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India's 'Bimaru' states continue to lag: UN report

According to UNDP report extreme poverty is concentrated in rural areas of the northern poverty-belt.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2005 11:50 IST

India continues to face the paradox of some states in the north in abject poverty and others in the south registering dynamic growth, says a UN report, confirming noted demographer Ashish Bose's 'Bimaru' theory.

"Extreme poverty is concentrated in rural areas of the northern poverty-belt states including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal," says UNDP's Human Development Report for 2005 released globally Wednesday.

"Growth has been most dynamic in other states, urban areas and services sector," it says, while seeking answers to another paradox in India as to why accelerated income growth has not resulted in faster reduction of poverty.

In a study in 2001, Bose had offered insights into how Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were blocking India's progress and had coined the descriptive 'Bimaru' for them, which literally means sick in Hindi.

The term draws its name from the first letters of the four states.

The UNDP report says while rural poverty has fallen rapidly in some states such as Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, less progress has been made in the northern states. It also notes while rural employment is rising, farm growth is just two percent.

"India may be a world leader in computer software, but when it comes to basic immunisation services for children in poor rural areas, the record is less than impressive," it adds.

"Some of India's southern cities may be in the midst of a technology boom, but one in every 11 Indian children dies in the first five years of life for lack of low-technology, low-cost interventions," says the report.

"The deeper problem facing India is its human development legacy. In particular, pervasive gender inequalities, interacting with rural poverty and inequalities among states, are undermining the potential for growth into human development."

India continues to languish at 127th position among 177 nations in this year's Human Development Index, even as it has been hailed as a major success story on globalisation.

--Indo-Asian News Service


First Published: Sep 14, 2005 11:50 IST