Skip to main content

Top note investigates how Gujarat govt fudged farm growth rate figures to showcase double digit success

By Rajiv Shah
Has the Gujarat government manipulated figures of agricultural growth? Latest information available from informed sources say this might well be so. According to an authoritative note, prepared by a retired IAS bureaucrat and mean for circulation among influential quarters, the “fudged figure” found its reflection in various ways, but more so in the form of total area under cultivation during Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's speech before the Planning Commission in Delhi a year ago.
Modi asserted that Gujarat’s “cultivated area was 108 lakh hectares (ha) in 2000-01”, which “went up to 145 lakh ha in the year 2010-11”. It was an increase of an unbelievable 37 lakh ha in a year! The claim about the “dramatic increase” in the area under cultivation was repeated in the Gujarat governor’s speech during the budget session of the Gujarat legislature in February 2013, when it was mentioned that the area under various crops had gone up to 145.45 lakh ha. In fact, the note suggests, available data suggest there is little reason to believe in such a whopping rise. Prepared by CJ Jose, who retired in 2008, it says that a careful analysis of government documents suggests it is nothing but “a huge, brazen and audacious” lie, being spread by those in power in order to perpetuate the myth that “agriculture in Gujarat is progressing by leaps and bounds with average annual growth of more than 11 per cent after Modi became the chief minister of Gujarat.” This claim has been so cleverly and persistently disseminated that “it is accepted unquestioningly even by sections of the intelligentsia, too.”
The note refers to certain official documents to prove the point. At one place, the Socio-Economic Review of 2011-12 gives the relative share of agriculture and allied activities in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) for the last few years. These are based on current prices of 2004-05 prices, it says, adding, “The figures are reproduced along with the calculations of the percentage of growth over the previous year (GOPY) and the compounded annual growth rate (CARG) compared to the base year of 05-06:
Year      Rs. crore    GOPY     CAGR compared to 05-06
05-06    33982                          
06-07    33616           -1.08        - (1.08)
07-08    37155           10.52            4.66
08-09    33920            -8.71       - (0.06)
09-10     34021           -0.29       - (0.03)
10-11     39839           17.10          3.23
Jose underlines, “What is immediately evident is that over a five year period beginning 2005-06 and ending in 2009-10 there was a pathetic and deplorable situation with respect to the agricultural scenario in Gujarat, with no growth but a decline, though marginal. So something drastic had to be done to dress up the growth figures and it was done by some fertile imaginations responding to the distress call of a nervous CM.”
Against this backdrop, the Socio-Economic Review invented that a “sudden” and “substantial” increase in agricultural production had taken place in 2010-11.With this, the value of the 2011-12 agriculture output in the GSDP increased to Rs 39,839 crores. The claimed increase was 17.10 per cent over 2009-10. CAGR compared to 2005-06 improved to 3.23 per cent. Modi sought to explain the “success” to the Planning Commission in Delhi on June 24, 2011, claiming that “last year (2010-11) saw major expansion in irrigation and water management”.The latter was explained as adoption of ‘drip and sprinkler’ irrigation.
However, the note believes, available data on irrigation do not show any possibility of such an increase. “There is little to believe that the surface irrigation potential in Gujarat increased in any way in one year. At the end of June 2011, the availability of Narmada waters remained stagnant, at 2.53 lakh ha, same as at the end of June 2007. Narmada canal coverage had remained constant for more than five years in a row and had come down to 1.93 lakh hectares in 2012-13. Irrigation from groundwater resource of the government also had remained stagnant at 0.87 lakh hectares.”
Then, "the reported increase in area due to construction of check dams was a modest 16,000 hectares. In fact, there was no major expansion in irrigation or water management in 2010-11 or earlier, to explain the agricultural production increase. The increase in area under micro (drip) and or sprinkler irrigation during 2010-11 was also not very substantial”. The area under micro irrigation in 2005 was around 3 lakh ha, and during 2010-11 not more than 40,000 ha was added. About 50 per cent of the area under micro irrigation at the end of June 2011 was in cotton (1.72 lakh ha) followed by groundnut (1.15 lakh ha), sugar cane, banana and potatoes taking up a total of 0.45 lakh hectares and the remaining in miscellaneous crops.”
In the meantime, the Socio-Economic Review and other literature continued reporting different figures of the total area which had been brought under cultivation (in lakh ha):
                         06-07     07-08     08-09     09-10     10-11     11-12        12-13
Kharif                      75.29     88.89        N.R      86.00     89.00       86.00       81.72
Rabi                         25.59    34.26         N.R      25.19     30.00      34.58        29.64
Total all seasons  100.88  123.15       N.R     111.19   119.00   120.58      111.36
A booklet published by the director of agriculture “Margadarshika” has a summation of the district wise area, production and yield of important food and non –food crops in Gujarat. According to this document the total area under cultivation of all these conceivable crops in Gujarat was
2006-07: 103.31 lakh ha
2007-08: 106.89 lakh ha
2008-09: 101.11 lakh ha
The information compiled by the director of agriculture but not yet released to the public gives details for the next two years and the average for the the next three years ending 2010-11:
2009-10: 95.08 lakh ha
2010-11: 115.75 lakh ha
Yet, unaware of the changes effected in the script by the director of agriculture, Modi read out from the old script while addressing the planning commission and made the Gujarat governor to repeat his words during the budget session of March and continued to claim that cultivated area in Gujarat had gone up to 145 lakh hectares. This despite the fact that “out of the total reporting area of the state at 188.1 lakh hectares, the total agricultural holdings, when last counted, was 102.69 lakh hectares”, .the insists.
The note elucidates, “It is highly probable that the area reported under rabi cultivation in 2010-11 and 2011-12 is wrong for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is more than the figure for the year immediately preceding and the year following. Secondly, the utilization of Narmada canal water during the year came down by some 40,000 ha. And finally, the reported increase in irrigation compared to in the previous year has been only less than 50,000 ha.” Further, “Given the fact that the total of kharif and rabi area for 2012-13 is put at only 111.36 lakh ha and for 2009-10 at 111.19 ha, it is safe to conclude that the total is unlikely to exceed the average of the four years.”

Manipulating growth rate figures
The note suggests how the government cleverly takes 2000-01 as the base year for showing a high growth rate of agriculture. Suggesting that this too is a manipulation, it says, “It was an exceptionally bad year as far as monsoon was concerned with all the 25 districts of the state receiving less rain fall than the average during the period 1995-2004 and uniformly the lowest during the six years begining 2000 and ending in 2005. The previous year (1999-2000) had deficient rains in as many as 14 of the twenty five districts and was by no stretch of imagination a normal year for agriculture.”
In the circumstances, it points out, “if an honest assessment was to be made about the state of agriculture in Gujarat in 2004-05 or thereafter, the comparison should have been made with the production levels in a normal year, i.e. the position in 1998-99, which would have shown that there was nothing to shout from the roof tops.”
“The value of the agricultural output in 2000-01 at Rs 14,092 was lower than even 1981-82. The value for 1999-2000 was barely above that of 1981-82. The secret of Modi's agricultural growth lies in these numbers. The agricultural crisis of 1999-2001 was simply used to create and maintain a fiction of high growth in subsequent years which turned out to be normal years”, the note underlines.
It gives following figures to substantiate its claims of “the Modi growth game in agriculture”:
Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CARG)
1996-97 to 2008-09: 1.52%
1996-97 to 2009-10:  1.23%
1998-99 to 2008-09:  2.13%
1998-99 to 2009-10:  1.73%
2000-01 to 2008-09:  10.59%
2000-01 to 2009-10:  8.91%
“With a little sleight of hand you can manipulate 1.73 per cent into 10.59 per cent and get an away with it! The great gift of Modi is not in making development to happen but to pretend to have caused it”, the note argues, pointing towards failure of senior experts Tushaar Shah, Ashok Gulati, Hemant P and Ganga Shreedhar to look into this factor while talking about Gujarat agricultural miracle in a recent paper, adding, even this “growth rate has to be further moderated for unsubstantiated productivity increase claimed. It has to be also moderated for the over-reporting compared to the area reported by the director of agriculture.”
To “verify”, the note refers to arrivals in the agricultural produce marketing committee (APMC) yard of Unza in North Gujarat, which is the biggest in Asia and is under the control of the BJP for the last 10-15 years, handling a large variety of agricultural crops including seed spices, isobgul and castor. If there is anything atypical about Unjha, it is that it has a hinterland which benefited from the Narmada canal network so far made operational in the state. Details show:
Year            Arrivals ( quintals)       Sales value(Rs.Cr)      CAGR
2004-05        1912179                   632.76
2005-06        1751066                  566.23
2006-07        1478965                  625.14
2007-08        1816463                  832.11
2008-09        2052182                1151.00
2009-10        1813409                1118.65
2010-11        1846586                1235.43                      -0.58
2011-12        2121611                1798.02                       1.83
“So when Modi went to town with his cock and bull story of spreading the state's agriculture to 145 lakh hectares and achieving 25 per cent growth in agricultural production compared to 2009-10 , he was far off the mark and was simply pulling a fast one, that only he is capable of, in terms of its design and extent. Compared to 2004-05, agriculture had a negative growth of 0.58 per cent during 2010-11, and the rate of growth for the seven year period including 2011-12 is 1.83 per cent”, the note concludes.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.