The state of Jharkhand is going through its adolescent years; it has completed 13 years of its existence as an individual state. Even after so many years its citizen are gravely neglected by the government, whether in the state or at the center. The struggle and the sacrifices by the people of Jharkhand for independent state have been in vain as the state is not getting the status of special category even after so many petitions and promises. It is expecting the arrival of central finance team this month. The team of 14th Finance Commission is headed by former RBI governor Y.V. Reddy, and includes Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha and AbhijitSen (part-time member) along with the Union Finance Secretary Sushma Nath, director of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy M.GovindaRao and former acting Chairman of National Statistical Commission Sudipto Mandal.
The Finance team till now has toured 12 states and will visit other states also, to recommend the devolution of a central fund to the states during 2015-2020. The state of Jharkhand is allocated 1500-2000 crores rupees by the center. In this expected visit of the central finance team, the state is willing to raise its allocation to Rs 10,000 crores. The funds under central sector schemes (CSS), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and National Horticulture Mission (NHM) are expected separately.
Agriculture and Crime
Though the track record of Jharkhand is poor in utilizing these funds, still the increase in allocation will help the state in the sectors like roads, infrastructure, power, irrigation, health, human resources, education, safety and security of public. The agriculture sector is very poor and weak in Jharkhand even when it is rich in mineral resources. Above 75% of the work force is working in agricultural activity but generates only 20% of the state’s GDP. This happens due to the negligence of the government. Due to its ignorance of the state, the work force is unaware of new and productive irrigation techniques and technologies. Allotment of latest machinery to the farmers is missing. Even though the industrial production is enough here, the rural population still lives in poverty, which has been estimated at about 46% of the total population in Jharkhand.
The number of female rape cases is escalating frightfully. But it is highly shameful that the conviction rate in the increasing rape cases is declining in Jharkhand while the national conviction rate is increasing. According to the police figure in 2004, 2005, 2006, the conviction rate was 24.9%, 22.2%, 22.1% respectively. The national conviction rate in rape cases has increased in these years has been 25.2%, 25.5%, and 27.2%. According to the police, this low conviction leads to the delay in submitting the charge sheet and proper investigation is also delayed. Police manpower is very low in Jharkhand.
Roads, Electricity and Forest Land
The roads are in a state of pity and are decorated with pot holes which are responsible for the increases in the number of accidents. The center’s support to the Jharkhand Accelerated Road Development Company Limited (JARDCL) could potentially help fulfill the vision for road development. Power cuts are increasing day by day. The state has not allotted sufficient budget for electricity even though it contains large number of popular industries like SAIL, JINDAL, and includes Asia’s largest organisation Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC). Jharkhand consists of 29.5% of forest land. So the demands of the forest management institute to the finance commission team are justified. Talking about the mines of Jharkhand, the adverse effect of mining should be tackled properly. The center should form a regulatory body to look after the functions of mining, lease issues, and restoration of mining areas.
Health and Old Traditions
Health issues are not resolved properly due to the lack of trained doctors. Due to continuous negligence, the state of Jharkhand is stepping back and has already acquired the title of a poor state. People from other parts of the country don’t show any willingness to come here for work. Unawareness of health and sanitation problems is high here. People, especially in rural areas, are sticking to old traditions and beliefs which have been rejected by the modern world. These are child marriage, discarding the colostrum of new mother believing it to be dirty, not using toilets etc. The children of Jharkhand are not immune to childhood diseases. Girls in their adolescence are anemic and suffering from the deficiency of vitamin A.
The education system is degrading day by day here. The rate of the state’s literacy is 66%. Dropouts among poor, tribal children especially girls are higher in this state. Suffering from a heavy deficiency in every sector, Jharkhand is still hopeful that it will get the position it deserves. Expecting a little help, support, recognition from the center, Jharkhand has pulled up its socks and is ready to work hard, and heartily welcomes the center’s team.
By Tanushree Chakravorty
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