A surprise article published in TOI on success of Modi model in Gujarat! Written by an Economist teaching in a University in the West, there is perhaps less scope for allegations of Hindutva' motives behind this article. But these days there is no guarantee that one would be spared of a Hindutva motive because not long ago I read a bunch of Indo Eurasian scholars under the guidance of Witzel blasting at a finding on cellular science as a Hindutva propaganda! Their focus of attack was a long known and repeatedly revealed finding of a research that said that the earliest life of the entire earth is found in the Vindhyas! That was seen as a Hindutva talk by these 'scholars'! Even hard evidenced scientific findings, if they support anything of ancient India – an India that was prior to Moghal and Christian influence – would be termed as Hindutva propaganda by these people.
In political India, the same picture can be seen. If anyone has a passion for 'my land' and 'my country' and see people as 'one people' of 'my land', that is 'Communal'. But if one wants to be 'secular', one must pick out Muslims and Christians from the 'one people' concept of population. From media anchors to Mulayam-likes the mantra is to keep 'communal forces' at bay in order to be 'secular'. This brand of secularism has no connection to good economics or growth as the statistics of the Modi model shows. The growth is both vertical and horizontal when you have 'one people' concept. If the nation wants good economics and growth, let them follow the Gujarat model. The author wants this model for his native state of Rajasthan. When it will spread to India as a whole remains with the people who know this difference and are mature enough to see thorough the games of 'secular' politicians. Have the people reached the threshold of such maturity?
The Gujarat miracle:
There is no denying the major economic advances the state has made under Narendra Modi
The writer is professor of economics at Columbia University.
I recently wrote about why the accomplishments of chief minister Nitish Kumar - that at last bring hope to Bihar - could not be underestimated. Today, i turn to Gujarat, which has been generally more prosperous in the post-Independence era and has performed impressively under chief minister Narendra Modi. Critics who insist on viewing everything related to Modi through the 2002 lens and, thus, fail to separate their economics from politics have fallen short of 20/20 vision.
Begin with growth. The relevant comparison here is with larger, richer states. Based on per-capita Net State Domestic Product (NSDP) in 2009-10, Gujarat ranks third, behind Maharashtra and Haryana but ahead of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka in that order.
Modi came to office in October 2001. In the following eight years spanning 2002-03 to 2009-10 (2002-10), NSDP grew at 10.5% annual rate in Gujarat and at 10.1% in the nearest competitor, Maharashtra. The rate during the preceding eight years, 1994-02, was 5.9%, behind only Haryana's 6.3%. Modi inherited a vibrant economy and has taken it to new heights. Gujarat had ranked sixth in terms of per-capita NSDP in 2002-03. Outperforming Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Punjab, it moved up to the third spot in 2005-06 and has remained there.
While the performance in agriculture has received the greatest attention, perhaps the most exceptional feature of Gujarat's success has been the performance of manufacturing. Compared with the national average of 15%, manufacturing in Gujarat accounted for 27.4% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in 2009-10.
Critics might say that this proportion has risen only one percentage point since 2002-03. But given the uphill battle manufacturing faces in India, even maintaining the share at this high level is a challenge. In all comparator states, this share has been below 20%. Moreover, with the exception of Punjab, none has been able to raise it by more than a percentage point during 2002-10.
With a high and rapidly rising per-capita income, it should come as no surprise that Gujarat has a significantly lower poverty ratio than India as a whole and it is fast declining. Based on the Tendulkar poverty lines and methodology, overall poverty in Gujarat fell by only six percentage points during 11 years between 1993-94 and 2004-05. But during just five years between 2004-05 and 2009-10, it fell an impressive nine percentage points. In 2009-10, the poverty ratio in Gujarat at 23% was almost seven percentage points below the national average.
The decline in poverty has been observed across all major social groups. My ongoing rese-arch with Megha Mukim finds the poverty ratio for the scheduled castes tumbling from 40.1% in 2004-05 to 21.8% in 2009-10. The decline has been less sharp for the more numerous scheduled tribes (ST) - from 54.7% in 2004-05 to 47.6% in 2009-10. Given the continued high absolute level of ST poverty, the state must think of imaginative ways to bring the fruits of growth to the tribal belts.
Critics frequently deride the exceptional growth in Gujarat by pointing to its lack of achievement in the social sectors. But they often do so by focussing on selective indicators. A consideration of a broad set of indicators hardly offers an indictment of the state even in social sectors.
The critics' case is particularly weak in education. Gujarat added 10 percentage points to the literacy rate during 2001-11, more than any other comparator state. At 79.3%, the literacy rate now stands one percentage point behind Tamil Nadu and three percentage points behind Maharashtra. Indeed, once we take into account the low literacy level of Gujarat at Independence, its progress looks more impressive than that of even Kerala.
To eliminate the bias that may result from differences in initial levels of literacy in evaluating the improvements in literacy, compare the three-decade progress in Gujarat during 1981-2011 to that in Maharashtra during 1971-2001 and Kerala during 1951-81. The initial literacy rates in these states during these periods were almost equal: 45% in Gujarat in 1981, 46% in Maharashtra in 1971 and 47% in Kerala in 1951. But three decades later, larger improvements by Gujarat had taken it ahead of both Maharashtra and Kerala.
On a longer-term basis, Gujarat's gains in the vital health statistics are nothing to scoff at either. If the levels of these statistics compare unfavourably, it is because it began the race with a disadvantage. In life expectancy, it began a year below the national ave-rage during 1970-75 and remained exactly there in 2006-09. Infant mortality rate per thousand live births in Gujarat exceeded the national average by 15 in 1971 but fell below it by two in 2009. Under-five mortality and maternal mortality rates in 2006-09 were, likewise, well below the national average.
Data do show Gujarat performing worse than the national average in child nutrition between 1998-99 and 2005-06, the latest period for which consistent data are available. The government can do much social good by targeted action in this area. The good news is that with high growth, the state has the necessary revenues to successfully address the problem.
While one can selectively poke holes in nearly every success story, taken as a whole, it is difficult to remain unimpressed by what Gujarat has achieved. I would be only too happy if its economic success spread next door to my home state, Rajasthan.