Other States

CAG reports pick holes in Gujarat model

Pointing to many lacunae in the development of social infrastructure, disturbing data on the status of the girl child, poor fiscal health and growth claims made on questionable premises, a series of reports by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India have cast doubts on the Gujarat model of development.

The reports were tabled in the Assembly on Tuesday.

In an important observation, a report says Gujarat based its claim of higher average agriculture growth on the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, but evaluation studies of the scheme’s impact are absent.

During the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012), the average annual agricultural growth rate of Gujarat was 5.49 per cent, which was higher than the national average of 4.06 per cent.

“In the absence of relevant data or evaluation studies, the impact of the Yojana on agriculture and allied sectors and the extent to which the programme facilitated the overall growth of agriculture in the State could not be assessed by us. The government stated in March 2014 that RKVY funds helped to achieve the average growth rate in spite of natural calamities. The evaluation of RKVY was stated to be in progress,” the report said.

Furthermore, Gujarat’s GDP in agriculture recorded a negative growth at -7.17 per cent and -6.96 per cent in 2008-09 and 2009-12, respectively. The growth was again negative at -6.96 per cent in 2012-13, the first year of the 12th Five Year Plan.

The State is in an unenviable fiscal position, with the fiscal deficit increasing from Rs. 15,153 crore in 2009-10 to Rs. 18,422 crore in 2013-14. The CAG noted that a portion of expenditure was wrongly budgeted under a different head, resulting in “understatement of revenue expenditure and overstatement of revenue surplus to the tune of Rs. 1,633.5 crore.”

Social sector

The declining sex ratio, compounded by poor action against sex selection practices and a dearth of adoption centres, raises serious concerns over Gujarat’s approach to gender equality.

Though Gujarat improved its child sex ratio marginally from at 890 girls per 1,000 boys (in the 0-6 age group) in 2001 to 919 by the 2011 Census, the figure remains below the national average. Urban areas have a poorer record on child sex ratio than rural.

“Though the overall infant mortality rate has come down, for both male as well as female child, the mortality of female child as compared to male child remained higher during 2009-2013,” the CAG notes.

Out of 681 cases of abandoned children registered during 2009-14, 216 baby girls were found dead. However, till last September, Gujarat had not nominated a single special adoption agency as a cradle baby reception centre.

Adivasi welfare was given the short shrift in Gujarat. Funds released from the Centre and the State were diverted for general utilisation and for the Tribal Sub Plan (TSP). However, audit of five Adivasi-dominated districts found that “no separate account of expenditure incurred under general and TSP [except for the mid-day meal scheme] were maintained.”

In two districts, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan funds were diverted to ashram schools and Eklavya Model residential schools of the Tribal Development Department.

In the five audited districts, the requisite teacher-student ratio was not maintained. School buildings were found to be lacking in basic facilities, and computers in 1,368 schools were lying idle as teachers had not been appointed.

Overall, out of 43,176 schools in Gujarat, 64 with 5,698 students had no teachers and 874 had only one teacher as of March 2014.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 8:22:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/cag-reports-pick-holes-in-gujarat-model/article7062846.ece

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