In Gujarat, PM Modi looks to assuage small businesses with GST measures

Topics Narendra Modi

PM Narendra Modi arrives in Jamnagar for his 2-days visit to the state. Photo: ANI
Terming it an 'early Diwali', Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked to assuage dissent among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in poll-bound Gujarat by lauding the government’s move to revise the Goods and Services Tax (GST) measures in his public address at Dwarka on Saturday.

Stating that he was happy with the reception to the changes in GST, Modi said that his government had further simplified the tax.

In what is being seen as campaigning ahead of the Assembly polls in Gujarat, Modi is on a two-day visit to his home state. On Sunday, he will also visit his birthplace Vadnagar for the first time since assuming the office of the Prime Minister. 

Addressing a public gathering at Dwarka, where he laid the foundation stone for a Rs 900-crore bridge that connects the island pilgrimage tourist spot of Beyt Dwarka, Modi maintained that the changes were bound to be made after three months of studying GST.

"Today, everywhere it is being said that Diwali has come 15 days ahead. I am happy... We had said that we will study GST implementation for three months and shall overcome any discrepancies. Our FM (Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) convinced everyone in GST council to bring changes," Modi told the gathering.

"When there is trust in the government and policies are made with best intentions, it is natural for people to support us. I thank people of this country for their support," Modi asserted.

Taking a dig at the Opposition party Congress, Modi said, "I remember days of Madhavsinh Solanki (incumbent Congress state chief Bharatsinh Solanki’s father) as a chief minister. He had come to inaugurate one water tank in Jamnagar district and got himself photographed. Their concept of development was limited."

Announcing the setting up of India's first and biggest marine police training institute at Mojap in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, Modi said, "I would like to give a gift to the people of Gujarat that will benefit the entire country. For security of coastal area, we are working to modernise marine police who look after coastal security till five km from shore. To help train policemen from across the country, a marine police training and research institute will be set up near Mojap."

Meanwhile, alluding to the rising criticism of the government's economic measures and development agenda, Modi asserted that development would continue to be the driving force for his government. 

"This generation may have suffered poverty but we would take development to such heights that future generations do not get to see poverty. The world's attention is being drawn to India. People are coming to invest here. All this will bring opportunities for the people of India," Modi said.

The two-day visit to Gujarat will see Modi addressing about six public meetings at launches of various schemes and projects at five places in three regions of the state.

After Dwarka, Modi will be laying the foundation stone for a Rs 2,500-crore Rajkot International Airport on the outskirts of the biggest city in Saurashtra. He will also address a public rally at the pilgrim town of Chotila in Surendranagar district just an hour's drive from Rajkot.

Later in the day, Modi will dedicate a new building of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar to the nation.

On Sunday, Modi will visit his birthplace Vadnagar in North Gujarat to inaugurate a Rs 500-crore civil hospital and a medical college, apart from dedicating a re-developed lake and facelift of the Vadnagar railway station.

Hoardings highlighting several achievements of Modi's three years as PM have been put up along the route, depicting his journey from Vadnagar to Varanasi. 

Modi will also lay the foundation stone of the Rs 1,200-crore Devi Ni Mori International Buddhist complex near Shamlaji in Aravalli district, also in North Gujarat, on Sunday.

Later, the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for the Rs 3,000-crore Bhadbhut barrage project over river Narmada, as well as a Rs 650-crore Dahej-Ghogha Ro-Ro ferry service near Bharuch in South Gujarat, before flying off to New Delhi from Vadodara.

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