Skip to main content

High on pronouncements and publicity, the Centre is lagging on most other parameters

RK Misra* 
Politicians in power allure by denying and entice by delaying. Dangling bones ensure jumping ‘dogs’ and protean promises make for leaping ‘frogs’. And thereafter you have yoga for the masses, as if they haven't had enough.
Walk the talk has been a popular TV show hosted by a top print media editor, but talking while walking leads to breathlessness.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is lugging the Gujarat model from his parent state to Delhi -- and his government -- are both beginning to show acute signs of fatigue while the fabric to develop India sought to be woven from the swadeshi ‘yarn’ is already fraying at the edges.
Fables milk the masses well but curdle when facts are added. The ‘shaala praveshotsav’ is a high profile programme initiated by Modi over 13 years ago in Gujarat. It entailed every public servant , in fact the entire government ,going out in the field to ensure child enrolment in school. It was a sarva siksha abhiyan of sorts as the state pulled out all stops to ensure improved and comprehensive education.Coupled with a variety of such measures and high voltage publicity,it was made out that the state was now a frontrunner in the field.Celebration time?
No. The fact is that Gujarat spent merely 3.3 per cent of it’s state gross domestic product(GSDP) on education.And this was one of the lowest levels among the top 20 states during a period between 2007-08 and 2013-14 (Modi rule),according to a study conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India(Assocham).While Bihar and Assam(11 per cent) both ranked tops,Gujarat incurred least expenditure on education sector development in recent years.,it noted.
Fall-out: The class XII results of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Board(GSHEB) this year fell to a 22 year low of 54.98 per cent.The ignominy of the situation was that this percentage was achieved by giving 18 grace marks to one lakh students.The actual percentage was a disgracefully low 37 per cent.
The Gujarat Model now stands truly replicated at the Centre.The school education budget of the Modi government has been scaled down to Rs 42,219 crores in 2015-16 from Rs 55,115 crores in 2014-15.The confusion on the new funding pattern devolved by the BJP government for flagship programmes like Mid-day Meal and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan are putting them under severe strain.The plight of woman and child welfare programmes under this government elected on a development plank is pathetic.The plan outlay of the women and child development ministry was Rs 21,000 crores in 2014-15 and has been sliced by half to Rs 10,286.7 crores this time.
This strikes at the very root of the Integrated Child Development Scheme(ICDS) implemented through 13.42 lakh anganwadis countrywide.Take the case of the Rajiv Gandhi scheme for empowerment of adolescent girls.The demand was for Rs1,476 crores.It has got a paltry Rs75.5 crores this year.Less than a shameful 10 per cent! In the face of such incriminating evidence what is ‘beti bachao,beti padhao(save the girl child,educate the girl child) except publicity gathering,pulpit sermons. Whither women’s emanicipation and child welfare?
Interestingly, a study by a financial watchdog (Global Financial Integrity report dated June 2015) states that the black money generated in India was 120 per cent more than the government’s yearly education spend and 101 per cent more than it’s health expenditure. According to an estimate the illicit financial outflow at about $ 44 billion annually works out to $440 billion over the decade!
The BJP led pre-poll boast of bringing back black money stashed abroad in a 100 days and subsequent recant notwithstanding ,USA has successfully arm-twisted India into signing a highly unequal Information Gathering Agreement(IGA).A drooling Modi government salivating at the prospect of getting access to sensitive banking information about ordinary Indian citizens in the US, has agreed to give the American government information even of non-US entities operating in India, if it has even one American working for them.
In actual terms this means that the Indian government will be duty bound under the agreement to provide information about any Indian company or organization to Washington(if asked for),if it has an American on it’s rolls. The quid pro quo is that the Modi government will get deeply personal banking information of ordinary Indian citizens in the US for use as it deems fit. Highly placed sources say that the first round of information on the US based Indians pertaining to 2014 is expected to be delivered by September this year.
This barter, in hindsight, will prove a disturbing development for all those Indians in that country who rolled out the red carpet for the new Prime Minister during his visit there.
The sequel to this development is the enactment of the foreign Accounts Tax compliance Act (FATCA) by the Obama government. Under this law, the administration seeks to gather banking information about Americans and even non-US firms that employed them the world over through punitive measures.
One hundred and twelve countries were pummeled into submission by the US through the simple expedient of imposition of a 30 per cent ‘withholding tax’ on their respective banks on all payments routed through them. The crux of the matter is that the Americans have managed to get far more than they have agreed to give.
Thus it is that the overblown chest and the flexed muscles seem more faff than fibre. High on pronouncements and publicity, the Centre is lagging on most other parameters. Except of course on profiled events.
Take the Prime Minister’s favourite Make in India. According to the department of Industrial Policy and Promotions(DIPP) which functions under the Union commerce ministry, the number of IEMs(Industrial Entrepreneurs Memorandum) filed dipped from 2,365 in 2013 to 1801 in 2014.
The value of proposed investment fell 24 per cent from Rs 529,828 crores to Rs 404,339 crores in 2014.Concurrently, the promised employment likely to be generated by them dropped significantly from 10,48,207 in 2013 to 4.43,122 in 2014.
The trend for the first four months of 2015 was not much to talk about either. There were only 452 IEMs with a proposed investment of Rs 87,393 crores. Of these as many as 202 IEMs with proposed investment of Rs 45,328 crores were in April alone. The drop in IEMs quite simply reflects the lack of enthusiasm for it, whatever the reason . It is serious stock taking time for public perceptions are important. What some invent, the rest enlarge!
---
*Senior Gandhinagar-based journalist. His blogs can be accessed HERE

Comments

TRENDING

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

Violent 'Ajodhya' campaign in 1840s after British captured Kabul, destroyed Jama Masjid

Counterview Desk  Irfan Ahmad, professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, and author of “Islamism and Democracy in India” (Princeton University Press, 2009), short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in Social Sciences, in his "initial thoughts" on the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri-Jam Janmaboomi dispute has said, while order was “lawful”, it was also “awful.”

Bullet train acquisition: Land holding worth Rs 1.5 crore, Gujarat govt 'offer' Rs 8 lakh

By RK Misra*
Foundation stones laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi litter India’s cities, towns and villages, but there are few projects which he has pursued with such perseverance and tenacity as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train one. However, the overwhelming state power notwithstanding, the farmers, whose lands are being acquired for the Modi government’s dream project, have no plans to give up the fight.

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."