Sunday, May 04, 2014

Gujarat model is negation of right to information, work, food, education, health: Pro-Modi economist

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By Our Representative
The eulogy of “Gujarat model” in the midst of Lok Sabha polls has begun to find pro-Narendra Modi economists to come with new ideas. One of them, Prof R Vaidyanathan of the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B), has gone to the extent of saying that the steps taken by the UPA government by seeking to confer “new rights on the people” through “right to information, right to work (MNREGA), right to food, right to education, and now right to health” are only extensions of “the massively corrupt system refused to die and the Frankenstein state, created over 60 years.”
Refusing to say whether these important steps should be dropped, Prof Vaidyanathan, in a recent commentary has nevertheless said that they have proved to be nothing but an effort by the state “seeking new ways to retain the system of loot based on public resources”. They are only part of the “moth-eaten state structure has been unable to cater to these rights, and people, anyway, found ways to buy their way into the system”, he adds.
Prof Vaidyanathan, who is likely to one of the key Modi choices in the new economic advisory body under him in case he becomes Prime Minister, further says, “Huge resources are being devoted to sustaining these rights”, and those who are gaining are “klepto capitalists” (a term used for those with characteristics of compulsion to steal). These klepto capitalists have “found ways to manipulate the free market and the state to fatten themselves”, he adds.
Prof Vaidyanathan says that it against this “bleak and degenerate scenario” that the country witnessed what he calls “the emergence of the Gujarat model with an alternate vision of a new polity, enabled by a minimal state”. He adds, “The idea has always been around – with the late C Rajagopalachari being one of its backers – but in essence the Gujarat model is about having the state play a lesser role, and the people a larger one.”
Describing the “Gujarat model” as “simple”, the economist defines it as something under which "entrepreneurship is encouraged and celebrated". He adds, the Gujarat model ensures that "people should have huge opportunities for employment, but not necessarily in government jobs. Individuals and families should work/earn/eat and live on their own efforts instead of depending on a benevolent state. Individuals are responsible for their actions.”
Vaidyanathan
Claiming that the Gujarat model is not about social indicators, which are being used by its opponents to prove how it has not been successful, Prof Vaidyanathan further elucidates it as follows: “The concept of a small state means having fewer regulations and more self-regulation. A self-regulatory framework policed by an effective law enforcement machinery which guarantees swift and severe punishment for violations can be the best form of governance.”
This “Gujarat model” seeks to provide 24 hour power, according to Prof Vaidyanathan, and it stands in sharp contrast to what he calls the “Bengal model” – which seeks to “provide power free or with heavy subsidies – with the people getting more power cuts rather than power”. He adds, “Unfortunately, the Bengal model has become the norm all over India. It is the Gujarat model, whatever its shortcomings, that offers a different paradigm and different set of possibilities.”
Calling the Bengal model as the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru’s model of the “heavy-handed state” which “had the backing of Bengali intellectuals like PC Mahalanobis”, Prof Vaidyanathan says, “It has failed miserably”, and now time has come to “take up the freedom oriented Gujarat model.” He adds, “The country opted for economic planning under the tutelage of PC Mahalanobis and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru”, underlining, “We essentially opted for the Soviet model in Devnagari script.”
“The entire planning process and the role of the state was hijacked by different shades of Left-wing thinkers, with some criticising the others for not being adequately red. From Mahalanobis downwards, Bengali intellectuals played a very large role in this leftward tilt for more than 40 years and, during the entire period, economists from the other side were denied space or official patronage”, Prof Vaidyanathan says.
Under Nehru, he says, what one saw was the evolution of a “rights-based society”, adding, “Some sections of the middle class lapped it up, since the Soviet Union gave legitimacy to this draconian idea and the public sector provided job opportunities to the educated. Nehru called public sector units the temples of modern India. The system was built on layers of regulations and a solid licence-permit-quota raj was created to administer it all.”
“Entrepreneurship was frowned upon and profit became a dirty word. Businessmen were derided as banias and metaphorically threatened with hanging from the nearest lamp-post. For example, price increases have always been blamed on hoarding by banias – the solution to inflation is thus to go after the banias”, Prof Vaidyanathan says.

1 comment:

MAGP said...

Prof. Vaidyanathan,
When you are saying that "Giving rights" to people is problematic, then i believe you have some data to support your statement.

Can you share the data on the basis on the basis of which you say, RTI (which is one of the most progressive legislation) is meaningless.

While I agree to your view that corrupt elements makes their way in the system, as system do not implement these legislation, however i am surprised to that you linked it to conclude that "We should not have progressive and pro-community legislation itself.

Right to Information gives access to information with public authorities in a specific time. It seeks transparency, and accountability from the public authorities. While "Self regulatory" mechanisms mentioned by you seems good on paper, i cannot imagine (even in my dream) that common citizen in Gujarat files a complaint of not getting drinking water with municipality is heard even after weeks time(this is suppose to be resolved within 24 hrs) untill she/he files RTI application to why it was not resolved? who is responsible? who is suppose to do it? etc...

Last year DOPT has issued circular which says that travel expenses of CM and ministers has to be pro-actively disclosed on their website. Gujarat CM office is still to do this.

While i can pose many questions on your appreciation/certification of "Gujarat Model" I am restricting myself just to first part and expect you to immediately share the copies of studies, reports, data, figures of survey held (if any),case stories, and your analysis which forms the base for your statements.

Pankti Jog
Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel
Gujarat