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Showing posts from August, 2014

Gujarat government move to "revive" the SIR pruned last year, which houses site for Maruti-Suzuki plant

By Rajiv Shah
Move is underway in top corridors of power of the Gujarat government to “revive” the high-profile Mandal-Bechraji special investment regions (MBSIR), which houses the proposed Maruti-Suzuki plant, which was pruned to nearly one-fifth of its original size -- from nearly 50,000 hectares (ha) to 10,172 ha. The MBSIR in North Gujarat was proposed a major auto hub. It had to be pruned following a long-drawn-out farmers’ protest last year led by Jameen Adhikar Anadolan Gujarat (JAAG). JAAG has emerged as a powerful farmers’ group campaigning against dozen-odd SIRs coming up in Gujarat.
While JAAG has already moved the High Court against the SIR Act, terming it anti-constitutional, sources say, one of the major issues nagging farmers was the government decision to impose the town planning laws on MBSIR. It required farmers to obligatorily hand over 40 to 50 per cent of their land in the name of infrastructure development in the area to the government. Worse, they were obliged to…

Financial inclusion under Jan Dhan? Gujarat under Modi a poor performer compared to all-India average

By Rajiv Shah
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched his ambitious Jan Dhan project by “enrolling”, according to an official claim, about 1.5 crore Indians as new bank account holders. But what is most interesting is that during his stewardship as chief minister, Gujarat remained a poor performer vis-à-vis several major states in financial inclusion – which is what Modi is seeking to "promote" by targeting around 10 crore people across India as new account holders by the next Republic Day. A report by the top consultants, Crisil, prepared in alliance with American agency Standard & Poor, released in January 2014, said Gujarat’s financial inclusion (Inclusix) index was below national average.
The report, sponsored by the Union ministry of finance, has reached this conclusion on the basis of an analysis of performance of all Indian states in three critical areas of banking services -- branch penetration, deposit penetration, and credit penetration. Titled “Crisil Inclus…

Global Peace Index: Ranking India 143rd of 162 countries, study warns Maoist insurgency is biggest challenge

By Rajiv Shah
A top international non-profit think-tank, based in Sydney, New York and Oxford, has ranked India a poor No 143rd in global peace index among 162 countries it surveyed on the basis of the data sourced from the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the World Bank, various UN Agencies, peace institutes and the EIU. The only consolation for India is, Pakistan ranks 156th, Israel 149th, and Russia 152nd. The best performer is the tiny Nordic country Iceland, ranking No1. Japan ranks No 8th, the US 101st, and the UK 47th.
Carried out by the Institute of Economics and Peace, the study, titled “Global Peace Index 2014: Measuring and Assessment Country Risk”, claims, “The index has been tested against a range of potential “drivers” or determinants of peace—including levels of democracy and transparency, education and national wellbeing.” It warns India, that it “suffers chronically from international strife and widespread internal conflict.”
Specifically referring to the …

Gujarat's growth story: Per annum net value added 22%, job generation 3%, tax collection 3%, R&D 1%

By Rajiv Shah
In one of the most significant critiques in the recent past, Gujarat’s well-known industry consultant Sunil R Parekh has said that though Gujarat’s industries may have grown faster than most states, this has failed create matching jobs, generate enough taxes for coffers, and provide safe environment. Worse, he finds Gujarat’s performance in the area of innovations discouraging. Despite 17 per cent of industrial output of India, in patent filing, Gujarat accounted for less than 1 per cent of national filings; “Maharashtra, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu, together contribute 60 per cent of national filings.”
In his well-research paper, “Some Facets of Industrialization in Gujarat”, which is part of the new book, “Growth or Development: Which Way Is Gujarat Going?”, Parekh says, the fixed capital in Gujarat “went up from Rs 120 crore to an impressive Rs 2,40,000 crore, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 per cent.” Of this, he adds, “Rs 2,40,000 crore fixed capital…

Stay granted on eviction of cattle breeders of Aliyebet, proposed as Narendra Modi's El Dorado in 2010

By Rajiv Shah
In a major relief to 101 families residing at Aliyabet village, situated in the vicinity of the industrially-hyperactive Dahej region of South Gujarat, the state High Court has stayed the state forest department’s 14-year-old order to evict them from their land, calling them “illegal encroachers.” Claiming to be using the land for cattle breeding, their only occupation, for the last 60 years, the villagers received a major relief following Justice CL Soni order granting “interim protection” to the affected persons, asking the authorities “not to evict petitioners from the land till the final disposal of the civil suit pending in the civil court, Bharuch.”
The case was argued in the Gujarat High Court by senior advocate Shilpa R Shah for the affected families, who had approached an NGO, Centre for Social Justice, Ahmedabad, for help.
Aliyabet shot into prominence in December 2008 when a huge area next to the village, Aliyabet island, was proposed by Gujarat government offic…