Lies, More Lies and Gujarat Model

Views That Matter is putting out a series of articles on the “Gujarat Model.” Much of this material, first published on Newsclick is based on the CAG reports which have been under reported in the mainstream press. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP have endlessly praised the so called ‘Gujarat Model’ of development and governance. Gujarat has been ruled by the BJP continuously for over 19 years, since 1998. This includes the 13 years when Modi himself was the chief minister. He presided over the brutal massacre of about 2000 persons, mostly Muslims, in a communal carnage shortly after taking over the reins of power in 2001. In subsequent years, a mythology of ‘good governance’ and ‘development’ was created to describe the Gujarat state govt.’s performance, under the guidance of Modi. Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda Minister would have learnt a thing or two from Modi’s propaganda machine.. tell a lie often enough and it is taken as the truth. The reality of the Gujarat model is quite different. Please read and share this series

Skill development is a favourite of policy makers in India, based on the mistaken belief that skilled people will get jobs quickly. The present Modi govt., like the previous Congress govts., has also been making a big deal of this. In his last years as the chief minister of Gujarat, Modi initiated a multipronged policy of skill development programs spread across several departments. Imparting skills for a vibrant Gujarat was an important element of the Gujarat Model that the Prime Minister is so fond of showcasing.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) conducted a performance audit of this program covering 2010 to 2015. The resulting report released by CAG shows that the programme was a super failure. In fact, it provides a snapshot of all that can go wrong with such ill conceived programmes. The report contains jaw dropping details of money lying unspent, private collaborators not fulfilling their responsibilities while taking all the money, enrollment figures being fudged, machines and tools gathering dust in ramshackle buildings and qualifying students either not getting jobs or getting jobs with wages below the state’s minimum wage rates. All this is important because Modi has now moved to the Centre and his Gujarat skill programme is now a national programme.

The CAG notes that the eight departments involved in providing skill development training in the State had a capacity of 11.11 lakh trainees per annum. However, the number of candidates trained by these departments in a year was 5.48 lakh during the period 2010-15, that is, 49% of the available capacity.

In the craftsman training scheme, 4.14 lakh students enrolled but 21% dropped out and ultimately just 2.96 lakh passed out. In many of the ITIs, machinery was lying uninstalled or idle. 32% of instructors and 46% principals had not been appointed. Only 13% of the new seats added to ITIs were affiliated to the National Council for Vocational Training. So the passed out students could not get any certificates for applying to jobs. The passed out students were supposed to do apprenticeship in industrial units but out of 2.2 lakh seats identified in industry, just 1.63 lakh were taken up and of that, just 37% actually passed out.

Some 772 Vocational Training Providers were registered with the govt. Govt. allocated Rs.16 crore for them but due to pervasive fake enrollment and irregularities just Rs.9.99 cr was spent.

In the Kaushalya Vardhan Kendra programme, a major fraud was discovered with 1.87 lakh students receiving multiple trainings amounting to 5.34 lakh trainings in all, but getting counted as separate students. After correcting for this, only 40% of the target was achieved.

The Industries and Mines Department had Rs.270 cr for “enhancement of technical competence” scheme but they managed to spend only Rs.53 cr in five years. Trainee numbers were much smaller than targeted and placement rates were abysmal.

For the Cottage Industries Training Centres, CAG found that 26 of 43 CITCs were functioning in “dilapidated buildings” with machinery uninstalled and lying unused.

Under the education department, a scheme for imparting “high expertise” skills required students to pay Rs.1000 to Rs.4000 which was shared between training partners and the Gujarat Knowledge Society. The CAG found that although 2.25 lakh students registered, just over 85,000 actually passed out in five years.

For tribal youth, Vocational Training Centres (VTC) were set up under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode with govt. providing 10 acres of land each, 75% capital cost and 100% recurring grant. Rs.54 cr was provided under the Tribal Sub-Plan. Against a target of 44,354 trainees, just 15,687 were trained (35%), with women’s participation just 17%. In three VTCs checked by CAG, sanctioned posts were 40 instructors but only 14 had been appointed. In another programme directed at tribals, about Rs.35 cr were spent to train about 15,000 candidates, which was 39% of the target. None of them got NCVT certificates.

In the central govt. scheme called Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen kaushalya Yojana, 45,000 candidates were to be trained by Project Implementation Agencies (PIAs) but they had enrolled only 3,312 candidates due to delay in selection, out of which only 587 candidates had passed out successfully. Strangely, they claimed that 1,009 candidates got job placement.

The CAG team conducted 1,060 telephonic interviews which revealed that 39% got employed post training, 24% became self-employed and 37% remained un-employed. Out of 410 employed candidates, 44% received salary below the minimum wage rate of Rs.6,960 per month and 56% received salary above the minimum wage rate.

There are many more details and examples in the CAG’s report but the conclusion is inescapable: the skill development programme of Gujarat has been a disaster and yet another example of how the state’s 15 year long BJP rule has failed the Gujarati people.