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Plan panel punctures Modi’s growth model

The panel’s latest socio-economic data gives an insight into the truth of what Modi has been proclaiming — that Gujarat is the fastest growing state, economy-wise, in the country. Chetan Chauhan reports.

delhi Updated: Jun 12, 2013 09:28 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Though BJP’s new poll mascot Narendra Modi’s selling of the Gujarat growth model for India looks fine in diatribe, it is not equitable and is tilted in favour of the rich. And this may be the Planning Commission’s message to Modi when he visits Yojana Bhawan on June 18 to finalise Gujarat’s annual plan for 2013-14.

The panel’s latest socio-economic data gives an insight into the truth of what Modi has been proclaiming — that Gujarat is the fastest growing state, economy-wise, in the country. Gujarat had the highest annual state gross domestic product (SGDP) increase (10.13%) among all Indian states between 2004-05 and 2012-13, except Uttarakhand.

The data reveals what Modi does not specify – namely, that distribution of benefits of high growth have not been uniform across different strata of society. In fact, some states with lower economic growth have done better in equitable distribution.

For instance, Odisha which has a much lower revenue base than Gujarat 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 of 7.92 % during the period against Gujarat’s 10.3%.

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The Planning Commission’s data also shows that poverty reduction for the deprived, especially scheduled tribes and Muslims in Gujarat has been among the lowest in the country.

Another sign of Modi’s inequitable growth model is high infant and maternal mortality rate — an indication of the health of 70% of the state’s population — in tribal districts.

Even on this front, Madhya Pradesh did better than Gujarat as it was able to reduce infant mortality rate f rom 76 per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 62 in 2010.

Gujarat reduced the rate by just 10 points during the same period.

The panel is likely to express its anguish that tribal districts of Gujarat fare worst on human health indicators.

“Other BJP ruled states such like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have done better in improving health in most backward areas,” said a senior plan panel functionary.

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.