Do our states have the mettle?
ECONOMY & POLICY

Do our states have the mettle?

As intensity of crisis hits the Centre, the central command increasingly abdicates responsibility and decision-making ability to the states. This has been witnessed during the COVID crisis and now with the mounting disaster of its virulent second wave. As stated in this column in the past, states hold the key to India’s economic growth. Dynamic chief ministers and their able finance ministers can do a jugalbandi like Narsimha Rao-Manmohan Singh and turn around the fortunes of their states.

In the past, we have seen Nitish Kumar do this in Bihar as his government constructed roads in the state at breakneck speed and brought in prosperity. The state, which used to be notorious for its potholed roads or no roads in most areas, today boasts 27,000 km of state highways and district roads and 96,417 km of rural roads, all accomplished in the past 15 years. Bridges have enabled better access for people all over the state. Bihar is now a power-surplus state and villages have electricity supply. There is hardly any area in the state that does not get 20 hours’ power supply. ‘Har Ghar Nal Ka Jal’, the piped water supply scheme, has now provided further convenience to its citizens. Bihar was poised for double-digit growth if it not been for the pandemic though as per the state’s estimates it is likely to increase its share in India’s GDP.

Although all states are staring at deficits, some states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan indicate an expansion in FY21. The speed with which a state can grapple and then normalise its healthcare, business and commerce will decide the fate of the next two years.

Read the full story here

As intensity of crisis hits the Centre, the central command increasingly abdicates responsibility and decision-making ability to the states. This has been witnessed during the COVID crisis and now with the mounting disaster of its virulent second wave. As stated in this column in the past, states hold the key to India’s economic growth. Dynamic chief ministers and their able finance ministers can do a jugalbandi like Narsimha Rao-Manmohan Singh and turn around the fortunes of their states. In the past, we have seen Nitish Kumar do this in Bihar as his government constructed roads in the state at breakneck speed and brought in prosperity. The state, which used to be notorious for its potholed roads or no roads in most areas, today boasts 27,000 km of state highways and district roads and 96,417 km of rural roads, all accomplished in the past 15 years. Bridges have enabled better access for people all over the state. Bihar is now a power-surplus state and villages have electricity supply. There is hardly any area in the state that does not get 20 hours’ power supply. ‘Har Ghar Nal Ka Jal’, the piped water supply scheme, has now provided further convenience to its citizens. Bihar was poised for double-digit growth if it not been for the pandemic though as per the state’s estimates it is likely to increase its share in India’s GDP. Although all states are staring at deficits, some states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan indicate an expansion in FY21. The speed with which a state can grapple and then normalise its healthcare, business and commerce will decide the fate of the next two years.Read the full story here

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