Say NOMOre to Violence, Lies, Prejudice and Injustice!
It is difficult to think about Gujarat without emotion. How does one write without remembering the genocide of 2002? How thousands of people were burnt, physically assaulted, sexually battered, their homes, lives and workplaces destroyed? More than ten years after the Gujarat carnage, the Muslims in the state continue to face discrimination in all spheres of their lives, from housing to employment and education. It is hard not to think of the fishing communities who are systematically being driven out from their ancestral homes by state-subsidised big corporations building their personal empires. The Gujarat model of development encourages the private sector to over-rule state decisions. How do we analyse the evidence that seems to reveal the social exclusion inherent in the economic models that Narendra Modi has chosen for his state? Systemic and systematic strategies ensure that ordinary people (Muslims, adivasis and dalits) stay on the margins.
Is this the man we want as our Prime Minister in 2014?
A glimpse at the Gujarat of today throws up some alarming facts.
- Development for the Rich (and Super-Rich)
Narendra Modi believes in a growth strategy directed by private investors, rather than for public good. It is corporations, not ordinary citizens of the state, who dictate infrastructure development. Capital investment in ports, power, roads and transport are all geared to facilitate the entry of the private sector, to the detriment of the people, as well as the degradation of the environment. The “success” stories in Gujarat do not address regional, structural and employment imbalances in the state.
However, even the myth of Gujarat being the ultimate destination for corporate houses has been busted. In a report sponsored by the London-based DTZ and the Global Initiative for Restructuring Environment and Management (GIRED), “Top 21 Business Destinations Ranking”, Ahmedabad is ranked 8th, way behind Indore, Bhubaneswar and Coimbatore. Vadodara is even worse at 14.
- The state government allotted 1100 acres of land to Tata Motors Ltd (TML) to set up the Nano plant. The land was allegedly allotted at Rs. 900 per square metre while its market rate was around Rs. 10,000 per square metre. The government gave Tata Motors a total monetary benefit of a whopping Rs. 33,000 crores.
- Land was allotted to Adani Group for the Mundra Port & Mundra Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Re 1 per square metre. This is grossly lower than the market rate.
- In economic growth (GSDP), Gujarat ranks 8th, behind states like Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. In terms of poverty reduction (percentage of BPL), Gujarat ranks 18th in the country.
- The state’s total debt was less than Rs. 10,000 crores when the BJP first came to power in Gujarat in 1995. After Modi came to power in 2001-2002, its debt has increased from Rs. 45,301 crores in 2001-02 to Rs. 1,38,978 crores by end December 2012. The debt would grow to Rs. 2,07,695 crores by 2015-16.
- Gujarat is at the 8th position in agricultural growth; it has never achieved 10% growth. As per Government of Gujarat’s own statistics from 2005-2006 to 2010-2011, growth in GSDP in Agriculture and Allied sector is only 3.44%, not 10%
- In literacy, it ranks 15th among all states.
- Hollow Governance Model
- The Deputy Speaker’s post, a Constitutional obligation, has not been filled by the Gujarat Government for a decade.
- On an average, the State Assembly runs for 30-32 days a year.
- No Lokayukta has been appointed for the past 10 years.
- As per the Gujarat state’s own records, 10 lakh educated youth and a total of 30 lakh people are unemployed.
- There are financial and land allotment irregularities worth Rs 16,706.99 crores that negatively impact delivery on economic and development fronts.
- Child Sex Ratio (Census of India, 2001 & 2011)
The Child Sex Ratio (CSR) has steadily fallen from 928 in 1991 to 883 in 2001 to 886 in 2011. As per 2001 Census, Gujarat was among the top four states to register the most alarming declines in the number of girls in the 0-6 years category. In absolute numbers, there were 4,45,964 less girls when compared to boys, as per 2001 Census. This gap in absolute numbers has increased to 4,54,396 in 2011, in spite of spending crores of rupees in the name of “Beti Bachao”.
- Contempt for Muslims
According to a study by Rakesh Basant of IIM Ahmedabad, “Education and Employment among Muslims in India: An Analysis of Patterns and Trends,” Muslims carry a double burden of being labeled as “anti-nationalists” and being appeased at the same time. But he states that the so-called appeasements have not resulted in any benefits. Identity markers often lead to suspicion and discrimination is pervasive in employment, housing and education. The slight improvement in education rates among the Muslims in Gujarat is foiled by “identity based discrimination (which) reduces access, enhances inequity and adds to insecurity.” Apart from the Personal Law, Muslim women too face widespread injustice in education and employment.
Hartosh Singh Bal writes, “Gujarat has an urban poverty ratio of almost 18 percent, compared with almost 21 percent for the country as a whole … 42.4 percent of the Muslims in urban Gujarat are poor, compared with 33.9 percent of Muslims in urban India overall.” In spite of this, the Narendra Modi government vetoed a national plan from 2007 to set aside 15 percent of development funds for Muslims, claiming it would threaten the “social fabric of the nation.” Further, he refused to release 53,000 scholarships for Muslim students.
This is the man who, in September 2002, said, “What shall we do? Run relief camps for them? Do we want to open baby producing centres? In order to progress … we will have to teach a lesson to those who are increasing the population at an alarming rate.” And then again, recently, in July 2013, “… any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not?”
- Situation of Women in Gujarat
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of rapes in Gujarat increased from 408 cases in 2010 to 439 in 2011. The State Crimes Bureau recorded the total number of crimes against women as 8,616 in 2008 (including 374 cases of rape and 828 of molestation). The cases of domestic violence, especially cruelty from husband and relatives doubled from 3191 in 2001 to as high as 6,094 in 2008. The cases of unnatural death have increased from 4709 in 2001 to 5318 in 2008. According to Navsarjan, an NGO that conducted a study of crimes against women reported between 1995-2007 in twelve districts of Gujarat, there were a total of 53,395 cases. These included 640 dowry death cases, 1,443 rape cases, 4,030 cases of attempted rapes, 3,006 cases of abduction of women and a staggering 14,998 cases of cruelty by husband and in-laws, among others. Most of the cases of violence against women go unreported.
According to a women’s rights activist, the cases of sexual violence and particularly on young girls have increased in the recent years. She opines that one of the reasons for this increasing violence in Gujarat could be the fallout of the connivance of the state machinery during 2002 Gujarat carnage. Most of the perpetrators of rape, murders and unprecedented violence on minority women during that period roam scot-free, many without even having faced trial. This impunity may also be one of the reasons for increasing sexual violence on women.
Do we want a man as our Prime Minister in 2014, who does not respect Muslims, women, tribals and dalits?
Make your vote count!
Say NoMOre to a Man with a
Corrosive Vision Of Development and Governance!
Sood, A. Poverty amidst Prosperity: Essays on the Trajectory of Development in Gujarat 2012.
Urban Gujarat is not even corporate or middle class haven. New MNC-sponsored study explodes the myth, if there was any
For first two bullets, http://www.dnaindia.com/india/1580274/report-17-scams-that-narendra-modi-doesnt-want-lok-ayukta-to-probe
Department of Economics and Statistics, Government of Gujarat, and Gujarat Assembly question hours, 2011-12.
Economics and Statistics Department, Government of Gujarat, and Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Gujarat-ranked-8th-in-agricultural-growth-Centre/articleshow/20040305.cms?intenttarget=novia @ArchiveDigger)
Census of India 2011 and Planning Commission
National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report, 68th Round, 2011-12
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, 2011-12
Shah, Trupti Dr., Child Sex Ratio in Gujarat: A Deadly Combination of Patriarchy and Globalised Capitalist Development, Draft Paper presented in January 2013.
Modi speaking at Becharji, Mahesana district, Gaurav Yatra day 2, 11 September 2002, “Gujarat Genocide, Act Two, Six months later”, PUDR, Delhi September 2002.
Shah, ibid, Draft Paper