India needs Gujarat growth model to create more jobs

Jun 23 2014, 09:23 IST
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SummaryGujarat model has 5 major pillars—water power, energy, human resources, knowledge power, and security.

The dismal performance of the Indian economy, recording a low growth of 4.7% in 2013-14, should be considered as an opportunity to revive the economy. The economy is growing at sub-5% for the second consecutive year, far from the dream figure and potential of more than 8% of economic growth. The manufacturing sector recorded a negative growth of 0.7% in 2013-14 as compared with a positive growth of 1.1% in the previous year. Mining and quarrying recorded a negative growth and sectors like trade, hotels, transport and communication also recorded a substantially lower growth when compared with the previous year.

To immediately revive growth in the economy, a distinct short-term strategy should be devised, which should provide seamless continuum into the long-term. In this context, lessons from the developmental model of Gujarat can be of significance for national policymaking. The developmental model of Gujarat has five major pillars—water power, energy, human resources, knowledge power, and security. Water power implies local water conservation, and creating a water grid by interlinking small rivers and streams. On energy, in addition to traditional sources, renewal sources of energy were explored. On human resources, efforts were made to improve literacy levels, especially for the girl child and improved cleanliness and better sanitation under health initiatives. Under knowledge power, efforts were made to spread internet technology to all villages of Gujarat, extend technical education through larger number of ITIs, polytechnics and engineering colleges. To secure business interests, measures were undertaken to check any unwarranted infiltration across the borders.

The growth model of Gujarat is not only business-friendly but also agriculture-friendly. On the business front, it has emerged as the petro capital of India in addition of being a hub of textile industry, diamonds, cloth printing and electronics. Its business-friendly gestures, like inviting Tata for the Nano project, have been beneficial in encouraging and sustaining micro, small and medium enterprises. Consequently, Gujarat’s gross domestic product recorded an average increase of 10.2% from 2002-03 to 2012-13 as compared with 7.8% for the country during the period. Interestingly, the difference in growth performance in agriculture was more stark—11.1% compared to 3.3% over the similar period. The robust growth in agriculture sector has been due to the Sardar Sarovar Project, thousands of check-dams, better canal irrigation, and good management of ground water economy. The mantra of “per drop-more crop” has been successful with substantial area brought under micro irrigation. The production of

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