Contrary to Modi, Chhattisgarh ‘poorer’ than Jharkhand

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 31 Desember 2013 | 07.20

RAIPUR: BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, seems to have committed yet another faux pas by claiming that Chhattisgarh is better off than Jharkhand, as various indices show the latter to be a more prosperous state, with a higher per-capita income and expenditure and a lower percentage of people living below poverty line.

Addressing a rally in Ranchi on Sunday, Modi had proudly claimed that while the two states were formed in the same year, "Jharkhand had remained poor despite being rich in natural resources and BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh has sped ahead on the path of development". However, various reports, including the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) of Planning Commission of India, show that Jharkhand has a lower poverty rate and a higher per capita income, as compared to Chhattisgarh.

In fact, it's ironical that Modi's statement came close on the heels of the release of CRISIL Research, which dubbed Chhattisgarh's Capital, Raipur, as the 'poorest', in terms of ownership of durable assets. CRISIL Research, the country's largest independent and integrated research house, recently released the Prosperity Index to compare the living standards of various states.

The company used the census data on the ownership pattern of consumer durables such as television, mobile phone, bicycles, computer/laptop and automobiles to "assess standard of living across states in a more meaningful way compared with the traditional yardstick of average income per person". It dubs a prosperous state as one that has a high proportion of households owning four durable assets -- television, computer/laptop, telephone/mobile phone and two-wheeler/car/jeep.

Believe it or not, Jharkhand is better off than Chhattisgarh as it occupies the 10th position among 16 states, with Punjab being on the top with a score of 100. In contrast, Chhattisgarh is second last on 15th position with a score of 76.9 and is better than Madhya Pradesh.

The CRISIL report states that Raipur along with Patna "are the worst in terms of asset ownership, as these cities have the highest proportion of households with none of the assets (around 1 in 4 households). As well as these cities have the lowest proportion of households with all the assets (less than 1 in 16 households).

According to the Planning Commission report (2011-2012), released this year only, the per capita income in Chhattisgarh is Rs 738 (rural) and Rs 849 (urban), as compared to Rs 748 and Rs 974 respectively in Jharkhand. The per-capita- expenditure in Chhattisgarh is Rs 904.04 (rural) and Rs 1776.21 (Urban) as compared to Rs 919.59 and Rs 1894.41 respectively in Jharkhand.

Interestingly, the number of people living under the poverty line in Chhattisgarh is 39.93%, as compared to 36.96% in Jharkhand.

Talking to TOI, Dr Ravindra Brahme, Professor of Economics, Pt Ravishankar University, said, distribution of income in Chhattisgarh is unequal. "Those who have income and assets are getting richer while others are not benefiting", he said that uneven distribution of income was the main reason for Raipur being dubbed as the poorest Indian city by CRISIL.

Prof JL Bhardwaj, Retd HOD (Economics), Pt Ravi Shankar University, said even the NSS report of July 2011- June 12 shows that among all states Chhattisgarh has the highest poverty and unemployment and is marginally better only to Orissa. He said a large number of people in the state were not getting benefits of the government welfare schemes.

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