I have another mission. When I first became the Chief Minister, my detractors were quick to point out that I had no experience in governance. They wanted to know how a person who has never been a member of a municipal corporation, never been inside the Parliament and has directly become the Chief Minister, would work for the welfare of the state. I publicly said that not only have I never been part of any municipal corporation, I was never even made the monitor of my class as a student. I had never planned it, but I was given the responsibility of being the Chief Minister. Similarly, there must be several Sarpanches who have been given this responsibility for the first time. I want to assure them and tell them not to be afraid – I am a living example of a first-timer in a key position.
We have come up with a radical plan to provide good governance to the villages. Gujarat is perhaps the first state in the country that plans to develop the village organization with the concept of Gujarat Gram Sachivalay. Bringing about a revolution in governance will be possible only if good governance is taught. So many times the best of plans are not implemented – not for lack of funds, but due to lack of direction. When I was newly appointed as the Chief Minister, I decided that it is pointless to think that we know everything about running the government and extremely important to gain knowledge about good governance in the correct manner.
All my ministers and officers, totalling around 250, including myself, went to IIM Ahmedabad to learn about governance. We sat on benches like school students for three days and learnt a lot about what was lacking in Gujarat and how we can provide solutions to the problems of the state. After this eye-opening experience, we have decided to become students for three days every year. We invite eminent faculty to teach us and learn a lot about development. Since we have benefited from such learning, we want to share this benefit with the entire state. For the next year, we have planned to provide training to the sarpanches and members of Gram Panchayats about planning and managing the development of their villages. More than one and a half lakh elected representatives will be included in this training programme. The State Government will provide for a special budget for this important task that will change the direction of our villages. I urge the sarpanches and panchayat members to take one step – we will take two. My wish is to provide the fruits of development even to the last person in society, and my effort is to achieve this with the cooperation of the Sarpanches and panchayat members.