Is development in Gujarat real or fake?

Gujarat has been rated as the 12th most developed state in the Raghuram Rajan panel report which was made to allocate Central funds to states. The report is based on the development index and includes ten factors – monthly per-capita consumption expenditure, education, health, household amenities, rate of poverty, female literacy, percentage of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the total population, rate of urbanization, financial enclosure, and connectivity. Gujarat scored 0.49 on that index. It means there are 11 states ahead of Gujarat. So what about the tall claims made by Gujarat state government for the development in the state. Are these real or fake?

Points favoring the claim

Development in Gujarat has helped the state to become an industrial hub. Investors, industrialists and corporate show keen interest in investing and doing business in the state. This is happening because of liberalization for private investments.

According to the survey reports of Labor Bureau of India, 2012, Gujarat has the lowest unemployment rate as compared to other states and the average national rate which again in the sure shot sign of development.

As per the Planning Commission’s survey there is a sharp decline in the poverty in Gujarat. The percentage decline is from 31.6% in 2004–2005 to 23% in 2009–2010.

State government has put considerable efforts in empowering women and uplifting the girl child. It has also addressed the issues of malnutrition and worked tirelessly on many social factors to improve the Human Development Index. With much developed pre–natal and the post–natal medical facilities in the state child mortality rate has reduced to a great extent. The state has the lowest child mortality rate. Chiranjeevi Yojana is the prominent scheme working in this sector.

In addition to this many schemes and Yojanas have been implemented in the state for the overall development. This includes a program called Sujalam Sufalam for the conservation of water, its distribution and suitable utilization in the state, Krishi Mahotshav for agriculture research and development, Beti Bachao to prevent female feticide in the state, Karmayogi Abhiyan to train and educate government employees, Kanya Kelavani Yojana for female literacy and educational development.

Points against the claim

According to the 2012-13 India Rural Development Report only 18% of the rural households have access to all the three basic facilities i.e. safe drinking water, sanitation and electricity. One in every five rural households in Gujarat has no access to any of these three basic facilities. This access in the state of Kerala is 71%. Along with this Gujarat has low Human Development Index (HDI). The social sector needs to be uplifted for the overall development of the state.

Another thing that goes opposite to the development claim are the figures pertaining to the memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). During the five biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summits from 2003 to 2011 it was declared the total worth of FDI cost was $876 billion. It has also been said that 84% of the projects have either been completed or under progress. China’s FDI inflow for the same period was $600 billion. On the basis of the calculations, experts are stating that in this scenario or even if just 60% of the total investment had been implemented, Gujarat would have left China behind.

Contrary to the claims FDI inflow in Gujarat over the last three years is dropping. In 2010-11 Gujarat’s share was 3.38 per cent (Rs. 3,294 crore), in 2011-12 it was 2.85 per cent (Rs. 4,730 crore) and in 2012-13 it became 2.38 per cent (Rs. 2,470 crore) now. Even the share of projects implemented and under implementation is also decreasing.

A decade back Gujarat’s GDP growth was higher than the national average and a bit higher than the high performing states. This difference is somewhere reducing and hence a slowdown can be seen in the investments.

Last year in the month of March came the news of 135 farmers who committed suicide in Gujarat because of debt, crop failure and no aid from the state government. It was also said that this number was higher because many such cases had not been recorded by the police. It has been said that development in the state is not a poor farmer friendly.

In Gujarat emphasis has been given to industry not agriculture. The resources for the industry are coming at the cost of agriculture. This is badly affecting the farmers specially small and marginal farmers who are totally dependent upon agriculture for their livelihood. Above that drought and exceptionally low yield force them to commit suicide. As per the state government there is 10% growth in this sector and commercial crops have given the required push to agriculture. But experts are saying that the growth rate is just 3-4%. Some of the villages like Saurashtra and Rajkot are seeing fall in the cotton yield which means very low income.

Major investments in Gujarat have been done to develop the world class infrastructure in the state. But some studies are indicating that for infrastructural development environment and the present human habitation has not been taken into account. According to the DMIC plan on groundwater, water will be utilized for industrial development instead of domestic and irrigation purposes. By 2039 it is expected that migration figure in the state would reach to 94 million but nothing has been planned in relation to this.

No doubt Gujarat has shown development but there might be certain issues which need clarification.

Note- I have collected data from different websites and the article is not my personal opinion.

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