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Sunday, Oct 17, 2021
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How Much Growth Can Absorb All?

Patels’ demands give the lie to the Gujarat model. In job-poor India, it may be contagious.

How Much Growth Can Absorb All?
AP
How Much Growth Can Absorb All?
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

When the powerful Patidars of Gujarat demanded reserva­tion, they didn’t only resort to bombast and violence. They expressed a rage powerful enough to crack open, briefly, the so-called Gujarat model of development. Seen from Patidar eyes, there is no Gujarat model at all. Their mascot Hardik Patel calls it an excuse to neglect job-intensive small industries and impoverished farmers. Isn’t it ironic? Patidars—which means ‘land owners’ in Gujarati—weren’t just at the vanguard of the Gujarat model. By sheer dominance, they benefited directly from what critics repeatedly warned would be the steady hollowing out of Gujarat’s economy.

From 2004 to ’14, 60,000 small industries in Gujarat shut shop, pushing people into contractual work in organised manufacturing. The prospect of taking up such insecure jobs now confronts the Pat­els—and they don’t relish it. In a way, India has the same problem; with 93 per cent of jobs ‘informal’, it is work without medical, pension or other benefits—a...

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