Over the last few years Narendrabhai Modi has been thumping his chest about his economic growth model, creating the impression that Gujarat is the number-one state in terms of GDP per capita and level of development.
The fact remains that Gujarat is still in the fifth place after Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra in terms of development. Another point to be kept in mind is that much of Gujarat’s development was already achieved even before Modi became chief minister. The indecent hurry to grab credit only exposes Modi’s immodesty.
The latest report by the Comptroller and Accountant General of India exposes another dimension of this oft-repeated falsehood. Although these facts have been brought out earlier by organisations like IFPRI, specialising in food security, the CAG report is a confirmation of those facts.
This report’s facts show that the Gujarat model of development should be avoided like plague. The worst aspect of this model is that it cares only for the well-fed, well-clothed, well-shod classes, not the lower middle class, or the poor.
It says that every third child in the state is underweight, which means one in every three children does not have access to enough or sufficiently nutritious food. The question here is development for whom? In the case of the Modi model, it is development for those who are already developed.
The Modi model of development is like the banker’s model of loan. In banks the first principle to be kept in mind is to insist on giving loan to financially well-off people, who do not need a loan in the first place. Correspondingly, those who need it should be avoided as much as possible.
Even the Woman and Child Development Minister of Gujarat has admitted that there are at least 6.13 lakh malnourished or extremely malnourished children in 14 districts of Gujarat. This does not take into account the rest 12 districts. In the capital, Ahmedabad city, the focus of Modi model, there are 54,975 malnourished children and 3, 860 extremely malnourished ones, according to the minister.
Certainly, this is not the development model the rest of India needs