Hill migration in U’khand takes toll on health indices in plains

Poverty is at the root of forced migration from the hills of Uttarakhand and the rural-urban migration that have led to a massive demographic concentration in urban areas as is evident from worsening health indices, an official report suggested

dehradun Updated: Apr 01, 2018 21:41 IST
Deep Joshi 
Deep Joshi 
Hindustan Times
The hill state is endowed with a huge tourism potential, which can be tapped by promoting homestay facilities, and leisure and religious tourism, says the economic survey report.(HT Photo)

Poverty is at the root of forced migration from the hills of Uttarakhand and the rural-urban migration that have led to a massive demographic concentration in urban areas as is evident from worsening health indices, an official report suggested.

It stated that health indicators were worse in Udham Singh Nagar, Dehradun and Haridwar.

“These three plain districts are considered the best on health, basic facilities and economic indices,” said the economic survey report (2017-18) the state government tabled in the assembly’s recently concluded budget session.

Released for the first time, the economic survey report attributed the worsening health indices in the three plain districts to forced migration from the hills and the rural-urban migration.

Conversely, on the economic and basic amenities indices those (three) districts happen to be far better placed compared to the rest 10 hill districts.

On the index of education they are marginally behind the plain districts. The population density index shows markedly increasing migration from the hills to the plains.

The report attributed that to the growing poverty in the 10 hill districts and their far lower per capita income compared to the plains.

On the human poverty index (based on 2011-12 census figures) Pauri is the worst placed (29.36%) among the 10 hill districts. Champavat (26.55%) comes second followed by Bageshwar (24.01%), Rudraprayag (20.71%), Uttarkashi (20.44%), Chamoli (20. 37%), Pithoragarh (15.85%), Almora (13.62%), Nainital (11.27%) and Tehri (10.15%).

Among the plain districts, Haridwar has the highest incidence (22.63%) of poverty followed by Udham Singh Nagar (12.6%) and Dehrdun (10.62%).

The difference is “three times more” between the districts showing the highest and the lowest per capita income in 2016-17.

“The per capita income recorded in the state’s 10 hill districts is below the state’s average per capital income (Rs1, 61, 102), which shows a massive economic disparity,” the report stated.

Per capita power consumption, availability of roads for per 10,000 people and accessibility of potable water in residential premises “are other indicators of disparity” between the hill and the plains.

The difference in areas under irrigation as well as availability of banking facilities per 10 sq metres, the exhaustive survey report cites as “other crucial factors responsible for further widening the economic disparity” between the two dissimilar sub-regions.

It suggests that the government address the regional economic disparities by augmenting its receipts by tapping the vast potential of the sectors such as tourism, agriculture, hydropower etc.

“The state is endowed with a huge tourism potential, which can be tapped by promoting home stay facilities and religious, leisure, and eco- tourism,” the report suggested.

It recommended that the government tap the hill state’s vast potential for wellness tourism by exploiting the vast herbal wealth it is endowed with.

The report suggested that “special efforts” should be made to develop the tourism infrastructure and publicise tourist spots dotting the region.

“There is a need to keep the atmosphere spick-and-span in tourist spots,” it further stated suggesting that such measures would help augment tourism.

The report also calls for the government’s intervention to tap the state’s potential for organic sector.

“If harnessed properly, the vast hydropower potential the hill state is endowed with could be its main source of income,” the report suggested.

It also stressed on the need to augment the revenues by tapping a key source like the Non Timber Forest Produce.

Besides, it noted that the total “estimated value” of the forest based environmental services comes to ₹9,5103 crore.

“(However) the forestry fetches only 3.64% of the total Gross Domestic Product while its vast potential remains unrealised.”

First Published: Apr 01, 2018 21:41 IST