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

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.

http://www.scribd.com/embeds/92187799/content?start_page=1&view_mode=slideshow&access_key=key-111sv1hgm44z54lbkunc

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.

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.

Has Narendra Modi really made it large in the ‘Hindutva Laboratory’?

‘Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.’  or  &  ‘tell a lie a thousand times and people will believe it is the truth!’—Joseph Goebbels.

If we just spend sometime, scratch the surface a bit of the Gujarat Shining tag, we would realise that plenty that is being flaunted about the so-called progress and prosperity of the State is merely due to a propaganda blitz – through ‘paid media’ and through a Washington based publicist company ‘Apco Worldwide’ which boasts among its clients several dictators and fascist regimes from across the world. For Indian Diplomat Lalit Mansingh is in the Global Political Strategists list of Apco. Below Narendra Modi‘s “Hindutva’s laboratory” one finds a reality which will make one grimace and even struggle for breath! Has Modi really made it large?

The hard fact is Gujarat has not been able to bag top position for even one of several key socio-economic indicators: life expectancy, infant mortality, nutrition, literacy and investment – although in 2001 when Modi took charge, Gujarat was already a well developed state, holding 4th state rank for per capita net state domestic product in mid-1996. Currently Haryana holds top rank, while Gujarat is at 6th position as it has mostly been since 1970s.

One could be forgiven for mistaking Modi’s new mask to be his real face, for had not ‘Time’ magazine’s Asian edition cover story on Modi last month endorsed him as the new ‘vikas purush.’ Indian media institutions have made it a habit to praise Modi for efficient governance, as have corporate honchos, who hail him as the most investor-friendly of all chief ministers. Modi was the winner of ‘best chief minister’ title in a recent Mood of the Nation survey by India Today-Nielson. He was declared the favourite for the prime ministerial position in 2014.

The Vibrant Gujarat as it is pictured today by media, has the following stars on its shoulder too:

These include:

  • a Government of Gujarat profile of 18,066 villages of the State has revealed that a significant percentage of the villages of the State do not have potable drinking water, toilets or educational facilities.
  • the gap between the rich and the poor grows wider and wider
  • cosmetic development policies help a few but are detrimental to the large majority, very particularly the poor and the marginalized
  • environmental laws are blatantly flouted
  • adivasis, dalits and other sub-alterns are denied basic human rights
  • Muslims and Christians are treated as second-class citizens – many of them do not have access to quality education, good employment and other basic amenities needed for a citizen
  • most of the victim-survivors of the Gujarat Carnage 2002 are still struggling for justice
  • a good percentage of the Muslims are confined to ghettoes in urban and rural Gujarat
  • corruption is highly institutionalized in the State
  • the recent report (March 2012) of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Gujarat revealed a Rs. 17,000 crore loss to the State exchequer due to corruption and financial irregularities
  • “encounter” deaths are rampant in Gujarat besides there have been more than 180 other custodial deaths in the last few years in the State
  • salt-pan workers in the Kutch area have to travel 15 to 20 kms away to get potable drinking water
  • the clear nexus between Government and some of the corporate sectors raises serious issues with regard to land acquisition, displacement, tax-payer’s money being used for the purpose of industries, etc.
  • thousands of fishermen all along the coast have lost their livelihood because of certain ports and other mega-projects
  • In the first three Vibrant Gujarat summits: 2003, 2005 and 2007, a total of $186 billion was garnered as MoUs for FDI, the official website claimed. Of these, 84 per cent proposals ‘had been implemented or were under implementation,’ it said. In the next two biannual events, MoUs worth $240 billion and $450 billion were signed taking the total to a staggering $ 876 billion! If 60 per cent MoUs had materialised — not 84 per cent as claimed – Gujarat would have matched China’s FDI inflows of $600 billion plus! Such extravagant claims were punctured by the Reserve Bank of India: a total of $7.3 billion was all that flowed into Gujarat in this period, a mere 5 per cent of total India’s total FDI. As against this, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka cornered 6 per cent of the national pie, while neighbouring Maharashtra garnered a massive 35 per cent.
  • the 2011 Human Development Report of India states that hunger and malnutrition (are) worse in Gujarat than in India’s other large states.  According to the report, almost 45 percent of children in Gujarat are malnourished.  A larger percentage of children go to bed hungry in Gujarat, one of India’s richest states, than in Uttar Pradesh, one of its poorest.
  • the 2011 Human Development Report of India states that hunger and malnutrition (are) worse in Gujarat than in India’s other large states.  According to the report, almost 45 percent of children in Gujarat are malnourished.  A larger percentage of children go to bed hungry in Gujarat, one of India’s richest states, than in Uttar Pradesh, one of its poorest.
  • in terms of infant and maternal mortality, Gujarat’s record during the decade that Modi has run the State is poorer than that of the country at large.  In 2006-2010, life expectancy in Gujarat was two years shorter than the national average (about 66 years).  Gujarat ranked 17th among all Indian states in terms of literacy in 2001, the year Modi took over.  Now it ranks 18th.
  • child labour is rampant in Gujarat with thousands working in the cotton fields of Sabarkantha, the brick-kilns, in the ‘kitlis’, and in several other areas of the unorganized sector.
  • sex ratio has dipped to a new low with just 918 females to a 1,000 males as against the national average of 940 (female foeticide is rampant)
  • the Sabarmati River “is one of the most toxic rivers” in the country,
  • a recent report ranks Gujarat 18th in the increasing crime graft making it one of the least peaceful States of the country
  • Gujarat ranks a poor 12th in the country in issuing forest land to the tribals.
  • a fairly significant sections of the population is still involved in manual scavenging

 The list is endless indeed, and one can go on listing the many human rights violations and injustices which abound in the State of Gujarat…..!

The question is: has he made Gujarat shine? Is Gujarat shining more than Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Haryana or Karnataka? Has Gujarat under Modi achieved something that no other state has? Has Modi really made it large?