In 16 years, Jharkhand has made rapid strides in development, from big road constructions to introduction of e-governance, direct benefit transfer, to advances in production of fish and pulses, and other sectors.
However, a number of unresolved issues plague the state which has made rapid strides in development.
Unsettled tenancy and domicile issues, poor and unaffordable educational and health facilities, not devolving power to panchayats, or increasing the number of seats in assembly for greater representation, and left-wing extremism are issues that are undermining the development push.
The local residents’ policy announced after years of wait has not been accepted by tribal and other ethnic groups, who have called for improvement in tune with local sentiments even as it stands challenged in court. The state further stirred up a hornet’s nest by meddling in tenancy laws inviting state-wide tribal protest.
Quality universal education eludes the state as most schools have been reduced to midday meal centres in want of qualified teachers. The faculty strength in schools is 40-50% below the sanctioned limit, as part time para teachers manage daily affairs.
The state’s heath sector lies in a shambles as many primary (PHC) and community health centres (CHC) operate in rented spaces devoid of power and water facilities. Of 5,000 doctors sanctioned, only 1,800 are appointed with the numbers abysmally low in remote and rural areas.
Despite two polls since 2009, panchayats are without powers defeating the idea of empowering local self-governments.
The Principal Accountant General’s audit report states that only 13 out of 29 subjects that are to be handed over to the panchayats as per constitutional mandate have been devolved/delegated with partial powers. The state’s unwillingness to part with its powers is eroding empowerment of grassroot institutions.
Another issue facing the state is the low number of seats in the assembly. Despite resolutions being forwarded to the Centre five times, the matter has not found favour in Delhi.
The idea behind the demand was that seat-increase would help put an end to the political uncertainty and instability in the state and bring better representation to people.
Left-wing Extremism is another issue that remains untamed, affecting development activities in several places, especially forested hilly tracts.
The state, in the last two years, has achieved success against the Maoists and other extremist factions, but 17 out of 24 districts still are affected by the menace.