Jharkhand the 28th state of the Indian Union was curved out of southern Bihar in November 2000 to fulfil the long awaited hopes and aspirations of the people of the area.
The people of Jharkhand celebrated it joyously and felt liberated from the Internal Colonialism of New Delhi and Bihar Governments. They have been exploiting and usurping the rich natural resources of the area since Independence for the so called greater good of the nation at the expense of the local inhabitants. This had kept the poor and not so poor, tribal and non tribal people of the area deprived and neglected in spite of long history of campaign for their home land.
The initial conditions were highly adverse for the new state in spite of its richness and they included the following;
Very high incidence of Poverty.
Low average Income and
Very little social Development.
Nominal per capita Income in 2003/04 was only 55% of all-India average.
High degree of income inequality and the rural-urban gap within the state resulting in high incidence of poverty in the rural areas which was highest amongst all Indian states.
Initial health and education indicators in Jharkhand were also markedly unfavourable in comparison to both all-India average and the major Indian states.
The proportion of full immunisation of children was merely 9% compared with all-India average of 42%.
Hospital deliveries were 14%, the presence of skill birth attendants 17%.
Women who received at least Ante Natal care contact care was 42%.
All these were much lower than all-India average.
Literacy rate of the state was 54% according to 2001 census, the second lowest in the country against National 65%
Male literacy 68%
Female literacy 39%
They were worse in rural and tribal areas.
Some changes have taken place in recent years and there are some signs of turn around in several respects in Jharkhand.
Poverty declined by 2% but was uneven between urban and rural areas with the reduction faster in the rural areas but sustainability is a cause for concern due to dependence on the unpredictable nature of rainfall for agriculture.
Modest but volatile per capital growth rate of 2.4% in agriculture but industrial and service sectors growth rate were lower than all India rates.
Mining sector which contributes nearly 15% of GSDP (six times more than all-India level grew at only 3% compared to 4.6% at all-India level
The poverty reducing effects of growth have been helped by improvement in distribution in rural areas.
Improvement in access to primary education in the 6-14 years age groups for both gender categories and in scheduled castes and scheduled tribe population.
Age specific enrolment rate for 6-11 age groups improved from 56% in 1993/94 to 58% in 1999/2000 as per NSS data and further to 95% in 2005 as per Sarva Shikshya Abhiyan (SSA).
Equally impressive progress in health indicators has been made especially in childhood vaccination and prevention of major diseases and according to UNICEF immunisation has gone up to 50% compared 9% in 98/99.
Significant progress in reducing prevalence of Leprosy to 2.69 per 10,000 in 2005 from 10.9 per 10,000 in 2001.
Similarly impressive reduction in communicable disease like Tuberculosis with success rate in the treatment of 90% compared to 85% nationally.
The decline in poverty and improvement in social indicators can be attributed to increased allocations and better implementation as well as involvement of NGOs and awareness of the government of the challenges facing them.
Despite this progress, the Jharkhand remains a state with one of the highest poverty rates and far behind the league table of progress and development of the other states of India. The Jharkhand government needs to identify and prioritise the essential requirements for the development and amelioration of the poverty. They are state led infrastructures of roads, bridges, railways, electrification, irrigation, education, health care, clean drinking water, sanitation and better job opportunities for livelihood. The good governance free from corruption and nepotism will help better implementation of inclusive and sustainable growth and development projects. This will narrow the institutional gap and improve access to infrastructure services and social inclusiveness for effective citizenship.
Dr. Dhuni Soren
Reference: World Bank Report No. 36437-IN 2007
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