Malign Modi Campaign – Version 2.0

It is a well-known fact that the Anti-Modi brigade in Media never misses a chance to malign Modi by cooking up fake data, and spreading concocted stories about Godhra riots of 2002 and thereby create a feeling of hatred against Modi in the psyche of gullible readers who are ignorant of the facts and depend entirely on the stories disseminated by the biased media houses. Worst of all, most of the casual readers did not even know the political agenda of media houses behind publishing ‘opinions’ in the name of ‘facts’. Thanks to internet. Now a days there is a tremendous change in the way in which people perceive these Media houses. People are slowly realizing the truth about media houses and the ‘fiction’ spread by them in the name ‘facts’. After the Supreme Court appointed SIT gave clean chit to Mr Narendra Modi, the anti-Modi brigade lost its ground completely. Now there are no takers for their fiction. The anti-Modi brigade failed to secure even prima facie evidence to file a FIR and prosecute Modi for his alleged role in Gujarat riots, forget sufficient evidence that is required for conviction. The more they talked about the role of Modi in Gujarat riots, the more stupid they appeared to the public. Meanwhile, Modi dedicated himself to the cause of Gujarat’s development by working tirelessly and by providing good governance to the people of Gujarat. Modi got recognition for being incorruptible, honest and able administrator. Naturally, under the visionary leadership of an able and incorruptible administrator like Mr. Modi, Gujarat outperformed several states in India and even started competing with Chinese Provinces. The people of Gujarat repeatedly voted for Mr Modi, in spite of mud-slinging and calumny by Media for the past 10 years.

Now it seems like anti-Modi brigade changed their strategy. Of late, Everyone in anti-Modi brigade turned into an “expert” in econometrics. Earlier, when they wrote about 2002 riots, they behaved like “eminent” Jurists. They declared Modi as guilty even before trial, such was their juristic expertise. Now, they changed their avatars from ‘Jurists’ to ‘Economists’. They started interpreting ‘chosen’ statistics to show Gujarat’s development in poor light with a diabolical intent to ‘prove’ that Modi is not so efficient administrator.

Yesterday when i was casually going through the timeline on Twitter i saw a tweet, where I found a link to an article on Rediff.com. Not a surprise, as Gujarat elections are approaching, I found a senseless article by two women(?) named Sonali Ranade
and Shaelja Sharma, on Narendra Modi. This time it is not about Godhra 2002, perhaps they ran out of cooked up stories, but about Narendra Modi’s image as Vikas Purush. The citation mentioned that one of the authors, Sonali Ranade is a trader in international market, without disclosing the nature of commodities traded by her(?). Ok. Now coming to the article, the main intention of the authors is to prove that Modi has no role in Gujarat’s development and Gujarat has always been a developed state even before Modi taking over as Chief Minister of the state in Oct 2001. The authors ostensibly wanted to attribute the development of Gujarat, if any, to the innate entrepreneurial skills of Gujaratis.

The spin doctors of anti-Modi brigade (Sonali Ranade and Shaelja Sharma) “used” the data of Planning Commission to “prove” their hypothesis. But there are several inconsistencies and blunders in their selection and interpretation of data.

Firstly, the authors presented Growth rates pertaining to three different time blocks (1980-81 to 1990-91; 1990-91 to 1997-98 and 2002-03 to 2011-12) for five states namely Guj, MH, TN, KTK, and AP. The authors claimed that the rationale behind using three time-blocks is to segregate the timeline into three periods, namely, Pre-reforms period (1980-81 to 1990-91), Post-reforms (Without Modi) period  i.e, 1990-91 to 1997-98 and Post-reforms (With Modi) period  i.e, 2002-03 to 2011-12. Under these three time blocks, they have presented some figures, which they claimed to have taken straight from planning commission for the first two time-blocks, and for the third time block, they computed the CAGR on their own basing on the available data with Planning commission.

Here is the data presented by those authors in their rediff article:

Rates of Growth of gross GDP:
State 80/81 to 90/91 90/91 to 97/98 02/03 to 11/12
Gujarat 5.08 9.57 10.28
Maharashtra 6.02 8.01 9.90
Tamil Nadu 5.38 6.22 8.92
Karnataka 5.29 5.29 8.39
Andhra 5.65 5.03 8.23

From the above data, the authors, basing on the difference in basis points between Pre-Modi period and Modi Period, pontificated that Modi did little to improve the GDP of Gujarat when compared to the leaders of other states. They concluded that the other states performed better than Gujarat. Hence Modi’s claim of fastest growing state is a myth.

Here I would like to draw the attention of the readers to the intention of the spin doctors behind omitting the period beginning from 1998-99 to 2000-01 from the second time block (Post-reforms but Pre-Modi) without stating any reason. Was that because it won’t suit their agenda? exactly.

The reforms began during the Financial Year (FY) 1991-92 . Also the benefits of reforms could not be reaped from the day one. The results of liberalizaton like removal of restrictions on licences, quotas and permits will yield monetary benefits only after a gestation period of a year or two from the time of liberalization. So it is logical to assume that the monetary benefits of liberalization began from 1993 on wards.

So let us reconstruct the three different time blocks:

1) 1981-82 to 1993-94 (Pre liberalization period)
2) 1993-94 to 2000-01 (Post liberalization period without Modi)
3) 2002-03 to 2011-12 (Post liberalization period with Modi)

* 2001-02 is not considered in any of the time blocks as Gujarat’s economy faced a lot of problems throughout the year like clumsy handling of post-earthquake rehabilitation, political inconsistency, regime change, WTC collapse and reduction in export sales, Godhra riots etc.

Now let us take data pertaining to the first two periods straight from Planning Commission’s website. {Page 123 http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/sereport/ser/statfins/vol1_fins.pdf } and the growth rate of the last block as computed by rediff authors basing on planning commission data.

Rates of Growth of gross GDP:
State 81/82 to 93/94 93/94 to 00/01 02/03 to 11/12
Gujarat 5.13 6.16 10.28
Maharashtra 6.57 5.92 9.90
Tamil Nadu 5.51 6.23 8.92
Karnataka 5.61 8.24 8.39
Andhra Pradesh 5.75 5.46 8.23

From the above data it is very clear that Gujarat’s growth rate has increased by 4.12% from 6.16% to 10.28% during Modi’s tenure. While the growth rates of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh increased by 3.98%, 2.69%, 0.15% and 2.77% respectively.

From the above data one can say that the benefit of reforms were truly enjoyed by states like Karnataka, While the states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have performed adversely during post-reforms period. There is only a marginal improvement in growth rates of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu due to reforms. Hence the claim of spin doctors that Gujarat’s Growth rate is only due to 1991 reforms but not because of Modi’s administration is proven false.

Secondly, After goofing up with growth rates, the authors presented figures pertaining to the percentage of people below poverty line (based on Suresh Tendulkar methodology) in the five states for two different periods (2004-05 and 2009-10). They presented the difference between those two years as ‘reduction’. The authors said that the states do not either fund or decide on the total money to be allocated to poverty alleviation. They merely implement centrally sponsored and funded schemes so the differences in poverty alleviation rates do not reflect priority given to poverty alleviation but mere administrative efficiency.

Here is how the authors presented it:

State Total poor 04/05 Total poor 09/10 Reduction
Gujarat 31.60pc 23.00pc 8.60pc
Maharashtra 38.20pc 24.50pc 13.70pc
Tamil Nadu 29.40pc 17.10pc 12.30pc
Karnataka 33.30pc 23.60pc 9.70pc
Andhra 29.60pc 21.10pc 8.50pc

From the above data, basing on the reduction, they concluded that Narendra Modi’s administrative efficiency is not up to the mark as he reduced only 8.6% while the reduction percentages of other states (MH, KTK, TN) are higher.

The authors misunderstood the concept of efficiency with gross amount of achievement. Just like Production is different from Productivity, efficiency is different from gross achievement. For example, Central Govt gave Rs 1 Cr to reduce poverty to ‘X’ State, and the State utilized the money and reduced the percentage of people below poverty from 20% to 10%. Similarly, the Central Govt gave Rs 1.5 Cr to ‘Y’ state, identical to ‘X’ state, to reduce poverty. State ‘Y’ reduced the poverty from 20% to 9%. Now if we go by gross figures alone then state ‘Y’ performed well as it reduced 11%, while state ‘X’ was able to reduce only 10%. But truly speaking, it is incorrect to say that State ‘X’ was inefficient, as it used less money when compared to ‘Y’ state.

Similarly, before accusing Modi as ‘not so efficient’ for failing to reduce poverty like other states, the authors should have revealed the amount allocated by Central Government to the States for poverty alleviation along with the number of people below poverty line. It is also necessary to look into the targets set by Central Government while allocating those funds. The efficiency of Modi can be determined only on the basis of the ability of his Government in reaching the set targets. It is a well-known fact that the allocation of money by central government is not same for all the states. Hence it is foolish to conclude about ‘efficiency’ without taking into account the actual amount of central allocations made under various poverty alleviation schemes and the corresponding targets set by Central government to the states. Nevertheless, all these key factors didn’t deter these prejudiced spin doctors from declaring Modi as no so efficient.

Also the authors have committed an unpardonable mistake, ignorantly or intentionally, by conveniently hiding the fact that Suresh Tendulkar methodology follows different poverty line for each state. So it is not proper to compare the percentage of people below poverty line between two states as the yard sticks used for two states are different.

For example, the poverty line of Tamil Nadu is Rural Rs 639.0 / Urban-Rs 800.8 per month. Hence the percentage of people below the line will be obviously lower. Similarly if we increase the line then more number of people will fall within the ambit of Poverty and hence the percentage of people below poverty line will he higher. That is what happened to Gujarat. The poverty line for Gujarat is Rural Rs 725.9 / Urban Rs 951.4 per month. Hence, the number of people within the poverty line is more when compared to other states.

The following are the poverty lines of five states. (Source: Planning Commission http://planningcommission.nic.in/data/datatable/0904/tab_45.pdf )

State Rural Poverty line Urban poverty line
Gujarat 725.9 951.4
Maharashtra 743.7 961.1
Tamil Nadu 639.0 800.8
Karnataka 629.4 908.0
Andhra pradesh 693.8 926.4

Finally, The authors of the rediff article declared that the Gujarat’s development claims are just PR propaganda. But I wonder why not other states engage the same PR personnel/firm? Is that because they lack money or because they are ‘saints’ bound by moral principles unlike ‘evil’ Modi? No democratic state can run successfully for 10 years with just PR propaganda. The corporate houses, which are queueing up to invest in Gujarat, are not fools to fall prey to sarkari PR propaganda. If Gujarat Govt fails to deliver then they won’t stay there even for a single minute. They are businessmen and they knew about marketing and propaganda much more than the sarkari babus in Gujarat Govt. So it is utterly risible and foolish to think that Gujarat Govt thrives on PR propaganda. The whole media is against Modi and spews venom upon Gujarat, in general, and Modi, in particular. No person got vilified by media as much as Modi in the indian political history. It is not PR but P(Public) which is behind Modi.

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