Skip to main content

Gujarat govt's recent top-down, project driven, deterministic model has "ignored" communities, poor, civil society

Counterview Desk
A well-researched study by Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK's leading independent think tank, has regretted that the Gujarat government’s recent top-down approach to urban development, especially in Ahmedabad, has “negatively affected poor people”, even as damaging “relations between government and civil society.”
Pointing out how civil society, more particularly Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), led by Magsasay Award winning activist Ela Bhatt, and Saath, were instrumental for helping inclusive development of the poor, the think tank study, “Towards a better life? A cautionary tale of progress in Ahmedabad”, has blamed the state authorities for lately failing to “understand people’s concerns and priorities.”
“Organisations such as SEWA, its sister organizations, and Saath have played a crucial role by extending financial services to the urban poor, especially women, to help them raise money to invest in their livelihoods and housing improvements”, the study says.
However, the study regrets, now, “the top-down, project-driven and deterministic model of development” has happened with “minimum community input”, adding, this took place despite the fact that in “the western Indian state of Gujarat, where Ahmedabad is located, the urban poverty rate declined from 28% in 1993-94 to 10% in 2011-12.”
The scholars who carried out the study -- Tanvi Bhatkal, William Avis and Susan Nicolai – said the choice to study Ahmedabad was made because “the city has been at the forefront of many of India’s defining social, political and economic developments” – after all till mid-2014 Gujarat was ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Looking into the past, the study says, Ahmedabad was the city where “the development of a vibrant industrial sector was accompanied by the emergence of an influential civil society”, adding, “The families that founded and owned the textile mills sponsored the establishment of various educational and charitable enterprises.”
Suggesting this helped root civil society organisations in Gujarat, the study says, they played a “critical role in mobilising poor communities”, with the municipality collaborating with them. However, this has now got broken, with “gaps” having surfaced. “Relations between communities and the government have become strained in recent years”, it emphasizes.
The result is, “significant sections of the population continue to lack access to good quality services”, with Ahmedabad evolving into a city “segmented by class, caste and religion”, the study says, adding, there has been a shift “from inclusive growth to the creation of ‘global cities’ marked by capital-intensive projects” and “dialogue has decreased, becoming increasingly confrontational.”
Pointing towards how public funds have been “diverted focus away from flexible local programmes built on a collaborative model of development”, the study says, consultation for Ahmedabad’s town planning has excluded “many other people that depend on the land being incorporated into the urban areas, notably labourers, people renting land and also landowners that purchased land informally.”
The study further points to how since the 2002 riots, the city became “increasingly divided along religious lines”, with many fleeing the city and “now living in areas where there has been no town planning and, as a result, they have poor access to basic services.”
“There has been a very marked segmentation of residential space in the city since 2002, with the ‘ghettoisation’ of Muslim communities. The core (or walled city) houses both Hindu and Muslim communities that have become increasingly distanced from each other”, the study says.

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

India's "welcome" proposal to impose sin tax on aerated drinks is part of to fight growing sugar consumption

By Amit Srivastava* A proposal to tax sugar sweetened beverages like tobacco in India has been welcomed by public health advocates. The proposal to increase sin taxes on aerated drinks is part of the recommendations made by India’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian on the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the parliament of India.

Turkey meet tries to 'resurrect' Maoism, seeks to apply people’s war concept universally

By Harsh Thakor*  An International Maoist Symposium was organized by Umut Publishing on 6-7th April in Turkey commemorating 130th birthday of Mao Tse Tung. On the first day of the symposium two sessions were staged. The first session started with Volkan Yaraşır’s presentation on “Dialectics of the Chinese Revolution and Mao Zedong”.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).