By Alee khan
Recently, in the list of states in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index released by NITI Aayog, the state of Kerala has again established its dominance in development. Kerala is at the top with its score of 75. However, among the Union Territories, Chandigarh is at the top with a lead of 4 points i.e. 79 points from Kerala. This ranking is based on several parameters including quality in education, health, clean water, sanitation. Explain that the Sustainable Development Goals India Index measures the progress of states and union territories on social, economic and environmental parameters. The index was launched three years ago from today in December 2018. In its first edition 2018-19, 13 goals, 39 targets and 62 indicators were included. Whereas this time in the third edition, 17 goals, 70 goals and 115 indicators have been included.
In the SDG India Index, the states and union territories are classified into four parts on the basis of their scores. In this, the one who scores between 0 to 49 marks is called a competitor. At the same time, the person performing the number between 50 and 64 is called a performer. The leading front runner is the one to score between 65 and 99 points. The one who scores 100 points is called the achiever. In this index, ranking is determined on the basis of health services, education system, gender equality, poverty alleviation goal, food for all, energy, economic development, infrastructure, equality and basic infrastructure etc. If we talk about the top five states in the SDG India Index for 2020-21 this time, then Kerala is on the top with 75 points, Tamil Nadu with 74 points and Himachal Pradesh are second from the top. At the same time, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka and Uttarakhand are in third place with 72 points. Sikkim is ranked fourth from the top, which has got 71 marks. Maharashtra is at the fifth position with 70 points. While we talk about the low level performance, Bihar is at the bottom position with 52 points. This performance is really very worrying for any state. In such a situation, Bihar is in dire need of contemplation and brainstorming on this deteriorating condition.
Since independence, the plight of Bihar is being seen continuously in the statistics. There are many reasons behind this. If we look at the historical background of Bihar, then we will find Bihar always happy. Bihar is the name given to the land, which has always acted as a guide to write a new chapter in democracy, education, religion, politics and knowledge science.The contribution of Nalanda and Vikramshila University in the world of education has never been forgotten. Cannot be included in the category. But, today it is the misfortune of Bihar that despite having conceived fertile land and immense reserves of minerals, Bihar is currently counted as one of the most backward states of the country.
Many reasons are responsible for the backwardness and decay of Bihar. Talking about the per capita income of the state of Bihar, Bihar maintains less per capita income than all its neighboring states. The per capita income of Bihar in 2015-16 has been estimated at Rs.26801. It is one third as compared to India. Today a large population of Bihar is dependent on the agriculture sector. 76% of the working population of Bihar is engaged in agricultural activities. Even in the present industrialization and technological era, the excessive population in the agricultural sector is a sign of its backwardness. It can be easily estimated from the data that Bihar is an agricultural state. Despite Bihar being an agricultural state, there is no significant contribution in productivity. The main reason behind this is the backwardness of Bihar’s agriculture. Due to the absence of land reforms and being untouched by the effects of the Green Revolution, the level of production in Bihar is low in the agricultural sector. Only 49 percent of the total land holding in the state is irrigated. Due to which the agriculture of Bihar is in backward condition. Here he land of Bihar is facing lack of irrigation, on the other hand the floods coming every year have spoiled the physical condition of Bihar. Let us tell you that 73.06 percent of the total land of Bihar, or two-third, is affected by floods. Every year floods have a very negative impact on the economy of Bihar. Along with causing various economic and social problems due to floods, the problem of water logging also arises. Bihar alone accounts for 17% of the total flood affected area of the country. Statistics show that Bihar accounts for about 12% of flood damage in India. If we talk about electricity generation in Bihar, then the power generation capacity of Bihar is low. Whether it is agriculture or industry of any state, it is not possible to operate them without energy. The bifurcation of Bihar has also emerged as a major reason for the backwardness of Bihar. At the time of independence, Bihar was far ahead industrially in comparison to other states, but after the bifurcation of Bihar, all the major industries moved to Jharkhand and Bihar was industrialized. Became a backward state. Statistics show that there is not a single industrial unit in the seven districts of present-day Bihar. Today, Bihar is forced to face many side effects due to its economic backwardness. The faltering health services of today’s Bihar, the imbalance in gender equality, the huge increase in the figures of poverty, hunger and unemployment are evident.
In such a situation, Bihar needs to set a new scale of economic development. Despite Bihar’s economic backwardness, there is immense potential for development in Bihar. Which can be overcome by proper management. For this, government efforts are desperately needed. Under this, development in agriculture and energy sector, proper use of natural resources, improvement in administrative system, strengthening of communication system, establishment of agro-based industry, strengthening of cottage industry, promotion of tourism industry and working towards skill development is required. There is immense potential for agricultural development in Bihar. Therefore, there is a need to make a policy, giving importance to agriculture in the development priorities of the state. Along with this, it is very important to work towards increasing the per capita income and improving the standard of living of the people.
(Author is Jaisalmer based freelance writer, columnist and commentator. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at Aleekhanbhaiya@gmail.com)