The Gujarat model of development which is being hailed in mainstream media as the model to be replicated countrywide is built on a careful suppression of facts, human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi has said.
She was delivering the Dr. T.K. Ramachandran memorial lecture on ‘Modi-ism and Challenges to Religious Diversity,’ organised by the Secular Collective and the Keluettan Study and Research Centre, here on Sunday.
“The vibrant Gujarat summits have been projected all across the national media as bringing in lakhs of crores of investments. But only 8 per cent of the MoUs signed between 2003 and 2009 were implemented. The growth rates of Gujarat have been steadily declining in the Modi years compared to the two decades before that. The pattern is similar if you look closely at the human development indices and all other parameters in which Gujarat pales in comparison to many other States in the country,” she said.
There had been no increase in the number of jobs in the State at a time when the Government was speaking highly of its job fairs. There were 10 lakh educated youth who were jobless in the State at present and thousands of small-scale industries were shut down in the past decade. The State ranked twelfth in average wages among all the States, she said. Ms. Hashmi said corporates wanted Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister as he was ready to give them largesse in the form of land at throwaway prices.
“Large tracts of land have been given at low prices to all the big business groups who have now started singing paeans of Modi. Many farmers and fishermen were deprived of their land. The compensation rates of land have also come down drastically under his rule. At the same time, the figures of farmer suicide in the State are alarming,” she said.
Pointing to a less-discussed fallout of the Gujarat riots, she said it gave an opening to conservative minority organisations in the State. “Before the 2002, the Muslims of Gujarat were never conservative.
But the State led pogrom provided a fertile ground for such organisations to take root,” she said. She said that post the riots, fake encounters had been used as a tool to project Modi as a figure who had been under constant attack of the terrorists.