I know the title looks weird. Still I want to use it because if we don’t learn from Gujarat we have to steal it at least. Often we steal from others. So if you are doing so, steal something good and which will impact people directly. We all need change. Everywhere we are looking for a change. Let’s start learning from others and start doing something for us and for the people of our country.
So when talking about development in India, how can we complete it without talking about the state of Gujarat. Gujarat’s GDP is growing at a rate of 8.5% while India’s GDP has grown only at 5-6%. That means Gujarat is growing at a rate higher than India. The reason behind this massive turnaround is chief minister Narendra Modi. He realized that industrial development leads to investment which in turn generates employment.
A State damaged by twin blows of a killer earthquake in 2001 and communal riots in 2002. Nature’s fury coupled with man’s rage made sure that investor confidence in the state is at an all-time low. Turning a single Indian state with a long tradition of entrepreneurship and a solid political majority into an investor-friendly economic powerhouse is a great thing.
We can steal good ideas if it’s good. This will help us to think about ourselves and take a look at the mirror to identify where we stand and improve upon. I am not saying that Gujarat is a benchmark for all of India but at least we can take some value out of Gujarat model which could be implemented in the rest of the country. This is not the story of Narendra Modi, the person; this is the story of people of Gujarat and their development.
As most of India is facing an acute power shortage, Gujarat sets an example by distributing power 24 hours. As of December 2012, Gujarat generates 13000 MW power and plans to increase it to 18000 MW by mid 2013. Under Jyoti Gram project, the state government has ensured limitless power all over Gujarat including villages. Government of India has accepted this as a flagship project for the 12th Five-Year plan (2012-17) for supplying round-the-clock, high-quality, three-phase power to all villages. The separation of agriculture and non agriculture feeders has brought uninterrupted power supply. This has provided reliable electricity and increase in household income.
“A recently released Planning Commission draft of the plan, notes that Gujarat has achieved very good results by combining feeder separation with an extensive watershed program for groundwater recharge. Feeder separation needs to be extended to all states, especially where groundwater is extensively used. The separation of agricultural feeders in the country will enable villages to get round the clock power for domestic uses, schools, hospitals and village industries. As for the farm pump sets, which need much more power, they can get eight hours or more of quality power on a pre-announced schedule.”
Also Gujarat has made tremendous progress in implementing solar power. They are one of the early adopters of this scheme and reaped benefits for this.
“The main solar drivers in India have been Gujarat solar policy and the National Solar Mission (NSM). Projects under these two policies account for 80 per cent of India’s installed capacity until October 2011,” claims Tobias Engelmeier, managing director of Bridge to India (BTI) which brings out the annual India Solar Handbook.”
PDS is one of the backbone of rural India and we have seen tones of food grains being leaked or flawed through distribution agents or middle men. Almost more than half of the food grains were diverted from PDS to the market. This means the poor are not getting their share of PDS. Gujarat has implemented electronic model of PDS. This minimized the leakages and diversions. New ration cards are being issued to the villagers under the new TPDS scheme which has bar codes and coupon system. This has minimized the number of bogus cards and ensured that the food grains are distributed through PDS.
This is a bigger challenge that state governments have to act upon and involve an initial cost of setting up the system. But this will give more transparency and efficiency to the current PDS and make sure that food grains are distributed properly without diverting to the market or underutilized.
Business Friendly Environment
Gujarat has been considered as a business friendly state. Fine examples are the Tata’s moving their prestigious Nano plant from Singur, West Bengal to Gujarat. Ford and Maruti are also building their facilities. This will attract more investments, more income and more employment. Gujarat pacing with Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu for industrial development in India has performed much better than others. Gujarat has strong business acumen and this have been capitalized upon. Gujarat has focused on manufacturing, innovation and knowledge, services, ports and ship building, agribusiness, renewable energy, infrastructure and sustainable development. These are the strong areas that a state or even a nation needs to look at.
“Competent, transparent, and progressive leadership are key attributes that will attract investors. Karnataka and Gujarat are two states that show such progressive leadership,” Ron Somers, president, US India Business Council, said before he left for India.”
Gujarat has focused on developing a robust infrastructure. Gujarat infrastructure sectors include power, water, transportation, aviation, and tourism sectors. Gujarat government has laid an outlay of Rs. 730 crores just to develop tourism infrastructure in 22 districts across the state. Gujarat is focusing on PPP projects than funding from central government and other agencies. Gujarat has abundant energy resources and they need to use it more efficiently. One such example is producing power from natural gas. The state electricity board needs to cut the power thefts by setting up check posts.
The state has to focus on setting up industry specific parks which will give more specialized services to these industries. The productivity of labor is quite high in Gujarat. Gujarat has a 1,600 km long coastline and 42 functional airports, which handle over 80 per cent of port traffic in the country.
The state’s literacy rate stands at 69.1 per cent, which is higher than the national average of 65.38 per cent. Gujarat is home to India’s leading business school, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad (IIM-A) and other important institutions such as National Institute of Design (NID), National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI). The state also has 25 engineering colleges, 26 management institutions and 300 technical institutes. Even planning to start universities for teachers to improve their skills and efficiency.
So in 2014 voters are going to face a choice between an old vision and a new one!!
Which one will they choose?
Whoever rules, should improve the nation and the Gujarat model has provided a much important and awaited growth story for India. Either we can learn from it or rather move forward within the same limits. Politics is tricky but people are not!!