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Showing posts from April, 2014

Failure of rural job plan? "Pro-Modi" economist finds deep urban-rural differentials in Gujarat, other states

By Rajiv Shah
A recent research work by a well-known pro-Narendra Modi economist, who many say is one of the key contenders for an authoritative posting in the Government of India in case the Gujarat CM becomes India’s next prime minister, has found that while urban Gujarat has seen a sharp rise in worker-population ratio (WPR) compared to any other part of India, the rural counterpart has suffered. Prof Ravindra Dholakia drawn the conclusion in a recent research paper, “Urban – Rural Income Differential in Major States: Contribution of Structural Factors”, co-authored with two Gujarat government officials.
While Prof Dholakia is a faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, the others, Manish B. Pandya and Payal M. Pateriya, are with the department of economics and statistics, notorious for poor standards in analysing data. The study finds that Gujarat’s WPR in urban areas was 37.7 per cent in 2004-05, reaching 38.4 per cent in 2011-12. But the rural WPR of Gujarat has gone down sha…

Gujarat govt unwilling to pay heed to manual scavengers: Only 3 of 101 who died "qualified" as gutter workers

By Rajiv Shah
Latest information gathered by Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust on the basis of a right to information (RTI) plea suggests that a total of 101 persons, mainly belonging to the Valmiki community, died in Gujarat as a result “accidental deaths” while working as safai karmacharis between 2005 and 2014. Out of this, in as many as 46 cases no compensation has been paid so far, while in rest of the 55 cases Rs 58 lakh was paid up. Significantly, the RTI reply suggests, only three of the 55 safai karmacharis who have  are been paid compensation were found to “qualify” themselves as having died while working as gutter workers in manhole.
The three who died due to asphyxiation and hence were paid Rs 2 lakh each, according to the RTI reply, were Sanjaybhai Rathod from Bhuj, Rameshbhai Solanki from Ahmedabad, and Ramanbhai Sonara from Ahmedabad. As for rest of the 52, they were paid just Rs 1 lakh each, as their death was considered “accidental”.
A recent Supreme Court order wants al…

In a scramble to go close to Modi, "future" PM, top PR firms start making important personnel changes

By Rajiv Shah
Well-placed sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi are happy – that, even as Modi is fighting a “winning battle” in the Lok Sabha polls to become India’s next prime minister, already, several public relations (PR) firms have begun to line up, even are closing ranks, and are vying with each other to be close to circles around the PM aspirant. According to these sources, they are making an “unprecedented effort” by recruiting persons who they believe have had access to Modi’s inner circles in Gujarat.
“If till now it was only one top international consultant, APCO Worldwide, involved in organizing the Vibrant Gujarat world business summits for Modi, which had managed to reach close to him, now things are clearly changing”, the sources point out. So close did APCO Worldwide reach to Modi that allegations began flying high on how the top international firm was “hired” for 25,000 US dollars a month to promote Modi worldwide, even campaign for visa, denied to him …

Poll goof-up? Tens of thousands of duplicate voters galore in Ahmedabad, amidst 25,000 pending applications

By Rajiv Shah
Even as Gujarat prepares to vote on April 30, well-informed sources have told Counterview that the state administration, currently operating under the Election Commission of India (ECI), has “completely messed up” the entire process of registration of voters. Giving one example after another, these sources, quoting senior officials in charge of poll management, have said, in the Ahmedabad district alone there are a whopping 45,000 “duplicate voters”, and there is still no “foolproof system which would ensure that they are deleted”.
In fact, these sources quote Roopwant Singh, district collector, Ahmedabad, who also happens to be the chief of the electoral hierarchy in the district, as having told an internal meeting that while he “believes” there are 45,000 duplicate voters, “it is proving to be extremely difficult to identify them.” A major reason being listed is lack of staff across at the ground level, meant to identify these duplicate voters in order to delete their na…

Gujarat OBC Muslims' 1.9 per cent poverty in 2011-12 is based on NSSO's sample size of five households!

By Rajiv Shah
In a major goof-up, the Government of India’s National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) chose just about five households as a sample in order to assess monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) of OBC Muslims of rural Gujarat. While a senior Gujarat-based activist has characterized this as a “deliberate statistical fraud”, what has made the matter particularly serious is, overlooking the small sample size, top economist Arvind Panagariya of the Columbia University has calculated that rural Gujarat’s poverty levels came down to 7.7 per cent in 2011-12 from 31 per cent in 2004-05, and the reason for this is high rise in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).
Known for his neo-liberal approach, Prof Panagariya, in a recent study, “Poverty by Social, Religious & Economic Groups in India and Its Largest States: 1993-94 to 2011-12”, done jointly with Vishal More, has happily said that in the rural areas, “Gujarat leads with the lowest poverty ratio of 7.7 per cent for the Mu…