How do we measure development? In recent years Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi posed himself as the face of development. Is it true that his authoritative statesmanship is driving Gujarat towards development? Sometimes back one international newspaper pointed out in Gujarat girl child below 5 years are suffering from malnourishment. How far their claims are true? Over the next few paragraphs we would discuss the development which has actually occurred(not occurred?) in Gujarat during the tenure of Mr. Modi. In this blog nowhere I included Gujarat riots. My idea is here not to judge Mr. Modi with his so called “Hindutva” agenda. Rather I am sticking only to that part which comes under development.
But before we can move ahead with our discussion let us understand what is actually meant by development. We would try to analyze that by going deeper than smooth roads and power cut hours. Macroeconomic parameters alone cannot be the measure of development. In fact Government agencies always made us believe that GDP is the sole measure of development and prosperity. In fact GDP is only the story we should even bother to look at. In macroeconomics itself there are several criteria we should perhaps give more priority than looking at GDP alone. Say for example per capita income or unemployment rate plays a better role in assessing growth. In fact many people actually think Gini Score (Income parity) is a good measure for development. It may sound funny some countries like Bhutan actually rate spiritual wellbeing as a measure of development. In any case most people would agree if a country’s development is to be judged it has to be judged by its human development index (HDI). UN has recently adopted a new tool to measure multidimensional poverty index (MPI). It has 10 parameters which includes access to good cooking fuel, schooling, electricity, nutrition and sanitation. However for our discussion we would stick to HDI for two reasons. Indian states specific MPI data is not available from reliable sources and HDI measures are actually very close to MPI parameters.
Now since the parameters are set we can analyze the performance of Indian States rather than simply looking at GDP growth figures. In Indian states Kerala continues to top the charts. According to reports in 2011 Gujarat comes in 11th place. The rank of Gujarat in 2001 used to be 6th. So it is a clear overall indication of development. (Source: (1) National Human Development Report (2001). (2) Central Statistical Organization (C.S.O)).
People often think Gujarat is best when it comes to increasing income. Let’s see how true their belief is. Gujarat actually had a growth rate at 10.10 percentages from 2004-2005 to 2009-2010. This is actually way below than the highest growth of Sikkim 31.87 %. In fact Gujarat comes in 10th position when we are comparing growth at GSDP. Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Delhi all have better growth than Gujarat. Many will argue here that since Gujarat’s GSDP is already high it is very difficult to improve upon it. Let me tell you Goa, Haryana all are having high GSDP and still doing better. (Data from planning commission website till 2009-2010).
Now let’s come to major HDI parameters. Literacy rate in Gujarat is 79.3 % which is better than average India’s 74.04 %. But if you rank Gujarat according to the growth rate Gujarat is at 12th position. If someone ranks by total percentage of literacy then also Gujarat is ranked at 12th position. It seems like Mr. Modi will laugh at this by saying Gujarati’s are too busy in their business that they don’t have enough time to study. In top of literacy chart it is Kerala with 93.9 %. We can see the difference here.
Let’s see the life expectancy of people state wise. Gujarat is ranked 10th here. In Gujarat the average life expectancy is at 64.1 years which is just ahead of India’s 63.5 years. Here also Kerala leads the table with an average life expectancy at 74 years.
Institutional delivery is another way to measure facilities those are available to common people. In institutional delivery Gujarat is at 8th position with Kerala leading the chart with 100 %. Gujarat is still at 55%.
Sex ratio is another measure to know about the development of society. In India we have states like Kerala where we have a sex ratio of 1084 females per 1000 male (2011 census). Gujarat is ranked 24th in sex ratio with a figure of 918. This is in fact down by 3 from the previous 921 in 2001. In last 10 years it has gone down.
Vaccination coverage is another area where you get an essence of public health infrastructure and facilities to common people. Gujarat is ranked 19th in vaccination (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India. NFHS-3 was released on 11 Oct 2007). In this category Tamil Nadu is the leader with 81 % and Gujarat is down at 45 %.
It is true that Gujarat has surplus of power. But is it like every common man in Gujarat has access to power. But if we rank Indian states according to percentage of households using electricity as a primary source we see a different picture. Gujarat is at 16th position. What does it meant? Growth is there but not reaching to common people (census 2011).
Now let’s come to the issue of underweight people. Mr. Modi already has made it clear that the girls are on diet even though they are below 5 years. Now let’s face the truth. Gujarat is ranked 17th in male underweight and 18th in female (census 2011).
States of India ranked in order of percentage of people exposed to the media. This information was compiled from NFHS-3. National Family health survey (NFHS) is a large-scale, multi round survey conducted by the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai designated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India. NFHS-3 was released on 11 Oct 2007. Here Gujarat is ranked 12th and 15th in male media exposer and female media exposer respectively. Similarly in TV ownership Gujarat is ranked 17th with 53.8 percentages.
We all here stories about beautiful roads in Gujarat. But is it the true picture? What does statistics has to say about it? I think here there is one catch we should not discard Gujarat for not having enough roads because it is a small state in area. So may be road density will be a better parameter to check if Gujarat is really doing well. In road density Gujarat comes in 11thposition.
What is most surprising here is that in Gujarat 31.8 % people still living below poverty levels (2009, Suresh D Tendulkar planning commission report). From 1993-1994 levels (37.8) it has come down only by 6% in 15 years. Here one noteworthy thing is that in rural population the performance is still worse. Can we just say Modi’s development was never meant for rural Gujarat? Same goes with access to safe water. According to economic survey of India2011-2012 Gujarat is ranked 13th below Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (up to 2001). Differentiating between urban and rural areas, the focus can clearly be seen urban areas.
The objective of this article is only to analyze the claims made by Mr. Modi who many believe can change the fortune of India. In our findings we can say Gujarat under Modi’s governance has performed worse than mediocre during his tenure. The Gujarat shining campaign is utter lie just to project him as the best alternative present in current scenario. We need development where every single people gets enough opportunity to grow and realize his own potential. My humble request to all Modi cheerleaders just put some effort to read the stats. You will find enough reason not to believe in this propaganda.