New Delhi: India needs to focus on skill, scale and speed to compete with China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday, drawing a link between the colours in the national flag to the revolutions the country needed for its future growth.
Releasing a book, "Getting India Back on track - an action agenda for reform", at a function at his 7 Race Course Road residence here, the prime minister said "input of intellectual think tanks" should be substantially enhanced for better policy framework. He said if India has to compete with China, the focus should be on skill, scale and speed.
"The need of the hour is to think big. The more we focus on skill, scale and speed, it will increase India's growth trajectory," the prime minister said. Modi's remarks came even as China's foreign minister Wang Yi made contact with the new Indian government in New Delhi. Wang Yi, special envoy of President Xi Jinping, held talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here Sunday.
Modi said universities should be actively involved in research and analysis of the development process to contribute in the best possible way for policy-related decisions. He said India needs to exploit the demographic dividend as 65 percent of its population was below 35 years of age. "For this, skill development needs to be a priority area," he said.
Referring to skills such as teaching, nursing and paramedics, he said good teachers were one of the biggest needs of society, but there are very few good teachers available. "Can India become an exporter of good teachers who would capture the imagination of an entire generation globally," he asked. Referring to infrastructure, he said the focus needs to shift from highways to "i-ways", and optical fibre networks.
Modi said cities in the past were built along river banks and were now built along highways, but in the future, they will be built on availability of optical fibre networks and next-generation infrastructure. The prime minister said urbanisation should not be treated as a problem, but as an opportunity. "If we have to generate employment and change for the better, we plan to build 100 smart cities," he said.
Modi referred to the colours of the national flag to suggest revolutions needed for the country's growth in the future. Referring to the green colour in the flag, he said: "We need to bring about a second green revolution focusing on increased agro productivity, value addition, agro technology, and decentralisation of warehousing."
Referring to the white colour, he said a white revolution must focus on increasing milk productivity and developing a support system for ensuring cattle health. Modi said the saffron colour in the flag represents energy. "We need a saffron revolution that focuses on renewable energy sources such as solar energy, to meet India's growing energy demand."
Referring to the blue colour of the Ashok Chakra (wheel) in the national flag, Modi said the blue revolution should focus on the fisheries sector, including ornamental fish. Laying stress on water conservation, Modi said micro-irrigation was successful in improving productivity and quality of crops like sugarcane in Gujarat.
He said the thrust has to be on "per drop, more crop". Pointing to the need of combating the challenge of global warming and climate change, the prime minister said a civilisation that treated rivers as mothers, need not learn about environment protection from a western point of view.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said there could not have been a more appropriate time for the book's release. He said governments should not only have the will to rule, but also credibility to rule.
Jaitley said the international community was once again looking at India "and it is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss". The book is edited by Bibek Debroy, Ashley Tellis and Reece Trevor, and published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.