Skip to main content

Top US-based think-tank opines there is nothing exceptional about Gujarat growth over last decade

Investment projects under implementation
By Rajiv Shah
A top expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a foreign-policy think tank with centres in Washington DC, Moscow, Beirut, Beijing and Brussels, has strongly disputed those who tout Gujarat’s growth over the last decade as exemplary, saying whether it is foreign direct investment, overall investment in the economy, or governance, the state has been an average performer. Milan Vaishnav, associate, South Asia Programme, and previously with the Columbia University with primary research focus on the political economy of India, neither was there what the Gujarat chief minister called “pro-people good governance” nor “minimal government, maximum governance,” as he claimed before India’s largest business houses.
Vaishnav said, “A closer examination of hard data reveals that Modi’s growth and investment record in Gujarat is impressive, in line with the boasts of his most ardent supporters, but it is also clear that it is not exceptional”, adding, even before Modi came to power, “Gujarat enjoyed the highest per capita income growth rate of any major Indian state in the decade immediately preceding Modi’s rise to power in October 2001.”
Average growth net of state domestic product (NSDP) per capita
In fact, between 1992 and 2001, “per capita income in Gujarat grew at a rate of 5.5 percent, more than half a percentage point greater than Kerala, the next-fastest-growing state. When one looks at the decade from 2002 to 2011, when Modi was firmly entrenched as chief minister, Gujarat again ranked first among states in terms of per capita income growth.”
However, Vaishanav argues, “The 2000s were the boom years for India’s economy overall, and all states did better than they had in the 1990s. Thus, the growth gains in Gujarat during the 2000s compared to the prior decade are solid but hardly unheard of; several states posted larger improvements (including high-growth states like Maharashtra and Haryana as well as traditional laggards like Bihar and Odisha). If other state leaders have engineered greater improvements in their states’ growth rates, can Modi’s supporters really claim that he is exceptional?”
Literacy gains per 1% increase in NSDP per capita (2001-11)
Saying that “even more than the pace of growth, it is Modi’s investor-friendly reputation that has won him plaudits”, the expert says, “From 2000 to July 2013, Gujarat alone received more than Rs 40,469 crore ($8.8 billion) in foreign direct investment (FDI). The state accounted for roughly 4 percent of all FDI flows into India during that period.” But while this represents an impressive haul, “Maharashtra received eight times and Delhi more than four times as much FDI. Gujarat also lagged behind the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and it just barely outpaced Andhra Pradesh.”
Beyond foreign investment, Vaishnav says, the picture is also not that clear-cut for all investment projects, regardless of investor class. “Gujarat’s share of investment projects (in value terms) during Modi’s decadelong tenure has hovered just above 8 percent, which is impressive given that Gujarat accounts for less than 5 percent of India’s population but is roughly on par with Gujarat’s share of the overall economy”, he points out.
Infant mortality reduction per 1% increase in NSDP per capita (2001-11)
 In fact, the expert says, “the share of investment projects under implementation in Gujarat between 2001 and 2011 almost perfectly mirrors the all-India trend; there is no clear indication that Gujarat deviated sharply from India as a whole. There has also been a large gap between lavish project announcements made at Modi’s biannual investor gathering, Vibrant Gujarat, and the projects that materialize. Indeed, when it comes to tallying projects that actually break ground, Gujarat is outshined by its neighbor to the south, Maharashtra”.
As for social development, the expert looks at two of the most widely cited indicators of social development: literacy and infant mortality. “In 1991, Gujarat’s literacy rate stood at roughly 61 percent, 9 percentage points above the all-India average. By 2001—the year Modi came to power—the gap between Gujarat’s literacy rate and the national average had narrowed by half. With Modi at the helm, the literacy rate improved another 10 percentage points over the next decade, increasing the pace of its gains in line with the all-India trend”, he says.
Change in literacy rate
On infant mortality, the expert says, “Gujarat’s progress had largely flatlined in the years leading up to 2001. Despite this stagnation, in relative terms its infant mortality rate (60 deaths per 1,000 live births) still fared better than the all-India average (see figure on infant mortality). Between 2001 and 2011, Gujarat’s progress largely tracked that of India’s as a whole (the infant mortality rate declined substantially to 41 and 44 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively).”
Pointing towards the need to analyse Gujarat’s “progress” on social development from the angle another angle , the expert believes, it should be seen “more directly measuring how well it has maximized the social development bang for the growth buck—in others words, looking at how a 1 percent gain in per capita income has affected literacy and mortality.” This, he suggests, would show how the state’s rulers have governed the state. 
Change in infant mortality rate
“Here, the relative shortcomings of the Gujarat model are more readily apparent: the state is situated toward the bottom of the pack when it comes to harnessing greater wealth for improved social welfare (see figures respective). Relative to how much growth it has enjoyed, Gujarat’s social development performance has not been particularly noteworthy”, he says.
---
(Charts reproduced from the original study by Milan Vaishnav)

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.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.