In discussing Gujarat, economics gets enmeshed in the politics and politics gets entangled with economics. This book deals with the economics. The All India GSDP growth rate rose from 6.6 per cent to 8.28 – the rise for Gujarat was from 6.45 to 10.08 per cent. Further growth rate in Gujarat has shown less volatility. In rural Gujarat there has been a sharp decline in poverty.
This book isn’t about Gujarat’s growth alone. It is about development too. It isn’t just about vibrant industry. It is also about the perceptible improvement in social sectors, especially noticeable after 2007.
Bibek Debroy is a name to conjure with in the world of social studies in India. Currently, he is a Research Fellow in the Institute for South Asian Studies in the National University of Singapore. He contributes regularly to learned journals and has several books to his credit.
The volume under review is the result of his journey to Gujarat where he travelled extensively and encountered people and their problems. This is the story of Gujarat’s governance, growth and development based on the author’s own voyage and not obtained second hand from handouts in cold print. There is an aura of authenticity about the book, which is impressive.
Karan Thapar in an interview with Narendra Modi declared, “In the six years you have been the Chief Minister of Gujarat, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has declared Gujarat to be best administered State. “India Today”, on two separate occasions announced that you are the most efficient Chief Minister.”
In discussing Gujarat, economics gets enmeshed in the politics and politics gets entangled with economics. This book deals with the economics. The All India GSDP growth rate rose from 6.6 per cent to 8.28 — the rise for Gujarat was from 6.45 to 10.08 per cent.
Further growth rate in Gujarat has shown less volatility. In rural Gujarat there has been a sharp decline in poverty. There is no evidence of increase in inequality in the distribution of consumption expenditure.
Debroy devotes one chapter to fiscal consolidation and analyses how resources have been raised and what they are being spent on. The author notes that the Gujarat Government has achieved the targets laid down by the 13th Finance Commission in this field.
The next chapter deals with physical infrastructure by which is meant public utilities such as power, telecommunications, piped water supply, sanitation, sewerage, piped gas and public works like roads, dams, canals and urban transport, railways, ports, airports etc.
Gujarat bagged as many as eight awards in 2010 and 2011 in the power sector. The percentage of households that have water tap connections has increased from 26.6 per cent in 2002 to 72.22 per cent in 2011.
Regarding roads in Gujarat 98.27 per cent of State Highways and 96.93 per cent of major district roads possess asphalt surfaces. There has been a strident improvement in the matter of Bijli, Paani and Sadak and peoples’ lives have been radically transformed.
Gujarat with its vast hinterland of fast developing States like Rajasthan, M.P, Western U.P, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K are potential customers for Gujarat’s ports.
An important part of social infrastructure — Education — in which Gujarat has made rapid progress. There are 21 State Universities, 3 Central Universities and 16 Private Universities and 6 institutions of national importance. A large number of private Universities have been set up in the last ten years.
Health is one of the crucial parameters of a State’s progress and Debroy cites Report of the Millennium Development Goals and other mid-term appraisal reports.
Urban health care is primarily ensured through the private sector — as also of the rural sector. The State has experimented with PPP (Public Private Partnership) models in delivering health care.
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes accounted for over one-fourth of Gujarat’s population. Incidence of poverty among Scheduled Castes is higher than the State average.
The literacy rate is the lowest. Gujarat has adopted TSPs (Tribal Area Sub plans) and IDPs (Integrated Tribal Development Projects). The schemes have resulted in a reduction of deprivation in the State.
This is a marvellously well written book after a thorough study of the problems faced by Gujarat. It is a model assessment worth copying by other States. Factually tremendously rich, it is a cogently argued analysis aided by valuable tables.
A tribute must be paid to Academic Foundation for the attractive manner in which the book is brought out with pleasing colour pages and lavish photos. A book to read and treasure.