Former Gujarat Chief Minister Suresh Mehta, who quit the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2007, has in interviews to Thewire.in and Janchowk.com has called the bluff on Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model and development in the state. Citing Gujarat Government’s own statistics, CAG reports and the BJP Government’s replies given on the floor of the Assembly, he makes the following points :
- The state government has acknowledged on the floor of the Assembly that it had diverted ₹3000 Crore from the Narmada Project funds for building the Statue of Unity at Sardar Sarovar. This despite Narendra Modi declaring that he would raise the money from people and Arun Jaitley providing for ₹200 Crore in the Union Budget in 2014 for the statue. ‘How can funds meant for irrigation canals be diverted for a statue,’ asks Mehta.
- In 2007 the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi had declared a scheme for the development of coastal areas to benefit six million people in 300 villages. He had announced that ₹11,000 Crore had been set aside for the scheme and said that a training college would be set up to ensure that children from the state’s coastal areas get inducted into the Indian Navy. But the Government in 2012 admitted in the Assembly that not a single child had got into the Navy and contrary to the promise of setting up RO plants for providing drinking water, not a single plant had been set up.
- While Tata Motors’ Nano plant at Sanand bombed, the state government had given a loan of ₹11,000 Crore to Tata at zero per cent interest for 20 years. It had also exempted Tata Motors from the requirement that 85% of the workforce be recruited from among the local people.
- In the year 2016-17, the state failed to realise ₹25,866 Crore of tax revenue it had raised. The figure was ₹18,000 Crore last year.
- The state’s public debt in 2017 stands at ₹1.98 lakh Crore while in 2004 the Comptroller & Auditor General had raised the red flag when the state’s public debt exceeded ₹5 thousand Crore.
- Agriculture subsidies in Gujarat have come down from ₹408 Crore in 2007-08 to ₹80 Crore in 2016-17.
- Subsidies for Food & Civil Supplies came down from ₹130 Crore in 2006-07 to ₹52 Crore in 2016-17.
- In sharp contrast, subsidies to the Energy and the Petrochemical sectors more than doubled from ₹1,873 Crore in 2006-07 to ₹4,471 Crore in 2016-17.
Accusing Narendra Modi of making tall promises, Mehta recalled that in 2007 the then chief minister had announced setting up ₹15,000 Crore for the ‘Van Bandhu Kalyan Yojana’ under which he had promised “ Har Ek ko Ghar/ Har Ek Ko Arogya” ( Housing and Health for All).