Modi’s unequal growth – rich grow richer, poor suffer

BJP’s new poll mascot Narendra Modi selling Gujarat’s growth model for India looks fine in diatribe. In reality, it is not equitable and is tilted in favour of rich than aam aadmi (common man).

The latest data available with the Planning Commission pulls the bluff off the Modi’s claims that his model is best for growth in India. In fact, it says that Modi’s model helps only rich and corporates.

The data shows that what Modi’s has been proclaiming — Gujarat has been fastest growing economic state in the country. Gujarat had highest annual state gross domestic product (SGDP) increase (10.13%) for all India states between 2004-05 and 2012-13, except Uttarakhand.

What Modi wants to hide, the data makes it clear. The distribution of benefits of high growth have not been uniform across different strata of society and some states with lower economic growth than Gujarat has done better in equitable distribution of economic gains.

Take instance of Odisha having much lower revenue base than Gujarat but was able to reduce poverty by about 20 percentage points between 2004-05 and 2009-10 as compared to just 8.6% for Gujarat. This was despite Odisha recording average annual economic growth during the period of 7.92 % as compared to 10.3% for Gujarat.

The statistics collected from different government sources also say that poverty reduction for deprived, especially scheduled tribes and Muslims in Gujarat has been among the lowest in the country, an indication that growth benefit spread has been unequal.

Another sign of Modi’s inequitable growth model is high infant and maternal mortality rate — indication of health of 70% of the state’s population — in tribal districts including Dang. In Gujarat the urban IMR is 27 for 1,000 live births as compared to 48 for 1,000 live births, showing Modi’s unequal growth strategy. The cause was said to be huge shortage of health workers in rural parts of rising Gujarat.

In all, IMR had fallen in the state by three between 2010 and 2011, much less than several other backward states in the country. In fact, the IMR in Gujarat is comparable with high child death states such as Madhya Pradesh.

Madhya Pradesh did better than Gujarat as it was able to reduce infant mortality rate from 76 per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 62 in 2010. Gujarat during same period reduced the rate by just 10 points during the period. And, a probable reason could be Madhya Pradesh doing much better than Gujarat in providing safe drinking water in backward and tribal areas.

The tribal districts of Gujarat also suffer from discrimination in school education facilities. The data shows that enrollment rate in tribal areas is about 45 % as compared to state average of 86.5 %. Also, the repetition rate at primary and upper primary levels in districts like Tapi, Banaskantha are very high as compared to the state average.

Madhya Pradesh was also able to bring more people out of poverty than Gujarat between 2004-05 and 2009-10 despite lower economic growth, revenue base and per capita income than Gujarat. Similar is the story for so-called Bimaru states such as Odisha or Chhattisgarh or Bihar with Modi’s Gujarat.

The plan panel sums up by saying that considering Gujarat’s high growth rate the state’s all India ranking on social indicators is average. Gujarat ranks 15th on IMR, 19th on birth rate, 11th on death rate and 12th in literacy and that took over a decade of Modi’s rule in the western Indian state.

Let the statistics speak for itself and decide whether Modi’s development model has real helped Gujarat or not.

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