Gujarat’s deadly cocktail: Rising unemployment, crime & dirty politics

Ahmedabad: Migrant workers wait to board a train out of Gujarat in view of protests and violence breaking out over the alleged rape of a 14-month-old girl Tuesday, October 9, 2018. Photo: PTIThe violence in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district that was triggered by the rape of a 14-month-old girl, allegedly by a migrant from Bihar, spread rapidly to other parts of the state. Fanned by hate speeches from certain caste leaders such as Congress’ MLA Alpesh Thakore, the rampage brought about an exodus of Hindi-speaking people from some parts of the state.In his undated speech, Thakore spewed venom in his diatribe about the ‘criminal nature’ of migrants and incited his audience to “take the responsibility to cut the weeds when they dry out”. While Thakore’s speech is despicable, a look at the socio-economic situation in Gujarat presents the stark reality of a state in flux, making it a tinderbox that’s waiting to explode.The large-scale violence that followed the rape of a minor is symptomatic of a crime wave that is sweeping Gujarat. This is happening in tandem with the state’s growing economy that is attracting migrants from other parts of the country in search of a better life. (See Graphic)As per the 2001 census, there were an estimated 19 million migrants across Gujarat. Of these, 2.5 million were first-generation migrants -– those born outside the state. By 2011, the number of migrants in Gujarat (both internal and from outside) swelled by 40 per cent to 27 million. This was much higher than the population growth of Gujarat, which stood at 20 per cent during this period. In 2001, internal and external migrants formed 38 per cent of the state’s population. By 2011, that figure had swelled to 45 per cent.The 2011 census hasn’t yet made public how many of these migrants were from outside the state. But a useful glimpse into the role of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in driving migration to Gujarat was given by former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and his team involved in drafting the Economic Survey 2016-17.
Source: Business Standard