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Talk Point: There is a lot of anxiety over the Naliya taluka rape case in Gujarat

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The Gujarat model of economic growth and development is premised on the claims of accelerated infrastructure development of roads, highways, dams, and a spike in foreign investment. But critics have said that moderate achievements have been over-hyped, and it does not account for the decline in social indicators. The Patidar agitation of 2015 further emphasised the waning job market in Gujarat.

Is the Gujarat model of economic growth and development a myth or reality?

The Gujarat model is a fairy tale that Modi sold to the nation in the 2014 general elections. Many actually believed him without visiting Gujarat. If I were to compare it to Karnataka, the story changes.

I have visited many districts of Gujarat and what I heard is voices of discontent, who spoke without any inhibitions about their problems. My meetings were women-centric and I was aghast to hear about the anxiety over the Naliya taluka rape case. Vijay Rupani announced a probe into the matter but has not acted upon it.

1,743 cases of rape were registered in Gujarat in 2016. The protest of ASHA workers was even more heartbreaking and despite the fact that their demands have not been met, the government has flashed it as done.

Here are other sharp perspectives on the Gujarat model of economic growth:

Yoginder K. Alagh: economist and former union minister
Deepender Singh Hooda: MP, Congress
Maitreesh Ghatak: professor of economics, LSE
Tavleen Singh: author and columnist
Shekhar Gupta: chairman and editor-in-chief, ThePrint
Gaurang Jani: lecturer, dept of sociology, Gujarat University
Atul Sood: professor, JNU

Higher Education has been largely privatised – this issue is raised repeatedly by the people everywhere I go. It is unaffordable and the quality is sub-standard. A majority of women continue to remain in farm jobs and are unable to shift to non-farm sector. The women activists tell me that there is no pension for single women. The government gives only widows pension. Data shows that most of Gujarat’s children are anaemic and nearly half are underweight. Many girls are married before the age of 18. State budget for health care system is reducing over the years, and forms less than 1% of GDP.

Gujarat has failed its agricultural sector. Expenditure on agriculture and allied activities has reduced to. Agricultural income in Gujarat is lower than Himachal, Karnataka and Punjab.

The state average monthly income per agricultural household in Gujarat is Rs. 7926, in Himachal Pradesh Rs. 8777, in Karnataka Rs 8832, in Punjab Rs18059. This data is sourced from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare.

Sushmita Dev is a Congress MP from Assam. 

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