The Express Adda, a unique series of free-wheeling conversations with individuals at the centre of change, begins its summer series in Mumbai on Wednesday with Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje at a time when states are getting increasing prominence in a federal polity.
She is no stranger to the city where she spent her early years and graduated in Economics and Political Science (Honours) from Sophia College.
As Rajasthan’s first woman chief minister, she has been pushing through politically tough reforms.
She set the tone by introducing Aadhaar-based biometrics for financial inclusion in the state’s Bhamashah Scheme that aims at empowering women, placing them at the centre of the family’s jointly owned subsidy benefits card.
She has amended three significant labour laws to make them more flexible and is now in the midst of whirlwind tours and road shows, inviting domestic and foreign investors to join her in the second edition of Resurgent Rajasthan that she introduced in 2008.
In her second stint as chief minister, Raje was voted to power with 160 seats, a majority that has helped her bring in several changes in key legislations. She recently imposed a minimum education qualification for contesting rural polls.
With higher devolution of financial resources and also of power to states, Rajasthan, together with Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, is poised to contribute more to India’s GDP. States have borrowed many a leaf from her book on labour reforms.
A special guest at the Express Adda on Wednesday, she will speak on her ambitious agenda to usher in change and position Rajasthan as a role model for other states.