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How Has Gujarat developed in 22 years of BJPs rule? – Gujarat Election 2017

By admin

November 4, 2017

 

Gujarat Development and Assembly Elections 2017

How has Gujarat developed in 22 years of BJPs rule?

The clear answer to that is yes.

Barring two years, BJP has been in power since 1995. So any credit or brickbats for all progress or lack of it must go to the party. So, how has BJP really fared in transforming the state from a laggard on economic, industrial agriculture, social development and human index, to one where it has been viewed as one of India’s most rapidly developing states?

To evaluate Gujarat’s performance under BJP, one has to start at the political backdrop prevailing before BJP came to power in 1995. Between 1990 and 1995, the state saw political instability and infighting, especially in the post Madhav Singh Solanki period, which took its toll on the overall development in the state.

Keshubhai Patel of BJP took over as the Chief Minister briefly in 1995 and later between 1998-2001, it was not until Narendra Modi took reins of the government in the latter part of 2001 that Gujarat finally saw political stability and began to change its development gears.

So a better evaluation of all development parameters under BJP would be to look at the decade from 2003-2004 to 2014, the Modi years.

Politics

Narendra Modi’s taking over the political reins of the state has had a positive impact on BJP’s fortunes in the state, and post 2014, at the national level. His influence and impact on BJP’s transition from a state-level powerhouse to national one are undisputed. The party is currently in power in 18 states.

Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP)

The average GSDP recorded by Gujarat between 2004-05 and 2012-13 was 9.58%. This was well ahead of the national average of 6.87%. Interestingly, Bihar, a traditionally laggard state, has recorded an impressive growth rate of 13.25% during the same period.

GSDP in Manufacturing (2005-06 to 2013-14)

The state recorded an average growth rate of 9.57% against the national average of 7.45%. Gujarat has been able to add maximum value to the manufacturing sector, which in turn has been catalyzed by significant investments in infrastructure.

Infrastructure

Gujarat has had a long coastline, and its location has strategic and economic importance, but this was never a consideration for respective state governments till Narendra Modi came to power. The investment and focus on infrastructural development as a catalyst for all other development, has been the biggest achievement for Modi and BJP. The perception of Gujarat’s Model of development has risen from this focus.

Industrial development

Gujarat was never an industrial state and was not a priority destination for new investments. It was only after Narendra Modi came to power that the state began to witness accelerated investment in the state. The most visible being Tata Motors dramatic entry into the state, in the post-Singur fiasco in West Bengal. That single move has catalyzed the emergence of the automobile industry in the state and is now competing strongly with Tamil Nadu for future investments in the sector. Power, petroleum, chemicals, commodity exports, have all contributed in Gujarat’s transition to one of India’s fastest developing states.

Agriculture

Traditionally, Gujarat has been a rain-deficient state with poor irrigation infrastructure, and therefore, agriculture has never been a strong point. Despite this natural disadvantage, between 2003-2014, agriculture and allied industries grew by 5.36%, well ahead of the national average of 3.97%. But, while this has been significant, it must be pointed out that underdeveloped states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have clocked 6.80% and 8.59%, respectively, during the same period.

Employment (Comparison between 2004-05 and 2009-10)

The agriculture sector employment stood at 15.7 million (04-05) but declined to 12.9 million (09-10). The outcome was possibly due to shifting from agriculture to manufacturing sectors. However, agricultural production increased in the same period despite labour declining.

The manufacturing sector saw a marginal rise from 3.2 million (04-05) to 3.4 million (09-10). Non-manufacturing sector employment registered a better growth rate; 1.3 million (04-05) to 3.4 million (09-10).

The services sector employment too witnessed growth, from 5.1 million (04-05) to 6.6 million (09-10).

However, the total employment across all sectors declined, from 25.3 million (04-05) to 24.7 million (09-10). So, while the state witnessed overall development, the employment opportunities recorded between the stated periods have not kept pace with the development.

Bihar, a state often compared to Gujarat, also witnessed an overall decline in employment, from 27.8 million (2004) to 26.9 million (09-10).

Education (Comparison between 2001 and 2011)

Literacy rate stood at 69.14% (2011) and rose to 78.0% (2011). The percentage has been higher than the national average registered for the same years; 64.84% and 73.0%, respectively. While the percentage remains high, the actual numbers reflect the state has not kept pace with education and skill development that is necessary to support the rapid development.

Conclusion:

Gujarat has made significant gains in infrastructure, manufacturing, and services but has not kept pace in generating adequate employment opportunities. The society remains mired in caste divisions and lags in other social parameters like women and child development, health, education etc., which continue to hold back the state’s overall development potential.

BJP continues to remain the dominant political party but a lot of the sheen acquired during the Modi years has now worn off. The upcoming elections in Gujarat will reveal the people’s choice and how they wish to move ahead.   

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

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