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Growth story divides the west from the rest

The best developed district in Uttar Pradesh is six times more so than the worst

Written by Shyamlal Yadav |
March 1, 2012 11:47:35 pm

The best developed district in Uttar Pradesh is six times more so than the worst,state government figures indicate. Districts in western UP,closest to Delhi,far outpace those in other regions,not just those in Bundelkhand,according to the department’s Niyojan Atlas,which considers 36 indicators.

The atlas is published every year but it is so delayed that the latest available edition is that for 2008. It gives Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) a composite development index of 431.44,against which even western UP neighbours like Ghaziabad (170.52) and Meerut (147.72) pale in comparison.

Lucknow and Kanpur (145.64 and 145.56) in central UP complete the top five. The bottom five districts of Shravasti,Sant Kabir Nagar,Chitrakoot,Kaushambi and Azamgarh have scored between 70 and 72,a sixth’s of GB Nagar’s index.

Among backward regions,Bundelkhand has got a lot of attention from the Central and state governments because of suicides,but the imbalance includes many districts in the eastern and Terai regions,too. Even the Avadh or central region,which includes Lucknow,compares poorly with GB Nagar in particular.

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This will pose a challenge to whichever party comes to power,with each having promised all-round development of the state.

The atlas has overall comparisons between the western,central,eastern and Bundelkhand regions,with the first two outmatching the latter two. Besides GB Nagar,Ghaziabad and Meerut,other districts that have scored well include Muzaffarnagar and Saharanpur. Low scorers besides the bottom five include Lalitpur,Mahoba,Rae Bareli,Pratapgarh,Bahraich,Maharajganj,Chandauli,Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar and Banda.

The Planning Commission has written several times to the state government to correct this regional imbalance. A year ago,Montek Singh Ahluwalia wrote to Chief Minister Mayawati,“The state government needs to focus specially on improving the productivity of agriculture in Bundelkhand region and eastern parts of the state to bring (these) at par with other regions of the state.” Letters have been sent by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar,too.

Chief secretary Anup Mishra wrote last September to Union agriculture secretary P K Basu that “91 per cent farmers of the state (are) in mariginal and small categories”. This implies low landholding,demands high agriculture yield,and calls for commercialisation of crops and proper marketing facilities.

A poor record in open & shut cases too

In a state where the government says 91 per cent of farmers fall under the small and marginal categories,any revival should depend largely on micro,small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),a sector considered the key to prosperity these days.

The country’s most populous state,however,lags far behind others on this count. According to the last MSME census,released last year. Uttar Pradesh accounts for the largest number of non-functional enterprises,16.94 per cent of the country’s total. Tamil Nadu,however,tops in terms of shut enterprises (16.72 per cent to UP’s 16.24 per cent) — “non-functional” includes those that are shut as well as those that cannot be traced.

In terms of those working,UP has 12 per cent of the total,behind Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. And according to a report being compiled by the MSME Ministry,UP’s count of non-registered enterprises is 9 per cent (same as Tamil Nadu’s),well behind leader West Bengal’s 14 per cent

Most of UP’s industries are concentrated in districts close to Delhi such as Noida (Gautam Buddh Nagar),Ghaziabad,Meerut,Saharanpur and Agra.

In the last three years,the Planning Commission has written at least three times to the state government about developing the sector. “All factors of development like infrastructure,availability of raw material,easy transport,undisturbed running of the industrial units,including the law and order,have to be coordinated to achieve the goal. UP has attracted considerable investment in Noida neighbouring Delhi,but much more needs to be done in other areas,” one letter said.

“I find that the state has lost the guts to go for entrepreneurship,” said an official of a national bank that sanctions MSME loans. “There have been very few takers for loans to run enterprises.”

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