Thursday, January 15, 2009

India Inc. vs. "Mera Bharat"

Few News Items which came out during last couple of days:

Modi PM material for Anil Ambani, Sunil Mittal

...As the fourth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit drew to a close at Ahmedabad on Tuesday, corporate India, shedding its usual reticence, hailed the BJP leader’s (Narendra Modi's) stewardship and went to the extent of putting the "prime ministerial class" stamp on him.

ADAG chairman Anil Ambani, while addressing the valedictory session of the meet, was effusive in his praise of Mr Modi’s leadership. "Narendrabhai has done good for Gujarat and what will happen if he leads the nation," he said. "Gujarat has seen progress in all the fields under his leadership. Now, imagine what will happen to the country if he gets the opportunity to lead it," he said and added, "Person like him should be the next leader of the country"....

Bharti Group CMD Sunil Mittal also showered encomiums. "Chief minister Modi is known as a CEO, but he is actually not a CEO, because he is not running a company or a sector. He is running a state and can also run the nation," he said.

....Both Mr Mittal and Mr Anil Ambani described Mr Modi as the "future leader of the country," given his "capacity to dream with open eyes" and "drive to achieve the results." The younger Ambani asserted that Mr Modi’s achievements in leading Gujarat to an industrialised state had made him "a proud Indian and a proud Gujarati." He said the way he had transformed Gujarat, he could change the complexion of the country as and when he takes over its reins.

Tata Group boss Ratan Tata led the corporates in lauding Mr Modi’s track record. "I have to say that today there is no state like Gujarat. Under Mr Modi’s leadership, Gujarat is head and shoulders above any state," Mr Tata...

Modi’s ‘Taj Mahal’ to displace 35,000 families, says IIM-A study

They say its Modi’s ‘Taj Mahal’, but the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project, which is expected to attract maximum attention during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit 2009, will displace around 35,000 odd families from the riverbed and the surrounding areas, according to a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Navdeep Mathur, a professor at IIM-A, said: "We conducted this study as part of the PGP-PMP course on displacement and rehabilitation issues in the governance. According to the interaction with community leaders and activists, we came to know that nearly 35,000 families will be affected".

Mathur’s team visited the riverbed area in October, followed by a field visit two weeks ago in January. He added: “There is no clarity on the counting of project affected families. We found out that the there was little or no communication with the communities”.

The survey of NGOs ­- Action Aid and Sabarmati Nagarik Adhikar Manch - and social activists stated that about 35,000 families will be affected, which is in stark contrast to the 4,400 figure given by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) initially. The locals of the riverbed, with the help of activists, had filed a petition against the AMC in the Gujarat High Court.

Elsewhere, a news item - Half of Vibrant Gujarat Goes to Sleep Empty Stomach mentions some statistics:

  • According to International Food Policy Research Institute’s 2008 Global Hunger Index, Gujarat is ranked 69th along with Haiti, the nation infamous for food riots. The state is placed in the ‘alarming’ category.

  • The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation has identified urban Gujarat as ‘moderately food secure’ while rural Gujarat remains ‘severely insecure.’

  • The National Family Health Survey III (NFHS-III) conveys that 42.4 per cent of children in Gujarat are suffering from stunted growth due to malnutrition. Also, about 47.4 per cent of children are underweight in the state.

  • NFHS-III also points out that more than half of Gujarat’s population is Anaemic, with a percentage as high as 80.1 for children aged 6-35 months.

  • NFHS-III further states that nearly one-third of adults in Gujarat have their Body Mass Index (BMI) below the normal, 32.3 per cent for women and 28.2 per cent for men.


    Postcript: A couple of friends wrote back on the above post that it would be fairer comparison if Gujarat's hunger record is placed along side the national average.

    That is a legitimate query, and will certainly help in forming a more balanced view about its growth or otherwise. The India State Hunger Index from IFPRI report is as below. Among 17 states, Gujarat ranks 13 - above Chhatisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh