In terms of Per capita income Gujarat is ranked 11th, Haryana and Maharashtra take the first and second place respectively. Gujarat has only seen 6.1% growth which is slightly above the national average growth of 4.66% in terms of per capita income. Gujarat lands a joint 9th place with Tamil Nadu in Gross Domestic State Product growth during the 11th plan year in General category states, slower than the Congress ruled Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. These and many more shocking data rip open the myth of Modi’s ‘vibrant’ Gujarat.
There is an overall perception of Gujarat doing extremely well but the regular employment growth rate also ironically, shows a very poor trend in the current economic situation of the state. NSSO data show that growth in employment has dropped to almost zero in the past 12 years. While the all-India growth rate of wages in the manufacturing sector has been 3.7%, in Gujarat the growth rate has been just 1.5%.
There has been an increase from 19% in 1993-94 to 34% in 2001-08 in contractual work scenario. Gujarat has also been experiencing severe labour unrest. The share of scheduled tribes in regular employment in Gujarat was 7% in 1993-94. In 2009-2010, their share remained the same. The story is not much different for other marginalised communities and minorities. So what is it that Modi still boasts of?
During 2001-04, the rate of industrial growth for Gujarat was 3.95%, and during 2005-09, it was 12.65%. In isolation, this appears to be a phenomenal jump, but not so when compared to some other states. During these sub-periods, industrial growth for Orissa was 6.4%, Chhattisgarh had 17.53% growth and for Uttarakhand it was 18.84%. Thus, till now industrially backward states have far outdone Gujarat.
Despite the much-touted Vibrant Gujarat programs Gujarat has failed to be the leader in FDI as well. During 2006-10, Gujarat signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) worth Rs 5.35 lakh crores with potential of 6.47 lakh jobs. But Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu with Rs 4.20 lakh crores and Rs 1.63 lakh crores 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 crores and Rs 2.99 lakh crores more than Gujarat without much fanfare and hyped industrial summits.
Talking about the situation of women and children in the state, 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 Dalits and women have deteriorated during the last decade, while those of Muslims and tribal are still worse.
Education also seems to be on the last of their priority list when it comes to government spending. The BJP election manifesto says to have achieved 100 per cent enrollment in primary schools and reduced the overall dropout rate by 2% but United Nations Development Program statistics busts the truth by showing that Gujarat ranks 18th when it comes to success in keeping children in schools. The school life expectancy of children in Kerala, which ranks first, is 11.33 years, while that of children in Gujarat is 8.79 years. The State also ranks seventh among 15 major States in terms of literacy rates.
Thus, Gujarat's growth story as claimed by Modi is more a myth than reality. In this cut-throat competition between the states and where growth is on the fast track, it cannot be denied that Gujarat has ignored the concept of human development.
When the BJP released its election manifesto on December 03, last year, the party owed the document as a pledge to the people. In it, the Gujarat government highly praised itself and the “all-round development” it had done in the state. The reality is that this development has been prejudiced and market-driven. The State government’s claims are nothing but a fantasy!