The Maharashtra Congress today said the United Nations’ multi-dimensional poverty index developed in 2013 showed that 41% of people in Gujarat were poor. “Out of 41% of the poor, 18.5% live in severe poverty. How can a state where every fifth person lives in abject poverty and 41% in poverty claim to be a model for anyone,” Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant said at a press conference. He said the study showed that besides 41% poor, another 17% are vulnerable to poverty in Gujarat.
The state is ranked 12th in terms of development needs and falls in the “less developed” category. It is not the most developed state in the country, but on the contrary, it is the 12th most developed state, according to the RBI, he said.
Similarly, a state that boasts of agriculture growth, has 25 per cent of its population suffering from hunger and its condition is even worse that Odisha, he said. Gujarat is ranked 13th (24.69% of its population facing hunger) out of 17 states, in terms of states with the highest percentage of population affected by hunger, while the national average of such population is 23.31%, he said.
Hitting out at BJP national treasurer Piyush Goyal, who yesterday said that Gujarat had not seen farmers’ suicides, Sawant, quoting documents submitted by the Gujarat government in the legislative assembly, said from 2008 to 2013, 122 farmers committed suicide due to inability to repay their loans, crop losses and other reasons.
Sawant said the national growth rate had reached 9.3% during the UPA regime and all states, including Gujarat, had benefited. “By speaking about Gujarat and criticising other states, Modi insults people of those states,” he said, adding that the MPCC would bring out a book highlighting Narendra Modi’s “lies”. “BJP should be called Bahut Jhooti Party,” he said.