Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gujarat: Myth And Reality

Gujarat: Myth And Reality For the last several years, Modi has been successful in projecting his “vibrant Gujarat” as a role model of economic growth and himself as “Vikas Purush”. Though one must give due credit to Modi for his effective skills in making projections, one must also critically analyse this “growth story of Gujarat” based on facts and figures. Regretfully, as one examines the facts since Modi came to power in Gujarat in 2001, the story appears to be hollow and, at times, contrary to what is being projected. First, about the rate of economic growth. During 1995-2000 and 2001-10, Gujarat increased its annual rate of growth from 8.01% to 9.68%. But so is the case with other major states such as Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. During 2001-04, the rate of industrial growth for Gujarat was 3.95%, and during 2005-09, it was 12.65%. During these sub-periods, industrial growth for Orissa was 6.4% and 17.53%; for Chhattisgarh 8.10% and 13.3%; and for Uttarakhand 18.84% and 11.63%. In FDI, too, Gujarat has not been a leading state. During 2006-10, Gujarat signed MoUs worth Rs. 5.35 lakh jobs. But Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu with Rs. 4.20 lakh crore and Rs. 1.63 lakh crore worth MoUs, expect about 8.63 lakh and 13.09 lakh jobs. To top it all, Chhattisgarh and Orissa have signed MoUs worth Rs. 3.61 lakh crore and Rs. 2.99 lakh crore more than Gujarat without much fanfare and Modi’s much-hyped industrial summits. In terms of per capital income (PCI), in 2011, Gujarat ranged sixth among mojor states with PCI of Rs. 63,996, after Haryana (Rs 92,327), Maharashtra, (Rs 83,471),Pubjab (Rs 67, 473), Tamil Nadu ( Rs 72,993) and Uttarakhand ( Rs 68, 292) What about inclusive growth in Gujarat? Though Gujarat, with 31.8% people below the poverty line did better than Maharashtra and Karnataka, it still lagged behind Kerala, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, where poverty levels were 19.7%, 20.9%, 22.9% and 24.1% respectively. On three important social indicators, viz life expectancy at birth (LEB), mean years of schooling (MYS) and school life expectancy (SLE), Gujarat is far behind some other states. In Gujarat, the LEB during 2002-06 was 64.1 years and it ranked ninth among major Indians states. In the areas of MYS and SLE, during 2004-05. With respect to Human Development Index (HDI), Gujarat’s story is devastating. The HDI for Gujarat, in 2008, was 0.527 and it ranked 10th among major states. Kerala stood first (HDI: 0.790), Himachal Pradesh scored 0.652, Punjab 0.605, Maharashtra 0.572 and Haryana 0.552. It is found that inequality with respect to income, education and health is higher in Gujarat than some of the major states. Shockingly, in terms of hunger-as revealed by the ‘State Hunger Index 2008’ – Gujarat ranked 13th among 17 big states and worse than Orissa. In Gujarat, the percentage of women suffering from anemia has risen from 46.3% in 1999 to 55.5% in 2004, and amongst children from 74.5% to 80.1%. The conditions of details and women have deteriorated during the last decade; while those of Muslims and tribals are still worse. Thus, Guajarat’s growth story as claimed by Modi is more a myth than reality. Extracts of an article by Balchandra Mungekar In TOI 12 Jun 2012

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