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Gujarat is one of the large states in India known for sustained levels of development. Gujarties‟ the people of Gujarat so identified - rings a bell! in imagination as enterprising people with an edge to manage and invest money in businesses and enhance savings. These Gujarati attributes are not new, rather age old; and developed over centuries especially due to their easy contact with the travelling business men from all over the world at the Indian west-coast. No wonder then that Gujarat is one of the few states where income earning opportunities have always been better and praiseworthy. Notwithstanding, such a relative advantage in income growth, it is useful to review how Gujarat is faring in other measures of standard of living such as poverty, human development, hunger and so on. Further, it is also instructive to review as to how various socioreligious communities living in Gujarat are placed in a relative perspective and are they getting the benefit of higher growth experience in Gujarat.
The Government of India has alloted Six Smart Cities to the state of Gujarat. They are
A land of immense opportunities, an opportunity for everyone
1. Industry specific advantages in a slew of sectors
2. Presence of more than 370,000 MSMEs in the state
3. Strong growth of agriculture and horticulture - creating opportunities in agro processing.
4. Historically strong gems and jewelry sector
5. Strong mineral base
6. Large investments requirement in infrastructure
7. Opportunities in ports and port based industries
8. Opportunities in the tourism industry spread across the value chain
9. Opportunities in sunshine sectors like solar power and biotechnology
Gujarat state was carved from the present Marathi speaking region i.e. Maharashtra in the year 1960. Gujarat state is situated on the West coast of India between 20.1 and 24.7 degrees North latitude and 68.4 and 74.4 degrees East longitude. The boundaries of Gujarat are surrounded by the Arabian Sea in the West, Rajasthan in the North East, Madhya Pradesh in the East and Maharashtra in the South East. It shares a common border with Pakistan on the Northern side. Gujarat state gets a rainfall of SouthWest monsoon from the month of June to September. The land of coastal and central Gujarat is fertile, whereas the Northern part is dry and drought prone. The state covers 196024 km (75665 sq. miles) on the border with Pakistan. The rivers of Gujarat are Narmada, Tapti, Sabarmati and Mahi. The black soil is best suited for cash crops such as sugarcane, cotton and groundnuts besides that it cultivates crops such as rice and millets.
Levels of Foreign Direct Investments
Recent reports place Gujarat as a favorite destination of the �foreign direct investments (FDI). There is a considerable hype about such investments and reports that large amounts of foreign, often NRI linked, investments in Gujarat abound. A review of the past performance of the FDIs does not support such a finding. The region / state specific FDI data provided by the �department of industrial policy and development‟ suggests that the size of cumulative inflows from January 2000 to March 2010 has been highest in Maharashtra with 1.75 lakh crores, followed by New Delhi at 1.02 lakh crore. Even the state of Karnataka has received 31 thousand crores which is higher than the FDI in Gujarat only with 28 thousand crores. The FDI line up continues with Tamil Nadu, (Rs. 25 thousand crores), Andhra Pradesh (Rs. 21 thousand crores) and Kolkata having received a meager 6 thousand crores.
Gujarat indeed is one of the richer states always in league with the top ten state of India in terms of per capita national state domestic product. But if alternative measures are evaluated which reflect hunger, social development and human development, relatively speaking Gujarat is underperformer. Further, within the state, when socio-religious group differentials are assessed one finds deep-rooted poverty and income inequality amongst Gujarat‟s lower castes and Muslims relative to other groups. The latter, in particular, fare poorly on parameters of poverty, hunger, education and vulnerability on security issues; nowhere benefiting from the feel good growth story painted by the current governance of the state. There indeed exists a deep-rooted poverty and income inequality in Gujarat. Putting the Muslim situation in this larger framework, the empirical evidence suggests that relative to other states and relative to other communities, Muslims in Gujarat are facing high levels of discrimination and deprivation.