the Muslims, the very community against which a Gujarati-Modi bias is assumed and presumed. The poverty ratio for Muslims, which had not shown much change between 1999/00 and 2009/10, now collapses to only a 11.4% level from the high 37.6% level observed just two years earlier. At this level, the Muslim poverty rate is marginally below the 12.4% poverty rate of the non-disadvantaged group consisting of OBCs and upper-caste Hindus.
In the accompanying table, the lower panel B reports on the performance ranks for the different population categories. The rank for each category is based on the poverty decline in that category with reference to the decline observed for the non-disadvantaged. For Gujarat the non-disadvantaged have a poverty decline of 15 percentage points between 1999/00 and 2011/12. For SC-STs, the poverty decline is 28 percentage points (ppt) for the same period. So, the excess poverty decline for SC-ST is 13 ppt, and this is the third-largest excess decline in the country for SC-STs. In the case of Muslims, Gujarat was the second-best performing state, with West Bengal as the state where Muslims had the largest relative decline. (However, the poverty level for Muslims in West Bengal in 2011/12 was more than twice the level observed in Gujarat and near identical to the national Muslim average of 25.5%).
Election 2014 should be about development, and about the aspirations and improvement in the lives of the bottom 40% of the population (the proportion of disadvantaged in the national population in 2011). If one looks jointly at poverty reduction and poverty levels, the preliminary conclusion has to be that the Gujarat ďmodelĒ of development seems to have performed much better than most models on offer.
The author is chairman of Oxus Investments, and a senior advisor to Zyfin, a leading financial information company. Twitter: @surjitbhalla