UP Investors Summit 2018: Seeking a remedy for a chronic malady
Heart of the matter: Regional disparities have impaired UP’s development. Deficiency in natural resources, exposure to vagaries of weather are reasons for backwardness of Bundelkhand and Purvanchal.lucknow Updated: Feb 19, 2018 15:34 IST
After taking the reins of the state, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had announced that his government would strive to end regional disparities by launching projects for the development of backward regions of Bundelkhand and Purvanchal.
In the annual budget (2018-19) tabled in the legislative assembly on February 16, the state government allocated funds for the development of infrastructure, irrigation, health facilities and the agriculture sector in Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions.
Adityanath reaffirmed his government’s commitment to mitigating regional disparities through sustained effort, decentralised planning and implementation of development programmes to enhance the quality of life of the people by improving their social and economic wellbeing.
Experts feel that disparities between various regions and sections of the society have impaired the overall development of the state. In terms of the major development indicators, it’s clear that UP is a relatively less developed state in the country with huge regional imbalances.
A senior state government officer said in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan period, the government adopted an ‘inclusive growth’ agenda and laid special emphasis on the schemes meant for reducing regional disparities and backwardness, especially through the mechanism of decentralized planning. The same policy has also been included in the Twelfth Plan.
In order to reduce regional imbalances, the state government has made huge investments in backward regions of the state but the achievements are still not satisfactory.
There are large variations in geophysical conditions of the state, including land, soil, rainfall and climate, owing to the extensive area. Based on these and some allied factors, the state is divided into four economic regions — western, eastern, central and Bundelkhand in the state with more or less similar conditions.
Out of these four regions, eastern UP, popularly known as Purvanchal, and Bundelkhand, are chronically backward in almost every critical area. There are several reasons for this backwardness, but the most significant among them are deficiency in natural resources or exposure to natural calamities, both of these are largely beyond human control and have been great barriers to their growth and development, he said.
Manoj Singh of the People’s Union for Human Rights said the migration of a large number people in east UP to the metros indicated that employment opportunities in the region had diminished due to a decline in the agriculture and industrial sector. Migration in west UP is minimal due to investment in the industry and agriculture. The state government should invest in agro industry in east UP rather than in heavy industry, he said. According to the 2011 Census data, the population of the state increased by more than 3.36 crore during the 2001-2011 decade, but the decadal growth rate in population declined from 25.85 % in 1991-2001 to 20.23% in 2001-2011. A retired officer in the state planning commission said the increasing size of population not only affected growth in every sector of the economy, but also hit every development programme. The increase in population in any region was not always in proportion to the increase in infrastructure. As per the Census 2011 data, the population density is as high as 931 persons per sq km in the eastern region followed by 930 in the western and 785 in Central region. It is the lowest in Bundelkhand region (329) while for the state it is 829.
Urbanisation is a population shift from rural to urban areas and it plays a crucial role in the process of economic development.
According to 2011 Census data, 56.74 % of main workers in the state are engaged in the agriculture sector. Regional analysis reveals that the percentage of main agricultural workers to total main workers is the highest in Bundelkhand region (69.44%) followed by Central region (59.51%) and Purvanchal (59.42 %). The western region is more diversified with 51.28% of workers being engaged in agriculture sector.
The irrigation data of the state (2013-14) indicates that the percentage of net irrigated area to net area sown is the lowest in the Bundelkhand (63.17%) and the highest in western UP (96.71%) followed by Central (86.11%) and eastern region (78.99%) whereas the state average figure is (84.78%).
As for employment generation, the number of employees engaged in registered working factories per lakh of population during 2011-12 was the highest in the western region (811.99) and lowest in the eastern region (96.09). For Central and Bundelkhand region, this figure is 365.03 and 98.28 persons respectively.
“This indicates that Bundelkhand and eastern regions are relatively most backward in respect of industrial development,” he said.
RK Tiwari, an economics teacher at the Gorakhpur Degree College said, roads were the key to the economic and social development of an area. The construction of road infrastructure was crucial in removing regional disparities. The length of metal road per 1000 sq.km. of area, the Eastern region occupies the top position with a figure of 1163.46 Km. Bundelkhand region (475.08 sq km) is placed at the bottom
In the power sector too, regional disparities are also clear. The data of the state power corporation of the year 2014-15 reveals that per capita power consumption is the highest (363.07 kwh) in the western region and lowest (156.43 kwh) in the Eastern region. Social activist Sanjay Singh, who active in Bundelkhand region, said the state government was emphasising on investment in Bundelkhand and Purvanchal region by urging the investors to set up their units there to remove the regional imbalances.