Not a month goes without news reports highlighting the achievement and development of Gujarat. Reports on the recent developments evince that Gujarat is a “happening state” which entitles it to be ranked first among all Indian states.
Agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan rightly puts it, “Gujarat owes it to a scientific and integrated approach to agriculture during Narendra Modi’s tenure which is backed by a sharp vision.”
The initiative of Modi government to provide soil health cards to farmers has brought second ‘Green Revolution’ in Gujarat. The state has now changed gears to become an auto hub. After Tata, Hero Honda, the world’s largest two-wheeler maker, is set to establish a manufacturing unit in the state.
Gujarat has highly diversified industries — from diamonds to denim, fertilisers to pharmaceuticals, automobile to milk products, cotton, art-silk, ceramics and oil seeds. Most of these industries have notched up top slots in terms of production — in India and world alike.
Gujarat contributes to 40 per cent of the country’s pharma and art-silk industries, 80 per cent of polished diamond industry and 11 per cent of the world’s chemical exports. The state government has formed a land bank of 50,000 hectares for industrial houses to choose the sites online.
For past 12 years, Gujarat’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has been growing at 12 per cent — as fast as China’s. Gujaratis, who hold 30 per cent of scrips floating in the market, account for 16 per cent of Indian exports and 17 per cent of GDP. The state is India’s petro-gas capital. Political stability, entrepreneurial spirit and ever-improving infra-structure attract capital and entrepreneurs from East Asia, the West and even from the Middle East. Country’s largest social base of business class of Banias, Parsis, Khojas, Bohras constitutes Gujarat’s business community. A commercially-tuned culture and Modi’s resourceful leadership have made Gujarat the most “fast forward state of India”.
Though critical issues like unemployment, low indicators of social development (HDI) and population living Below Poverty Line (BPL) cannot be overlooked, it was persistent under all regimes.
Modi and Health Minister J N Vyas have floated several credible schemes to improve the state’s performance on HDI. The state government has also earmarked financial aid of Rs 1,500 crore for 25 lakh poor families which will be delivered by 2010. While 1.43 BPL families will get plots to build houses, about 2.59 lakh families will be given houses before May 2011. Modi government aims at providing jobs to 10 lakh youths, water supply to 12,000 villages and electricity to 17,940 villages.
Also, the government departments will be graded according to their performance in achieving the goal. The state has sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore for Sakhi Mandals to micro-finance thousands of women.
Gujarat has bagged several prestigious awards like UN Sasakawa Award for disaster mitigation, CAPAM award for innovation in governance, UNESCO award, CSI award for e-governance and Indiatech award in power sector.
The state is front-runner in attracting industrial investment (MoUs). It is first in implementing major health care services. Besides, availability and utility of infrastructure and state-wide fibre-optic connectivity puts it on world map.
Gujarat’s synergising relationship with its Diaspora demonstrates what Gujarat has achieved under the Modi government. Clinton Foundation has awarded Gujarat the world’s largest solar plant and 34 solar projects are in the pipeline.
The state has the distinction of housing India’s first tidal energy project and the largest wind energy farm. Ahmedabad has a world class public transport system which serves 44 million people and helps in saving 37 lakh tonnes of carbon emission. The state has country’s biggest CNG and LNG infrastructure. Ahmedabad, which was derided as the most polluted city in 2003, was recognised as ‘Green City’ by the UN in 2009.
But, Mahuva-pattern land satyagrahas alert us against the possibility of Gujarat becoming a mosaic of fragments of SEZ sub-states.
All these have sculpted Gujarat’s image as a geo-economic power. New coastal ‘Silver Corridor’ with the development arc between its two gulfs and knowledge corridor has wooed global players. Asian Tigers seek access to its ports for taking goods to the Middle East and Europe. Japanese township near Dholera and Koreans’ near Valsad has raised the state’s international profile. Gujaratis ask: “Miles to go, but compared to other states isn’t our glass more than half full?”
One of the city’s most eminent political analysts, Pravin Sheth dissects the twists and turns of policy in Gujarat
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