Centre, States to work as ‘Team India’: Modi

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“Without Team India, Hindustan cannot progress “, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said to thunderous applause from the audience.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sent out a strong message on Centre-State cooperation saying that without state help, no progress is possible. He said Centre and states should work together as ‘Team India’ to solve national problems like they have worked to resolve issues like the Indo-Bangla Land Boundary Agreement.

“Without Team India Hindustan cannot progress “, Mr Modi said to thunderous applause from the audience. He was in Burnpur to dedicate to the nation the modernised and expanded IISCO Steel Plant (ISP) of the Steel Authority of India Ltd .

Sharing the dais with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, he said the country was above the party .

Ms Banerjee said that politics will occuoy its own space and development will have its own space. But unity is important .

The `bonhomie’ between Mr Modi and Ms Banerjee contrasts with the public posturing they had adopted against each other a year back during the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Observing that the bill to give effect to the Indo-Bangla accord was passed unanimously by Parliament, Mr. Modi said all political parties and states like West Bengal, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Tripura worked “shoulder to shoulder with the Centre” to resolve this issue.

Vowing to work with the states to “take India forward”, the Prime Minister said it has been a “misfortune” that in the past there have been tensions between states and the Centre.

“I too have been a Chief Minister for many years and I know that this attitude (of the Centre) towards states will not help anyone. Our Constitution has given us a federal structure. But unfortunately Centre-state relations have always come under stress”, he said.

Asserting that Prime Minister and Chief Ministers would act as a team which would take India forward, he said, “Delhi alone will not rule India. Delhi will not be the only pillar on which the country will stand, but it will be supported by 30 pillars (of states)” and referred to the establishment of the NITI Aayog which has all states as partners.

The Prime Minister said his government’s effort was to make Eastern India powerful, for which West Bengal needs to be strengthened first.

“West Bengal will lead India’s ‘Act East’ policy to cooperate with the nations of Southeast Asia,” Mr. Modi said in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mr. Modi also took a dig at the previous UPA regime, saying media was full of reports on all kinds of “scams” in that period.

“Now, the reports are not about coal scam but about coal auction,” he said, adding there has been no report of any scam even as his government gets ready to complete one year this month.

Talking about the districts in which coal mines have been allotted, Mr. Modi said a Foundation will be created in each of them and a portion of royalty earned through auction will go to it to benefit locals.

Speaking on the occasion, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stressed that the Centre and the states will have to work hand-in-hand for taking the country’s progress forward.

Mr. Modi said the chief minister was right in saying so.

The IISCO plant had been modernised at a cost Rs 16,000 crore to raise the production capacity from 0.85 mtpa to 2.9 mtpa and would have the largest blast furnace.

Mr. Modi also mentioned that all the rating agencies were saying that India was the fastest developing nation in the world.

India needs to focus on production, value addition, skill

India would have to work for increasing production, value addition to mineral resources and developing the skills of youths to fight poverty in the country, Mr. Modi said.

“India needs to develop on all these three fronts, increased production, increased value addition to the nation’s mineral resources and developing the skills of the youths,” Mr. Modi said after the inauguration of IISCO Steel Plant.

“We have iron-ores. We are exporting the mineral and then importing steel from China. Then where is the benefit of having iron-ores?” Mr. Modi said.

He said if these issues were rightly addressed, the unemployed youths would get jobs and would help the country fight poverty.

Commenting on the economic progress after his government came to power, Mr. Modi said even one year ago, the world perceived that India had sunk and that it would not revive.

“But today, international agencies like the World Bank and IMF were saying that India was among the fastest growing nations in the world,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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