Source: The Pioneer

 

For instance, while per capita income has increased from Rs 18, 510 in 2004-05 to Rs 31,982 in 2011-12, the average economic growth over the last seven years is 5.3 per cent per annum, far below the national rate of 8.8 per cent. 

 

The study characterises the law and order situation as ‘volatile’ with cases of murder rising compared to 2006, but the figures for crimes against women and children and juvenile offences remained the same level over 2006-2010. Crimes against scheduled tribes and castes have fallen at an average annual rate of 3.31 percent. Hearteningly, the civil and armed police strength has increased at 20.29 per cent annually since 2006, which is higher than that of neighbouring Bihar (11per cent). Jharkhand also has 140 policemen per one lakh people, marginally better than the national figure of 130.

 

More worrying though, is the effect of naxal violence on development activities. JDR-12’s demographic analysis of 72 naxal-affected districts across nine States reveals that “none of the districts in Jharkhand fall in the top 10 districts of India.” East Singhbhum (0.56 index value) was adjudged the best performing among Jharkhand’s Naxal-affected districts; with Chatra, Giridih and Gumla bringing up the rear as the least developed.

 

Development expenditure cornered a whopping 53.5 percent of funds, but infrastructure figures tell a different story. Only 61 per cent habitations in the state have proper road connectivity, lower than the national average of 74.Railway infrastructure has, however, expanded in leaps at over 8 times the national average. LPG and electricity penetration, at 17.1 and 32.5 per cent respectively, too are far below the national average of 39.1 and 69.4 percent respectively. This is despite the fact that Jharkhand met almost 96 per cent of its electricity demands in 2010-11.

 

Also, while the percentage share of expenditure on health and family welfare in the State (4.4 per cent) has been higher than the national average for most of the 2006-2011 period (4.2 percent), Jharkhand has a long way to go in expanding medical care to the hinterlands, with only 31 percent of deliveries being attended by skilled practitioners. However, the infant and under-5 mortality rate has fallen considerably.

 

Education has also received large chunk of funds (15.4 percent in 2009-10); while this is a good sign, it has not reflected in the state’s performance. The density of pre-college institutions or schools in the state is 1001 per million people in 2010, fairly lower than the all-India average of 1228. The number falls to a measly 6 in the case of higher educational institutions. “What is more worrying is the complete stagnation over the last few years, while the national average has almost doubled over the same period,” the report states. The situation worsens in the case of technical and professional institutions, with just ONE professional institute per million people in 2010, compared to the national average of 25. Medical colleges (4) and management, law and IT colleges (0.9) did not fare well either against the national average of 18 and 2.3 respectively.

 

Administrative expenditure takes up a whopping 11.8 percent, compared to the national figure of 7.9 which does not augur well for Jharkhand’s fiscal state. Another cause for concern is the low diffusion of banks and post offices in the state at 0.6 and 0.9 per 10,000 people respectively, compared to 0.7 and 1.2 nationally.

 

Communications figures show that “even though coverage has increased in the last few years, it is still considerably lower than the national average. Only a little over 5 percent people have telephone connections in Jharkhand…. barely 10 percent of the national average,” states the report. The figure for mobile phones (34.1 per 1000 people) “was even less than 10 percent of the national average (451.4),” it adds. Internet penetration is dismal, not even one-sixth of the all-India average. Only Bihar has lower figures.

 

The report concludes with a forecast that at the average growth rate of 5 percent, Jharkhand’s per capita income will be $2980 in 2020-21, equivalent to that of Vietnam today, with the caveat that this growth will be fluid due to changing growth trajectories over time.