NEW DELHI: The 'Gujarat Model' of development is in a way "a case of jobless growth", eminent political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot said here today, days before the western state goes to Assembly polls.
Speaking at a session, titled "Political Conservatives and the Right in India", at the Times LitFest, the author-researcher said that most opportunities resulting from the Gujarat model created fewer jobs than small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could have.
"The Gujarat model has been an interesting case of jobless growth or you can say growth with minimal development.
It brought in large investments from multi-nationals, which were given land, cheap labourers and of course tax exemptions.
They created factories, refineries, but didn't create as many jobs as SMEs would have done," he said.
The reason behind the lack of employment opportunities, according to Jaffrelot, was the industry's heavy dependence on automation and not manual labour.
"They are kind of jobs that use automation more than labourers, for example, refineries don't need workers. You are automatised as much as you can when you are a Maruti or a Tata, an area where SMEs cannot compete," he said.
Despite the development of the state, the condition of its poor people remained the same, which demands accountability on the BJP's part.
"We have seen land taken from the peasants, not just because of the industries but also because of the pollution created by it. And a model that was developed at the expense of SMEs, a record number of SMEs are losing their bank support in Gujarat.
"Earlier when at one end there were poor people and the Congress was in Delhi, now the BJP is in Delhi and the poor people are still there. So now is the time of reckoning, this is a time for accountability," Jaffrelot said.
The 'Gujarat Model' has remained the BJP's favourite example of success in election campaigns over the years.
Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, goes to polls on December 9 and 14. Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat for over 12 years till he became the prime minister in 2014.