1. ‘Gujarat Model’ or ‘Gujarat Muddle’? Economist Jean Dreze punches holes

‘Gujarat Model’ or ‘Gujarat Muddle’? Economist Jean Dreze punches holes

Commenting on ratings-agency Moody's recent upgrade of India's sovereign-credit rating to 'Baa2' from 'Baa3', Dreze says he doubts the credibility of such an index.

By: | New Delhi | Published: November 26, 2017 9:23 PM
Development economist and activist Jean Dreze today said there was “no evidence” that the so-called “Gujarat Model” was a model in any sense, pointing out to the state’s backwardness in social indicators. (IE photo)

Development economist and activist Jean Dreze today said there was “no evidence” that the so-called “Gujarat Model” was a model in any sense, pointing out to the state’s backwardness in social indicators. “If you look at almost any ranking of development indicators, whether it is social indicators, human development index, child development index, multi-dimensional poverty index and all the standard poverty indexes of the planning commission…Gujarat almost always comes around the middle,” said the noted economist at Times LitFest here. It was the case much before Narendra Modi became chief minister and it remained the case after that, said Dreze, who helped draft the first version of NREGA (now called the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) Dreze, who once wrote an article titled “Gujarat Muddle”, recalls that the term, “Gujarat model”, was coined around the time of the last Lok Sabha elections (2014).

He describes the model as a counter-example, because of the disappointing social indicators inspite of the high growth in terms of standard economic indicators. There is obviously, Dreze believes, something lacking and, in that sense, it can be an illustration of the limitations of relying on private-enterprising growth for development in the larger sense. Commenting on ratings-agency Moody’s recent upgrade of India’s sovereign-credit rating to ‘Baa2’ from ‘Baa3’, Dreze says he doubts the credibility of such an index.

“If you dig into the methods behind these indexes, there is very little to them, except that they are taken seriously!” He also raised concerns about the Aadhaar scheme, fearing that it will create an “infrastructure of surveillance”. Underlining that his opposition to Aadhaar was not related to welfare programmes, but civil liberties. “Aadhaar multiplies the power of the state to keep track of everybody over time,” he said, flagging apprehensions that it could lead to stifling of dissent, as a lot of the databases that are going to be linked will be accessible to the government.

Speaking about the recent agitations of Patidars, Jats and others for reservations, Dreze partly blamed the stagnation of agricultural growth for the unrest. According to Dreze, the people, who have seen the size of their landholding shrink and with the population explosion in the last few decades, have certainly suffered. “That probably creates a sense of grievance, which must have translated to some of these movements, but there must be other things also,” he adds. The ‘Gujarat Model’ has remained the BJP’s favorite example of success in election campaigns over the years. Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, goes to polls on December 9 and 14.

  1. R
    Reader
    Nov 27, 2017 at 7:14 am
    The biometrics-based Aadhaar program is inherently flawed. Biometrics can be easily lifted by external means, there is no need to hack the system. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can CLONE your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. That is why advanced countries like the US, UK, etc. did not implement such a self-destructive biometrics-based system. If the biometric details of a person are COMPROMISED ONCE, then even a new Aadhaar card will not help that person. This is NOT like blocking an ATM card and taking a new one.
    Reply
    1. R
      Reader
      Nov 27, 2017 at 7:13 am
      UK’s Biometric ID Database was dismantled. Why the United Kingdom's biometrics-linked National Identi-ty Card project to create a centralized register of sensitive information about residents similar to Aadhaar was scrapped in 2010?? The reasons were the massive threat posed to the privacy of people, the possibility of a surveillance state, the dangers of maintaining such a huge centralized repository of personal information and the purposes it could be used for, the dangers of such a centralized database being hacked, and the unreliability of such large-scale biometric verification processes. The Aadhaar program was designed in 2009 by mainly considering the 'Identi-ty Cards Act 2006' of UK, but the UK stopped that project in 2010, whereas India continued with the biometrics-based program. We must think why the United Kingdom abandoned their project and destroyed the data collected. (Google: 'Identi-ty Cards Act 2006' and 'Identi-ty Documents Act 2010' )
      Reply
      1. R
        Reader
        Nov 27, 2017 at 7:13 am
        A centralized and inter-linked biometric database like Aadhaar will lead to profiling and self-censorship, endangering freedom. Personal data gathered under the Aadhaar program is prone to misuse and surveillance. Aadhaar project has created a vulnerability to identi-ty fraud, even identi-ty theft. Easy harvesting of biometrics traits and publicly-available Aadhaar numbers increase the risk of impersonation, especially online and banking fraud. Centralized databases can be hacked. Biometrics can be cloned, copied and reused. Thus, BIOMETRICS CAN BE FAKED. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can clone your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. If the Aadhaar scheme is NOT STOPPED by the Supreme Court, the biometric features of Indians will soon be cloned, misused, and even traded.
        Reply
        1. R
          Reader
          Nov 27, 2017 at 7:12 am
          The US Social Security Number (SSN) card has NO BIOMETRIC DETAILS, no photograph, no physical description and no birth date. All it does is confirm that a particular number has been issued to a particular name. Instead, a driving license or state ID card is used as an identification for adults. The US government DOES NOT collect the biometric details of its own citizens for the purpose of issuing Social Security Number. The US collects the fingerprints of only those citizens who are involved in any criminal activity (it has nothing to do with SSN), and the citizens of other countries who come to the US.
          Reply
          1. Sanjay Parekh
            Nov 26, 2017 at 11:21 pm
            Jean Dreze is known for his social programs in other words programs that create a sense of en lement within the populace. BJP's Gujarat Model is a model in the sense that it wants to diminish the role of en lements and change the thinking of people to earn their living instead of a "mai baap" sarkar. Congress went the down the path of distributing tid bits and that was no different that English Raj and the autocratic rulers before. So democracy never manifested in the true sense. The social indicators that Jean Dreze is talking about are good to monitor and they are realized when people develop self esteem. Not by killing it with programs of en lements and caste based quotas, etc.
            Reply
            1. Sanjay Parekh
              Nov 26, 2017 at 11:23 pm
              looks like auto spell check replaced en lements with en lements.
              Reply
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