Shin­ing a Light on Gu­jarat

THE IN­DIA TO­DAY STATE OF THE STATE STUDY IS BOTH A RE­PORT CARD AND A ROADMAP FOR GU­JARAT TO FOL­LOW

India Today - - GUJARAT - By Kaushik Deka

While sev­eral tomes have been pro­duced on the Gu­jarat growth model, these are by and large zoomed-out macro pic­tures of the state. The in­dia to­day State of the State re­port—the third in an on­go­ing se­ries of state re­ports— presents a mi­cro-analysis of per­for­mance at the district level. Re­leas­ing the re­port in Ahmed­abad on De­cem­ber 23, Gu­jarat Chief Min­is­ter Vi­jay Ru­pani said, “This study will help us gauge the de­vel­op­ment in the dis­tricts of Gu­jarat. This ob­jec­tive and highly cred­i­ble study will help the gov­ern­ment map and plan Gu­jarat’s growth.”

The chief min­is­ter also gave away the awards to the district mag­is­trates and po­lice su­per­in­ten­dents of the best per­form­ing and most im­proved dis­tricts at the third edi­tion of the State of the State Con­clave. The con­clave is a sig­na­ture in­dia to­day event, where a spe­cial re­port is re­leased on the var­i­ous growth in­di­ca­tors of a state. All dis­tricts in the state are ranked on var­i­ous so­cial and eco­nomic pa­ram­e­ters, and cat­e­gories and awards given to the best per­form­ing and most im­proved ones. “There was a need to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment of healthy com­pe­ti­tion be­tween dis­tricts,” the chief min­is­ter said, “and this study has made that be­gin­ning. We’ll study it and work on sec­tors that need to make progress.”

Re­call­ing Gu­jarat’s legacy as one of the most de­vel­oped states in the coun­try, Ru­pani gave Naren­dra Modi credit for in­sti­tu­tion­al­is­ing a struc­ture in the state to

VI­JAY RU­PANI, Chief Min­is­ter, Gu­jarat

im­prove ef­fi­ciency and de­liv­ery when he was chief min­is­ter. “This pushed the state on the path of growth,” he said, “and we are con­tin­u­ing in that di­rec­tion.”

The day­long event saw sev­eral stim­u­lat­ing panel dis­cus­sions on Gu­jarat’s growth tra­jec­tory. Politi­cians, bu­reau­crats, pol­icy ex­perts, film­mak­ers and ac­tors com­mented on and de­bated what more the state needs to do to bal­ance eco­nomic growth and so­cial in­di­ca­tors. The state seems to have wo­ken up to this sore point in its growth nar­ra­tive and is tak­ing corrective mea­sures. “Last year’s bud­get al­lo­cated 48 per cent of the to­tal funds to the so­cial sec­tor; this year too it will be in the same range,” Gu­jarat Chief Sec­re­tary J.N. Singh said.

With the en­tire coun­try dis­cussing de­mon­eti­sa­tion, the is­sue came up sev­eral times dur­ing the in­ter­ac­tions. Dis­miss­ing crit­i­cism that it has stalled eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, re­sult­ing in job losses, the chief min­is­ter said, “Note ban caused in­con­ve­nience to peo­ple ini­tially. But let me as­sure you, there has been no lay­off in any in­dus­try in Gu­jarat, in­clud­ing the di­a­mond in­dus­try.”

“THERE WAS A NEED FOR HEALTHY COM­PE­TI­TION AMONG DIS­TRICTS AND THIS RE­PORT HAS MADE A BE­GIN­NING”

“GU­JARAT MADE PROGRESS IN IN­DUS­TRY, AGRI­CUL­TURE AND SER­VICES. NO ONE SEC­TOR GREW AT THE COST OF AN­OTHER” DHAR­MEN­DRA PRAD­HAN, Union petroleum min­is­ter

The chief min­is­ter found sup­port in in­dus­try ex­pert Su­nil Parikh’s ob­ser­va­tion. GST and de­mon­eti­sa­tion, he said, were in a way com­ple­men­tary to each other.

Re­act­ing to a ques­tion on the ris­ing vi­o­lence against Dal­its, Ru­pani said the Una in­ci­dent, where Dalit youth were flogged for skin­ning dead cows, was po­lit­i­cally or­ches­trated to nee­dle the NDA gov­ern­ment at the Cen­tre. “No gov­ern­ment has taken stricter mea­sures than we did af­ter the Una in­ci­dent. We are en­sur­ing the harsh­est pun­ish­ment is meted out to the per­pe­tra­tors. We cre­ated a fast track court and sus­pended all po­lice of­fi­cers found to be ne­glect­ing duty,” he said. When asked about the pop­u­lar­ity of Hardik Pa­tel, who has been de­mand­ing reser­va­tions for his com­mu­nity, Ru­pani said reser­va­tions is a na­tion­wide is­sue but took an ugly turn in Gu­jarat be­cause of vote bank pol­i­tics. Ru­pani, how­ever, was non-com­mit­tal when asked about the BJP’s chief min­is­te­rial can­di­date in next year’s as­sem­bly elec­tions. “I can­not say if I’ll be the CM can­di­date, the party will de­cide,” he said. “To win in Gu­jarat, we don’t need any other face. Modi’s name is enough. Modi and Gu­jarat are two sides of the same coin.”

The con­clave was in­au­gu­rated by Union Min­is­ter of State (In­de­pen­dent Charge) Petroleum & Nat­u­ral Gas Dhar­men­dra Prad­han. Com­ment­ing on the Gu­jarat growth story, Prad­han said the best part of the Gu­jarat model of de­vel­op­ment was that it was a bal­anced one. “The state pro­gressed in in­dus­try, ser­vices and agri­cul­ture. No sec­tor grew at the cost of an­other,” he said.

PARESH RAWAL, Ac­tor

The con­clave was also at­tended by Union Min­is­ter of State (In­de­pen­dent Charge) Agri­cul­ture & Farmer Wel­fare, Pan­chay­ati Raj Parshot­tam Ru­pala; Gu­jarat Min­is­ter for Tribal De­vel­op­ment, Tourism and For­est Gan­patsinh Vasava; Gu­jarat Min­is­ter, Rev­enue, Ed­u­ca­tion, Leg­isla­tive and Par­lia­men­tary af­fairs Bhu­pen­dras­inh Chu­dasama; Gu­jarat Min­is­ter of State, Health and Fam­ily Wel­fare, Med­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion, En­vi­ron­ment (all in­de­pen­dent charge) and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Shankarb­hai Lagdhirb­hai Chaud­hari; Gu­jarat Min­is­ter of State for Home, En­ergy, Leg­isla­tive and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs Pradipsinh Chu­dasama; Na­tional Spokesper­son for In­dian Na­tional Congress Shak­tis­inh Go­hil and econ­o­mist and pub­lic pol­icy spe­cial­ist Tushar Shah. Econ­o­mist and aca­demic Yogendra K. Alagh; Na­tional Dairy De­vel­op­ment Board chair­man Dilip Rath; ac­tor Paresh Rawal and film­maker Ke­tan Me­hta were also present.

Com­ment­ing on Gu­jarat’s phe­nom­e­nal agri­cul­tural suc­cess, Tushar Shah said, “Nowhere in the world have we seen a re­gion with agri­cul­tural growth of over 7-8 per cent; in Gu­jarat it was around 9 per cent for over a decade.” How­ever, Ru­pala said the chal­lenge was to work for the bet­ter­ment of small and mar­ginal farm­ers. Alagh pointed to the im­bal­ance be­tween grains and non-grains in the state. Rath lamented that de­spite the suc­cess of the milk revo­lu­tion, it had not reached all cor­ners of the state.

Speak­ing about the fu­ture of Gu­jarati cinema, Rawal said good films will al­ways have an au­di­ence. “I want Gu­jarati films to be of in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, the way Malay­alam and Ben­gali films have got global recog­ni­tion,” he said.

“I WANT GU­JARATI FILMS TO BE OF IN­TER­NA­TIONAL STAN­DARD LIKE MALAY­ALAM AND BEN­GALI FILMS ARE”

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