Part 5: Modi phenomenon: Propaganda or Reality?

In part 4 of the case study, we scrutinized some of the services initiated by Govt of Gujarat under Modi’s leadership which had received international accolades.
Link to earlier parts of the cases study:
http://guruprasad.net/posts/tag/modi/

In this part, we shall scrutinize some of his infrastructure projects and find out if they are indeed of international standards or just a propaganda. This part of the case study will analyze the road network & transport solution.

One of the most popularly quoted reference pertaining to Gujarat’s development is it’s road network (including state highways). Since most of the claims by Modi & his supporters usually sound exaggerated, I wanted to analyze them from a neutral perspective with the help of independent bodies with official reports and hence began the research on Gujarat roadways.

gujarat_highway

A highway in Gujarat

All the documents referenced in this case study are from independent & international bodies like World Bank & DFID (Department for International Development). During the research on this topic, I came across startling revelations which were indeed in line with most of the claims made by Modi.

During the beginning of the millennium when Modi had just taken over reigns of Govt of Gujarat (GoG), a major project related to highways was being approved by World Bank with a sanction of loan (to Gujarat Govt) amounting to around $300 million. Apart from adding additional state highways, the project intended to improve (strengthen, widen & improve surface quality) the existing state highway network as well (around 2000 kms).

highway_asphalting

Over the next few years, the commitment shown by Gujarat Govt in the project ensured that the project was successfully completed in time, to the surprise of World Bank officials. In a way, it was a major boost for India as a whole because entities like World Bank had always considered Indian bureaucrats as inefficient, corrupt & slow but the completion of this project by Modi’s changed the equation.

The following excerpts from World Bank’s appraisal report summarizes the role of Govt of Gujarat (GoG) in the mega project:

wb report1Link to the document:
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2008/06/9735662/india-gujarat-state-highway-project

Some of the biggest problems plaguing India are “Corruption”, “Bad planning” & “Mismanagement”. They lead to increased project costs & repeated/extended deadlines. But surprisingly, this mega project had achieved significant cost reduction (which is very rare especially in India). The World Bank attributes this (among other reasons) to Govt of Gujarat (GoG) which was committed to reducing costs.
wb report2
Link to the document:
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2008/06/9735662/india-gujarat-state-highway-project

In all of his speeches, Modi has been stressing on the positive impact of the highway projects and I was under the impression that they are all just his hype & gimmicks. Surprisingly, The World Bank report documents most of those claims as a result of it’s intensive survey as a part of it’s project completion procedure. Most of the impacts documented by World Bank are in line with what Modi claims in his speeches.

wb report3
Link to the document:
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2008/06/9735662/india-gujarat-state-highway-project

After the World Bank disclosed this official report to public domain, only a handful of newspapers published them.

guj roads international stdNews link:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Gujarat-roads-closer-to-international-standards-WB/articleshow/9559331.cms

There was not much of media coverage by news channels who conveniently chose to ignore these and continued with their usual “2002 riots” debates for more than a decade and demonizing Modi (which anyway has been debunked by Supreme Court’s SIT report as explained in part 2 & 3 of this case study).

Impressed with the commitment of Govt of Gujarat, an international body called DFID (Dept of International Development) commissioned a detailed study on the “Good governance in highway sector – Learning from Gujarat” in order to help other Indian states & Developing nations to follow such a development model.

wb says follow gujarat model
News link:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Follow-Gujrat-path-to-road-reform-World-Bank/articleshow/6424224.cms

The following excerpt from the official document of DFID compares the quality & coverage of roads of different states in India and gives a detailed analysis of how other states can learn from Gujarat:
dfid report1
Link to the document:
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2010/12/18363328/institutional-development-good-governance-highway-sector-learning-gujarat

The following excerpt from the official document of DFID highlights the role of Govt of Gujarat & best practices:
dfid report2
Link to the document:
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2010/12/18363328/institutional-development-good-governance-highway-sector-learning-gujarat

The following excerpt from the official document of DFID praises Govt of Gujarat & it’s achievements as comparable to international practices:
dfid report3Link to the document:
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2010/12/18363328/institutional-development-good-governance-highway-sector-learning-gujarat

 To summarize the above analysis: “Gujarat’s roads are not only of international standards  leading to economic prosperity with positive impacts as indicated by World Bank & DFID reports, but also have become a role model of highway development for other Indian states & developing nations to follow”

Next, we shall analyze the innovative transport solution pioneered by Modi’s Govt.
One of the most basic needs of a growing economy is “Connectivity”. This can be achieved through several means including Metro, Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS), Monorail etc.

India first saw a taste of BRTS in Delhi which was a major flop followed by Pune &  host of other cities which failed to efficiently setup usable BRTS systems. BRTS was seen as a risky proposition & State Govts had almost written off such systems.  However, when the Govt of Gujarat was mulling over a connectivity system in Ahmedabad, it chose to take up the BRTS and after an extensive study of it’s shortcomings it was adapted & refined with innovation to suit the needs of Ahmedabad.

janmarg_brts

The following video explains how the Ahmedabad BRTS was conceptualized & executed, along with other details like its operation & benefits:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90ekBxmmvyQ

The BRTS was such a well designed project that it even went on to receive international awards.
In 2010, it won the international “Sustainable award”:
brts_2010_awardNews article link:
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-ahmedabads-bus-rapid-transit-system-wins-sustainable-transport-award-in-washington-1334188

In 2013, Ahmedabad BRTS won 2 international awards at Geneva:
brts_2013_awardsNews reference link:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/BRTS-adds-another-jewel-in-its-crown/articleshow/20301662.cms

Note: This case study is not to support or criticize any politician/party/govt but to dig out the reality and to quash false propaganda, if any. This case study will be updated based on more inputs & unearthing of further facts and new parts added over time.

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