Will this rat race ever end: – Indian states not catching up with richer ones?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events and/ or publicly available information. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Abhijeet Roy, MBA 2016-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

India is a country of great diversity; be it culture, festivals or even wealth. On one hand, India has cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, where people can afford luxuries in their lives. However, the country also holds several places, where people are extremely poor and are barely able to meet the ends. Despite the country’s meteoric GDP growth rate (about 8%), poverty in India is still pervasive; especially in states like Jharkhand, Manipur, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh.

Samuel Johnson once said that “a decent provision for the poor is a true test of civilization” India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and yet its wealth is hardly redistributed across the population. Every year the Chief Minister speaks about the upliftment of their state but in the next session again the ranking worsens. Less developed states such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh had started improving their relative performance. But the data shows that those developments were neither strong nor durable enough to change the underlying picture of divergence.

In Chhattisgarh about one third of its population lies below extreme poverty line. Chhattisgarh contributes 15% of the total steel produced in India yet 93% people are poor in Chhattisgarh. Similar is the case with Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. These mineral rich states despite having such huge natural resources have always secured the position below the poverty line. Doesn’t it seem weird that Per capita income of Goa is 3.01 times more than India’s average and 7.18 times more than poorest state Bihar. It is clear that the economic out-performance of some of these States is a function of their politics and policies over decades or the “maturation of democracy”. But still in this digital era where Poorer countries are catching up with richer countries, but in India, the less developed states are not catching up; instead they are, on average, falling behind the richer states,” said the Economic Survey 2016-17.

The phrase “united we stand, divided we fall”, fits perfectly within India. Unless these states do miraculously well and converge at least to some extent to the rich state India as a whole cannot develop and the phrase “achhe din aayenge” will always be a futuristic statement only

#Abhijeet Roy,VGSoM IIT Kharagpur,#Indian states #economic reform