Skip to main content

Neoliberal growth in Gujarat has intensified social and economic inequalities, says new Save the Children report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, “Reducing Inequality: Learning Lessons for the Post-1015 Agenda. India Case Study”, by Save the Children has regretted that “the rapid economic growth that Gujarat has experienced over the past decade has been of the nature of exclusionary growth where goals like social equality, sustainable livelihoods, access to education and health, justice and peace have been abandoned in the race for high-speed growth.”
The report, by the world’s leading independent organization that works to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives, states that Gujarat's “expenditure in social sectors, both as a percentage of GSDP and as a percentage of total expenditure, has declined more than the average decline in other comparable States and stands below the national average pointing to a clear shift in the priorities.”
Infant mortality rate among states

The report observes, “There is a decline in the usage of government health services in both rural and urban areas of Gujarat and a very high reliance on the private sector. In urban areas, the decline has been quite significant for the lowest income group.”
It adds, “Data for some select states of IMR for 2010 (based on availability) reveal that across all states and across regions, the IMR for females are relatively higher. This is a clear reflection of the gender bias that exists in India even today. The Western states of Gujarat and Rajasthan and Northern state of Uttar Pradesh show higher differences than the other states.”
Hunger Index among states

The report has been prepared to study rising inequality, which it says has “emerged as one of the most important problems confronting societies across the world.” It underlines, “Within the Asian region, South Asia has experienced rapid increases in income/ consumption inequality during the recent period of its rapid growth. This is quite evident in case of India, the largest economy in the region with over a billion people. There is evidence to suggest that the poorer sections of India were actually further marginalised under the neoliberal economic regime introduced in India in the early 1990s.”
Calorie intake per capita among states
Singling out Gujarat in this context, the report states, “Poorer states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa witnessed only a marginal improvement in terms of per capita NSDP (Net State Domestic Product), whereas the richer states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, etc witnessed substantial rises.”
This has not helped reduce inequalities, it underlines: “States that witnessed greater rise in per capita NSDP during the period 1993- 94 to 2004-05 also witnessed higher rise in state-level Gini coefficients. This implies that the states that experienced more ‘growth’ actually had worsening inequalities.”
The report further says, “Within States, the rural-urban divide worsened. Urban consumption levels were double that of rural consumption levels. The social factor of caste plays a major role in determining household Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE) levels. The Social Category “Others” had higher MPCEs across both rural and urban sectors in India compared to the other categories, viz. the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other backward Classes (OBC).”
The report points towards how “the systematic withdrawal of the state from social welfare activities has undermined the previous progress towards universal access and has resulted in increased inequality and exclusion.” In this context, it believes, “Per capita NSDP does not capture the actual distribution amongst the population as it assumes equal shares for all.”
Life expectancy among states
The report underlines, “The easiest method of measuring actual distribution is by analysing differences in consumption expenditures, as given by the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) periodic sample survey reporting.” Even its “household consumption data tend to understate the extent of inequality by underestimating the tails of the distribution (excluding the very rich and the very poor) and because the poor are more likely to consume as much or even more than their income while the rich are more able to save.”
Coming to calorie intake as the criterion of health, the study says, “In the rural sector, Punjab has the highest per capita calorie intake of 2223 Cal while Jharkhand had the lowest of 1900 Cal. It is interesting to note that some of the poorer states like Orissa and Uttar Pradesh had  alorie intakes higher than the national average while comparatively richer states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu had lower than the national average rate of calorie intake.”
Emphasising that “a significant dimension of health is life expectancy, which has been increasing over the years”, the study says, “It has increased more for females than males. According to 2002-06 estimates, life expectancy at birth for males was 62.6 years as compared to 64.2 years for females. Also the urban male (67.1 years) and urban female (70 years) have longer life spans as compared to their rural counterparts (61.2 and 62.7 years respectively).”
Maternal mortality rate among states
As for Gujarat, it reminds again that it “has one of the highest per capita incomes of all major states (per capita net state domestic product (NSDP) at constant (2004-05) prices of Rs 52,708 in 2010-11)”, but “has only been a moderate performer in this regard. Gujarat’s IMR in 2011 is close to that of much poorer and less developed Bihar despite the much higher per capita income in that state (per capita NSDP of Bihar in 2010-11 is Rs.13,632).”
It says, “Kerala has shown one of the lowest infant mortality rates historically. Its IMR has been many times less than the Indian average. Kerala’s performance is more creditable than any other states as it has managed to reduce the already low IMR even further over the period.”
It adds, “It is surprising to note that even urban IMR is high in the states of Delhi and Gujarat...The relatively richer states of Gujarat and Haryana have shown slower improvements in lowering IMR. incomes of all major states.”
Crude birth rate among states
As for the maternal mortality rate (MMR), the report says, “Gujarat again has proved to be a poor performer as the MMR has actually gone up in Gujarat over the period 1997-98 to 2007-09 recording a negative rate of decline.” It is in the company of “states of the north western region Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar, which still show quite high rates of maternal mortality.
As for education, “while states such as Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur spent 10.2 per cent, 9.8 per cent, 9.1 per cent, 7.1 per cent, and 6.4 per cent, respectively, of their total state domestic product (SDP) on education in 2007-08, there were several states (e.g. Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Goa) which spent less than 2 per cent of their SDP on education.”
Even on increase in pupil-teacher ratio (PTR), the report says, “In 2009-10, number of districts where PTR was above 30 has increased to 304 during 2009-10 compared to 284 in 2008-09. These districts are mainly concentrated in Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.”

Comments

TRENDING

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.