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What Arun Jaitley meant when he said Gujarat number 1 and Bihar stands at 21

Kunal Majumder | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 7:24 IST

For Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, statistics are the end all of economics, which closes all room for debate. Moreover, he perhaps feels that 'ease of doing business' is the ultimate parameter to measure development.

At Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha's event on Narendra Modi's birthday, Jaitely spoke for about 20 minutes, primarily focusing on the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections.

While rebuffing Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and his alliance partners, Jaitley said, "Nitishji says let us debate the development issue. What is there to debate? This debate is over. Gujarat is number 1 and Bihar stands at 21. The economy speaks through statistics and not through debate."

He was referring to a report that ranks Indian states on 'ease of doing business'. Prepared by the World Bank on request of the Modi government, it ranks five BJP-ruled states in the top 10.

A closer look at its findings will reveal only a few reasons for the Finance Minister to rejoice. To start with, no state in India scored above 71 per cent and only seven managed to go above 50. Perhaps, the idea behind the report was never assessment, but rather naming and shaming.

First published: 14 February 2017, 7:24 IST
Kunal Majumder @kunalmajumder

Editor for Speed News aka Catch Live and Operations at Catch, Kunal enjoys measuring his life in numbers. Of his 30 years of life, 12 have been spent working, 9 of them in journalism. The remaining 3 were spent in 2 call centres, talking to British and Australians about insurance and cellphones. In his journalistic capacity, Kunal has worked at 3 publications and headed 2 online teams. The '3' includes Images Multimedia, Tehelka and DNA. The '2' includes Tehelka and DNA. Catch is Kunal's 6th workplace, where he will head his 3rd team as speed news editor. As a reporter, he won 2 awards - Statesman Award for Rural Reporting and UNFPA-Laadli Award for Gender Sensitivity. That's his story in Prime Numbers (a section on this site from which he's taken inspiration).