The Rajasthan state government got accolades for bringing in labour law reforms and attracting investment opportunities but got hands downs for a recent provision of introducing educational qualifications for contesting panchayat polls.
“Bimaru (backward) term has been used by different state government for different purposes. In Rajasthan informal education in increasing but the government is asking for degrees to contest panchayat elections, which is a conflict,” said editor of a Hindi daily Jansatta, Om Thanvi. He adds that political ignorance would have to be dealt with.
On Thanvi’s objections, vice chairman of NITI Aayog, Arvind Panagariya asked him to provide an alternate. “If Mr Editor has any better formula we are ready to implement it. I am even ready to bow and sit in his feet if he has any better suggestion,” said Panagariya.
The session ‘Rajasthan: Out of Bimaru’ witnessed heat growing up on a rather chilly evening at Mughal Tent.
Panagariya even disagreed with the term Bimaru. “Bimaru in fiction may be ok but not in real. There are 11 states that are below Rajasthan in growth rate and in two to three years Rajasthan will surpass West Bengal in GDP,” asserted Panagariya, a native of Jaipur.
Expressing hope of development picking up in the state, Panagariya said, “We are hopeful because of the incumbent chief minister (Vasundhara Raje)”. Pointing to labour law reforms, Panagariya said, “No one did anything to ‘catch the bull by horn’ for so many years despite talks.” He said at the end of day, employment and growth are important and labour law reforms would contribute a lot in this regard.
Panagariya said manufacturing presently contributes 10% to Rajasthan’s GDP but the state would progress in manufacturing soon.
Speaking of skill development, Malavika Singh, a writer and publisher, said people need not learn new skills as traditional skills too could cater to employment. “There is the need of new template where local citizens work in tandem with the government through counsels and experts,” she opined while advocating out of box ideas.
Bibek Debroy, professor at Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, said historically-backward states have started exhibiting growth during the past 20 years and “governance being critical, template is uniform across states who have done well”. He also stressed the need for liberalisation in agriculture sector in India.