November 7, 2007EconomyPublic Policy

Is Gujarat’s rural-urban gulf really widening?

Where’s the data to prove it?

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

In previous posts we saw how selective obfuscations and revelations were used to arrive at conclusions that are inconsistent with the facts. Here we look at an example of another technique—suggesting a trend when there is insufficient evidence of one.

Planning Commission figures show that the gulf between the rural and the urban population in Gujarat is only widening. The state has 63.49 lakh (19.1 percent of the rural population) BPL people in rural areas as compared to 27.19 lakh (13 percent of the urban population) in cities. Thus, despite the jugglery of BPL figures, Gujarat’s rural BPL population is greater than that of urban areas, both in percentage and absolute terms, just like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh or Jharkhand. [Shivam Vij/Tehelka]

The Planning Commission’s figures show that Gujarat has a lot more poor people in its villages than in its cities. It also shows that 2 in 10 people in the villages are poor, while roughly one in 10 city dwellers is poor. These figures do not suggest that the gulf between the rural and urban population is widening.

To make a prima facie case that the gulf is widening, one needs to look into previous years’ figures. The onus of proof is on the one who is making the argument. If there is such data available then they should have been stated in the article. We already saw that there was no jugglery in the BPL figures. But we can see some jugglery here: in drawing a trend when the evidence offered shows none.



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