Governed by Narendra Modi since 2001, Gujarat recorded average annual growth rates of 10.13 percent between 2005 and 2012. Reuters
Governed by Narendra Modi since 2001, Gujarat recorded average annual growth rates of 10.13 percent between 2005 and 2012. Reuters

Modi’s sceptics are unsure over Gujarat’s economic inspiration

AHMEDABAD // To supporters in his thriving west coast fiefdom, Narendra Modi is the inspiration behind an economic success story that India has a chance to emulate if as expected he becomes prime minister.

But ahead of elections beginning on April 7, sceptics accuse Mr Modi of claiming credit for an “illusion” in Gujarat that has mainly benefited big business and will be hard to replicate on a national scale.

Governed by Mr Modi since 2001, Gujarat recorded average annual growth rates of 10.13 per cent between 2005 and 2012, according to latest figures, the second-highest pace among large or medium-sized states.

And according to the businesswoman Bhagyesh Soneji, it would be churlish not to acknowledge the leading role of the state’s chief minister who polls say is set to lead his right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a general election victory.

After arriving in Gujarat in 1992 from Orissa with just 20 rupees (Dh1.22) to her name, Ms Soneji has built up a pharmaceutical group that exports to some 28 countries, has an annual turnover of around 300m rupees and employs 23 people.

Ms Soneji said since becoming chief minister, Mr Modi has made Gujarat one of the few states not to be suffocated by India’s infamous red tape and has ensured that businesses which encounter obstacles get a friendly hearing.

The 45-year-old founder and chief executive of Ameda Pharma said Mr Modi’s administration was characterised by a “proactive dynamism”.

“We can meet principal secretaries and ministers easily to discuss issues related to industry,” she said.

“The bureaucracy here is businesslike, they understand the time demands of the business fraternity and corruption is also much less in comparison to other states.”

Mr Modi’s supporters point to Gujarat’s infrastructure as another sign of good governance. The city centre of Ahmedabad, the state’s largest city, has managed to escape the gridlock common to most Indian cities and the city has bus lanes. Power cuts are rare.

But it’s a different tale a short distance away in the rundown neighbourhood of Juhapura where Nadeem Jafri runs a supermarket business.

Mr Modi first came to national prominence in 2002 when communal riots erupted in Gujarat, soon after he took over as the state’s chief minister. The riots left more than 1,000 dead, most of them Muslims.

While Modi himself has never been found guilty of playing any role in the bloodshed, one of his ministers was sentenced for inciting violence.

When the violence broke out, thousands of Muslims took refuge in Juhapura.

Two years later, Mr Jafri quit his job in advertising to open his first supermarket in a district largely abandoned by retailers.

Today, Mr Jafri runs a chain of 12 supermarkets and supplies hotels and restaurants with his branded rice and tea products.

“At a personal level, I had no help from the administration,” said Mr Jafri.

“Gujarat has been marketed well for the last five years. It has always been a progressive state with good electricity and water supply.

“But giving credit for this success to just one person is not fair. Credit must go to all people.”

Every other year, Mr Modi has hosted a “Vibrant Gujarat Summit”, inviting business leaders and politicians to celebrate its achievements.

Some economists are unconvinced, saying only big businesses have really thrived.

“This model is an illusion. Growth in Gujarat is highly unequal in the sense that certain regions, certain sectors and certain parts of population are left out,” said Indira Hirway, the director of Gujarat’s Centre for Development Alternatives.

The larger the company, the higher the rate of subsidy, in terms of capital subsidies, credit, VAT subsidy, she said.

Ms Hirway said bigger companies were often granted favours in accessing land, water and natural resources.

“They give very cheap water for big industries. The land is given at a very cheap rate, highly subsidised, because the state wants to be the best in terms of growth,” Ms Hirway said.

Not only has the environment suffered as a result, but there has also been a knock-on effect on health while Gujarat’s education sector has been neglected.

Literacy rates are at 79 per cent, still above the national average of 74 per cent, but seen as disappointing for a thriving state.

In Kerala for example, run by the Communists or centre-left Congress for the last three decades, the level is 94 per cent.

Furthermore, there is scepticism over whether Gujarat’s successes can be repeated elsewhere given some of its unique advantages.

Sebastian Morris, an economics professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, said Gujarat was blessed with large amounts of real estate as well as access to the Arabian Sea.

“Land essentially has emerged as a constraint all over the country and Gujarat is lucky to have a lot of land available which can ideally be used for industry” such as oil firms, Mr Morris said.

Mr Morris also warned that the style of government that the strongman leadership Mr Modi has championed in Gujarat, bulldozing his way past critics and scything through red tape, won’t work at a national level.

“It is a corporatist model where the chief minister takes charge fully and... bypasses all intermediate political levels.

“That is not too bad a model if you’re talking of hard infrastructure like ports, roads, electricity. But when it comes to health care, education, this model no longer works because you need a greater involvement of the society which may be lagging in Gujarat.”

* Agence France-Presse

Sinopharm vaccine explained

The Sinopharm vaccine was created using techniques that have been around for decades. 

“This is an inactivated vaccine. Simply what it means is that the virus is taken, cultured and inactivated," said Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, chair of the UAE's National Covid-19 Clinical Management Committee.

"What is left is a skeleton of the virus so it looks like a virus, but it is not live."

This is then injected into the body.

"The body will recognise it and form antibodies but because it is inactive, we will need more than one dose. The body will not develop immunity with one dose," she said.

"You have to be exposed more than one time to what we call the antigen."

The vaccine should offer protection for at least months, but no one knows how long beyond that.

Dr Al Kaabi said early vaccine volunteers in China were given shots last spring and still have antibodies today.

“Since it is inactivated, it will not last forever," she said.


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

HIV on the rise in the region

A 2019 United Nations special analysis on Aids reveals 37 per cent of new HIV infections in the Mena region are from people injecting drugs.

New HIV infections have also risen by 29 per cent in western Europe and Asia, and by 7 per cent in Latin America, but declined elsewhere.

Egypt has shown the highest increase in recorded cases of HIV since 2010, up by 196 per cent.

Access to HIV testing, treatment and care in the region is well below the global average.  

Few statistics have been published on the number of cases in the UAE, although a UNAIDS report said 1.5 per cent of the prison population has the virus.


Welterweight Mostafa Radi (PAL) v Tohir Zhuraev (TJK)

Catchweight 75kg Leandro Martins (BRA) v Anas Siraj Mounir (MAR)

Flyweight Corinne Laframboise (CAN) v Manon Fiorot (FRA)

Featherweight Ahmed Al Darmaki (UAE) v Bogdan Kirilenko (UZB)

Lightweight Izzedine Al Derabani (JOR) v Atabek Abdimitalipov (KYG)

Featherweight Yousef Al Housani (UAE) v Mohamed Arsharq Ali (SLA)

Catchweight 69kg Jung Han-gook (KOR) v Elias Boudegzdame (ALG)

Catchweight 71kg Usman Nurmagomedov (RUS) v Jerry Kvarnstrom (FIN)

Featherweight title Lee Do-gyeom (KOR) v Alexandru Chitoran (ROU)

Lightweight title Bruno Machado (BRA) v Mike Santiago (USA)

Afro salons

For women:
Sisu Hair Salon, Jumeirah 1, Dubai
Boho Salon, Al Barsha South, Dubai
Moonlight, Al Falah Street, Abu Dhabi
For men:
MK Barbershop, Dar Al Wasl Mall, Dubai
Regency Saloon, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi
Uptown Barbershop, Al Nasseriya, Sharjah


Chelsea 1 (Hudson-Odoi 90+1')

Manchester City 3 (Gundogan 18', Foden 21', De Bruyne 34')

Man of the match: Ilkay Gundogan (Man City)

The BaaS ecosystem

The BaaS value chain consists of four key players:

Consumers: End-users of the financial product delivered

Distributors: Also known as embedders, these are the firms that embed baking services directly into their existing customer journeys

Enablers: Usually Big Tech or FinTech companies that help embed financial services into third-party platforms

Providers: Financial institutions holding a banking licence and offering regulated products

The specs: Macan Turbo

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 639hp
Torque: 1,130Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Touring range: 591km
Price: From Dh412,500
On sale: Deliveries start in October

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


1. Bhiwadi, India
2. Ghaziabad, India
3. Hotan, China
4. Delhi, India
5. Jaunpur, India
6. Faisalabad, Pakistan
7. Noida, India
8. Bahawalpur, Pakistan
9. Peshawar, Pakistan
10. Bagpat, India

Source: IQAir


Price, base: Dhs850,000
Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Power: 591bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm @ 3,000rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 11.3L / 100km

Europe wide

Some of French groups are threatening Friday to continue their journey to Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union, and to meet up with drivers from other countries on Monday.

Belgian authorities joined French police in banning the threatened blockade. A similar lorry cavalcade was planned for Friday in Vienna but cancelled after authorities prohibited it.

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

Key features of new policy

Pupils to learn coding and other vocational skills from Grade 6

Exams to test critical thinking and application of knowledge

A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance, Assessment, Review and Analysis for Holistic Development) will form the standard for schools

Schools to implement online system to encouraging transparency and accountability


5pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 2,200m
Winner: Jawal Al Reef, Fernando Jara (jockey), Ahmed Al Mehairbi (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: AF Seven Skies, Bernardo Pinheiro, Qais Aboud

6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: Almahroosa, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

6.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: AF Sumoud, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: AF Majalis, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh90,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Adventurous, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihe