Sunday, 15 September 2013

Modi is BJP & NDAs Best Bet
Namo excites a Young India rooting for a Change and Development
Elected PM – Faces A Herculian Task of Reviving India

While MARKENOMY goes to print with this feature on Narendra Modi and his Model of development, which has been vociferously contested by his opponents who seem to have caught on with the adage, “Everything looks Yellow to a Jaundiced Eye”. Critics of Modi continue to harp on 2002 riots while failing to recognize the hard fact that Narendra Modi won hands down mandate from Gujarat’s masses on three consecutive occasions and has provided and presided over the cleanest administration in country for now more than a decade in Gujarat. So much so, that the benchmark for the futuristic “Indian Nations” development model time and again in the last 4-5 years has been the referral of the state of Gujarat in most national and international media debates.

In an interview to “The Economist” on 27th September 2012, Modi clearly shares his Gujarat success with “Team Gujarat” unlike most who would like to portray him as a one-man-show or even worse, accuse him of having a dictatorial streak. He in the interview to “The Economist” demonstrated his democratic side bestowing full praise on his bureaucracy, which has some of the most brilliant officers in the country – of course handpicked by Modi. Also, the credence to the argument of his individualistic decision making would perceptibly seem enhanced by our conceding above of his “handpicking his officers”. As we mentioned that his officers are handpicked and critics would point out that this itself will substantiate his individualistic single man decision making. Quite untrue in fact, as this line of argument falls flat due to the fact that only a popular public leader can win consecutive elections that too via a majority for such a long period of consistent governance and established rule of law as Modi has achieved in Gujarat.  Only a democrat can have such a popular run with the masses and the electorate.

To prove this point further ,if one looks at the fact that India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru handpicked the genius of Homi Jehangir BhabhaFather of India’s Nuclear Program and also Vikram Sarabhai- Architect of India’s Space Program (Incidentally, both of these gentlemen were never given the “Bharat Ratna”, inspite of the fact that they were the most deserving). In an article blog on August 6th 2013, eminent economist Bibek Debroy quotes on literacy--- “The All India Literacy was 52.2%in 1991; 65.4% in 2001; 74.0% in 2011. Gujarat’s literacy rate was 61.2% in 1991; 69.1% in 2001 and 79.3% in 2011. Note this that in percentage point terms all India position of literacy improved more than Gujarat between 1991 – 2001, but improved less than Gujarat between 2001 – 2011”. He then continues “Because of the assertion of the gender biases in Gujarat, what about Women. For women, the All India Literacy rate was 39.3% in 1991; 54.2% in 2001 & 65.5% in 2011. For Gujarat it was 48.9% in 1991; 57.8% in 2001 & 70.7% in 2011. The proposition that Gujarat did better between 2001 and 2011 than all India is even stronger for women.” The interesting analysis clearly shows here that how blind critics of Gujarat Model of Development” have been and have got all the data wrong, and are in a “2002-stuck Mental Paralytic Block”. This smacks of a blind bias against Gujarat in general and Narendra Modi in particular. Because we want to further the article to development issues, the above socio-community analysis of Debroy proves an eye opener to further the Gujarat case for the India story.

Now coming to hard brick-n-mortar economics, recently Gujarat’s Mundra Port developed by Adani group became the largest cargo port of the country. Gujarat is the State that attracted maximum investments in private ports with Pipavav and Mundra already in operation. This is in addition to the government operation of the port of Kandla. Also, the Gujarat chemical port terminal in Dahej is the best in the country in addition to the state-of-the-art LNG terminal at Dahej developed by Petronet India Ltd. Also, Hazira, an industrial powerhouse port location near Surat operates an LNG terminal. There are several other ports under development in the exim friendly state of Gujarat.

In terms of road infrastructure, Gujarat is the best connected state of the country with state expressways and remote area access roads matching national highway level of construction. A classical example is the state highway leading to Charanka located – “Gujarat Solar Park” in district Patan, where the State Highway leading from Ahmedabad to Charanka is amongst the top state roads of its type in the country. Not to mention the fact that when commissioned, the 214MW, Gujarat Solar Park in Charanka was the largest such single location Solar PV power project in Asia, beating  China’s 200MW Golmud Solar Park.

It must be mentioned here that the success of Gujarat’s road infrastructure has been endorsed even by the World Bank. New urban infrastructure projects like GIFT City, DMIC, Dholera SIR and the Metro project are progressing full swing in the State . Gujarat state also has the distinction of becoming the first off the block in formation of “Multimodal Affordable Transport Authority (MATA)”, which is aimed at developing an integrated approach to mass rapid transport systems (MRTS) including high speed rail systems and a faster waterway communication along Gujarat’s coastline.

Another dream project planned and unique in the world – conceived by Gujarat under Modi’s leadership is the ‘Kalpasar’ project under development of the “Gulf of Khambhat Development Project”. This project is aimed to store state’s 25% of average annual surface water resources by construction of a 300 km long dam across the gulf of Khambhat. This reservoir will store about 10,000 MCM of surface water and will be the world’s largest fresh water reservoir in the sea. This project will completely mitigate Gujarat’s water crisis as presently the state struggles to feed water to its growing population which is 5% of that of the country. Whereas surface water resources in Gujarat are 2% of that of the country. This is inspite of the tremendous success of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Reservoir.

Gujarat today produces around 66% of India’s entire solar power, making Gujarat the area leader in solar. It must be mentioned here Gujarat in India’s 1st power surplus State with T&D losses at less than 15% average, while the nations average is of 27%. Gujarat has been successful in providing 24/7 electricity supply not only to its urban sector but also to his entire rural population, where 18,000 villages in Gujarat state stay reliably and efficiently connected to the grid on a 24/7 basis. The driving force behind this large scale rural electrification is the Jyotir Gram Yojna which has been adopted by central government as a flagship scheme in the 12th 5-year plan for supplying round the clock high quality 3-phase power to all villages.

The planning Commission 2012 document “Faster, Sustainable & More inclusive growth – An approach to 12th 5-year plan” endorsing the Jyotir Gram Yojna says  “The program of feeder separation has to be carried through across the country. Gujarat has achieved a very good result by combining feeder separation with an extensive water shed program for ground water recharge. Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have also moved forward in this direction. Feeder separation needs to be extended to all states, especially where groundwater is extensively used.”

This is a classic example of why the critics of Gujarat model fall flat on their face including those in the current government who either conveniently do not read their own documents or are adept at spreading lies and canards. It is intriguing to hear the many so called critics of Gujarat, especially on Indian television media who continue to shoot their mouths off and talk through their hats without recognizing facts like the one mentioned above, which clearly demonstrates central government’s own admission that what is good for Gujarat is also good for the rest of India. Intriguing that they conveniently forget that all this has been part of Modi’s grand vision for Gujarat, which he obliviously wants to extend for the whole Nation to bring greater Infrastructure, Power & Energy and thereby drive Industrial and Agricultural growths aimed at overall economic development of the idea of India as a whole. (Gujarat’s GDP grew at 14% in 2011-12 and its Agriculture sector recorded 11% growth for the same period—Both highest in the country)

So what are the prospects that Narendra Modi gets such an opportunity to lead India? In the MARKENOMY analysis, Narendra Modi with his BJP lead alliance across the NDA by all means is poised to bag a minimum of 185 seats and could even cross the 225 seats mark. The math goes like this. In his own state of Gujarat where there are 26 Lok Sabha seats, Modi is set to sweep at least 24. Then  the BJP administered states will throw up the count for BJP / NDA as follows – Madhya Pradesh – 22 out of 29; Punjab – 9 out of 13; Goa – 2 out of 2; Chhattisgrah – 8 out of 11 – These make 65 seats. Then come the prospective states of Tamil Nadu where Jayalalitha’s AIADMK is poised to bag 32 of the 39 seats making the total count 97 (NDA + AIADMK). Now the other state opportunities are as follows- Bihar – 15 out of 40; Uttar Pradesh – 22 out of 80; Rajasthan – 18 out of 25 (anti incumbency); Delhi – 4 out of 7; Assam – 5 out of 14; Haryana – 5 out of 10;  Himachal – 2 out of 4 , Jammu Kashmir – 2 out of 6, Karnataka 10 out of 28, Maharashtra 28 out of 48 (anti incumbency) and others 9. This makes the total for these States 120. Hence, by this MARKENOMY analysis and calculation BJP and its NDA alliance under Narendra Modi’s laedership is poised to achieve overall 217 seats in the minimum. If Orissa alliance works, this could reach the level of 225 easily for the Modi led NDA. It is pretty clear that the current UPA alliance sits in the Indian parliament with 206 seats to complete its term. Hence, with a conservative calculation of 217- 225 seats for NDA, it will be no surprise that India’s Government could witness a change at the centre under the Leadership of Narendra Modi.

 In that case, the “Gujarat Model of Development” along with the growth models followed in other successful BJP States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, etc are bound to combine for a “Pan India Model of Resurgence” of the Indian Economy which could witness unprecedented Infrastructure and Industrial growth like never before in the  history of the Indian Nation. But the challenge lies in selling this constructive model of development economics to the entire nation with an inclusive politics. This task was superbly achieved under the Leadership of former NDA PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1999- 2004). For that to be excelled upon in the future, Narendra Modi has a daunting task of not only countering the “Everything looks Yellow to a Jaundiced Eye” syndrome of his detractors, but also to embark on the political track of him being India’s most deserved son, who moved from the hard work at his tea stall to rise to be India’s Prime Minister and that too from the most backward section of India Society, Economy and its Polity.

If it happens and he succeeds in moving the majority mass, democracy of India and its economy will take a forward irreversible motion over the next decade, poised to make “India - A Super Power Economy by 2022” : A dream that every Indian citizen of the day nurtures.  The rider though lies in the fact that the “Temples of this New India” are – Infrastructure, Power, Energy, Telecom, Water , Industries, Agriculture etc,  and not any other man made temple, mosque, church, synagogue etal. To promote religion as it is practiced today that makes it the opium of the masses will prove a serious error of judgement and purpose. The challenge is to move from the pseudo – Secularism or neo – Secularism to an “Assertive Secularism” model which will have “Development and growth for all Indians irrespective of their background religion, region, caste, creed, community etal”. This Modi has already delivered successfully in Gujarat for the last decade. And now this must be his sole aim to build the New India in focus and nothing short of that will work.

(By Prof.A.G.Iyer & A.Prakash Iyer, Editors, MARKENOMY & ENERTIA journals and authors --India Brandished – The Branding of a Nation) 
This article was first published in MARKENOMY issue of August 2013