On May 1, 1960 the erstwhile state of Bombay was divided on linguistic basis, this giving birth to Gujarat and Maharashtra. Unofficially called the 'Jewel of Western India', Gujarat has been on the global map for quite some time. It was officially formed after an idea for a separate state for Gujaratis surfaced in 1928 in a magazine titled Kumar. Writer and freedom fighter KM Munshi was the first one to suggest a concept called Mahagujarat and made the suggestion in a meeting during the Gujarat Sahitya Sabha which was held in Karachi in 1937. Map of Gujarat was first seen in a magazine ahead of a poem by Devshavji Parmar titled 'Uthtrishta Jagrat'.
Historically, Gujarat has always had a significant part to play. It had a major role in businesses of Karachi and Mumbai during the British Raj.
The story of Gujarat is one of a state punching above its weight. The state with only 5 per cent of India's land mass and barely 5 per cent of its population, now accounts for 7.6 per cent of the country's GDP and 22 per cent of its exports. Its annual Gross State Domestic Product growth has averaged almost 10 per cent, faster than India's. Gujarat has the longest coastline and serves as an integral native trading hub for centuries, one of the most dominant in the Arabian Sea. Almost 25 per cent of India's sea cargo passes through Gujarat ports.
It has been among the fastest growing states. Despite poor rainfall, it has made strides in agriculture, with cash crops like cotton, oilseeds, and tobacco dominating its story. A milk revolution and large-scale exports of fish accompanied the growth in horticulture and sharp increase in agricultural productivity. Despite the Surat plague and the earthquake in Kutch, the state's economic growth rate has surged in the last one-and-a-half decades.
While Gujarat is a “model state” in economic growth, it is a “middle state” in social sector growth. Both agricultural and manufacturing growth is in double digits, but of the 20 major states in India, Gujarat's ranking is always between 9 and 12 on all major social sector rankings.
The most prosperous area, Central Gujarat, has shown maximum improvement in wages- an increase from an average wage of Rs 136.7 (2011-12 prices) to Rs 200.9 in 2011-as well as per capita household consumption. In terms of wages, Central Gujarat was followed by the Eastern Corridor (Rs 124.1 in 1999 to Rs 163.4 in 2011) and then Western Gujarat. Western Gujarat, which used to be best in wages in 1999-2000, shows maximum improvement in reducing absolute poverty (from average absolute poverty of 26.5 per cent in 1999 to 9.5 per cent in 2011). In consumption, Western Gujarat is most improved, followed by Central Gujarat, then the East.
Central Gujarat is the best in level of development. It also shows the highest improvement among the three regions. The conclusion is based on achievements in income, health and education. Western Gujarat and the Eastern Corridor take the second and third positions respectively.
Contribution of all chief ministers
Gujarat owes its success to all the past and present chief ministers that have shaped the state. Each of these leaders have pushed Gujarat amidst all adversities and politics. Jivraj Mehta was the inaugural chief minister, who was unfortunately killed during the 1965 war with Pakistan when his airplane was shot down. Then Hitendra Desai, Ghanshyam Oza, Chimanbhai Patel, and Babubhai Jashbhai Patel took up office. After Babubhai's government broke down in 1976, Madhav Sinh Solanki became chief minister. Under his leadership, Congress won 149 seats out of 182; the record is yet to be broken. However, after four months, Solanki government was replaced with Amarsinh Chaudhary, but Madhav Sinh returned to the office before the 1990 assembly elections. In 1990, the record for giving the lowest seats (33) for Congress is also registered in the name of Solanki. Chimanbhai Patel became CM again in 1990 and BJP's Keshubhai Patel was number two in his government.
Chimanbhai became the second chief minister, who died in office in February 1994. Chhabildas Mehta came in as his successor. After the 1995 election, BJP's Keshubhai took the post, but after the rebellion of Shankersinh Vaghela, he had to leave it and Suresh Mehta succeeded him. Vaghela-supported industrialist Dilip Parikh became chief minister after people submitted a big allegation of corruption to the governor. Later, BJP's Keshubhai Patel became the Chief Minister of the state after the assembly elections of 1998. In October 2001, he was replaced by Narendra Modi as Chief Minister and only let off the post when he became Prime Minister in May 2014.
His successor, Anandiben Patel, and later the current Chief Minister Vijay Rupani became heads of the ruling party. After the results of the Lok Sabha elections on May 23, 2019, Gujarat's leadership will be transformed, according to talks. While there is no person from any party in power in Gujarat, no one can stop the growth of development.