Taking a dig at UPA government's ambitious food security programme, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the Centre was under the impression that merely bringing in the Bill would lead to food reaching the needy.
"The government in Delhi thinks that just by bringing in the Food Security Bill, there will be food on your plate," Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign chief told students of Pune's Fergusson College.
Modi said, "There is a sense of despondency in the country today" and stressed that there was a need to modernise India without westernising it.
"There is a need to nurture talent for nation building," Modi said, peppering his address with achievements made by the Gujarat government in education and other sectors.
Modi, who once again found himself in the eye of a storm over his recent "puppy" remarks in an interview to a news agency, interacted with students of Fergusson College where he had gone to inaugurate an amphitheatre.
Underlining that education plays a crucial role in a nation's development, Modi said, "If we want to have a good education system, we should create good teachers, which has not been a priority."
Stating that "there is a big difference between 'others' and us", Modi said, "Other people are interested in power. We give priority to empowerment. They want power, we want to empower every citizen of this country."
"I don't want to make any political statements here, but have the expectations from the system been fulfilled?" Modi asked.
"After Independence, had we opted for modern education, we could have done a lot in these 60 years," he said.
There is an atmosphere of "nirasha" (despondency) in thecountry today "(but) I don't endorse this view," Modi said.
"It is essential that we get out of this view," he stressed.
"Over 65 per cent of our population is below 35 years of age. This tremendous youth power can be of use if there is someone to do the job," he said.
Contrasting the Indian and US education systems, Modi said that in the US system, ways are found to nurture a person's creativity.
Modi also spoke of the old gurukul system in India and how people from all over the world came to study at Indian education hubs like Nalanda.
"Earlier, education was a man-making mission. Now, it has become a money making mission. Was this our tradition?" he asked.
"Even when our country was in slavery, our great leaders thought of the education system. Could we not do any thing after Independence?" he said.
"We want modernisation, not westernisation," he said.
Modi cited the example of South Korea and lauded the strides made by that country.
"South Korea also gained independence at the same time. It is the size of Gujarat. Now, in this short span, it is among the developed nations. Such a small country hosts Olympics. Through sports, it has established a position in the world," he said.
"But in this country of 120 crore people, we auctioned the country in the Commonwealth Games. The CWG scam tarnished the image of the country. Is this the direction where we want to take the country?" he asked.
"When the government brings down the prestige of the country, then it becomes a matter of concern," he said.
"During Olympics, people often say that despite its huge size, we don't get medals. Have we linked sports with our education system," he said.
"If newly-recruited army jawans are given proper training, I am sure they will bring 5 to 10 medals," Modi said.