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Showing posts from November, 2013

Saheb's Soviet misadventure

By Rajiv Shah
The recent decision of the Gujarat chief minister’s office (CMO) to “bar” the entry of accredited journalists to enter the Swarnim Sankul – the swanky complex built to house Narendra Modi’s office and of his Cabinet colleagues – wasn’t surprising. Only those journalists who had prior appointment or were “invited” by officials sitting inside had to be allowed in. The decision was implemented for about a week, but was lifted because, to quote a Modi aide, it was imposed because of a “misunderstanding.” While the aide didn’t explain what this “misunderstanding” was, it left me wondering whether it reflected the suspicious character of the man who has come to known as “Saheb”.
The “official” reason forwarded for not allowing scribes was, there was an intelligence input which said a terrorist might enter into the Sankul in the garb of a journalist.
However, circumstantial evidence suggested that the “ban” was imposed in the wake of the snoopgate which is rocking Modi’s image. C…

Greenpeace targets Adani Group's $10 billion Australian coal mining project, says it is "uncommercial"

By Rajiv Shah
Top international environmental group Greenpeace in a new report has targeted premier Gujarat-based business group Adanis, saying that one of its overseas operations in Australia for mining coal may have become “uneconomical.” Titled “The Adani Group: Remote Prospects. A financial analysis of Adani’s coal gamble in Australia’s Galilee Basin”, and prepared by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Cleveland, Ohio, US, for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, the report states, “We view Adani Enterprises’ development of the Carmichael deposit as an uneconomic proposition. The low energy and high ash content are major constraints to the value of the coal.”
Adanis term Greenpeace report “shortsighted” The Adanis have termed the Greenpeace-commissioned report as “short-sighted”, prepared by “vested interests” who “ignore the long-term fundamentals that underpin Adani’s project in the Galilee Basin and the development of the country (Australia) at large.” Issued by A…

Gujarat's six districts among 42 India's "laggard" districts with very slow fall in under-five mortality rate

By Rajiv Shah
A high-level study, carried out by a group of scholars led by Prof Usha Ram of the Centre for Global Health Research, St Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, “Neonatal, 159 month, and under-5 mortality in 597 Indian districts, 2001 to 2012”, has found that Gujarat’s six districts figure among 42 of India’s top laggard districts showing very slow fall in under-five mortality rate (U5MR). Published in Lancet, the reputed international health journal, the study shockingly suggests that two of the six districts has majority tribal population – Dahod and Valsad – while the rest have tribal population but not in majority. Gujarat accounts for nearly 15 per cent tribal population.
U5MR is the sum total of child mortality under two different categories – neonatal mortality rate (NNMR), based on infant mortality of less than one month old, and the mortality rate of children between one month and 59 months (1-59mMR). The 42 districts out of 597 Indian districts chosen by the…

Gujarat has higher percentage of households without any assets than national average: Crisil report

By Rajiv Shah
Amidst considerable hallabaloo around top rating agency Crisil’s rating of Gujarat as No 3 – next only to Punjab and Kerala – both in prosperity index and in equity index (click HERE), what appears to have been missed is an important observation in its new Insight report, brought out in November 2013. The report says that, in Gujarat, 18.7 per cent of the households do not have “any assets”, which is less than the national average of 17.8 per cent. For the sake of analysis, Crisil – which bases its data on household survey of the Census of India 2011 – has divided households into two categories, those who have “all the assets” and those who do not have “any assets.”
Those who have “all the assets” must have television, computer or laptop, telephone or mobile phone and two-wheeler or car or jeep; and those who do not have “any assets” neither radio nor bicycle in addition to the above four assets. Also significant is that, Gujarat’s 6.3 per cent of the households are found…

Top Gujarat PSU "forfeits" its claim of going multinational, withdraws from Egyptian misadventure

By Rajiv Shah
In its first major decision to take the former state blue-chip public sector undertaking (PSU) out of the red, the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) has taken a formal decision to withdraw from its most important overseas adventure – Egypt. A well-placed source in the Gujarat government has told Counterview that the GSPC board took the decision to withdraw from Egypt after dilly-dallying on the matter for above a year. “The board met recently. It decided to withdraw following a discussion, in which GSPC managing-director Tapan Ray insisted that withdrawal was essential to bring the GSPC out of the red and also in view of unstable political atmosphere in Egypt”, the source said.
The decision to withdraw followed a recent communication by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry, Government of India, to the Ministry of External Affairs that the Indian consortium led by the GSPC, with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Oil India Limited (OIL) as junior…

Fresh note on data manipulation suggests Gujarat's annual farm growth in 1998-2013 was merely 0.82%!

By Rajiv Shah
Fresh facts have come to light suggesting that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for agriculture and allied sectors in Gujarat during 1998-99 to 2012-13 has been 0.82 per cent, and not “around 10 per cent”, as claimed by the state government. A top note, prepared by a senior state bureaucrat who retired as additional chief secretary, Gujarat government, has said in a note that the analysis is based on taking 1998-99 as the base year for calculating CARG. This was contrary to the “wrongful” practice of the Gujarat government to calculate CARG by taking 2000-01, a drought year, as the base year. The note, prepared by CJ Jose, says, even if the CARG is taken by making 2001-02 as the base year, when Narendra Modi came to power, the CARG till 2012-13 comes to 2.93 per cent!
Suggesting that manipulating statistics appears normal with the Gujarat government, Jose says, “A slightly better CAGR would be thrown up if the comparison of 2012-13 is made with the worst ever year in…