Punsri (Modiland), an example for the self sustainability in India

Punsri, a motley village in Himmatnagar, talks about wi-fi and optical fiber broadband network, its children spend best of their times in air-conditioned classrooms with CCTV cameras.

Gujarat, it seems is gaining a popularity day by day and becoming role model for other states in India. Gujarat, also addressed as “Modiland” in western world now, rather seems to be no more a part of India, for many heads of the nation. A delegation from Kenya led by Vice-President for Kenya is coming to visit a village- PUNSRI on 24th May, a village, Taloda taluka near Himmatnagar around 50 kms from Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat. This village is an example for the self sustainability for all the villages!!! A true role model…

Punsri, has an incredible story to say, which may sounds like fairy tale. An Oasis in the Desert. It should make us belief in what good governance can do. Think of an Indian village and what comes to mind are images of mooing cows, open drains and children playing ants and frog games. But, Punsri, a motley village in Himmatnagar, talks about wi-fi and optical fiber broadband network, its children spend best of their times in air-conditioned classrooms with CCTV cameras. The village also boasts of its own mini-bus transport system and there are 25-odd CCTVs located on important junctions to spot litterbugs.

Its clearly a model of ideal utilization of funds without any scams.The actual granted amount reaches to the bottom. Its the real indian dream.We have some other model villagese.g. Ralegan Siddhi which is a self sustained village and crime free.

Many such villages in Gujarat have developed by using Govt grant /subsidy for the developmental work. Even private Trusts are equally participating good public work. Many villages are self sustained.

If you think Punsri is drenched in NRI funds, think again. Not a single rupee has come from across the seven seas, instead the village managed its funds over the last five years that it received from central and state sponsored developmental schemes.

District development officer Ravi Arora says, “There is not a single family in Punsri which has an NRI family member. The village has just managed its accounts well and villagers here agreed on a co-operative approach to development.”

“The village panchayat pays an annual premium of Rs 25 lakh against insurance for each of the 6,000 villagers who have a cover of Rs 1 lakh and a mediclaim policy of Rs 25,000. Our schools have zero dropout rates, CCTV cameras in classrooms help us keep watch on teachers in classrooms. Our reverse osmosis plant supplies 20-litre pure water cans to houses for a token cost of Rs 4. These are bare essentials for a standard life today and why should our village be behind,” claims the village sarpanch Hemant Patel, 29.

The village panchayat had a capital of Rs 25,000 five years ago. Today, the deposits have soared to Rs 75 lakh. “The turn-around happened when we sold part of our grazing land as plotted schemes to various communities. The money is deposited in government coffers,” says Patel. The village received rewards from the central government and the state governments recently.

Identifying Gujarat as perhaps the best example of effective governance and impressive development in India, a Congressional report showered praise on the chief minister Narendra Modi and said that the state under him has become a key driver of national economic growth. Narendra Modi’s Gujarat best example of effective governance

US has begun warming to chief (prime) minister Narendra Modi

James Fontanella-Khan in Charanka, Gujarat, and James Lamont in New Delhi writes in Financial Times:

.…Such turbocharged growth, coupled with a report on the riots from a Supreme Court-appointed team that exonerated Mr Modi, has made the chief minister a possible prime ministerial candidate for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party in 2014 parliamentary elections.

……“It is stupid if you are not in Gujarat,” Ratan Tata, the chairman of the Tata Group, once said in a ringing endorsement after moving his Nano plant from West Bengal to the state.

…..Not only has Mr Modi led an economic transformation built on the supply of electricity and improving roads, he has pulled off a remarkable rebranding of the state, largely centred on himself.

….Admirers say he has the instincts of a chief executive with little tolerance for underperformance among his officials. His critics say the “media hype” is intended to clean up his image, arguing that the communal riot and Mr Modi’s divisive, overtly religious stance make him unacceptable to India’s voters.

……One senior western diplomat says that while Gujarat’s boasts do not always live up to scrutiny, the international community is being forced to engage with Mr Modi in support of their business executives.

…..The US, which denied Mr Modi a visa in 2005 due to “particularly severe violations of religious freedom”, has begun warming to Gujarat’s chief minister. Peter Haas, the Mumbai-based US consul general, recently stood at Mr Modi’s side at the inauguration of the Gujarat Solar Park, praising the state’s government for creating the conditions and incentives for investment.

Read the full story in Financial Times: Modi puts Gujarat growth on a fast track

Rent-A-Saree: It happens only in India

Gramshree introduces first-of-its-kind saree library that loans

expensive silk and heavily embroidered

Poor women can borrow these sarees not just for weddings but also birthday parties and other special occasions. Gramshree plans to collect 1,00 sarees to set up five libraries across Ahmedabad

Poor women can borrow these sarees not just for weddings but also birthday parties and other special occasions. Gramshree plans to collect 1,00 sarees to set up five libraries across Ahmedabad

Until recently, Pinku Makwana thought her childhood dream of wearing nine yards of Patola silk fabric to a social function would never materialise.

For the domestic help from Ranip in Ahmedabad, keeping a single piece of Patola sari in her wardrobe would have triggered quite a malfunction in her budget.

These saris, which display one of the world’s most complex weaving techniques, come with price tags of between Rs. 5,000 (for a plain Jane) and a deep hole in your pocket (for the intricate variety of golden brocades).

But she did make her sister-in-law burn with envy when she went to a family get-together dressed in a gorgeous Patola – courtesy of a non-government organisation that has started a rent-a-sari service.

Pinku’s dream got fulfilled for a mere Rs. 5 and the expensive sari will be hers for a week.

Of course, she has to foot the dry cleaner‘s bill before returning. But a real small price to pay. Vandana Agarwal from Gramshree in Ahmedabad started this venture after she heard many women workers in the NGO often complaining about their fate – that is wearing the same sari to all social functions.

“Most of the women working with us belong to the low-income group. They can’t afford to buy or keep more than one good sari for social occasions. They would often brood about this fact,” Vandana said.

This led Vandana to open a “sari library”. “The idea is simple. All one needs is a guarantor and Rs.5 to pick up a sari of her choice for a week,” she said.

Vandana has two “libraries” running simultaneously with roaring success in Ahmedabad – one in the Ranip area and the other in Chandlodia. Both localities were primarily inhabited by people of low-income groups.

Proposal for a third one has been on the anvil.

“We have a range of expensive saris such as the Gujarati Patolas, the South Indian Kanjivarams and other silk. Our clientele can’t afford to buy them. At present, we have more than 200 such saris, mostly collected through donations. More are pouring in,” she said.

For the donors, the idea was appealing. “I have collected so many expensive saris over the years and many of them were idling away in my cupboard,” homemaker Hetal Patel said.

“When I realised that my sari could bring so much joy to someone, I just couldn’t resist myself,” she added.

“Thanks to Vandana didi, I can wear good saris just like women from high society,” Pinku said. (courtesy: D. P. BHATTACHARYA & mailonlineindia)

Indian Social Media: Kerala ahead of Gujarat

When it comes to state tourism boards and social media, Kerala is certainly at the forefront, followed by Gujarat. For a tourist, Kerala has an almost universal appeal. Kerala isn’t the only state that is rich in such natural beauty; almost the whole of India’s peninsula has a coastline to boast of.

But, there seems to be so much more awareness of what Kerala in particular has to offer.

The reason; smart, progressive and organized advertising strategies. ‘Your moment is waiting’, their latest campaign is one of the most intoxicatingly beautiful television commercials ever made.


Visual appealing tv commercials can only stir an initial curiosity. Kerala Tourism reached out to over 1,20,000 facebook fans, who by ‘liking’ the page have access to almost daily udates on what to do in the state. From which food is in season, to which temple is a must-visit, the page is loaded with information that is not available on their website or anywhere else for that matter. A special mention must be made of the photographs shared on this page; they are extremely visually appealing. Just glancing at the wall of their facebook page brings forth a montage of vivid imagery representative of the state. These small picture stories would really be ideal for a person researching Kerala before a trip.


Their twitter page has a more humble 8,000+ followers that can interact with @KeralaTourism. The hashtag #ThingsToDoInKerala has a small group of tweeple chirping. The twitter world hasn’t yet been taken by storm, but one must give props to the Kerala State Tourism board for being among the only ones to have a presence on twitter.


The Youtube page  is extremely informative. There are a host of well made mini documentaries, which would really help demystify the destination, before actually reaching there.

Tourists tend to be put-off by excessive touting and over-selling. Kerala Tourism has managed to steer clear of these extremes. This is evident in their social (media) face, which is informative, but still aloof and not as interactive as one would imagine.

Read the full news on Social Samosa : Travel goes Social:Tourism and Social Media

BBC: “Sorry (Narendra Modi), we goofed-up, “Gujarat ‘IS’ a red hot economy.”

Gujarat and Growth: Media does a Flip-Flop

The ” Modi”fied article of BBC can be read here:

Gujarat IS a red hot economy.”

In what can be termed as acute embarrassment to major media houses, a “Modi”fication of articles that were published, based on GDP of Gujarat state was done hurriedly. Today Business Standard, one of India’s leading newspaper, carried an article by AK Bhattacharya, with a set of figures that depict growth in Gujarat, trying to drive home a point that ‘growth of Gujarat is a myth’. Soon, other media houses like Rediff, and surprisingly the British Broadcasting Corporation joined the bandwagon. this resulted in print media splashing articles quoting the figures quoted by Business Standard. BBC even went to the extent of nailing Gujarat with a story titled “Is Gujarat’s Red Hot Economy a Myth?” But soon followed counter figures, with accurate proof, which put the very  same media houses to shame. The article published byBusiness Standard quotes the GDP of Gujarat as 6.3%, where as the actual figures stood at a towering 10.08%.

The credit of exposing the leading media houses and their credibility goes to Vijay (@centerofright) who exposed the mammoth difference between the real figures and what was contorted and published. With the real facts presented before them,Business Standard was forced to edit their original article and issue a clarification that read thus: This column has been modified to incorporate corrected data. (Read the article here).

The step taken by Business Standard of publishing the original article without conforming to real data and their subsequent correction led to an outright flurry over Twitter, the micro-blogging site. There were rampant discussions that questioned the credibility of leading media houses and the news they present the common man with. Even the reliability and integrity of BBC stood at stake. A shamefaced BBC had to change the title of their article to ‘Gujarat IS a Red Hot Economy’.

“It is silly that reputed media houses made mistake in a topic like GDP of Gujarat when Growth of Gujarat is a heavily debated issue.” Many tweeple raised their concern.

The ” Modi”fied article of BBC can be read here: “Gujarat IS a red hot economy.”

How Business Standard and BBC had to Retract a Story on Gujarat (read), Modi bashing!!!

It all started with

and then

The original article in Business Standard by AK Bhattacharya.


Then i had tweeted a bunch in the morning and left it at that and forgot about the same.

Then Soutik From BBC Came up with this Gem and a link to his BBC Article with a Headline – Is Gujarat Red Hot Economy a Myth? quoting the same Business Standard article.

Read the full posting: How Business Standard and BBC had to Retract a Story on Gujarat.

PHFI – STEPS Media Fellowship for print media journalists in Gujarat

The Public Health Foundation of India is awarding five media fellowships to print journalists working in Gujarat. The fellowships aims to help journalists developing a deeper understanding of tobacco control. Application deadline is May 5th, 2012.
Five media fellowships in Gujarat.

The PHFI – STEPS media fellowship will be awarded to print media journalists working in Gujarat (Anand, Kheda, Banaskantha, Rajkot, Surat, Tapi, Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar districts

Recognizing the crucial role of media in advancing tobacco control, the Public Health Foundation of India,under its Project STEPS (Strengthening of Tobacco Control Efforts through Innovative Partnerships andStrategies), aims to assist media persons in developing an in-depth understanding about various aspects of tobacco control and encourage them to highlight the need for tobacco control, particularly in India by awarding FIVE media fellowships in Gujarat. The PHFI – STEPS media fellowship will be awarded to print media journalists working in Gujarat (Anand, Kheda, Banaskantha, Rajkot, Surat, Tapi, Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar districts) demonstrating interest and/or experience in reporting on issues in public health in general and tobacco control in particular.

The information can also be viewed in English on website  www.ctchp.org . Interested journalists need to apply online using the following link:


Last date: The extended date for submission of application online is May 15th, 2012.

Is India’s ‘iron man’ Modi a spinmeister or is there something everybody is missing?

Mr Modi has become synonymous with Gujarat's growth

Is Gujarat’s red hot economy a myth?

BBC’s New Delhi correspondent, Soutik Biswas writes in his column:

Is Gujarat’s so-called red-hot economic growth a myth peddled by the government of the controversial chief minister Narendra Modi?

Mr Modi, who was blamed for not doing enough to stop the horrific 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state after the burning of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, has modelled himself as a no-nonsense economic reformer leading one of India’s fastest-growing states.

Gujarat also signed on to a fiscal responsibility law only after five other states did, and 20 states preceded Gujarat in implementing value added tax.

More interestingly, states like Uttarkhand (13.2%), Bihar (10.9%), Maharashtra (10.7%), Tamil Nadu (10.4%) and Haryana (10.1%) recorded double-digit growth in the seven-year period under review.

None of these states have the kind of hype associated with them as does Mr Modi’s Gujarat, which is often called the most business friendly state in India. So is Gujarat really the “breakout” state that Mr Modi wants the world to believe?

So is Mr Modi a spinmeister or is there something everybody is missing?

Read the full column: Is Gujarat’s red hot economy a myth?

Indian Politicians on Twitter:Modi Express #1

As the state of Gujarat commemorated its 52nd Gaurav Diwas (Foundation Day), the Modi Express on Twitter celebrated another milestone when it crossed the make of 600,000 ‘followers’ in record time! This once again reaffirms why he is truly called the ‘King of Social Media’ among the politicians!
This mammoth increase among Narendra Modi’s followers comes at a time when he featured on the cover page of Time Magazine, which lauded the decade of peace and development in Gujarat. Other luminaries who have come on the cover include Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri. Incidentally, he is the only Indian Chief Minister and the first BJP leader to feature on the list. Roughly at the same time, Brookings Institution, one of Washington DCs oldest and most reputed think tanks carried a comprehensive story by William Antholis, its managing editor. Brookings lauded the atmosphere of development that prevailed in Gujarat.

India’s Young Social Reformer: Mittal Patel

Mittal Patel: A journalist and a social reformer.

More than four million nomads reside in Gujarat and approximately 60 million exist in the country. It was shocking to find there was no data or information available on them even in the government departments. Though the government is aware of certain communities, to avail of the benefits, people are supposed to submit a number of documents. These, unfortunately, they did not possess. The benefits, therefore, reached them in a very limited way. We are now working for 40 nomadic and de-notified tribes in eight districts of Gujarat. 

says, Mittal Patel, a young gold medallist in journalism from Gujarat University, has been trying to give a voice to nomadic tribes for the last six years.

Running an NGO, Vicharata Samuday Samarthan Manch, Patel has aided thousands with fading livelihoods, whose existence was hardly recognised or acknowledged by the state or the central government.

Nomads earlier provided services such as sharpening knives and weapons, repairing tools and supplied a variety of goods including ornaments, perfumes and medicinal herbs. During the days of princely states, they accompanied a king’s convoy to help them repair their carts. But due to industrialisation, traditional occupations became non-existent for them.

Mittal has been striving to find alternative employment for men and women and is working towards providing educational facilities for the children. She has been instrumental in helping them claim land rights, getting voter ID cards and fighting with bureaucrats to extend welfare schemes for them.

Click to Read the full interview taken by Nilima Pathak for the Gulf News