Saturday, 13 September 2014

Economic growth - queries and concerns

Recently the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published a listing of growth and TamilNadu is first from the last in the list. Bihar has topped the list with a nearly 11% GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) growth. Gujarat once the engine of growth has stood at 6th place with a 8% growth. TamilNadu registered a 3.4% growth. Bihar has overtaken most of the industrialized States in growth. Political motive cannot be attributed as it is a fact that “the CSO never seeks political approval for any of its reports. Even the Prime Minister need not be provided with any data before it is made public.

Critical analysis of the Bihar growth reveals that the quality of growth is questionable. It all were dependent on the fillip to the spend that came from the Government through disbursing of Central funds. From around 40% dependency on Central funding during 2003-04, the State grew (?) to a staggering 72% during 2012-13. The building construction contributed to nearly 13% of the growth, but the industrial infrastructure build was rising not even as high as a crow's leap, leave aside a falcon's. A large number of bridges and other public works were being constructed. Construction now contributes to around a 13% of the state’s GDP now, compared to 4.2% in 2003-04, according to the Bihar State Government's statistics.

Reserve Bank of India figures show that Bihar’s share of bank deposits was 2.2% in September 2005, while its share of bank credit, an indicator of the growth of business, was 0.9%. After 4 years in September 2009, Bihar’s share of all-India bank deposits was at the same 2.2% while its share of bank credit had been stagnant at 0.9%. Palpably no growth was funded through bank lending for industrial or any other business purposes.

So the money flow, constructions, infrastructure development were because of the Government's initiatives in getting the basics done. Given the history of Bihar during Laloo regime, this is growth, of course. But can someone boast of this? Yes, because a State which was deliberately kept in stone age has been brought to the current era. But is this growth of Bihar comparable with other States? Not at all.

Well, there has been a debate in TamilNadu on the state of the State, as the State has stood last in the list of CSO. The ruling establishment has pressed its propagandists in service to defend itself. Their claim is that only economic growth is not an indicator of the people being well off. There are other social factors and with them taken into account the State would be standing much higher in any rankings. Well, with the State's industrial growth rate falling like a falcon on the dive, with consistency in power shortages, chronic water crisis, anarchy instead of governance are a few reasons why the State has not been doing good in economic growth.

Let us take a look at the social indicators boasted by the ruling party people. Drunkards are being encouraged by the State Government. TASMAC, the State Government's marketing arm which was started to market the handicrafts and the produce of small and tiny businesses, is now a synonym for arrack shops. Has it been selling the alcoholic drinks manufactured in the State by small and tiny makers? Well, one has to get drunk to believe it does so. The alcohol selling unit of the Government has been given sales target and festive seasons and temple functions are their target time and place for sale.

The corruption in every step of the Government hierarchy is still there. All Government offices are running the show without fear. The administration of Government's pro-poor scheme has been a farce say people who are in the know. The cattle given to Temples by devotees have not been properly maintained. It is alleged that these cattle were used to provide free cattle for the poor offered by the Government. So, what has happened to the fund allocated for purchasing and providing cattle is a query the officials still dodge. The administration of Hindu Temples by the State is pathetic and anarchy is visible in the State's administration.

Infrastructure is another are of lament. The roads laid during the summer cave in during the first phase of rain. The quality of infrastructure is pathetic to the core. Toll roads which operate on PPP on a BOT basis, take a toll on the health of the passengers, vehicles and their wallet. No queries answered on the quality. Questioners are looked down upon as nincompoops.

Well, with the similar kind of setup in most of the States how did TN come last? The people of TN have become sophisticated with most of the needs taken care of, not by pedigree, neither by wealth, nor by earnings but by the freebies given by the Government. Free rice of 20 kg per month is distributed. Free meals are provided in Temples across the State. A very low cost food chain namely 'Amma Unavagam' is operated by the State Government, for which it is alleged that primary ingredients like rice and wheat are 'taken' from the PDS. So, with the Government giving free rice and food, one has to earn a very little to get his basic needs fulfilled and rest can be spent on alcohol which is sold by the State with a revenue target to achieve.

These are a few examples to state the state of the State. With this, no one can claim that the State is socially developed nor developing. It is neither growing economically. TamilNadu is socially deteriorating and economically nose diving.

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