Decoding ‘Development’: Did Gujarat Outpace the Rest of India?

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of E​PW.


Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s 2014 electoral campaign was built around the Gujarat “model” of development—the underlying promise being that the high growth rates experienced in the state during Modi’s tenure as chief minister could be replicated across the country. Was this growth a natural outcome of past policy, or can it be credited to the political leadership in the state?


R Nagaraj and Shruti Pandey’s 2013 article, “Have Gujarat and Bihar Outperformed the Rest of India?” argue that Gujarat’s supposed “surge” in agriculture and manufacturing is in fact an illusion: while the state is doing well, data from the state shows that it is no better than the national average. Statistical analysis in Maitreesh Ghatak and Sanchari Roy’s 2014 article, “Did Gujarat’s Growth Rate Accelerate under Modi?” further dispels the myth of the “Modi effect.”  In another 2014 article, “Growth in the Time of UPA,” Ashok Kotwal, Maitreesh Ghatak and Parikshit Ghosh comment on growth during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime, arguing that the “anti-establishment” sentiment is more due to the regime’s inability to shake off the corruption tag rather than due to low growth.


Sukumar Mukhopadhyay’s article, “Why Question the Pace of Growth in Gujarat,” responds to Nagaraj and Pandey (2013). Mukhopadhyay argues that Modi’s export-driven approach has boosted the state’s economy. Nagaraj and Pandey counter Mukhopadhyay’s claims, arguing that his critique fails to invalidate their findings.


Ravindra H Dholakia, in his article, “Relative Growth Performance of Gujarat,” also responds to Nagaraj and Pandey (2013) as well as Ghatak and Roy (2014), contending that the authors’ bias against Narendra Modi and the (BJP) regime has led to narrow interpretations of data. Nagaraj responds to this claim, reasserting the validity of the methodology used.


In her article “On UPA vs NDA; Gujarat vs Rest of India: Myth and Reality,” Sujata Marjit responds to  Kotwal et al (2014) and Ghatak and Roy (2014), making the case that irrespective of whether the Congress or the BJP is in power, most economic and welfare policies will continue unaltered. Kotwal et al (2014) respond by saying that Marjit wishes to absolve the UPA government of blame for poor governance.  


A few other works that are broadly related to the discussion:

  1. The Gujarat Model of Development: What would it do to the Indian Economy? Rohini Hensman, 2014
  2. Congress’ Gujarat Model, Suhas Palshikar, 2018
  3. Growth and Structural Change in the Economy of Gujarat, 1970-2000, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Panchanan Das, Sadhan Kumar Chattopadhyay, 2005


Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line—"The Modi Effect: Myth or Reality?"


Curated by Kieran Lobo []

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