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Gujarat- a puzzled model


Pallavi Wardhan

During the 2014 Lok sabha elections, throughout their campaign, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) tom-tommed on how United Progressive Alliance had bankrupted Indian economy, for years. Narendra Modi (then BJP PM Candidate) convinced the voters that only BJP could rescue them from the clutches of Congress.

On December 9th and 14th, Gujarat, home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, goes to polls and without much doubt, the ‘Gujarat Model’ continues to remain party’s favorite success paradigm in election campaigns over the years. Even the media has widely focussed on the state’s economic accomplishment, owing to its effective governance

Modinomics’ a brand new term, praising the ‘Gujarat model’ was invented during 2014 the campaign, focusing on state’s economic performance; a miracle created by Narendra Modi, then the four-term chief minister of the state. The BJP Govt banged on this concept big time to garner votes and promised the voters that they would replicate this famous model all over India.

As Gujarat gears up for another assembly election, we randomly selected eight people, across to understand their perception and relevance of ‘Gujarat model’.

Name – Mehboob, 19, Origin – Assam (Staying in Mumbai from past two years), Occupation – Watch vendor

Are you aware of the Gujarat Model? – ‘Hum toh padhe likhe nahi hai. Toh itna kuch pata nahi hai

Would you like your state to develop like Gujarat did? – ‘Nahi ji. Hum yeh Vishay pe baat nahi karna chahte’

Name – Amol, Origin – Kolhapur, Maharashtra, Occupation – Non- teaching staff at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

Are you aware of the Gujarat Model? – Yes. I have visited Gujarat but I couldn’t relate to what the Gujarat model exactly is because I couldn’t see any development in the state. I don’t get what the whole hype is about.

Would you like your state to develop like Gujarat did? – No. Because I feel they haven’t done much in Gujarat so I have no expectations from them to do anything here

Comments on the current Govt. (State or Centre or both )- Congress govt was much better. They had introduced many schemes while BJP is just changing the names of those schemes

Name – Mohit, 25, Origin – Gujarat, Occupation – Software Developer

First thing that comes to your mind when you hear about Gujarat? – Modi

Are you aware of the Gujarat Model? – Yes. Since I am a resident of Gujarat. I have seen the Gujarat through my own eyes. Earlier there were power cuts, low income, lack of MNC companies (even though we had lot of small scale industries) and lack of basic infrastructure like roads. I have seen government of Gujarat policies and its implementation. It’s has been a complete transformation under Modi’s role. Though gujarat model of development is on auto pilot mode, I am very critical of current BJP government rule in the state. Anandiben Patel was one the worst CM of Gujarat and see none less then corrupt ministers that we saw during UPA government

Would you like your state to develop like Gujarat did? – I think that remaining states of India should be as developed as Gujarat. However, if we consider social factors like infant mortality rate and sex ratio imbalance, I believe Gujarat should learn it from other states and should improve it. Gujarat government have run campaigns to change it but I believe it is not successful as it should have been.

Comments on the current Govt. (State or Central or both) State government- let me first make it clear, current BJP government is worst but better then what is to be offered by Congress government. Corruption is on the rise. For example: Avadh properties owned by daughter of Anandiben Patel have indulged in corruption activities during demonetarization. Though we are enjoying good infrastructure but I believe current government should take development to next level. Centre government – I would rate centre government almost 9/10. I would give 9 because it has taken extra ordinary steps like GST and demonetization. It has powerful and better performing ministers which India has not seen before. I think current government is the best centre government India could get.

Name – Chaya, 45, Origin – Jalna, Maharashtra (Staying in Mumbai from past 30 years), Occupation – Maid servant

First thing that comes to your mind when you hear about Gujarat? – Raag yeto’

Are you aware of the Gujarat Model?Ho pan mala Modi bilkul avadat nahi karan teni kahi kelela nahi aamchya saathi’.

Would you like your state to develop like Gujarat did? – ‘Tyane Gujarat madhe kahi kele nahi mag Maharashtra madhe kay karnar’

Comments on the current Govt. (State or Central or both) – ‘Me bilkul khush nahi aahe and majhya sarakhe anek gareeb log aahet ji sarkar shi khul raagawale aahet. Amchya saathi kahi nahi kele, varun amala traas dela note-bandi karun. Tumhe ek kaam kara. Amchya vatene tyana sanga amchya kade laksh dyala’

Name – Bitan, 26, Origin – Kolkata, Occupation – Photographer

First thing that comes to your mind when you hear about Gujarat? – Godhra riots

Are you aware of the Gujarat Model?Yes

Would you like your state to develop like Gujarat did? – No

Comments on the current Govt. (State or Central or both) – Beyond any comment, failed every citizen of India, except the rich ones.

Name – Jeganath J, 29 , Origin – Chennai, Occupation – Technology Auditor

First thing that comes to your mind when you hear about Gujarat? – Enterprise

Are you aware of the Gujarat Model?Yes, I do

Would you like your state to develop like Gujarat did? – No. The model has time and again failed as a sustainable socio economic system

Comments on the current Govt. (State or Central or both) – Although TN as a state is under a political transition after a democratic dictatorship, the state has been one of the earliest proponents of a hybrid development model with a typical socialist outlook coupling with pro development stance. This posture is fuelled by its favorable demographics and a relatively equitable history spearheaded by periyarist social reforms .TN has done it right at the places where Kerala and Gujarat has done it wrong, albeit with its Kashmiri style indulgence of sub nationalism.

Name – Brenda, 23, Origin – Shillong, Meghalaya, Occupation – Student

First thing that comes to your mind when you hear about Gujarat? Textile Industry

Are you aware of the Gujarat Model?Yes

Would you like your state to develop like Gujarat did? – Yes

Comments on the current Govt. (State or Central or both) – I feel that the Modi government has been over ambitious as seen through his initiatives for instance demonetization. And recent events show us that it has failed to address issues of the common people such as farmers’ suicide, food insecurity, and the increasing rates of cow related violence.

Name – Deepak Mandal, Origin – Hathi Gaon, Guwahati, Occupation – Security guard

First thing that comes to your mind when you hear about Gujarat? – ‘Bahut he achi jagah hai and sundar bhi. Humare dost ne hume bataya’.

Are you aware of the Gujarat Model? – ‘Hume itna kuch pata toh hai nahi waha ka but itna zaroor pata hai ki waha vikas toh hua hai, humare dost ne bataya hai hume.’

Would you like your state to develop like Gujarat did? ‘Haanji, bilkul. Kyun nahi. Hume toh acha lagega’

Comments on the current Govt. (State or Central or both) – ‘Nayi sarkar toh acha he kaam kar rahi hai. Aisa lag raha hai, ek do saal mein yaha sab acha hoga’

While each one of them has heard of Gujrat model, no one exactly knows what it is. Some of them praised the model but others showed certain reservations in having to replicate similar model for their state. Development and Gujarat model’ wasn’t the first thought of any of the interviewees. Self experience, word of mouth or media would be the reason.

Gujarat has often witnessed high growth rates. Before Modi came to power in the state, from 1992-93 to 2001-02, Gujarat’s average annual growth rate was the best amongst India’s major states, at 7.41 percent (above Maharashtra, 6.39 percent)1 Although one cannot overlook the statistics from 2001-02 to 2011-12 which clearly suggest that when Modi was the CM of Gujarat, the state did really well in terms of growth in most sectors. Its rank amongst 28 states in terms of the percentage increase in output in different sectors was fourth or fifth, and in the aggregate (Net State Domestic Product), Gujarat stood third. But, should we interpret ‘development’ as ‘improved quality of life for people’? Or, has successful economic growth translated into comparable improvements in indicators of the quality of life (or ‘human development’)?

Some facts:

  1. Gujarat ranked fourteenth and fifteenth , in the middle of the list of 28 states, over the same period in which the state was so successful by comparison with others with regard to growth, in terms both of the extent of poverty and of female literacy (important measures of human development)

  2. In terms of infant mortality, it showed improvement when it jumped from nineteenth place to seventeenth, but this still meant that it remained in the bottom half of the list

  3. In terms of monthly per capita consumption, it actually slipped from tenth place to twelfth.2

  4. From the point of view of quality of education, too, according to the measures of the Annual Status of Education Report, Gujarat figured amongst the states towards the bottom of the list3

  5. One third of the society has benefitted little from the Gujarat model with the rising inequalities. Since BJP has a long history involving injustice towards Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis.

  6. In 1993, it ranked third in terms of the percentage of people above the poverty line (as mentioned before, a higher rank indicates a better performance). Over the next eight years, its relative position steadily fell and in 2011, the latest year for which this information is available, the state ranked 10th.

As compared to some other states, the socio-economic situation in Gujarat has progressed poorly. Even though Modi’s Gujarat Model paid less attention to pro-poor programmes, it did not hamper BJP or Modi’s popularity mainly because the size of the local middle class and the crystallisation of a ‘neo-middle class’.4

But little inference can be drawn from these facts and opinions. While the election comes closer, it is getting difficult to predict the outcome of elections in Gujarat. With Hardik Patel coming in picture and shaking hands with Congress, BJP looks confused than being confident as ‘Hindutva’ and ‘economic development’ takes a back seat. At the same time, even Congress lacks confidence in its ability to defeat Modi and his party in his home ground.

Let’s wait and watch as the story unveils.


2 The base and final years for these rankings, computed by the Rajan Committee, are 200405 and 201112, or

2005 and 2011, except in the case of female literacy where the base year is 2001 and the final year, 2011




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