Skip to main content

New data, studies explode the myth of Gujarat's agriculture model

By Rajiv Shah 
About four years ago, in 2009, three well-known experts, Ashok Gulati, Tushaar Shah and Ganga Shreedhar, published a paper, “Agriculture performance in Gujarat since 2000: Can it be a divadandi (lighthouse) for other states?”. Well-researched, the paper was prepared for the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), both world-renowned institutes. What provided credence to the paper was, Gulati worked as Director in Asia for IFPRI, Tushaar Shah as senior fellow, IWMI, and Ganga Shreedhar as research analyst for the IFPRI. The paper does not seek to hide the fact that it was prepared after taking complete help from the Gujarat government. The authors have jotted down their specially gratefulness to Gujarat CM Narendra Modi’s water resources advisor BN Navlawala, and a well-known pro-Modi agriculturist at that time, ex-vice-chancellor of the Anand Agriculture University, NC Varsheneya, for their valuable “insights”.
The paper did invite some strong criticism from another group of academics, M. Dinesh Kumar, A. Narayanamoorthy, OP Singh, MVK Sivamohan, Manoj Sharma and Nitin Bassi, who belonged to the Institute for Resource Analysis and Policy. They jointly brought out another strongly-argued study in 2010, which was titled, “Gujarat’s Agricultural Growth Story: Exploding Some Myths”. They said that the “agricultural ‘growth’ seen in the recent past in Gujarat is nothing but a good recovery from a major dip in production occurred during the drought years of 1999 and 2000, because of four consecutive years of successful monsoon and bulk water transfer through the Sardar Sarovar project.” Yet, the criticism went somewhat unnoticed. The Gujarat government, as expected, continued to harp on “unprecedented growth” having taken place in Gujarat agriculture, better than any other state, and the basis of the study by Gulati, Shah and Shreedhar.
The paper by Gulati, Shah and Shreedhar pointed towards how, from 2000-01 to 2006-07, Gujarat State Domestic Product (GSDP) for agriculture grew by 9.6 percent per annum, when during the same period the corresponding Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for agriculture at the all-India level grew by only 2.9 percent. “Thus Gujarat has grown more than 1.5 times above its Eleventh Plan growth target, and three times the all India figure”, they declared, wondering, “This stellar performance of Gujarat in agriculture raises the question: Can Gujarat be a divadandi (lighthouse) for other states to follow?” They add, “Other states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra (three of the largest agricultural states) are lagging below the national average, while even Rajasthan and Bihar have raced ahead (but with very high volatility).”
Calling it a “success story” for other states to emulate, the authors further argued that Gujarat’s high volatility or risk rate – calculated as coefficient of variation (CV) – had gone down considerably. CV suggests the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean, and it is a useful statistic for comparing the degree of variation from one data series to another. It allows one to determine how deep volatility or risk is to the economy – or agriculture in the context of the article by Gulati and Shah. A lower CV would mean that agriculture is less prone to risk, and vice versa. Thus, CV during 1980-81, the academics said, was very high, 7.4 per cent. In 1992-93 to 1999-2000, the risk factor went down to 4.3 per cent. And finally, between 2000-01 and 2006-07, it further went down to 2.2 per cent.
The authors argued, whatever volatility that remained was “partly due to Gujarat’s high dependence on rainfall – 64 per cent of the area was rain fed, which was marginally higher than the all-India figure, i.e., 60 per cent. However, during 2000-07, “factors other than just rainfall have caused this shift in the growth trajectory.” They felt that Gujarat agriculture had begun showing much diversification and had become a “predominantly a nonfood crop economy” with oilseed, especially groundnut, tobacco and cotton, dominating. During this period, the share of cotton grew by two-thirds, from 9.4 to 15.6 per cent, and of high value sector, i.e. livestock, fruits/vegetables, increased from 32.6 to 34.9 per cent. This was mainly due to “the increased share of fruits and vegetables from 9.9 to 12.5 per cent”. But they argued that the share of value of total food grains has fallen from 15.8 to 12.9 per cent.
The academics give several reasons for the growth story, including expansion of the Sardar Sarovar project canal network to new parts Gujarat, a large number of check dams, boribunds and khet talavadis especially in in Saurashtra and Kutch regions which are largely dependent on groundwater, promotion of micro-irrigation systems through the Gujarat Green Revolution Company Ltd., which is a special purpose vehicle to expedite the promotion of drip irrigation among farmers, the Jyotigram Scheme which seeks to provide 24 hour power supply to village households and reliable farm power supply for eight hours, and other infrastructure facilities like roads and improvement in technology through Krishi Mahotsavs.
With the latest data for the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), the argument put forward by Gulati and Shah stands totally exposed. Put out in “State of Indian Agriculture”, the GSDP for Gujarat agriculture dipped to half – exactly 4.8 per cent per annum – of what it was from the previous period. Worse, it was less than several other states, including Madhya Pradesh (7.6 per cent), Chhattisgarh (7.6 per cent), Rajasthan (7.4 per cent), Jharkhand (6 per cent), Karnataka (5.6 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (4.9 per cent) and Assam (4.9 per cent). Year-wise figures also suggest that volatility in agriculture had set in.
In 2007-08, Gujarat’s agriculture and allied sector grew by 7.48 per cent, but in the next year, 2008-09, it dipped into negative, minus ( — ) 7.41 per cent, and further into negative in 2009-10, minus ( — ) 0.51 per cent. For the two next year, it jumped into plus, and grew by 18.12 per cent and 5.70 per cent for 2010-11and 2011-12 respectively. While latest figures for 2012-13 have not been officially released, it is estimated the growth rate would further slip into a huge negative of more than minus ( — ) 13 per cent. There is reason to believe that volatility had set in despite good rainfall in all these years, with the exception of 2012-13.
The 11th Five Year Plan’s CV (or volatility or risk rate) for Gujarat agriculture, estimated by the Government of India on the basis of the figures provided by the state government is 2.4 per cent, a little higher than what it was in the previous five years. Yet, significantly, the CV or volatility rate of Gujarat is higher than all Indian states except for Maharashtra (8.3 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (16.7 per cent), Uttarakhand (2.9 per cent) and Bihar (2.5 per cent). Kerala’s risk factor for agriculture, calculated as CV, is in the negative, minus ( — ) 2.7 per cent, and all other states’ CV hovers between 1 and 2 per cent. According to the document, “State of Indian Agriculture”, anything higher than two per cent CV is quite risky.
A recent paper “Are Disparities In Indian Agriculture Growing?”, by Gursharan Singh Kainth, Director, Guru Arjan Dev Institute of Development Studies, for the prestigious Skoch Development Foundation’s Thinkers and Writers Forum, has further exposed the “high growth” story of Gujarat. He has found that growth rate in productivity of agriculture, at constant prices of 2004-05, has actually gone down in Gujarat during the two decades. It was 4.7 per cent in 1990-91 to 1999-2000. However, it went down to 3.4 per cent in the next decade, 2000-01 to 2009-10. At least three states – Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, Orissa – experienced a higher growth rate. Growth rate per hectare agricultural productivity at constant prices (2004-05), too, went down from 5.07 per cent in 1999-2000 to 2.09 per cent in 2009-10. Further, per capita rural productivity in Gujarat went down from 4.8 per cent during the period between 1990-91 and 1999-2000 to a mere 1.3 per cent in the next decade, between 2000-01 and 2009-10.

Comments

TRENDING

Constitution day makes us remember and rethink the values that India stands for

By Dr. Kapilendra Das*  India, also known as Bharat, was liberated from British rule and gained Independence on August 15, 1947. So every year on 15th August we celebrate Independence Day throughout the country. The Indians felt the taste of freedom, but there were no rules and regulations to govern the country for which British rules were effective up to January 25, 1950. To govern India, the draft constitution was prepared by the Drafting Committee which was published in January 1948, and the same was finally adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, the day of an important landmark in India’s journey as an independent, Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic. The constitution so adopted came into force on 26 January 1950. To memorize 26 January, every year we observe Republic Day throughout India. To mark rethinking and remembrance of the day of adoption of the constitution of India, 26 November has been celebrating as “Constituti

Seventh most vulnerable nation, effects of climate change can be seen in Bangladesh

Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan*  From November 6–18, 2022, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt is hosting the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This two-week climate conference is critical for the globe because it occurs at a time when nations are coping with a global energy crisis, the conflict in Ukraine, rising inflation rates, and dwindling funding for climate adaptation. It also has great significance for Bangladesh, as the country's ability to maintain its economic growth depends on raising the necessary finances for urgent climate action and mitigation. This year’s theme is "Delivering for People and the Planet," which aims to hasten global climate action by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, fostering resilience and preparing for climate change's unavoidable effects, and increasing the flow of climate finance to developing nations. The goals of COP27 are based on the outcomes of COP21, which was held in Paris in 2015

Unsung, tens of Morbi youth of local fishing community saved many, many lives

By Rajiv Shah  It was indeed a treat to listen to Bhavik Raja, who spoke at a meeting of the Movement for Secular Democracy the other day in Ahmedabad. Speaking in chaste Gujarati, Raja recalled his childhood days in Mobi when he and his friends would often go to the town's Jhulto Pul (Hanging Bridge) in free time. I listened to him online. The bridge, which should have been given a heritage status, was handed over to the owners of a watch-making tycoon for repair. The repair was carried out so shoddily that it broke down in less than a week after it was opened for general public, leading to the death of more than 140 persons, many of them children. Raja, who formed a group of three-person activists' team on a fact-finding mission to Mobi, said, what isn't taken note of is how tens of youth, belonging to the local Muslim fishing community, jumped into the river and saved many, many lives. It's a marshy river, and to navigate in there is an extremely difficult exercise.

Zakir Naik tumult, Catholic Church power abuse: will Anwar Ibrahim save Malaysia?

Anwar Ibrahim By Jay Ihsan*  Anwar Ibrahim, a hardcore reformist who took a punch to his eye in 1998 from then inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, has finally been given the mandate by Malaysians to serve as the nation's 10th prime minister. Anwar knows too well the burden of staying true to both trust and faith the people have in him requires every once of commitment and dedication. The question is will he be apologetic for his transgressions enroute to "rebuilding" Malaysia? In his overzealousness to get the job done, Anwar, 75, needs to safeguard every bit of gumption to address prickling issues plaguing the safety of the nation especially those involving communal sensitivities. For one, dare Anwar get rid of terrorist hate preacher and fugitive Zakir Naik for inciting religious unrest in Malaysia? In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, holding him responsible for promoting religious hatred and unlawful activi

Ukraine war revitalizes silent competition between China and Russia in Central Asia

By John P. Ruehl  At the recent Commonwealth for Independent States (CIS) summit held on October 14 in Astana, Kazakhstan, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon expressed previously inconceivable remarks. His public admonishment of Russian President Vladimir Putin to treat Central Asian states with more respect showed the growing confidence of Central Asian leaders amid Russia’s embroilment in Ukraine and China’s expanding regional influence. After coming under Russian imperial rule in the 18th and 19th centuries , five Central Asian states—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan— emerged independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. While these countries remained heavily dependent on Russia for security, economic, and diplomatic support, China saw an opportunity in their vast resources and potential to facilitate trade across Eurasia. Chinese-backed development and commerce increased after the Soviet collapse and expanded further after the launch of China’s Belt an

Adequate attention not paid on changing human life to realize climate change aim

By Bharat Dogra  Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. It has to be checked as a matter of highest priority. Despite this adequate attention has not been given to how human life must change to realize this objective. We know that fossil fuels must be phased out and replaced by renewable energy. But is renewable energy capable of meeting the present day massive energy requirements, along with the increase taking place? Even if it is, what are the implications if renewable energy has to be scaled up to this level, and at such gigantic level won’t renewable energy also have very adverse consequences, although of a different kind? Such questions make the situation more complicated, but these have to be faced. So let us try to approach the issue in a somewhat different way. Since the daily consumption of various goods and utilities involves the use of fossil fuels in various ways, if all excessive, wasteful and harmful consumption can be given up, this will also lead

Integrating biodiversity for poverty removal still not binding for this UN body

Reacting to a statement of the executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD ), United Nations, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which fell on October 17, well-known Thiruvananthapuram-based ecologist S Faizi has objected to the CBD’s plan for “effective integration of biodiversity for poverty eradication”. *** I compliment you for issuing this statement . However, I am disappointed to see that the CBD COP's output on poverty and biodiversity, namely the Chennai Guidance is not even referred to in your statement, particularly so since the 12th COP has asked the Executive Secretary to "continue the work requested by the Conference of the Parties in decisions X/6 and XI/22, for the effective integration of biodiversity for poverty eradication and development, taking into account also the related decisions of the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting" and to promote the Chennai

Much like earlier meetings, COP 27 fails to find real solution to overcome climate crisis

By NS Venkataraman* COP 27 in Egypt was organized with much fanfare and expectations, similar to COP 26 at Glasgow that was organised in 2021. While nothing significant was achieved in combating the climate crisis subsequent to the Glasgow Meet, one thought that COP 27 would be more productive and would find some real solutions to overcome the climate crisis. Leaders and representatives from most of the countries participated in the COP 27 including the President of USA, Prime Minister of UK and so many others. Cosmetic speeches were made by the leaders, committing themselves to save the world from global warming and noxious emissions. Finally, resolutions would be adopted after representatives of all countries put their heads together . With no tangible agreement about the fundamental issues, the resolutions would inevitably end up as face saving documents. During COP 27, the UAE President clearly said that the UAE would not reduce production of crude oil and natural gas. In t

Bangladesh to import diesel from India: Win-win situation amidst economic turmoil?

Kamal Uddin Mazumder*  Bangladesh and India had been sharing friendly and warm relations since 1971. Both of the countries have been kith and kin through crisis moments. Bangladesh has witnessed India’s support from the liberation war to the Covid-19 pandemic. As now the world is facing the repercussions of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war through the economic crisis and the energy crisis, India is still with Bangladesh through a cooperative framework. The government of Bangladesh had decided to cut down its fuel consumption to keep up with the global energy crisis. It was necessary to import fuel at the cheapest possible rate to mitigate the crisis. Some talks had been initiated with countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Brunei but India came forward first. The geographical proximity and the longest shared border had ushered multidimensional ways of cooperation and collaboration in many areas. The import of diesel from India through the pipeline is one of the prime example

Maldives migrants' death: Govt bodies haven't done enough for workers' safety, security

By Kirity Roy*  We have been notified by the media that a hazardous fire, which erupted in a cramped neighborhood of Maldivian capital Male, has killed 10 migrant workers including 9 Indians. We are much aggrieved by this incident, and sending our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. Many are missing. Almost half the population in the Maldivian capital constitutes of migrant workers, and out of them many are Indians. During the COVID-19 pandemic it was reported by many media outlets that due to the cramped and unsuitable living conditions, the disease spread more rapidly among the foreign workers than anywhere else in the country. This brought the light upon the serious housing problem for the migrant workers in the country. The current incident shows that the Government bodies have not done enough to ensure safety and security for the workers. While the United Nations have established the rights of the Migrant workers through the International Convention on the Prot