New Delhi, March 17: As the BJP top brass was still not able to finalise a name for the Chief Minister’s post in Uttar Pradesh by the time of filing this report on Friday afternoon, a massive challenge of keeping the tall promises made during campaign awaits the future government.
Uttar Pradesh has some of the worst development statistics as far as socio-economic sectors like health, education, unemployment, agriculture are concerned.
Uttar Pradesh is not just India’s most populous province, it compares with many countries on the globe in terms of both geography and demography. The problems are as complex as the social structure of the state with SC/ST and OBCs along with Muslims asking for a fair share in development on all fronts. Th upper castes have also bounced back this time, apparently riding on the Hindutva hegemony wave, propelled by BJP and RSS since the ascent of Modi government at the centre.
The pathetic state of primary education, the problem of malnutrition among kids, the dangerous mortality rate among kids and mothers indicate the poor policies and low priority in nurturing human resource despite crores of population. The BJP in its manifesto, during assembly election campaign, promised to tackle all the problems and announced many future schemes. Now that they have achieved an unprecedented victory, it will be expected of them to deliver quickly.
1. UP Has India’s Worst Infant Mortality Rate
It might be shocking, but UP spends only Rs 452 per capita on health, 70% less than the average spending by states.
One in two children in the state is not fully immunised, and the state has India’s second highest maternal mortality rate (258 deaths per 100,000 live births) and highest infant mortality rate (64 deaths per 1,000 live births), according to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-16 (NFHS-4).
There are 84% fewer specialists than needed, 50% fewer nursing staff, and the lowest share of health workers (19.9%) in India, found an analysis by the Observer Research Foundation in February 2017.
As many as 46.3% of UP’s children are stunted (low height-for-age), 17.9% are wasted (low weight-for-height) and 39.5% of its children are underweight, according to NFHS-4.
2. Pathetic Primary Education with 21% of India’s child population:
UP has achieved high enrolment of children in primary school, with 83.1% of primary school-aged children enrolled in school in 2015-16, according to the data from the government’s Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE).
Major issues for the new government now include low learning outcomes, high absenteeism, and lower enrollment in grade VI and further–60.5% of upper-primary school-aged students enrolled in school in 2015.
In 2016, about half (49.7%) of grade I students surveyed in households in UP could not read letters, while 44.3% could not recognise numbers up to nine, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), a citizen-led assessment of learning in rural India, as IndiaSpend reported in February 2016.
The survey also found that a little over half of students (56%) were present in primary school on the days of the survey.
3. Unemployment higher than the national average:
The low quality of education in the state (and a dearth of jobs) is reflected in UP’s high unemployment. In 2015-16, more people per 1,000 were unemployed in UP (58), compared to the Indian average (37). Youth unemployment was especially high, with 148 for every 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 29 years in UP unemployed, compared to the Indian average of 102, according to 2015-16 labour ministry data.
Voters recognise the lack of jobs as a major issue in the state. As many as 20% of voters surveyed before elections said jobs were the most important issue.
4. UP in bottom five in Industrial growth:
UP reported an annual industrial growth (2004-05 constant prices) of 1.95% and 1.93% in 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively, according to the NITI Aayog–among the bottom five in the country.
The state is struggling even in industries that have traditionally been strong. For instance, Kanpur’s leather industry is in deep distress with 146 of its 400 leather tanning units shutting down in ten years.
UP ranked 20th out of 21 states on the 2016 State Investment Potential Index, a ranking of states on labour, infrastructure, economic climate, political stability, governance, and perceptions of a good business climate.
The index, released by the National Council for Applied Economic Research, identifies a shortage of electricity and vocationally trained people as the main concern in the state.
5. Agricultural growth slower than even Uttarakhand:
By 2012-13, UP, with an estimated 18.05 million agricultural households, made up 20% of India’s total agricultural households. Three out of four rural households in UP depend on agriculture, making agricultural reforms a key agenda in one of India’s most fertile belts.
For the nine years between 2004-05 and 2012-13, the agriculture and allied sector in UP recorded the slowest compounded annual growth rate of 2.9% (out of all the BIMARU states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP), below the national growth rate of 3.7 %.
UP recorded a growth rate of 4.2% in agriculture and allied activities (constant 2004-05 prices), slower than Uttarakhand, formed out of UP in 2000, which recorded a growth rate of 5.12%, and Madhya Pradesh, which grew at 18.85%, in 2014-15.
Outstanding farmer loans in UP stood at nearly Rs 75,000 crore as of two years ago, Business Standard reported on March 15, 2017. Of these, a little more than 10%, or Rs 8,000 crore, was loaned through state cooperative banks or primary agricultural credit societies, which are the only loans that the newly formed government can choose to waive off–the other loans, are controlled by scheduled commercial banks. This amount includes loans to all farmers in the state, and not just small and marginal farmers.
6. More than half the households unelectrified:
UP remains one of India’s most poorly electrified states–with 51.8% of rural households unelectrified–despite having the third largest installed coal capacity in the country at the end of January 2017.
Corruption and red tape within electricity distribution companies, which are responsible for the timely disbursal of funds for electrification projects, are a major factor in the lackadaisical progress of electrification across the state, as IndiaSpend reported in March 2017.
(Data and reporting by Indiaspend.Comments added by India Samvad)