Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it appears, lives in his own fantasy world. He fantasises something about his achievements and then starts believing it to be true. The latest example is the claim, he made during his recent interaction with the Indian diaspora in London. He said that he, as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, had been receiving gifts which he had auctioned over Rs 100 crore. He said that he spent this amount on girl education. Following which people started giving him cheques for girls’ education. In his own words: —
फिर मैं उसका valuation करवाने लगा, फिर मैंने उसका ऑक्शन करवाना शुरू किया। हम लोग जानते हैं हिंदुस्तान में राजनेताओं के साथ ऐसी बातें, सब सच होती हैं ऐसा भी मैं नहीं कहता हूं, झूठ होती हैं ये भी मैं नहीं कह सकता। लेकिन ये तो होता कि यार वो फलाना था, कितना ले गया। लेकिन मैं गर्व से कहता हूं कि जब मैंने गुजरात छोड़ा था तो ये जो मुझे मिलती थीं चीजें, मैं उसका लगातार ऑक्शन करता था पब्लिक में। और ऑक्शन करके उससे जो पैसा आता था वो मैं girl child education के लिए सरकार में donate कर देता था। और करीब-करीब 100 करोड़ से ज्यादा रुपए ऑक्शन से और फिर लोग मुझे चैक भी देने लगे। किसी फंक्शन में जाता था तो चीज देने के बजाय girl child education के लिए चैक देने लगे। ये amount करीब-करीब 100 करोड़ से ज्यादा था, जो मैं बच्चियों की शिक्षा के लिए दे देता था।
But in reality, all that Narendra Modi had received from the auction of the gifts during his 12-year tenure was only Rs 19 crore. Indian Express, Ahmedabad edition, had reported it on January 2, 2014: ‘In the 12 years of being at the helm in Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been able to contribute about Rs 19 crore to the Kanya Kelavani, a programme floated by his government for girls’ education in the state. Modi contributed the money to the state treasury after auctioning 18,000-plus gifts, that he had received by him, in a public auctions, stated an official release here on Wednesday”.
With so much zeal displayed by Modi towards improving the life of girls, it will not be out of place to have a look at the state of girls’ education in Gujarat when he left the State to become the Prime Minister. In June 2014, the then Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani was invited to Gujarat to participate in a school function. There she promptly announced that she would replicate the Gujarat school education model to other States. She was, however, stopped by the officials of her own Ministry from making any move. She was then said to have been given a report prepared by the HRD Ministry around the same time.
The report titled ‘Elementary Education in India: Progress towards Universal Elementary Education’ had found that the average dropout rate of girls in the upper primary level in Gujarat was 8.19 per cent, which was higher than all States except Madhya Pradesh (10.27 per cent). The all-India average dropout rate for girls at the higher primary level was 4.01 percent only. Obviously the Gujarat government’s ‘Kanya Kelavani’ drive for ensuring girl child participation in education had failed. The dropout rate for the boys, too, at the upper primary level was quite high – 2.75 per cent, whereas the all-India average was 2.30 per cent.
The enrollment rate for children was also far below the objective set in the Right to Education Act of 2009. The all-India average was 88.05 per cent at the lower primary level and 70.20 per cent at the upper primary level. Gujarat lagged behind all-India average here also, with 82.92 per cent at the lower primary level and 68.39 per cent at the upper primary level. Figures of enrolment at the lower primary level for some other States were: Bihar 91.66 per cent, Chhattisgarh 93.79 per cent, Jharkhand 96.49 per cent, Madhya Pradesh 93.66 per cent, Odisha 89.05 per cent, and Uttar Pradesh 87.03 per cent.