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Username India, password Gujarat: Even choreographed auction of pinstripe suit "chose" Modi's home state

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By RK Misra*
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative but success is a science. If you have the conditions, you get the results.Thus goes an old saying. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi heading a BJP majority government loosely garbed in an almost redundant National Democratic Alliance (NDA) completes an year in office, it is time to delve deep and dissect dispassionately to foresee the future.

Over a year ago, the conditions were ideal. A decade of familiarity had already bred contempt. A thoroughly besmirched Congress-led UPA had to go. The young had little patience for the old. And in the vacuum came charging the knight in dazzling armour, riding astride a pedigreed horse called Gujarat. The results followed. Narendra Modi milked both ‘chai’ and ‘chant’ to bag the chair.
One year into power, the shining shield has given way to name-sporting suits but India’s dapper prime minister resolutely refuses to get of the high horse called Gujarat. All roads from Delhi can be traced back to his home state. Gujarat remains the model for India to follow, fret not if the public debt during his rule in the home state rose by a whopping Rs 1 lakh crore! Even for a choreographed auction of the pinstripe which fetched a record Rs 4.31 crore Modi chooses to fall back on Gujarat (Surat).
Known to trust officers more than his own politicians (for over 3/4th of his tenure in Gujarat he did not make political appointments to state public sector boards and corporations), he has officers from the state in key administrative positions.
By last count there were over 20 of them. PK Misra (retired), principal secretary to the PM, A.K.Sharma, joint secretary to the PM, Rajiv Topno, private secretary to the PM, Hasmukh Adhia, secretary financial services, Tapan Ray, additional secretary,electronics, Gauri Kumar, secretary, cabinet coordination, Rita Teotia, special secretary telecommunications, Rajiv Takru, secretary, national commission on minorities, Rajesh Kishore, secretary general, national human rights commission, HK Dash, secretary, inter-state council secretariat, PKPujari, special secretary, agriculture, Amarjit Singh, additional secretary, water resources, Ashim Khurana, secretary ,UPSC, Sujit Gulati, joint secretary, textiles, PK Gera, director general, NIFT, Vijaylaxmi Joshi, secretary, drinking water and sanitation, G Mahapatra, joint secretary, commerce, Sunaina Tomar, joint secretary, textiles.
Three IAS officers recently inducted from Gujarat are G C Murmu who was the principal secretary to chief minister Modi, Raj Kumar, secretary agriculture in Gujarat and RP Gupta who was the secretary, civil supplies in the state. IAS officer JP Gupta from Gujarat was handpicked by Modi to head Indian earthquake relief operations in Nepal. In effect, the entire Modi team in Gujarat finds itself in key positions in Delhi. The latest addition to the ranks is a retired chief secretary of the state, AK Jyoti who joins as election commissioner under CEC Zaidi, who was a batch junior to him in the civil services.
IPS officers of the Gujarat cadre are not lagging too far behind. If all the officers languishing in jail in fake encounter cases in the state have been reinstated, all those who fell foul of the Modi government like Satish Verma and Rajnish Rai were marched off to remote penal postings. Senior IPS officer Rahul Sharma has even quit the service.
The rewards for those who figured in the good books have been equally fast. AK Sharma, joint commissioner of police crime branch, Ahmedabad has been made joint director CBI in Delhi. Other officers marked out for similar movement are Surat police commissioner Rakesh Asthana (ADGP-technical), Vipul Vijoy, IGP (coastal security), Subhash Trivedi and Pravin Sinha, IGP (P&M). 1989 batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer Vivek Shrivastav who was on deputation to the Intelligence Bureau was moved to head the prestigious Special Protection Group (SPG) that provides security to the prime minister, after Modi took over in Delhi.
Thus it is that the bulk of the positions across ministries and policing, investigation and intelligence agencies are headed by the eyes and ears of Modi. If all powers in Gujarat stood concentrated in the hands of the Modi led Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), making pygmies out of ministers, the same phenomenon stands replicated in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) now with similar results, including the plight of the ministers.
Modi is the norm and Gujarat continues to be the flavor of the season. Inspired by Gujarat, the Centre has already told the states to give 33 per cent reservation to women in their respective police forces though his home state has failed to fill its quota for recruiting women cops. The 'beti bachao abhiyan' -- save the girl child campaign -- is set to be replicated at the national level, the women and child development ministry has made it clear notwithstanding the fact that the achievements of the state in the sphere is nothing to gloat about. In progress are studies to replicate the concept of ‘hostels’ for milch cattle at the national level, a scheme which is still at a trial stage in Gujarat.
While there is a crazy race underway in Delhi to emulate at the national level, everything that Modi thought about while in Gujarat, a bird’s eye-view of the statistics of the time should put things in better perspective. The Gujarat government, according to annual budget records, was unable to spend Rs 2,073 crore in the five year period 2008-09 to 2012-13, a sum allocated for different schemes in successive state budgets. In certain cases, it even placed supplementary grants and raised the estimates but did not spend, as planned. Biggest affected sectors were agriculture, social infrastructure and fisheries. All this while Chief Minister Modi went to town yelling his head off over injustice to Gujarat at the hands of a Congress-led UPA government.
Though Gujarat under the present Prime Minister signed 30,434 MOUs in five bi-annual Gujarat global Investor summits during 2003-11 for a mind boggling sum of around Rs 40 lakh crore, official statistics speak differently. It is Haryana which has been the most successful among 15 states in converting investment proposals into reality with an 18.9 per cent conversion rate. Gujarat lagged far behind with a mere 12.6 per cent followed closely by UP with 11.4 per cent. Gujarat’s braggart claims of Rs 40 lakh crore worth MOUs notwithstanding, according to the data from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion between August 1991 and March 2014 only Rs 5 lakh crore was actually invested in the entire country.
The comparison between proposed investment with actual implementation and job creation speaks a dismal tale. In this period 94,000 investment proposals which proposed investment of Rs 102 lakh crores were supposed to create 2.3 crore jobs. Data shows only Rs 5.1 lakh crore was invested and just 20.1 lakh jobs created. In the investment to job creation ratio Gujarat was among the worst states-MP, UP, Jharkhand and then Gujarat (two jobs for every one crore invested). So much for the Gujarat model.
Another example. The Mahatma Gandhi Swachhata mission is the national flagship of the Modi government. It has set a sanitation index (SI) as criteria. On his home ground, 410 government-owned premises which is 48 per cent of the 847 failed to score even a minimum of 3 on the new sanitation index. Even the newly constructed Swarnim Sankul-1 and 2 (cost Rs 250 crore) where the chief minister and all ministers are housed also failed to get the highest sanitation index of 4.5 (it scored only 4.1).
The bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai which is being energetically piloted by the Modi government, is expected to cost around Rs 1 lakh crore, according to the latest estimates. It would be pertinent to note what the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has to say in its latest report released in the budget session of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha recently. Over 5,000 government run nursery or primary schools (anganwadi centres) do not have toilets at all. For all the tall talk, malnourishment cases and those of anemia amongst children in Gujarat has grown by one lakh in the last three years. According to the recent report of the state government conducted annual school health programme (SHP) there number stood at 5,13,107 as against 4,13,107 children in 2012-13. Cosmetic showmanship or basic needs, you decide.
Remember, necessity never made a good bargain for he that lives on hope alone, will die fasting.
---
*Senior journalist. This article has also appeared in http://wordsmithsandnewsplumbers.blogspot.in/

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