On Gujarat and Narendra Modi, mixing up numbers, slipping on facts

Nov 09 2013, 20:30 IST
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SummaryThe people of India face a choice between the Congress and the BJP.

the UPA built 9,570 km of roads versus 2,650 km under the NDA, a “fact” emphatically contradicted by their own affidavit to the SC. According to Sharma, share of manufacturing in the GDP increased from 15 per cent to 25 per cent under the UPA. But their own Planning Commission acknowledges it fell from 15.25 per cent in FY05 to 15.11 per cent in FY13.

Further, he attempts to portray Gujarat’s FDI narrative in a bad light, and fails miserably. As commerce minister, he should know that FDI is registered in the state where a company is registered, and not where the actual investment is made. Therefore, British Petroleum’s investment of $7.2 billion in the oil and gas sector with a partner who is merely registered in Mumbai but operates from Gujarat gets counted in Maharashtra and not in Gujarat. Is he unaware of such a rudimentary data-compilation practice or is he deliberately misleading the nation?

He then mixes up numbers on state liabilities: Congress-ruled Maharashtra is either first or second on this count, consistently for a decade, whereas Gujarat has seen one of the most drastic falls in debt to GSDP ratio between 2002-03 and 2013-14, from 38.8 per cent to 26.1 per cent, according to the RBI. Gujarat ranks 21st in debt to GSDP today, making it one of the least indebted states. Sharma is proven wrong once again.

It is ironic that Sharma talks about the “financial mismanagement” of a state universally lauded for its sound practices while his government has indulged in scams worth hundreds of billions of dollars (2G, Coalgate, CWG, Maharashtra irrigation, Antrix-Devas, Thorium, Adarsh) and is infamous for its fiscal imprudence (breached 75 per cent of the fiscal deficit target in five months!). They inherited a robust economy from Vajpayee and systematically decimated it.

Sharma has also questioned Gujarat’s performance on school dropout rates, perhaps without looking at the data published by the government: dropout rates for classes I-VIII dropped from 45.48 per cent in 2002-03 to 7.08 per cent in 2012-13. This was due to the state government’s various far-sighted schemes, such as Kanya Kelavani and Shala Praveshotsav. Moreover, he didn’t reveal that the Audit of Integrated Child Development Services Scheme revealed that grade I and II malnutrition in the state has reduced by around

50 per cent between 2006-07 and 2010-11. More recent data (as of March 2013) demonstrates a further decline to levels lower

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