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Narendra Modi -- A Man of half truths

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By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Ahmedabad: With Narendra Modi emphasizing that the Gujarat model of development was a success because of empowerment of women at Ficci women wing at Delhi. Why did he not speak for Muslim women's plight? Is Zakia Jaffri not a woman and is she not fighting justice precisely because Narendra Modi is denying her justice. Is Kausar Bi not a woman, who was brutally murdered and whose killers were defended till the end by Narendra Modi and his government? Was Ishrat Jahan not a girl who deserved justice, but who was brutally killed in an encounter? And it was Narendra Modi and his government who defended those who were responsible for brutalising, maiming and killing helpless Muslims during 2002 riots.

In 2004, when Narendra Modi saw his state's female foeticide numbers based on the 2001 census, he got goose bumps. But Modi, who peppered his nationally televised address with references to "small initiatives" he had taken to help empower women, skipped the fact that Gujarat's sex ratio dropped further under him, from 918 in 2001 to 915 in 2011.

The four-time chief minister who is being seen as the face of the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections may have succeeded in making his state friendlier than most others for investment, and for private enterprise.

But by most parameters, women in the state have not had it easier than counterparts in the rest of India, suggesting that Modi's anecdotes of Jasuben the pizzeria owner who apparently gave Pizza Hut a run for its money and the women behind the Amul milk cooperative revolution, may be more exceptions than pointers to a deeper trend.

From their birth, through schooling and university, and even in the workforce and in leadership positions, women in Gujarat have not seen much -- if any -- improvement under Modi, even slipping on certain indicators during his tenure.

Women's safety is an exception. Gujarat is traditionally a safer state for women than most, and the rate of crimes against women has remained consistent at about 1.4% under Modi.Nationally, India's sex ratio rose just barely, from 933 to 940, between 2001 and 2011. But only Bihar and Jammu Kashmir, and the union territories of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli that abut Gujarat saw an actual decline in their sex ratio, apart from Gujarat.In school, girls in Gujarat have a poorer gender parity index in enrolment than the national average.

Nationally, 94 girls are enrolled in elementary and in secondary school, for every 100 boys. In Gujarat, the numbers drop to 88 girls in elementary classes, and 84 in secondary school.
University Grants Commission offers a post-graduate scholarship for the single girl child, open to all girls who meet a basic set of criteria.Only 18 eligible girls applied - and won the scholarship - from Gujarat in 2012 out of a national total of 2419, much less than other major states like Andhra Pradesh (161), Karnataka (143), Kerala (577), Tamil Nadu (456), Maharashtra (60) and West Bengal (706).Women in Gujarat do not have it easier at the workplace either.

Nationally, women constituted 19.9% of the organised workforce according to labour ministry data.In Gujarat, this fraction has persistently hovered between 13% and 15% over the past decade.In his speech to FICCI women on Monday, Modi also spoke about the absence of women in leadership roles, with the power to make decisions and affect policies.But the Gujarat chief minister's own council of ministers has 2 women out of 19 members.

That's a worse ratio than the already poor 9 women in 74 member council headed by a Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who Modi loves to mock as weak and ineffective.

Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia alleged that Chief Minister Narendra Modi was misleading the people on women's condition in the state where he has shown insensitivity towards the crime against women.

Commenting on Mr Modi's address before the ladies wing of FICCI in New Delhi \Mr Modhwadia said Mr Modi feigned emotions while referring to the female foeticide only to impress the women members of FICCI, but his own state has witnessed a rise in the instances of female foeticide.

He said the Chief Minister has shown crass insensitivity towards the crimes against women including a rape in Viramgam, mass suicide due to the harassment by BJP leaders in Rajkot. 'He has failed to utter a single word condemning the mass sucide or the crimes against women in the state,' Mr Modhwadia said.

He said the Chief Minister has also lied when he claimed that his government passed the bill providing for 50 per cent reservation to women in local self-government bodies in the state.
The bill was returned by the Governor because it also provides for the punishment to those who do not use their franchise in the elections of local bodies. Since the bill seeks to make voting compulsory has been mired in controversy, the state Congress had urged the Modi government to table a separate bill for women's reservation in local bodies.

[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]
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1 comments:

  1. Easy to fool people with statistics. You can use statistics as a enlightenment tool or as a propaganda weapon. Gujarat ranks one of the best states in India in many, many parameters. Do you disagree?

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