The urban-rural divide in Modi’s Gujarat

Christophe Jaffrelot gives us perspective on why Gujarat’s development numbers don’t look as impressive as Gujarat’s economic growth – it’s about Modi’s neglect of the rural:

Modi’s policy, over the last 10 years, has benefited the urban middle class more than anybody else. If Gujarat ranks only 11th out of 23 states in terms of the human development index, it’s because groups in rural Gujarat continue to lag behind. Indeed, Gujarat is a case of social polarisation with the new rich in the cities and most of the groups that are at the receiving end concentrated in the villages. There, the number of families below the poverty line has jumped from 23.39 lakh in 2000 to 30.49 lakh in July 2012, according to the rural development commissioner. Unsurprisingly, 9 lakh of the 11 lakh houses without electricity, according to the Gujarat 2011 census, are in rural areas. In terms of education, the excellent report of the NGO, Pratham, shows that rural Gujarat was lagging behind states like Haryana.

Dalits and Adivasis (11.3 and 16.5 per cent of the state population, respectively) are particularly affected. For instance, the percentage of tribal underweight children (0-5 years old) is much higher in Gujarat than the tribal average at the national level (64.5 per cent compared to 54.5 per cent). The under-five mortality rate of tribal children is also much higher. Similarly, the percentage of Dalit participation in the NREGA programme is three times less in Gujarat (7.83 per cent) than in India at large (22.67 per cent). In fact, development has meant socio-economic polarisation, because Gujarat is a typical case of growth without development for all. The Gujarat chapter of the India Human Development Report of 2011 concluded that “the high growth rate achieved by the state over the years has not percolated to the marginalised sections of society, particularly STs and SCs, to help improve their human development outcomes”. [Full article here]

More on Gujarat from Kafila archives:

8 thoughts on “The urban-rural divide in Modi’s Gujarat”

  1. Thanks for posting this. I had written an article on Gujarat’s development story a few months back. Sharing the link:

    Gujarat has done well in terms of growth rate but it is by no means in the first five in this regard. Its social and human development indicators are average and sex ratio is alarming – 918 for every 1000 males. The other question that needs attention is how far Gujarat’s growth is the result of Modi’s interventions. Gujarat has always been a state where there is a strong pro-business culture. So it is more than likely that the good growth indicators are a result of Gujarat’s entrepreneurial culture rather than Modi’s intervention.

    Having said this what observers of Gujarat need to explain is why Modi’s BJP is so popular in rural areas even though the rural indicators are not good.


  2. I would appreciate if you could give links to [D]igital [O]bject [I]dentifier/articles that shows the statistics used for this article.

    Articles will be really convincing if providing links to DOI is made mandatory for all articles with some amount of statistics.


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