ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Balanced Critique of the Gujarat Growth Model

Poverty amidst Prosperity: Essays on the Trajectory of Development in Gujarat edited by Atul Sood (New Delhi: Aakar Books), 2012; pp 283, Rs 595.

The views in this review are solely of the author.

The Gujarat development model has been analysed intensively by both its supporters and detractors. The main argument in favour of the model is that the state has one of the fastest rates of economic growth in the country. Industry and infrastructure have done remarkably well, and the state presents an overall picture of prosperity. Moreover, on the face of it, the state appears to be largely immune to economic downturns faced by the country as a whole. The main arguments against the model are in terms of the distributional aspects of this economic growth, and figures relating to poverty, inequality, and human development are weapons in this line of argument. Neither side has yet managed to score a point, speaking, as they do, on two mutually opposed theoretical premises: whether trickle-down economics works, and whether a fast rate of growth translates, or has the potential to translate, into widespread prosperity because of it.

Yet a specialised book on the subject is always welcome, since one looks forward to detailed analysis of each of the components of the development model. That, indeed, is what one finds in Atul Sood’s edited volume. The book, in 10 chapters, deals with the issue quite at depth. One also looks forward to some fresh insight, which will enable us to move beyond speculating on the effectiveness of trickle-down economics; and that is where the book somewhat disappoints.

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