Skip to main content

Amartya Sen: Gujarat model pulling down Modi govt, neglect of health, education began under Nehru

By Our Representative
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said that it is not just the BJP-led government which is neglecting health and education. In a blog-interview with Oxford University Press (OUP), the top economist believes, the neglect was the hallmark of earlier governments, too, only "with Modi, it has got worse, because the government has further cuts" in the two sectors.
Sen, who recently created a flutter on quitting from the prestigious Nalanda University chancellorship and charged the BJP rulers of only seeking to undermine academic freedom, says, "The neglect of the need for the state to get everyone schooled and literate, and getting everyone some kind of health cover began much earlier during the time of Jawaharlal Nehru."
According to him, "If you look at the Five-Year Plan, there were statements that education and health were top priorities, but not much was done. The entire tradition of Indian planning, of ignoring education and health care, continued through Indira Gandhi’s time, the Janata Party government and, later, through the BJP government and UPA I and II."
Published on India's Independence Day, Sen tells OUP that one can "deliver education and health care to all, even with a very poor economy, because a poor economy is also a low-wage economy, and education and health care are labour-intensive. So, first, it is affordable; and second, it will immediately have an impact on quality of life, infant mortality, etc."
"And, if you push money towards complete immunisation, it would lead to a better standard of living. Third, it would also improve the productivity of labour, because you can’t become an industrial giant with an unhealthy, uneducated labour force. Ultimately, improvement in the quality of labour has an effect on economic growth", he insists.
Pointing out that the Modi government has spent "far too little on education and health care, and hardly any time on organisation of schooling and health care", Sen says, "They have done very little for immunisation; India ranks one of the lowest in the world in vaccination coverage."
According to Sen, "Furthermore, Gujarat is one of the worst performers; in fact, way below Bihar, which shows that the BJP thinking, which is very Gujarat-dominated, has not gone in the direction of immunisation, unlike Bangladesh, which has gone for total immunisation."
While agreeing that it is possible to give Modi good marks on diplomacy, as he is rebuilding relations with other countries, including China, Sen says, "On the other hand, BJP leaders are too tied up with the Gujarat model, which is physical capital and easy business, while ignoring human capital and capability, and gender inequality."
Hitting out at the Modi government's programmes such as ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, Swachh Bharat, insurance for poor, etc., Sen says, "These are slogans. How much money and effort has Modi spent on the programmes? He has also said that every house should have a toilet. What has happened to that? One has to distinguish between slogan and action."

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.