Gujarat bubble fooled many, but people are waking up to reality of fake development model

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In 2014 the nation got swayed by Narendra Modi’s charisma and his golden state, Gujarat. Gujarat’s development and progress was resonating in every BJP campaign. The 12 years of Modi government in Gujarat had put the state onto a path of industrial growth and prosperity.

By choosing BJP over other parties, people wanted to emulate the success of Gujarat for the nation. The Gujarat development model seemed perfect.

Gujarat bubble fooled

That it was. Perfect for propaganda and BJP’s electoral calculations. Viewed through rose-tinted glasses, the Gujarat bubble attracted millions to vote for Narendra Modi as Prime Minister in 2014.

As children, most of us can remember our fascination with bubbles. The delight we had in blowing them and joyfully chasing them as the wind carried the shiny spheres away. The Gujarat bubble too did the same, but to voters in deciding the country’s future. People blindly chased the hype created around the state.

As it was projected, the Gujarat development model should have, by all standards, put the state at the top of state rankings. But it did not.

At the outset, it is a flawed model, presented in the most lucrative manner to show both BJP and Narendra Modi in a positive, progressive light while degrading the work of its predecessors.

Far from being a role model, the state cuts a sorry figure in many developmental aspects.

Modi’s Gujarat – crumbling under tall claims

A Planning Commission report based on figures between 2005 and 2010, ranked 21 states on health, education and infrastructure. The model state of Gujarat, presented a gloomy state of affairs. The state ranked 16th in Health, 14th in Education and 11th in Infrastructure.

The rankings clearly indicate that during the period under study, the government of Gujarat failed to provide for its people in the above categories. On the health index, in terms of overall malnutrition and hunger (UNDP: Human Development Report 2011), Gujarat ranks worst among the industrial high per capita income states. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER-Rural) 2012 stated that only 7% of Gujarat’s class 5 kids could read English sentences, way below all India average.

At a rally in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh in January 2014, taking a dig at the Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, Narendra Modi had said, “Do you know what it takes to develop a state like Gujarat? It means providing electricity 365 days. It means ensuring electricity in every village and corner of the state.”

Surprisingly, at the time the claim was made, 90.4% household had electricity (Census 2011). Clearly, entire Gujarat was not electrified. In ranking of states, Gujarat was found to be at 14th position, with Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Punjab and others way ahead in providing electricity to their people.

Job creation was another claim made by the Modi government. The manufacturing and industrial sectors saw growth but other sectors, primarily agriculture failed to sustain livelihood opportunities.

The Modi government was ineffective in implementing multidimensional growth in the state.

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Planning Commission’s report of the Working Group on Employment, Planning & Policy for the Twelfth five year plan (2012-2017) shows that the unorganised sector saw a huge dip in employment, from 394.9 million workers in 2004-05 to 378.97 million in 2009-10. Agricultural workforce also climbed down from 258.93 million to 243.2 million during the same period.

At the time of making the tall claims, the financial health of the “model” state was in grave crisis. According to the CAG report, Gujarat’s fiscal deficit increased from Rs. 15,513 crore in 2009-10 to Rs. 18,422 crore in 2013-14. The state debt increased from Rs. 45,301 crore in 2001-02 to Rs. 1,38,978 crore in 2012-13. Since the time Modi took over, the debt multiplied slightly more than three times in the last 11 years.

Borrowed money has to be paid back with interest. In 2013, the state government was paying interest of Rs. 34.50 crore every day, exhausting 17.5% of its expenditure in interest costs. Only one other state had more spending on interest payments; West Bengal at 21.4%. As the debt levels will balloon, so will the repayments putting a strain on the economy.

Another claim that Gujarat attracts the largest FDI inflows is also fallacious. In 2012-13, its share in FDI was a meagre 2.38%, compared to Maharashtra’s 39.4%. In the period 2000-2014, Maharashtra attracted maximum foreign inflows at $70.41 billion, about 30% of total foreign direct investment inflows in that period. Gujarat came at 5th place $ 10.18 billion.

The state’s agriculture books too don’t match upto the flawless image that has been created. Gujarat’s agricultural growth has fluctuated year to year and has not been 10-11% as claimed by the Modi sarkar. According to the 2015 Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) of India report, Gujarat’s average annual agriculture growth rate during the 11th five-year plan (2007-12) was 5.49%. A notch better than the all India average of 4.06% but during 2012-13, Gujarat’s GDP in agriculture plunged below the line to -6.96%, a major setback from 21.64% in 2010-11 and 5.02% in 2011-12.

Land allocation to corporates for industries displaced lakhs of adivasis, farmers, fishermen and agricultural workers. Increased indebtedness among farmers has caused many suicides. The Narmada dam project benefitted more urban areas than rural areas where agricultural need was more. The dry Saurashtra region has greatly suffered due to Modi’s policy of focussing more on industrial growth concentrated around the cities than on agricultural lands.

The state exchequer groaned under the weight of Modi government’s business friendly attitude. In order to attract investors, Modi lowered interest rates, increased tax deductions and even sold land at throwaway prices. Many big companies like Adani, Reliance, Ford, Essar and others have been offered special conditions under the SEZ cover.

The Gujarat model of governance, is as misleading as in other aspects. The CAG report sites many incidents where Modi government gave huge benefits to corporate houses causing the state exchequer loss of several hundred crores.

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Modi promoted Gujarat as a state with good governance. While the state machinery ran smoothly, many scams surfaced. Modi government is accused of selling 1,100 acres of land to set up the Nano plant, to Tata Motors at one-tenth the prevalent market rate.

Allotment of lakes for fishing activity without inviting tenders; selling of cheap land to Adani group for Mundra Port & Mundra Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Rs 1 per square metre; purchase of cattle feed at double the market price; allotment of land meant for agricultural university for hotel construction; scam in Anganwadi centes; use of private aircraft as a favour and many more are plaguing the tenure of Modi as Gujarat’s CM.

Contrary to Modi’s claim of making Gujarat a vibrant state, the state has always been in good health owing to the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. Long before Modi became CM, the state’s economy flourished in the early 1990s, soon after the liberalisation of the Indian economy.

According to Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen, the average growth in agriculture till 1999-2000 was very high as compared to other states. Gujarat had annual economic growth rate of 19.5% during the six year period of 1988-94. In the 1991 to 1998 period Gujarat was the fastest-growing of India’s 14 major states based on gross state product. In the 1990s, Gujarat’s growth rate was 4.8% as compared to the national average of 3.7%. In the 2000s, it was 6.9% as compared to the national average of 5.6%. The difference between the state’s growth rate and the national average increased marginally and not drastically as claimed by the Modi regime.

Price paid by the common people of Gujarat

While the rich are getting richer, thanks to the economic development and industrial growth in the state, the less privileged are paying the price. The social indicators are inversely proportional to the state’s economic performance.

Among the developed states, Gujarat has one of the highest poverty levels (23% state population under poverty in 2010). It ranks 14th among all states on the poverty scale (RBI, 2013). According to the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), in 2011-12, Gujarat had among the lowest average daily wages for urban casual labour at Rs 144.52, when the national urban average was Rs. 170.10.

Modi’s vibrant state suffers from lack of potable water supplies and ranks 10th in the use of toilets. Gujarat also features amongst the lowest ranks on human development indices. Gujarat government’s spending on social sector is below that of many states. In 2011, Gujarat spent 15.9% of its budget on education. States like Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh spent between 17-20.8% (RBI report, 2011). Various social sector schemes like State Child Protection Policy, Right to Education Act, failure in preventing chid marriages or implementing the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, have failed in achieving their targets.

People gather to fetch water from a huge well in the village of Natwarghad in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Image: Reuters

Despite all these shortcomings, Gujarat was showcased as an ideal state, where development was the key word. Playing the right chords, BJP’s poll strategy ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 targeted youth. Before Narendra Modi was named as the choice for the prime minister’s post, he addressed students at Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce on 6 February 2013.

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The propaganda was cleverly designed to attract 150 million first-time voters. The great orator that Modi is, succeeded in selling his fallacious claims about the model state. The youth lapped up his passionate rhetoric about good governance, accelerated economic growth and much more. The speech soon spread like fire and there has been no looking back since then, both for BJP and Modi. The empire was built on clever image building and beguiling the trust of people.

Need for building “Vibrant Gujarat”

Post Godhra riots in 2002, Modi got the image of a contentious anti-minority leader. With this background, Modi launched the Vibrant Gujarat campaign in 2003. The biennial event aimed at attracting cash flows to the state, projecting it as India’s top investment destination. Soon Modi came to be referred as builder of modern Gujarat. He lowered government controls over business, eased up labour laws and regulations and fast forwarded infrastructure development. The campaign saw huge success and those against Modi’s hard-line Hindutva image, softened in their approach.

With each passing year, the Global Investor Summit became more successful, so did the collaboration between the corporate sector and the state government. Narendra Modi’s image got a thrust and he was able to win state elections thrice.

Known for creating religious polarisation, this time the BJP succeeded in creating social polarisation too. The ‘Gujarat model’, based on economic platform, clearly side-lined the minorities – Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis.

The Vibrant Gujarat campaign picked up monumental momentum prior to the 2014 general elections. Gujarat’s image was a key part of Modi’s election campaign and Gujarat government spent crores of tax payer’s money on polishing the state’s image and transforming Narendra Modi from a regional champion to a national leader.

The campaign highlighted Gujarat’s economic development and its vast natural resources.
Business leaders from industry sing Modi’s praise and it is not difficult to see why.

In 2008, Modi provided Tata Motors land for Nano plant and other incentives after the company’s long tussle with the West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee. Overnight, Modi became a champion of industry and businessmen. Adding to his local popularity was the support of the Gujarati diaspora, who saw their economic aspirations being fulfilled in their homeland.

The Gujarat bubble succeeded in fooling many. But as the people are waking up to reality, the Gujarat Model is losing its sheen. With the bubble burst and state elections round the corner, one waits for another gimmick from Modi’s bag of tricks.

(Sadhavi Khosla is author of Punjab: The Enemy Within. Views expressed here are the author’s own and Janta Ka Reporter does not endorse them)

16 COMMENTS

  1. What a wonderfully written article ! Please expose the claims of feku ji and his 40 chors at the centre, as well.

  2. Sir,
    I would supplement these facts with ome more, in GSCSCL(Gujarat state civil supplies corporation ltd.), Recruitments made of fix pay class 3, Assistant post in the year 2015(joining in 2016) has been burdened with a bond of 5 year for one year salary. This means if such employee leaves within five years of joining then he/she will have to pay salary of 12months. Such fix play employees have requested to all the authorities. Because till the fix pay salary was hiked, they were getting 10000/- as salary now they are getting 20000/-. If they resign for the better future, they will have to pay 2,40,000 as a bond. Sir, here there are so many employees who have not yet taken salary of 1lakh in total and they have paid such big amounts. How can a poor employee can afford this. Are we serving to pay? In such situation are we going to serve better? How can our Morales even can be high? We request you to look into this issue. This is concerned to atleast 200 employees.

  3. Have you ever been to Gujarat? Of you have have ever been to Vadodara,Gandhinagar, Rajkot, Ahemdabad, Surat, Anand etc.? If you haven’t then you are not the only person to write this. CONGRATULATIONS ;). You have entertained people well.

  4. A very negative thinking by this khosla lady. I live in Gujarat and have lived in haryana, karnataka and maharashtra too. Gujarat is way above these. Looks like this lady holds a grudge against gujarat. Poor show…..

  5. Wonderful article with adequate citation to the facts. Thanks for this information. It is the hightime that people of Gujarat realise about it and vote for better and alternative party government. Choose a govt who really cares people of Gujarat considering all the sections of the society. Fake economic numbers and false propaganda cannot be taken anymore.

  6. The documents sighted in the entire article is of agencies controlled one way or the other by Central Government. Needless to say why this sort of fake figures appeared in the report, since in that period it was BJP in power in Gujarat. I don’t dispute entire comments. Comments with regard to Health and Secondary education appears to be true.
    It was the only state other than Chattisghad providing 24/7 quality power to both rural and urban areas. The figure 90.4%of electificatio has been taken by the reporting agencies is by and far a vague owing to the fact that people in rural areas have dwelling not only in villages but also in their agricultural lands, as I saw in the tenure of my stay in Gujarat. It is natural for them to take connection of electricity only for their house in the village. Approach roads to villages are so good that it almost comparable to the National​Highways in quality. My personal experience is, everyday I used to travel about 70 Km for my work, which I could cover in 45 to 60 minutes. Such was the condition of the road. Water supply, though it was intermittent,was provided to almost all villages where I have seen myself. The sample survey conducted by the agency seem to be on a preconceived ideas. Regarding Agricultural front the development is enormous though not uniformly distributed for the entire area. Narmada project is not completed​yet. Still ongoing.
    The sample may have considered Industrial growth of a few areas particularly of those which are favoured by the MODI Government. The Industrial growth is phenomenal. The cost of land per acre in Kutchc area was a meagre 30000 to 40000. After Industrialization the cost of land shot up to One crore per acre. At certain areas land owners voluntarily came forward to sell their lands for industries. When 24/7 quality power is available it is natural for Industrialists to invest in those areas. One peculiar factor to be noted here is, large-scale Industrialization took place not in the vicinity of urban areas but in backward rural areas. Once I wanted to go to Ahmadabad and asked my driver to take me to a particular place. I was astonished to hear his answer that he has not gone to Ahmadabad. His straight forward answer was, when I get everything in my village itself no necessity of going to Ahmadabad. Such is the development in rural areas.
    The report seems to be prepared wearing only yellow glass. It has highlighted only such of the areas where development activities are yet to begin.
    One must compare the development of Gujarat in the background of massive destruction due to earth quake and communal clashes. Thanks to the MODIJI, as CM of Gujarat he chose only such areas for development where even Congress government also neglected. He didn’t play party affiliation in developing areas. His main focus was around development. Even in those areas I saw during my stay in Gujarat for over four years, even Muslims were also happy about the developmental activities of Modiji.
    This report appeared to please someone in power at the center and nothing else. It is purely based on political issues than real picture of the state. This report doesn’t convey true picture of Gujarat. The Gujarat model of Development is more misunderstood than understanding it properly.

  7. alright, but it is better to have him rather than rahul,sonia,arvind,mamta,mayawati.etc etc. atleast he is not anti national demanding partition of india. It is not out of choice but out of rejection that we vote in India. anyway its not easy to run a country with population explosion and every other person demanding every thing for free.

  8. “Views expressed here are the author’s own and Janta Ka Reporter does not endorse them”

    No scams, inflation under control, no money leaks to journalists, strengthening rupee, all time high fdi reserves, no mention of any of these. Looks like you have amnesia to good things happening around or you are plain stupid to acknowledge that you cannot blame modi for everything and anything. Stop emulating kejribawal. Get a life.

  9. The author seems to have done a lot of homework to find out faults in Modi ‘s Gujarat Model.Had she worked in similar manner to investigate UPA2 model,the nation would have been well progressive. However, I doubt why as per her claim Gujarat did not flourish or could market itself in 90s if it was already prosperous. The reality is that what we know, can’t be assessed by someone who has neither stayed in Gujarat nor observed its growth as we have! Gujarat model may not be the best but can anyone provide a better alternative…???

  10. This Lady wants us too believe like USA,GERMANY, FRANCE JAPAN r the poorest nations on earth and they have fooled their own people in believing that they r rich. …Hahah hahehahahee hahaha hahaha

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    2004 – 2014: 5.3 Cr
    2014 – 2017: *6.95 Cr*

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: Mobile Banking in India

    2013-14: 94.7 million
    2017: *722.2 million*

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: Electronic manufacturing in India

    2014: ₹11,198 Cr.
    2017: *₹1,43,000* Cr.

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: Sanitation Coverage

    2014: 42%
    2017: *64%*

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    2014-15: 142
    2016: *130*

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: WEFs Travel and Tourism Ranking

    2014: 65th
    2017: *40th*

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: Solar Power Generation

    2014: 2,621 MW
    2017: *12,277* MW

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: Optical Fibre Network (Including Rural)

    2013-14: 358 Kms
    2017: *2,05,404 Kms*

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: Rural Road Construction

    2011 – 2014: 81,095 Kms

    2014-2017: *1,20,233 Kms*

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: New toilets Construction

    2013-14: 49.76 Lakh
    2016-17: *2.09 Crores*

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    2016-17: *554 million Tones*

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    2013-14: 4.6%
    2017: *3.2%*

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    [30/05 6:15 pm] Jaymin: GDP

    2014: 6.6%
    2017: *7.1%*

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    2014: $24.2 USD
    2017: *$56.3 USD*

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  12. I wish if a train show was organised where people from all over the India are invited to see and visit Gujarat especially the villages and smaller towns. I’ve no doubt when and if they go back, they will know what development is.

    I’m sure Sadhavi Khosla hasn’t visited Gujarat yet.

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