Economy Sep 27, 2013
So whether the likes of Jagdish Bhagwati, Arvind Panagariya and hundreds of their parrots like it or not, the Raghuram Rajan committee has called the Narendra Modi bluff.
Kerala model is no Gujarat model at all. Kerala model is simply the Kerala model and the best Gujarat model under Modi's two terms can do is only lag way behind. In fact, at position number 12.
In fact the Rajan committee didn't surprise anybody - Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa have been working at it for year. For instance, while Kerala had reached Infant Mortality and Maternal Mortality rates and the number of pre-natal hospital visits comparable to that of Western Europe and Japan years ago. Tamil Nadu has been assiduously working at improving its indicators, which remained stagnant for some time.
It requires enormous hard work, smart policies and programmes. Today, Tamil Nadu and Kerala together show that they are ahead of everybody else because of sheer hard work by the state.
Did they ever make a song and dance about it? Or went on a million-dollar publicity blitzkrieg? Did anybody know that Jayalalithaa government restaurants in Chennai feed about five lakh people a day for a price that won't even get you a cup of tea in Gujarat? That people don't talk APL and BPL in Tamil Nadu?
Or did Oomen Chandy ask the Congress high command that he be made the Prime Ministerial candidate because during the recent hyperventilation of the rupee, his state brought in an additional 30 percent in foreign exchange over and above the Rs 55,000 - 60,000 crore that it attracts every year. This money is not speed money, or simple "remittances" as some economists believe, but mostly the returns on the state's investment on its human and social capital over several years.
Let's leave the need for a holistic debate on development aside for a moment (human development, human agency, income poverty, rights, inclusiveness, equality and so on), but put a full-stop to the campaign of lies. Gujarat does have industries and development, it has boutique projects that are tailor-made for marketeers and a great campaigner who can dress up mediocrity as excellence, but it's no model.
As Harish Damodaran noted in his article in Hindu Business Line "Gujarat had Amul, Ambani, Adani, Nirma, Torrent, Zydus Cadila, IPCL, GSFC or GNFC - not to speak of Rajkot's machine tool and diesel engine industry or the diamond processing hubs of Surat and Bhavnagar - well before Modi became Chief Minister. Nor was Bt cotton's success specific to Gujarat."
"The ones, if at all, having better claims to bringing more than incremental development to their states are Modi's fellow-BJP counterparts in Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Chhattisgarh. Under Shivraj Singh Chauhan, MP's contribution to national wheat procurement has gone up from hardly 500,000 tonnes to 8.5 million tonnes, with farmers being paid an extra Rs 100/quintal over the Centre's minimum support price. Raman Singh has achieved no less with paddy in Chhattisgarh, besides creating a functioning universal public distribution system in a state where ration shops barely existed. And these, unlike Gujarat, happen to be backward Bimaru states - a point Advani forcefully made as an obvious counter to Modi's tall claims."
Can we stop the bluff here?