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Hitting out at the saffron government in Gujarat, Pitroda said that the state must discard the top-down approach which mostly favors the top corporates.

Ahead of the Assembly polls in Gujarat, Sam Pitroda – who was one of the key personalities in launching the country’s telecom revolution during the regime of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi – contradicted BJP’s key propaganda – “Gujarat model of development. Hitting out at the saffron government in Gujarat, Pitroda said that the state must take a bottom-up approach instead of the top-down approach towards development – which is only beneficial for the top corporates at the cost of the poor and marginalized section.

In an e-mail interview to IANS, Pitroda said, “Gujarat needs a Gandhian model of development bottom-up. Development should not be assessed in terms of how many lakhs or crores of rupees you can bring in as investment at global investors’ conferences. It doesn’t mean you dislike big corporates. But what will transform Gujarat is what do you do for the poor.”

Pitroda – who has been instrumental in drafting the Congress party’s manifesto for the upcoming Gujarat elections – further questioned the government on how the growth figures in terms of GDP is favorable for the common men in the state.

Stating that Gujarat need a new design of development, the former Telecom Commission Chairman asserted that if the Congress comes to power in the state, Gujarat Advisory Council will be formed on the lines of National Advisory Council. The advisory council was first formed during the first regime of the United Progressive Alliance in 2004 and later during it second regime from 2009 to 2014.

Being a close confidant of the Gandhi family, Pitroda played a key role in organizing Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the United States earlier this year. After his recent visit to Gujarat, Pitroda claimed that he had interacted with farmers, Dalits, women, fishermen, traders and NGOs in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Surat and Jamnagar. The 75-year-old stated that there is a growing discontent among the people of the state with the present governance.

Pitroda further took a dig at the BJP government over the implementation of the recently introduced policy reforms – demonetization and Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime. He said that the small and medium entrepreneurs have been adversely affected by the government’s economic reforms.

“Banks are not giving them loans. They are ready to give loans to big corporates but not to small entrepreneurs. The focus is on big projects like that of Tata MotorsBSE -1.36 %,” said Pitroda.

“The farmers’ complaints are that fertile lands are taken away from them with some compensation given. But after that no industry comes up on those lands. There is no economic profit for the local society,” Pitroda said and cited the case of GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), “which has huge area of land but just a couple of office buildings,” he added.

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