

CHAWLA

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