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Lessons from another BJP govt

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Excerpts from the column by Swapan Dasgupta in the Sunday TOI (for the full text, click here)

It is a commentary on the bizarre priorities of our information order that investment commitments totalling $450 billion, equalling nearly onethird of India’s GDP, are either ignored or put on par with anodyne political statements. This, however, is not the occasion to lament the lack of even-handedness in the treatment of anything remotely connected to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. It is the time to celebrate something that is fast becoming undeniable: the emergence of Gujarat as the economic powerhouse of India.

The reason Gujarat has registered the highest, double-digit GDP growth in the past decade owes much to the targeted, business-friendly approach of its government. Four features stand out. The first is quick decision-making.

The second feature is the curious phenomenon of the near-absence of political corruption at the top. Even Modi’s worst enemies will not deny that the chief minister’s fanatical personal integrity has had a salutary trickle-down effect. Irritated by politically inspired extortion, industry has identified Gujarat as a place where it is possible to do ethical business.

Third, Gujarat since 2002 has been marked by social peace. Particularly important for industry is the absence of rural unrest, which unseated Tata Motors from West Bengal and is now so marked in Maharashtra and Karnataka . This is because Gujarat has bucked a national trend and is witnessing high growth in agriculture—last year the sector grew by 9.9%. This means that farmers now have a stake in the larger prosperity of the state and aren’t swayed by populists and Maoists.

Finally, the growth of Gujarat has been spurred by a philosophy of “minimum government and maximum governance”. In plain language , this means that the state government has concentrated on creating the infrastructure for growth and left it to the private sector to get on with the job of actual wealth creation.
Gujarat has shown that accelerated and sustained growth is possible when the state plays the role of an honest facilitator, rather than a controller. Modi didn’t create the Gujarati character; he was moulded by it. He merely gave it a contemporary thrust and an ethical dimension. If politicians focused on these, India will be a much better place.

When namma Yeddi government took charge, there was regular talk of modelling after Gujarat, at least initially. If only it had! However, nothing of the kind happened. And, today, most people have written it off as a sad case, like in this line from a column by Chetan Bhagat in the same Sunday TOI (full text may be accessed here)

There is no diplomatic way around this so will just say this upfront —the BJP has a disaster in the making if it doesn't do something about the Karnataka situation. CM B S Yeddyurappa, has to resign. Yep, he's got to go. Someone needs to give Yeddy a teddy and kiss him goodbye.

Muralidhar Rao


dvsquare's picture

Yup very true

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If you see Bihar's situation a few years ago before Nitish has done some improvements, karnataka has more or less become like that Bihar's old situations, its just that, the city is being under the cover of sophisticated professionals, but that doesn't help hide governments bad deeds.

Yeddy has been doing all the wrong things, that too in very open, all the land scams and other wrong doings are all in front of people, still he has again won the Zilla panchayat elections. Moreover, BJP is disturbing the Parliament on the corruption issue very much and they are not able to do anything about their own most corrupt Yeddy.

How can one take him as our CM, who is doing all kind of black -magic, changing the doors of Vidhan-Sudha to make it more vastu-like so that government can be saved.

Everytime, when the government was being looked at for improving the problems in the state, they had been seen busy in saving themselves, be it at the time of karnataka-andhra floods time or any other problems common people are facing.


idontspam's picture

Transportation Agenda for CM candidates/parties

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 Here is the Transportation Agenda for the CM, whosoever it may be. Lets see if they will put it in their manifesto/agenda & deliver on it.

  1. Zoning laws to encouring clustering around train based mass transit and not road based ones. (every induatrial area has to have metro/mono/commuter train lines or it will not be approved)
  2. Commuter Rail System to nearby towns/cities and BMR region
  3. Namma Metro for BBMP area connectivity
  4. BRTS/BPS on direction based trunk routes (G routes & big circle) with feeder to intermediate areas
  5. Bicycle lanes linking all Trunk Bus/Train transit locations to other localities for last mile
  6. Perimeter congestion pricing inside ORR area
  7. Paid offstreet/onstreet parking inside ORR area
  8. Uninterrupted pedestrian pathways of minimum 6 ft on atleast one sidealong every inch of road with over/under/atgrade crossovers every 250 meters (local/collector/sub arterial streets) in the BMR region
  9. Road engineering will be mandatorily per IRC rules & DULT road standards guidelines else the contract will not be awarded.

Vote on a clear list like this not on superlatives like world class etc

murali772's picture

a valid question

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However, there is a lot more to Gujarat, the Gujarati people and their CM than Godhra. It is one of the few Indian cultures that celebrates entrepreneurship. That is the need of the hour for the entire nation. It is a state whose now proven development model, if replicated, can dramatically change the country's fortunes. To ignore that would be harmful for the nation. Many rights do not cover up a wrong. But should a wrong be constantly used to cover up many rights?

For the full text of the column by Chetan Bhagat in the ToI, click here

Indeed a valid question.

Muralidhar Rao
kbsyed61's picture

All that needed is simple apology!

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You have answered the question yourself.

Many rights do not cover up a wrong.

In reality there is much more substantive narrative to the story of Gujarat's growth. There are hard realities that we need to confront as a multicultural and diverse country that we are. It is very simplistic to say "But should a wrong be constantly used to cover up many rights? Answer to that lies in what kind of governance we seek for ourselves. Should we ignore the basic duty of the government to protect the life and property of the citizens? If we say no it is OK just because we have economic growth per say, then we can conveniently tell the victims on both side to forget the horrific moments of their lives. We should tell that, Since the wealthy and the upper middle class becoming richer, the vulnerable should forget about Justice, safety and security of their lives and property. Write Self flagellation literature singing praises of the administration.

The alleged Original wrong

On one hand you have a horrific incident of 'Godhra Train' Vs a mass carnage that went on for days. Any sane person would place both the incidents as horrific and is a challenge to our system of governance and test for judicial system.

Prejudiced Administration

Gujarat riots (post Godhra) was not the first riots that republic of India has seen. Some are more horrific than Gujarat. But what makes it unique? Never in the history of India, a ruling dispensation so openly and blatantly allowed and in some cases incited angry mobs to vent their anger and perpetuate heinous crimes against their own fellow citizens. The ruling dispensation spared no time to arrest and initiate criminal proceedings against the alleged culprits of Godhra Train incident. It even slapped the draconian 'POTA' clauses against all the charged persons. There is still last word to be said on this case.

Compare to that, the ruling dispensation showed no such alacrity or the willingness to bring the post Godhra culprits to book. It even went to the extent of allowing the administration to file weak FIRs, destroying evidence, appointing some of the prejudiced prosecutors who were more interested in scuttling the natural process of justice. The malaise went to such an extent that some of the cases had to be tried outside the state. In each of those cases it has been established the complicity of ruling administration in denying the justice to victims, whether it is case of Bilkis Bano, Best Bakery or Killing of Ihsan Jaffery.

9 years have passed, the justice for majority of victims is elusive. Many became refugees in their own state and country. The ones who had fled their homes and lands still can't return to place where they were born and lived with others. True justice is when these people are brought back to their homes and lands with their dignity stored.

Call for reconciliation

Now that 9 years hvae passed many right thinking citizens, Hindus and Muslims have suggested for re-conciliation. But attitude of the ruling party and the administration is averse to any such efferts. The compromise formula was, the ruling party and the administration to make an Official apology to Muslims and they in turn would withdraw the cases against the majority community.

BJP and the ruling dispensation in their wisdom refuses to show any remorse for post Godhra events, issuing of apology for them would be a tall order.

The whole nation(barring few sections) is not demanding much from BJP and gujarat CM. A simple 'APOLOGY' is all that needed to bury the past of the pogrom that took place in Gujarat in 2002. Let me know if this is something goes against the spirit of India?

It could be case that in those 9 years, Gujarat has achieved the growth, but is that enough to cover up the carnage. Is growth the 'RIGHT' that can cover up the wrongs? If that is the case, then in past 8 years or so India has been on unprecedented growth path, even when the whole world went into recession. Will that growth masks all the criminality perpetuated in spectrum scams, CWG, Adarsh?

Murali, answer to your question ""But should a wrong be constantly used to cover up many rights? lies in the answer to above said question.

The fact today is victims on both sides have moved on and have made compromises to the extent that members of minority community are joining the ruling party.

The one entity that has not moved on is the Gujarat CM, his administration and his party. They still live in their abodes of arrogance and deceptive notion of first among the equals that considers they are always right and correct. They can't do any wrong.

Another fact to be reckon is claims of civil society that contradicts the Gujarat growth story. Medha Patkar, Mallika Sarabhi to name a few who spoke recently in response to Anna Hazre's claim of model development. They can't be right on 'Fighting Corruption' and wrong on Gujarat. If that is the case, even our own CM BSY was among the first to support Anna Hazare's call.

kbsyed61's picture

Swapan had to say this?

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Once can understand the patting by Swapan Das - "...The second feature is the curious phenomenon of the near-absence of political corruption at the top...". Swapan had to say this given his association with party with difference.

But the ground reality seems to be otherwise. An acquaintance of mine who happens to be a member of commerce chambers and very close to BJP, revealed to me that how the 'corruption' for govt largesse has been institutionalized in Gujarat. In India, problem for Industry is that even after greasing the palms of govt babus there is no guarantee of results. According my acquaintance, in Gujarat it is kind of "Money Back Guarantee". No wonder why India Inc has fascination for Gujarat Govt. We all know how honest is India Inc.

murali772's picture

yes, that should have been the way

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The compromise formula was, the ruling party and the administration to make an Official apology to Muslims and they in turn would withdraw the cases against the majority community.

Yes, indeed this should have been the way. And, however good a government, it can also commit wrongs, quite like any individual too. The important question is can it admit the wrongs, atone for them, and, in the process, gain more acceptability and even respect for itself?

Well, there are examples - check this.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

reliable power supply changing the rural economy

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Earlier, we faced a lot of difficulties because of the power situation. Now, though, we are getting round-the-clock electricity. I have been able to employ over 50 diamond workers from my village.

For the full report in the Economic Times, click here.

And, power supply to cities are now set to be modelled on the Delhi example - check this.

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