Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The bunkum about faster growing BJP states….

The BJP has been making tall claims for a long time, only to be proven wrong again and again. This has earned its PM nominee the #feku tag. Yesterday, Ravi Shankar Prasad made yet another tall claim in The Mint when he said “Why is it that despite all the gloom, pessimism and lack of trust with India’s growth rate plummeting to below 5%, most of the BJP ruled state governments – Gujarat, Chhatisgarh, MP and Goa – are seeing an 11% growth rate?”. Made me research the subject and come out with therealtruth yet again!

The data I have used comes from the Planning Commission. It’s available at The table has data from 2004-5 onwards, hence is a convenient measure of the UPA’s performance at the center. The data uses “2004-5 prices”, so it eliminates the effect of inflation (many readers still don’t understand that GDP growth numbers are calculated after removing the impact of inflation). Here’s what the data throws up:

1)    Overall India growth: India’s GDP growth over this period of 8 years is 8.5% per annum on average (CAGR). This period has been completely under UPA rule. This, as is well known, is the best period of growth India has ever seen, far higher than what the NDA government gave in the six years earlier. Let’s use this number as the benchmark to figure out which states have done better than the average, and which lower.

2)    Best performing states: Those which have grown at more than a high 9% are Delhi (11.4%), Haryana (9.4%), Maharashtra (10.0%) and Goa (9.0%) – all from the Congress, Gujarat (10.1%) and Bihar (9.2%) from the BJP, TN (9.4%) of both the DMK (5 years) and AIADMK (3 years) and Uttarakhand (13.1%) shared by both the BJP (5 years) and Congress (3 years). While Goa is currently ruled by BJP (and they are making a mess of it), the data relates to the period when it was ruled by the Congress (7 out of the 8 years). In the same way, while the BJP has split from JD(U) in Bihar, I am giving it credit for it. It’s clear that of the best performing states, the Congress has four, BJP has 2, and there is one shared by both.
3)  All states above All India growth rate: In addition the states mentioned in point 2) above, there are also Andhra (8.8%), Rajasthan (8.6%) and MP (8.6%) which have grown above the All India rate. Again, two of these better performing states belong to Congress, and one to the BJP.

4)    All states below All India growth rate: This list includes Assam (6%) of the Congress, Chhatisgarh (8.4%), Karnataka (8%) and Punjab (7%) of the BJP, Odisha (7.7%) of the BJD, UP (7.2%) of the SP/BSP and WB (7.2%) and Kerala (5 years of Left, 3 of Congress) of the Left. As is seen, the Congress has only one state in this list of underperforming states, and a small part of one more while the BJP has three, including…. surprise surprise…. Chhatisgarh! Another surprise is Naveen Patnaik’s Odisha…..

5)    Gujarat: #Feku’s tall claims about the Gujarat model need to be balanced with similar achievements of big states like Maharashtra (2 times bigger than Gujarat), Delhi (53% of Gujarat), TN (4% bigger than Gujarat), Andhra (slightly bigger than Gujarat) and Haryana (45% of Gujarat). Four out of these six states are ruled by the Congress, and only one by the BJP. These are all “big” states, part of the top 12 in the country. Gujarat is just one of so many others growing equally rapidly, but the impression Modi creates is that there is only Gujarat. Modi’s bunkum is of course repeatedly proved whenver anyone just about scratches the surface – data on FDI, jobs created, and of course all the HDI indicators. Modi’s smart but devilish ploy is to show an already developed state as part of his achievements, much similar to if Obama claimed the US was developed because of him (he doesn’t of course)!

6)    Economic growth not the only factor: Low growing states like Assam, Chhatisgarh, Odisha and Punjab have seen long-lasting governments, while high growth states like Goa, Rajasthan, TN and Uttarkhand have seen flip-flops. This clearly shows that while economic growth matters (low growth states like Karnataka, Kerala, UP and WB see regular government changes, while high growth ones like AP, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, MP and Maharashtra have seen long lasting governments), it is not the only thing. Assam’s tryst with peace has worked for the Congress, Odisha’s focus on tribal inclusivenss has worked for BJD and so on.

The Economic Times recently debunked the BJP’s tall claims as well. In its 24th September issue, the paper quotes Shivraj Singh Chouhan, CM of MP as saying “Even in this 4.5% (the assumed national GDP growth rate now), the main contribution is from the BJP-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, which are growing at double-digit growth of over 10% consistently. BJP ruled states have done more development than anyone else. Nobody can dispute these facts.”. Well, the paper does dispute these facts when it says “Based on GDP numbers for 2011-12 (the last year for which state GDP figures are available), the six BJP-ruled states at that time (Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, MP, Uttarakhand & HP) accounted for only 25.45% of growth. In comparison, the six Congress-ruled states (AP, Assam, Haryana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Goa) accounted for 37.36% of growth.”.

Besides where do these guys get the 10% (Shivraj Singh) and 11% (Ravi Shankar Prasad) numbers from? These are blatantly wrong numbers. It’s not even as if they have done this well in this most recent year. Chhatisgarh grew by 8%, Gujarat by 8.5% and only MP by 11.8%. Are BJP leaders lying?

The real truth is that the BJP is wrong about economic data all the time. Does it do it intentionally?  Maybe that is why the people of the country don’t trust the party. It was voted out in 2004 when it made similar bogus claims of “India shining”. The party also has this peculiar habit – of using PR to create an impression of extreme support for itself – but it gets fooled into believing this rubbish itself!

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