01/07/2010, 00.00
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Bimaru: the poorest states in India awaken

by CT Nilesh
Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, once called "the sick states" have increased their development up to 11%. Orissa also has a good development (8.74%). But corruption, terrorism and Maoism is also growing because the wealth of these states is not distributed equitably, leaving very poor groups in the population.

They had been called Bimaru (in Hindi language means sick) the four Indian states: Bihar,

Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the most poor states in India along with Orissa; but now they are catching up and also performing better than the Indian average of 8.49. Bihar, for example has broken the two digits figure. From 2004 to 2009, Bihar average growth had been 11.03. Uttarahkand (that was part of Uttar Pradesh) had an average of 9.31 in the same period; Jharkhand (that was part of Bihar) had a growth of 8.45, Chhattisgarh (that was part of Madhya Pradesh) a good growth of 7.35. Three of these states had been carved out in 2000. That can show that smaller states can perform better or that development produce the need of autonomy.

So the fast development of India is not only produced or in favor of the already industrialized  states but is spreading also to the less developed areas of the country.

Orissa’s performance, 8.74%, is also remarkable, since 10 years ago it had the worst fiscal indicators among all the states. The chief minister, Nveen Patnaik hs been a major force in accelerating growth and stabilizing state finances. His image as a clean politician has been tarnished recently by report of widespread corruption. Land acquisition problems and Maoist violence have highlighted continuing tribal travails, and the murder of Christians s a blot on his secular record. Yet he should be praised for making Orissa stage a huge turnaround.

The same credit should be given to Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, with its annual growth of 11.03 represents  the fastest growing state in India together with Gujarat 11.05. Under the previous administration of Lalu Prasad, Bihar was at the bottom of development.

Fast growth in poor states does not automatically mean that growth has reached all poor people. Major beneficiaries include a creamy layer of politically well-connected people. The spread of Maoism in some of these states, like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh an Orissa suggest a widespread tribal distress.

The poor states remain far behind the rest of India. Maoism, terrorism and corruption are growing. Yet, the economic gap between some poor and rich states is shrinking dramatically.

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