29 October 2011

What Modi is Not Telling You?

The U.S. think tank might have praised him for taking Gujarat along the path of growth and development, but Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi now has reasons to worry. The finding of Indian Human Development Report 2011 released by the Centre sees Gujarat lacking in major developmental indexes including hunger levels.

The report is bound to mar some of Gujarat's growth story which had come in for praise from U. S Congress senators last month, "Perhaps India's best example of effective governance and impressive development is found in Gujarat (population 60 million), where controversial Chief Minister Narendra Modi has streamlined economic processes, removing red tape and curtailing corruption in ways that have made the state a key driver of national economic growth," a congress report had said.

Coming to the bad news for Gujarat, 44.6 percent of children below the age of five in Gujarat suffer from malnutrition while 70 percent children suffer from anemia. The results are worse than states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who have fared better on malnutrition levels. Gujarat is placed 13th among the major states in hunger index, even below Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam. Moreover, Gujarat fared lower in overall HDI (Human Development Index), compared to many smaller states like Kerala, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

However, Gujarat is sixth in the overall state list, which means that it has done well enough in other frontiers.

Meanwhile, there is some good news as well. The central report has patted Bihar and Uttar Pradesh for the progress they have made, "It is worth citing the progress achieved by two of the economically backward states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar." On Bihar it added, "There is a vast difference between the Bihar of today and the Bihar of 15-20 years ago."

The report confirmed that Bihar had witnessed impeccable economic growth in the last five years, with per capita income making a significant leap. Further, the expenditure on the welfare of SCs and STs nearly doubled between 2005 and 2008. However, the report also added that the overall developmental situation in U.P. and Bihar was way behind other states and required faster growth and attention.

The top five states in the report list were Kerala, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Punjab; the same as 2000 report.

Ironically, the lowest HDI states including Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Assam saw HDI improvement considerably above the national average. And, among the states lower in HDI, only West Bengal and Rajasthan, recorded below the national average.

Education sector has become the greatest achievement for India with Primary enrollment reaching 96 percent. The Education Index developed at 28 percent between 1999 and 2008. Health Index on the other hand was the worst, recording just 13 percent growth.

The report goes on to say that the Human Development Index grew by 21 percent from 2000 to 2007, higher than China's 17 percent in the same period.