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Gujarat Voters Awareness Campaign Press Release / Factsheet (15 April 2009)

by Matdan Jagruti Abhiyan, 16 April 2009

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VOTERS’ AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

RELEASE

The worst fears of sensitive and concerned citizens relating to the General Elections 2009 are coming true. Not only is there violation of the Model Code of Conduct, there is violence, crime and ‘gutter-politics’ being indulged in by the main political parties and their Prime Ministerial aspirants.

Various individuals, groups and organisations have come together to galvanise the process of National Election Watch for the upcoming elections and a voter awareness campaign has been started in Gujarat.

This campaign will aim at informing voters about the details of the election-watch as well as monitor the implementation of the model code of conduct. It will draw the attention of the Election Commission in case of any irregularities and most importantly it will highlight the basic and burning issues of “Vibrant” Gujarat.

FACT SHEET

Vibrant Gujarat, Industry, SEZ, Townships

Global Investors’ Summit & MOUs

2003 76 MOUs USD 14 billion
2005 226 MOUs USD 20 billion
2007 675 MOUs USD 152 billion
2009 8662 MoUs US$ 243 billion

The Gujarat Chief Minister claims 63% implementation of the astronomical proposed investments which the state has been able to rope in the earlier three biennial VGGIS held in 2003, 2005 and 2007. According to information gathered under the RTI Act reveals an implementation rate of only 25%, less than half of what the CM boasted.

Debt

Reserve Bank of India publication - ’State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2005-06’ - shows that the debts of only three state governments will reach a higher figure than that of Gujarat.

Gujarat has a debt burden of Rs 94,000 crore which was only Rs 45,301 crore in 2001-02.

Food

The State government has issued nearly 89.58 lakh Above Poverty Line (APL) cards and 35.51 lakh Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards, of which about 8.10 lakh cards fall under the Antyodaya Anna Yojna (AAY), which covers the poorest. The government wants to drastically cut the number of BPL cards to give the impression that the hunger situation is improving.

  • According to International Food Policy Research Institute’s 2008 Global Hunger Index, Gujarat is ranked 69th below Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan.
  • The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation has identified urban Gujarat as ‘moderately food secure’ while rural Gujarat remains ‘severely insecure.’
  • The Supreme Court had ordered on November 28, 2001 and January 10, 2008 to provide 35 kg food grains — 19 kg wheat flour and 16 kg rice — to the poorest of the poor under the Antyodaya Scheme. But the Gujarat government in its resolution dated March 24, 2008 decided to provide 16 kg rice and 16.7 kg wheat fortified flour.
  • The government deducts 2.3 kg from the entitlement of 19 kg and passes it on to the flour mills as the cost of fortification. So, flour mills get the benefit of 24,647 tons of wheat annually at the cost of poorest of the poor.
  • The National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi, finds in a survey that nearly 11, 53,000 ghost/fake BPL cards have been issued in Gujarat.
  • An ORG-Marg report commissioned by the Centre reveals that in Gujarat, about 41 per cent of rice slotted for the poor is being diverted.

Suicides

According to DGP, Gujarat, the number of farmers’ suicides as 31-10-07 stood at 779. There were 2479 suicides by farmers, according to the State Crime Bureau, with Jamnagar accounting for 343 suicides, Rajkot 299, Amreli 294, Junagadh 275 being worst performers.

About 4.13 lakh workers lost their jobs in the diamond industry in Gujarat alone. If the organised and the unorganised sectors are taken together, the magnitude of job losses would run into crores. About 50-70 diamond workers have committed suicides in the past few months.

NREGA

National Gujarat
Employment provided to households Persondays [in Crore] Employment provided to households Persondays [in Lakh]
4.27 Crore 194.04 8.20457 Lakh 189.44

The above table shows that the employment available per person per year at the national level was 45 days whereas it was only 23 days in Gujarat as against a promise of 100 days of work.

Health

NRHM continues to be plagued by problems of grossly inadequate funding and of measurers that promote privatization under the garb of “Public Private Partnerships” and introduction of “user fees”. The NRHM had envisaged expenditure of Rs. 55,000 crore per year by 2012 but for past 2-3 years it has stagnated at about Rs. 10,000-12,000 crore per year.

Plummeting Financial Support To Public Health: The overall public expenditure on health has stagnated at 0.9 per cent of GDP, among the lowest in the world and ahead of only five countries―Burundi, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sudan, and Cambodia. This belies the CMP commitment that: “The UPA Government will raise public spending on health to at least 2-3 per cent of the GDP over the next five years, with focus on primary healthcare.”

  • The National Family Health Survey III (NFHS-III) conveys that 42.4 per cent of children in Gujarat are suffering from stunted growth due to malnutrition. Also, about 47.4 per cent of children are underweight in the state.
  • NFHS-III also points out that more than half of Gujarat’s population is Anaemic, with a percentage as high as 80.1 for children aged 6-35 months.
  • NFHS-III further states that nearly one-third of adults in Gujarat have their Body Mass Index (BMI) below the normal, 32.3 per cent for women and 28.2 per cent for men.

Education

Cuts in Allocation: The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan saw a decline in expenditure which went down from Rs 12,020.2 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 11,940 crore in 2008-09 and has been further decreased to Rs 11,933.9 in this year’s interim budget.

When the UPA took office the share of total expenditure by the States and Centre on education in GDP was 2.67% (2004-05). This figure increased to 3.08% in 2008-09, far from the CMP promise of 6 % allocation of GDP. In fact state governments account for a significant part of the increase.

Right to Education Bill: Thus the most required legislation for the right to education was virtually scrapped by the Government. This was a grave injustice to the more than 380 million people denied literacy in the country.

Commercialization Of Education: While private sector institutions including the schools sector flourished, charging exorbitant fees, Government failed to pass any social legislations.

JNNURM

More than one lakh people have been evicted to implement JNNURM / Urban Development projects. According to the 2007 data, in Ahmedabad alone there are about 12 lakh people living in 714 bastis.

Public Transport

Year No. of Services Operated/day
1960-61 1774
1990-91 15631
2000-01 20104
2001-02 18507
2002-03 17275
2003-04 16217
2005-06 15750
2007-08 6710

Gender

Gujarat’s female-male child sex ratio is 883:1000, compared to the national average of 927:1000 in the 0-6 age group. Ahmedabad district was even lower: just 813 girls, according to the 2001 Census. Ironically, districts like Mehsana (797), Gandhinagar (816), Rajkot (843) and Ahmedabad enjoy a female literacy rate of above 60 per cent. But it is the backward and tribal districts of Dangs, Dahod and Narmada, with below 40-35 per cent female literacy rates, that have reported child sex ratios of 950 and above.

Gujarat (No. of females to every 1000 males) - 934 (1991) & 921 (2001)

Water

Groundwater depleted to the extent of 26 % between 1984 and 1997. Around 90 talukas in Gujarat do not have safe drinking water. The situation is particularly dire in N. Gujarat with 90 % talukas without clean sources, Kutch 78 %, and Saurashtra 45 % respectively.

Against the 14622 lakh cu. m yearly demand of water in Gujarat, the actual availability is 8000 lakh cu. m only. (Guj. Human Development Report 2004)

1991
Standard Requirement 1700 cu.m 1322 cu. m 1137 cu. m
North Gujarat (availability) 427 cu. m
Saurashtra (availability) 734 cu. m

Election Watch

The voters’ awareness campaign will be doing sample monitoring in certain constituencies on the day of election in Gujarat. For this, several organizations in Ahmedabad & Baroda will organize a helpline. This helpline will help the voters report irregularities as well as assist them to lodge their complains.

The following are the numbers of helpline:

  • JANPATH – 079-26821553
  • JANVIKAS – 079-65440901
  • JYOTI KARMACHARI MANDAL – 0265 -2413840, 09426977940
  • SAHIYAR – 09427937162
  • Behavioural Science Centre
  • Janpath
  • Janvikas
  • Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti
  • Jyoti Karmachari Mandal
  • Sahiyar
  • National Alliance of People’s Movements
  • Vagad Kranti Sangathan
  • Marag
  • St. Xavier’s Social Service Society
  • Centre for Development
  • BAAG
  • Bandhkam Mazdoor Sangathan
  • Nirman Mazdoor Sangathan
  • Jeevanteerth
  • Rajpipala Social Service Society
  • Research Foundation for Governance in India
  • Madhyam
  • Pagariya Yuva Sangharsh Manch
  • Patheya
  • Prashant
  • Ashadeep

See also: document in (in Gujarati)

Matdan Jagruti Abhiyan — press note 15 April 2009
(in Gujarati)