Does A Smaller Size Guarantee Development?

The pro-Telangana groups that agitated for separation from Andhra Pradesh have asserted that the region would be better off once its people gain control over its resources. But a look at data on various development parameters of the three States that were carved out of larger States twelve years ago shows such a notion may well be wrong… Government data shows Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, which were carved out of larger States, have not performed as well as their parent States on development parameters…


does-a-smaller-size-guarantIt is a popular notion that smaller States have better development prospects. More than a decade ago India created three new States Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand following long-standing demands and protests. But does a smaller size necessarily guarantee development? The pro-Telangana groups that agitated for separation from Andhra Pradesh have asserted that the region would be better off once its people gain control over its resources. But a look at data on various development parameters of the three States that were carved out of larger States twelve years ago shows such a notion may well be wrong. Rather, it turns out, the new and small States, endowed with rich natural resources, have low ratings when compared to their parent States.

Agricultural growth
New States have hardly matched the agricultural growth of the parent State. But their growth is higher than the average national agricultural growth rate.

Poverty reduction rate
Except in the case of Uttarakhand, the other two States have reported higher percentage of poor people than parent States.

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Forest conservation
The three new States formed in 2000 were among the States with highest forest cover. But they have not succeeded much in increasing their forest cover just as the country as a whole could never achieve its target of bringing 33 per cent area under forest cover. Twelve years after being granted Statehood, the forest cover has hardly shown any improvement in these States. On the other hand large tracts of forests have been diverted in all three States for non-forestry purposes.

GDP growth
Among the three new States, Jharkhand has reported the lowest GDP growth rate. However, in comparison to the parent States, the growth rates are much lower.

Infant mortality rate
The infant mortality rate shows declining trend in all States. The performance of Bihar and Jharkhand is notable between 2009 and 2011.

Access to drinking water
Households’ access to drinking water has improved significantly.

Extension of irrigation facilities
Irrigation potential of Jharkhand dipped drastically after separation. It has created mere 15,520 ha of irrigation potential but utilised only 10,710 ha of it. Bihar, which created 241,000 ha of potential utilised around 60 per cent of it. The story of Uttarakhand is no different.
– DTE: Are smaller states better off?

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