Gujarat Development for Real or a Myth?

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.


12 thoughts on “Gujarat Development for Real or a Myth?

  1. Sunil V Sharma

    Very well written – Thank you for making us understand the reality. I now understand that Gujrat is not progressing at all – a stark contrast to what I was made to believe. I also like your English – you are like Shakespeare’s tutor.

  2. Raju Bhuyan

    Hey I may be wrong,but I think u r analysing the data in some wrong way
    Lets analyse one by one :

    People often think Gujarat is best when it comes to increasing income walla Para

    please check planning commission data:
    as well wiki

    I think except Assam,Goa,Rajashthan ,Gujarat has more growth rate (This is GSDP i guess.I actually dont knw the concept of GSDP) than in 2011 than rest of the states. And these states i.e. Assam GDP is 1/5th ,Rajasthan is 2/3rd and Goa is 1/14th of Gujarat in rupee term..So whatever u r saying is wrong or u may get the wrong data.

    Now let’s come to major HDI parameters. Literacy rate …..
    See Kerala has 92.1% in 2011 and 93.9 in 2011 census growth is 3 % .Gujarat had 69 in 2001 and 79 in 2011 growth 10%…above national average.. Its still need to improve..Still its showing good growth..One more point I like to include here is that lots of migrated workers from other states came to GUjarat during this period and settled there..These workers are uneducated and dragging the literacy growth rate..

    Life expectancy above Indian average and 64 is quite a healthy figure I guess..

    ex ratio is bad I must admit…But he is working on it…See different programs apart from National health programs for improving sex ratio like beti bachau program.Need more improvements.Specially the orthodox hindu population can be one of the reason for it..Still need improvement..Still I dont think it does not project that the state fails to improve the condition of its public.In fact sex ratio is also deleted in calculating HDI in 2011 (i may be wrong i m nt sure.plz check)…

    Institutional delivery can not be termed always another way to measure facilities those are available to common people…Lots of indian still prefers the home delivery..Modi need to educate people more abt the benefits of the system..

    Vaccination coverage: modi lost..

    lectricity I could not understand ur logic…Gujarat is the first state in India to electrify all its village..100% electrification of all village is a good indicator and 90.4 % household used it as a prime source which is good coverage.

    PL Data: U took some wrong data dude..Tendulakars commiittee data is

    GUjarat has 23 % BPL in 2009-10 while 32% in 2004-5.. 9 % in 5 years..And one of the best having large population states..And hell no..BIhar and UP has still 45 and 37 % in BPL category…..

    Now leave all those…The main factor is Gujarat is growing economically. That is most important factor for a Developing nation to become a developed nation..Without economic growth,u can not expect to fund all those program intented for improving the factors u mentioned for human development…

    Just giving u an example, total investment in Gujarat in 2012 is 49,000 crore highest in india followed by Maharastra 10,000 crore . Now imagine how many jobs will be created..In this budget, PC allocated 1000 crore for skill development of whole india while Modi in his state budget alocated 830 crores for skill development of the youth in GUjarat..Now u can understand the massive industrialization GUjarat going to witness..And if u see the histories, a country in first need industrialization and then can only become a developed country..I am not saying inclusive growth is not required,but Gujarat is not faring so badly as u portrayed in the article… Anway good article…Expecting more such article from u.

    1. aditya Post author

      My point was simple.When we have far better story than Gujarat how come this state has become a model for growth. Your points are valid but then you have to think of parameters like electrification. You have better performance than Gujarat in most of the south Indian states in almost every HDI parameter. My logic about BPL was simple. I was looking at eradicating poverty not on poverty alone. So you can understand why I have said this. About GSDP figure I was not comparing total GDP growth. I was comparing per capita income. When it comes to even television ownership there also Gujarat lags behind ( I know many states actually have delivered free television but it makes sense). Idea of the write up is simple why don’t we say some leader from Kerala or Goa to be far better than rooting for Mr. Modi.
      Regarding the below poverty level data you can check this out Hope this helps

  3. Jagir

    To the writer of this blog,

    1.Development is, primarily, a macroeconomic phenomenon. Not considering things like power efficiency and the better roads is clearly a biased approach, which makes your points weak. You can’t pick and choose the parameters to analyse something like growth which is already so much complex to define.

    2. Please cite your sources better, we want to know how did you get your data.

    3. If you claim the objective of the article is to merely analyse Mr.Modi’s claims why do you put so many negative remarks about him throughout the article ?

    4. If you trying to attack Mr.Modi on his claims, put his personal claims on the table instead of raw statistics. The article seems more of an attack on Gujarat as a state rather than its chief minister.

    5. It’s Gujarat where people from all these other states, UP, Bihar, TN, Rajasthan, MP, Orrisa and even Nepal, come to look for jobs, we Gujaratis don’t go to theses states for employment. Gujarat didn’t have these massive scams like CWG and 2G, it was the Dehli and Center that had them.TATA came to Gujarat to manufacture Nano after it was denied land in West Bengal, not to any other state. Its Gujarat that’s having Vibrant Summits every year. We are the only state that has Khel Mahotsav, a sports opportunity for players of all ages. And, just the fact that we are discussing Gujarat’s development here and not Maharashtra’s or Orrisa’s shows that Gujarat has done something extra-ordinary,which is worth discussing and “analyzing” .

    1. Raj

      “It’s Gujarat where people from all these other states, UP, Bihar, TN, ” Do not tell “TN”! It shows your ignorance. India’s largest labor shortage is TN. I’m from TN, it is so hard to find laborers these days here. Even the construction workers charge,, Rs1500/day. You have to see the banks on saturday, there would be a long queue of biharis, UP guys sending money to their home.

      1. Jagir

        Great to hear that TN is generating so much employment. My opinion was based on the impression of TN given by thousands of Tamil construction workers that came to Gujarat during the late 90s and early 2000s to work in construction sites. They have been replaced by tribal workers of MP lately. We face the same problem of labor shortage in Gujarat, especially for farm work.

      2. Sandeep Nair

        Migrant labour issue is not only the issue of Gujarat… People from UP/Bihar/WB/Nepal are even migrating to Kerala

    2. Aaditya

      Its not Orrisa but Orissa and now Odisha.. First learn the right spelling of states in India, then feel prod to be what you are. If you travel across India, you will find Gujaratis everywhere, so how can you claim, people from your so called developed state look for work in other states. First feel proud to be an Indian before feeling proud of NaMo….

  4. Vivek

    Everyone talks about Kerala and Tamil Nadu , yes we are educated but check our political system. We do not have electricity!,,,

  5. Vilas

    I don’t know about the sources of the data presented here but will definitely not look up to you to tutor my children, (sometimes back…!!!)

    Now, the tone of this blog was more of a selective observation and looks like Kerala is doing much better than Gujarat. You kidding me on this? Majority of folks there get educated to move out of the state (and country…) for work.

    I keep wondering what do you expect from a leader who is projecting overall growth for the state. No matter what you do, the economic disparity would always remain and also will remain the resistance from the individuals to join the change, by providing better nourishment, education and values to their kids.

    Now when you write your next blog can you please do a comparative study of claims/facts both ways. Please try to include following: migration to/from the state, safety for women (don’t tell me delhi is safest place in india for women), utilization of natural and local resources, agriculture and animal husbandary performance etc.

    As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have access to facts and data at all, just in case I sound like deviating from THE FACT.

    1. Anvith

      Well I guess 12 years is a decent amount of time to analyze all aspects of growth and not just selective ones at that. Standing at the bottom pile on the sex ratio (-3 the decline since 2001 to 2011 cite wikipedia/census 2011)…
      -Highest amount of unaccounted investments (Rs 9,066.34 crore.)
      -The Guj government had taken a loan of Rs 15,083 crore to adjust the monetary deficit of Rs 11,027 crore, leaving a balance of Rs 3,645 crore ,one of the poorest debt management in the country.

      (cite CAG report for the last 2. Kindly google with those keywords I suppose ull definitely land on the source). Infact there are a few more which I wouldn’t mention kindly read it for yourself.

      -Every third child is malnourished (thought its claimed this figure may have reduced as of 2013-2014 again claimed src

      My bottom line being there is development but when I scaled it over the duration ,dissastified would be an understatement. Beyond this his model for gujarat gets a lot more credit than is due.


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