M.P., Rajasthan say they are no more sick economically

They admit much work has to be done on social front

New Delhi: Nearly three decades after the four states -- Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh -- were given the dubious distinction of being BIMARU (sick in Hindi), two of them claim they have managed to shed the image, at least on the economic front.

Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan governments, while stoutly defending their investment policies, say they are no more sick, although they admit that on social indicators like health infrastructure and human development, they have a long way to go.

As per 1991 census, BIMARU States contributed more than 35 per cent of India’s population and about 48 per cent of the illiterate population.

According to State Government figures, there are 24 lakh families in Rajasthan that live below poverty line. In Madhya Pradesh, the number of poor forms about 37 per cent of the State’s population of nearly seven crore.

The Rajasthan Government claims it attracted investment proposals worth Rs 1.55 lakh crore last year in all sectors of industries including IT and SEZ.

Better tax realisation

H.S. Bhabhra, the Vice-Chairman of the State Economic Policy and Reforms Council, told PTI that the financial situation of the State had improved with better tax realisation and Centrally sponsored schemes’ funds, leading to a surplus budget and zero revenue deficit.

The Madhya Pradesh Government says that the year 2005-06 ended with a revenue surplus of Rs 33.32 crore.

According to M.P. Government figures, the State contributed 4.86 per cent of the national domestic product in the year 1993-94.

However, economist and demographer Ashish Bose, who coined the term BIMARU in the early eighties, feels otherwise.

“My 2001 study of 593 districts of the country establishes that a bulk of the poor districts falls within BIMARU States, which should now include Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.”

In Uttar Pradesh while Chief Minister Mayawati continues to clamour for a Central package of Rs 80,000 crore for development of basic infrastructure in Bundelkhand and Eastern U.P., its over 32 per cent of over 16 crore population struggles to have one square meal a day.

Bihar is worst off in all development indicators. And whatever progress is there it’s very slow, says additional finance commissioner Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi. . -- PTI