Friday, March 02, 2012

Incredible ignorance

A response to Salil Tripathi - II

Facts are sacred; comment is free.

In his column ‘Here, There, Everywhere’, published in Mint under the headline “Incredible impunity” on February 29, 2012, Mr Salil Tripathi displays incredible ignorance (I sincerely mean no offence for he is a writer gifted with incredible intelligence) of Gujarat’s incredible economic growth and incredible prosperity, both of which are the envy of every State in the country.

The economic development and growth, and the consequent prosperity, witnessed in Gujarat have whetted the aspirations of Indians from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. They have brought about a paradigm shift in the people’s expectations from their Government – in their respective States; at the Centre. All this, of course, is inconsequential to Mr Tripathi who is neither impressed nor moved by Gujarat’s giant strides!

Reluctant to use the term ‘Modi Model’ for reasons that do not merit elaboration, a senior CPI(M) leader of West Bengal, reflecting on what went wrong with the Left Front that led to its decimation in the 2011 Assembly election, ruefully told me: “If only we had worked towards adopting the Gujarat Model…”

Those who are determined to demonise Mr Narendra Modi and deny him any credit for the ‘Gujarat Model’ of remarkable growth and prosperity are welcome to live in cussed denial, but that won’t change the ground reality – Gujarat’s economy has grown; Gujaratis (both Hindus and Muslims) have prospered. Nor will it influence the manner in which investors at home and abroad view the State.

Vibrant Gujarat has set new standards for other States to emulate. That entrepreneurs from other States, including Jammu & Kashmir, want to set up their businesses in Gujarat explains what sets this State apart from others. That difference is on account of the political leadership of the day.

Comparisons, as the adage goes, can be odious. Hence they are best avoided. But since Mr Tripathi has compared Gujarat to Maharashtra in a strenuous effort to belittle the former’s achievements, it would be in order to not only suggest that he and other critics of Mr Narendra Modi should revisit the socio-economic profiles of the two States for a closer scrutiny of details, but to also point out that a vast gulf separates these two States.

That gulf is about probity in public life; it’s about the integrity of those who are in charge of the Government; it’s about, to put it in two words, good governance.

Mr Tripathi is right when he says Gujaratis are an enterprising lot and that they have always done better than other Indians, even in trying circumstances – for instance, when Chimanbhai was Chief Minister of the State, the man who was known as “Chiman Chor”. Gujarat’s economic growth and prosperity over the past decade has been accompanied by a thorough cleansing of the system. Mr Narendra Modi can justly claim: “Na khata hoon na khilata hoon.”

That, understandably, leaves many disconsolate.

Stray statistics, confusing and plucked at random, find mention in Mr Tripathi’s column: They have been quoted to put down Gujarat. I can only cite from official documents a set of statistics that I have cross-checked with friends in the Planning Commission:

Gross Domestic Product: At current prices, Gujarat’s share at Rs 5,13,173 crore is 7.17 per cent of India’s GDP. At constant prices (2004-05), it’s Rs 3,65,295 crore, or 7.48 per cent of India’s GDP.

Net Domestic Product: At current prices, Gujarat’s share at Rs 4,40,942 crore is 6.89 per cent of India’s NDP. At constant prices (2004-05), it’s Rs 3,09,409 crore, or 7.16 per cent of India’s NDP.

Per Capita Income: At current prices, it is Rs 75,115 compared to the national average of Rs 53,331. At constant prices (2004-05), it’s Rs 52,708 compared to the national average of Rs 35,993.

Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (NSS 2009-10): In rural areas of Gujarat it is Rs 1,065 compared to the national average of Rs 953. In urban areas it is Rs 1,914 compared to the national average of Rs 1,856.

While the manufacturing sector and agriculture have suffered huge reversals across the country in the recent years under the UPA’s tutelage, Gujarat has bucked the trend. Manufacturing and agriculture continue to register impressive growth in the State. In 2002-03, ports in Gujarat were handling 841 lakh tonnes of goods; in 2010-11, that figure had grown to 2,309 lakh tonnes.

Mr Tripathi mocks at Mr Narendra Modi’s claim that Gujarat will soon be in a position to provide power to power-starved States. He overlooks the fact that Gujarat is the only State which can today boast of 24x7 power supply to industry, farms and homes. It’s absurd to compare Gujarat’s power generation capacity (GSEB alone produces 4,996 MW) to that of north-eastern States. The former has heavy industrial and agricultural demand for power; the latter has virtually none.

I wish Mr Tripathi had compared the power situation in Gujarat with that which prevails in Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh (where I live and hence am acquainted with the reality) or India's capital city, Delhi (where I work and hence am also acquainted with the reality).

The comparison reminds me of how Jyoti Basu had once proudly proclaimed that Calcutta, as Kolkata was then known, had left behind its terrible days and nights of relentless ‘load-shedding’. What he forgot to mention is that West Bengal had left behind its glory days as the industrial hub of the eastern hinterland.

I could go on citing statistical details, but the list is far too long. Those who are interested in the specifics will find them in the latest Socio-Economic Review of Gujarat. A patient reading will tell you why it’s incorrect (and grossly unfair) to try and diminish Gujarat’s spectacular social and economic achievements.

“So many things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like India,” the Economist said in a review of Gujarat’s economy. The report was telling published under the headline, “India's Guangdong: A north-western State offers a glimpse of a possible industrial future for India.” The report can be read here.

Mr Tripathi has chosen to play fast and loose while discussing Gujarat’s commitment to fiscal responsibility. It’s possible he is not aware of the minutiae of the FRBM Act and the fact that the 13th Finance Commission has set targets for each State Government and every State has to periodically report progress which is documented. Compared to other States, Gujarat has been well ahead of meeting the targets that were set for its compliance to fiscal responsibility. The details are available over here for those who are interested in the specifics.

Admittedly, nobody is perfect. If Mr Narendra Modi is guilty of anything, it is of pursuing purposeful policies of enablement and empowerment of all, irrespective of gender, caste and faith, while eschewing wasteful policies of entitlement. That’s where the 'Modi Model', or call it the 'Gujarat Model' if you wish, stands out in stark contrast to the 'NAC Model'.

That, understandably, leaves many incandescent with rage.

(To be continued.)


Anir said...

Terrific piece of hard hitting, researched, objective journalism. Well done sir

Dinipc said...

Super-duper, second punch. Salil Tripathi's public shame.

Anonymous said...

Awesome dada.

Anonymous said...

Superb Sir not sure where these folks will stop bad mouthing Gujarat and its leadership

Chandra said...

Kanchan, now I really wonder why Salil chose to promote plitical propaganda of Congress Party. Why, Salil and his ilk stopped thinking to be a true writer and commentator. Where are the ethics, Why this Jehadic mentality by Salil and similar writer, what is boosting them them to commit sins of coomission and omissions in writing, where are the ideals in a writers like Salil gone. The situation is really pitiful when I see so biased used of words and facts by Salil. I am really sad today to see writers like Salil betraying the writing.

Ashutosh Malik said...

Excellent post. The most interesting thing that I have experienced over the years is that when I was in my twenties or even thirties, I used to look up to quite a few journalists and columnists without questioning their judgement. Now, in my forties, I have realised, finally, that my belief was just a belief. And that people, based on, their intellectual baggage, the circles in which they move, the people they talk to, their background (where they grew up etc.) are just not able to make an independent framework for judgement. Mr. Tripathi, I think, is not able to see beyond what his reference frames guide him to.

Sudhir said...

Or maybe the power situation in AP.

15 day power holiday for industries :(


Vismay Shah said...

Bang on Article..!! The mint's jhollachaap writers like salil and aakar wont be able to digest simple truth..

Anonymous said...

Salil Tripathi also chooses to forget that there was a massive flood in Surat during 2006 and the superB effort by Administration to restore normalcy to City life

Unknown said...

"The proof of the pudding is in eating" All one needs to do to understand how much Gujarat has developed in last decade is just to visit the Rural Gujarat, talk to the farmers and experience it first hand. I did that last year in July & became a fan of Modi Model of development. It prompted me to write a small blogpost
The difference is drastic when you compare the farmer's attitude in Gujarat vis-a-vis neighboring Maharashtra. While Gujarati farmers were full of optimism and were happy, the Maharashtrian farmers were still skeptical and doubtful of the future.

Ranjith said...

Excellent article. Looking forward to reading part 3.

BrainWarrior said...

Very well put, Mr Gupta. Enjoyed reading your well reasoned pieces (parts 1 and 2 on this subject). Narendra Modi’s vision, demonstrated enthusiasm to serve his people, and unusually high degree of moral rectitude are perhaps the key drivers behind the sort of goodwill he seems to enjoy among the electorate, across community lines. Indeed just as you quoted the ousted communist party leader of Bengal, many people I have spoken to seem to agree that Mr Nitish Kumar (leader of another state, Bihar), may actually have benefited from borrowing some of Mr Narendra Modi's ideas that been implemented in Gujarat - such as special care for school-girls and women, investments in infrastructure, focus on education and healthcare, and a zero tolerance for graft.

Mr Modi has a proven track record of corruption-free efficient governance, is considered extremely honest (a rarity in the sub-continent), and tough on law/order.

The only issue that his detractors have been able to come up with are allegations of him not doing enough to stop sectarian violence (a decade ago) in his state. Those allegations, however, appear to have been overblown (if not entirely false) as per the findings of an independent investigation by the highest court's SIT. Moreover, during that violence, an equally large number of non-Muslims (Hindus) were also killed, with many actually falling to police bullets as Mr Modi's administration attempted to stop the mindless rioting. If anything, Mr Modi acted efficiently and fairly as he dealt with a crisis triggered by Islamists who attacked and killed 58 Hindu children, women, and men in a train. The fact that there has not been a single incidence of sectarian violence since then in his state, is a testimony to Mr Modi's governance. (The same cannot be said of other states like UP, W Bengal or Rajasthan that have seen rioting over the past 2-3 years; although curiously under-reported by the country's English media.)

The question we now face as a nation is this: Are we going to allow a commentariat comprising a small but very noisy bunch of ill-informed or mindlessly vindictive and biased individuals to come in the way of India getting a leader she truly deserves? Will we let Narendra Modi become the greatest Prime Minister that India never had? For if we do, the future generations will never forgive us!

Anonymous said...


Manoj Agarwal said...

Awesome writing Dada. Too good. Pro-Modi people need to stand up and tell the truth in no-nonsense and in unapologetic manner. There are many commentators, purportedly on the right, but seem to be doing a balancing act more often. Yours was a class act. Carry on.

Shalu Sharma said...

Like him or hate him, Modi has transformed Gujarat for good. No wonder he is elected election after election. Unfortunately, not many CM's of Indian states are like him. He is PM material for sure. Wish him all the best.

Shiva Venkat said...

A comprehensively researched material compared to a complete hash that was dished out by Mr.Tripathi!! The last two paragraphs is a super perfect ‘parthian’ shot!! ;-))

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Integrity and probity in public life? Is that what you call the fake encounters, which happened much after the riots? And where institutional complicity has been repeatedly proven?

Praising Gujarat is like praising China for it's economic development, where nobody wants to talk about why it works - an authoritarian but efficient government, efficient in development as well as crushing any opposition to the regime.

nitin said...

absolutely hard hitting article.after reading part 1,i was waiting for the 2nd one with a child's enthusiasm.
In a world of intellactual cowards,we are in desperate need of intelluctual tigers like you

Anil Kohli said...


Thank you so much for reminding everyone what Journalism is all about.

These people are but extension of a political party, with a set mandate to somehow reduce what has been achieved by a state under the guidance of an able administrator. 10years of hounding has not yielded anything, their fear is the performance will speak or itself & overwhelm all other narratives of their.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading both part1 & 2.

Anil Kohli

Anonymous said...

Dear Kanchan Babu,

My congratulations on a well researched response to Salil Tripathi's poorly attempted exercise in selective statistics.If I may have the temerity to add, the only shortcoming of the article (marginally so) is the fact that it does not debunk the Mr Tripathi's self serving statistical innuendo head on and leaves some ambiguity about the lack of substance in the statistics quoted by Mr Tripathi. In my humble opinion there are glaring economic inconsistencies in his interpretation of economic data which can only be explained by bias.

1.)Salil Tripathi says - "In the five years between 2004-05 and 2009-10, Gujarat’s per capita income nearly doubled from Rs32,021 to Rs63,961. In the same period its neighbour Maharashtra, the perceived languishing laggard, saw its per capita income grow from Rs35,915 to Rs74,027. " - This is a classic example of how convenient comparisons economic data can make even the most prosperous states look like a laggard. What Mr Trpathi omits to mention here is that one cannot compare Maharashtra with Gujarat at an aggregate level simply because of the fact that the state of Maharashtra includes MUMBAI, which happens to be the most developed and prosperous city in the country. Mr Trpathi also fails to mention that as per estimates Maharashtra's GDP is USD224 Bn (in 2011) out of which at least USD 209 Bn (in 2008) is Mumbai's GDP. Therefore if one takes Mumbai out of Maharashtra and thus does an apples to apples comparison, Maharashtra will come out to be a laggard in all departments including overall size of the GDP and per capita Income as well as growth of the above two.

2. Salil Tripathi says - "Several states besides Gujarat have shown triple digit growth in their gross domestic product (the value of goods and services produced in a year) in recent years" - This is really laughable. Besides the fact Salil Tripathi does not quote the data behind this assertion one cannot but wonder why is that just because some other states have shown good growth does Gujarat's achievements become diminished.


Anonymous said...

contd ...

4. He says - "Gujarat now runs a revenue deficit—it spends more than it earns—and its surplus has disappeared. Several other states have improved their fiscal positions meanwhile. Reforms?" - You have already debunked this contention.

5. He says - "Five states passed the Fiscal Responsibility Act before Gujarat did in 2005, and 20 states preceded Gujarat in implementing value-added tax" - In his desperation to undermine Modi's achievement salil tripathi thinks that just because 5 (yes just 5) states passed the Fiscal responsibility act before Gujarat, it means that all of Gujarat's reform measures have come to naught. His attempt to make implementing the VAT the sole proxy of broader Reforms in Governance and Economic management are too idiotic to merit a response.

6. He says - "Agricultural growth? And did the Narmada project, which preceded Modi, have nothing to do with it" - This is where the double standards of our vaunted intellectual liberals are exposed. has salil tripathi forgotten the opposition that Modi faced on the issue of constructing the Dam from assorted jholawallahs and liberal brigaed. Any lesser man would have long wilted under the sustained pressure of manufactured allegations by the media and worthies like Arundhati roy. Now that, the project has started to bear fruit, Mr Tripathi in all his naivete wants us to believe that narendra Modi had nothing to do with the construction of Dam and hence should not be given credit for Gujarat's agricultural miracle.


Arvind said...

For those who do not know Salil, he is one of those who was born in a privileged family and he has always been disconnected from India.

His views are the views of the British Raj and at the first opportunity, he even migrated to Britain and earns his bread and butter by routinely writing stereotypical stuff on caste, curry, arranged marriage and cows. Why stereotypes? Because as I pointed out, he has always seen India through the eyes of an Englishman who has memorized "facts" about India from a book written by some British guy.

Also know that as an employee of London based Amnesty International, he was duty bound to attack Narendra Modi. His views are the same as the views found in Amnesty International's reports. Hey, he is just doing his job.

Mint has become a stooge of foreign agents like Amnesty International. Mint is unethical since they did not publish a byline which says that there is a conflict of interest as Salil once worked for Amnesty International and readers should make their own judgments. In fact, it is incumbent on Mint to publish this as Salil's byline in EVERY article that he writes.

Unknown said...

I read the article in Mint which is nothing but a move by some in Delhi through their buddies to stop Modi from coming to Delhi at all cost.The big business which is funding BJP at centre has been at this game all along.

KrishnaVishnuHari said...

If I was Salil Tripathi I would have stopped writing articles because of the humiliation this article has caused me. Luckily I am not Salil Tripathi and unfortunately he is not me.:-)

Fantastic Job Dada. Keep them coming.

KrishnaVishnuHari said...

IF I was Salil Tripathi, I would have quit journalism because of the humiliation this article has caused me. But luckily I am not Salil Tripathi and unfortunately he is nothing like me.

Fantastic writing Dada. Keep it coming ! ! !

khaishk said...

Sir, it is sad that persons capable of good journalism & writing well researched articles should come up with such crass motivated columns like `Incredible Impunity'. Actually the title describes the temerity of the author rather than the subject of the column. If this author wanted to expose corrupt, inefficient, negligent, communal, callous politicians then the reminder of his career (if indeed you can call it one) would not have sufficed if he chose to write in detail about the `noble' acts of a long list of such `distinguished gentlemen' belonging mostly to the Congress Party. However he did not deem it `fit' to `defame' such worthies. Ok! why beat around the bush Let me be frank. Knowing fully well that the chances of defeating Shri.Narendra Modi electorally are as slender as the hair of ne's head or even less Cong commissions pseudo intellectuals cum pseudo seculars to do hit jobs on him. Our dear friend Salil Tripathi is one of them. All I can say is Cong do not know how to get value for their money.

Niketan said...

Hi Dada
This is about your edit on Narendra Modi on the Time magazine cover. There is just 1 small correction. Modi would be the 4th or 5th gujarati to appear on the Time magazine cover.
If you consider Morarji Desai and Parveen Babi.
Actually Morarji Desai was more associated with Bombay state.
So Modi would actually be the 4th Gujarati
Here is Parveen's Time magazine cover. I can vouch it is real as I had seen this cover when we used to subscribe for the magazine at my home.

Niketan said...

This is OT but related to your edit on Modi being the third Gujarati on Time magazine's cover.
He could be 4th or 5th if you consider Morarji Desai and Parveen Babi.

Here is Parveen Babi's cover. I can vouch it is real as I had seen this at my house when my family used to subscribe to this magazine.

Morarji was more of a Bombay politician though I think he stood for election from Gujarat.

Anonymous said...

The phrase "Kashmir to Kanyakumari" is misleading. Kashmir doesn't feature inside India's territory in any international map. In reality as well, India doesn't 'administer' all of it. Objectivity marred!!!