Rising Inequalities in States

According to NITI Aayog's National Multidimensional Poverty Index, the highest percentage of the population in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh live in poverty in the country; while in Kerala, Goa, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu live the least percentage of population in poverty respectively. According to the survey, 51.91% of the citizens of Bihar, 42.16% of Jharkhand and 37.79% of the citizens of Uttar Pradesh are found to be living in poverty while on the other hand 0.71% in Kerala, 3.76% in Goa, 3.82% in Sikkim and 4.89% in Tamil Nadu are found to be living in poverty. Looking at these figures, it seems that these two sets of states are from two different poles, whereas the reality is that in the last seven decades, the Government of India has implemented similar schemes across the country. These figures are not only telling the differences in the distribution of income and wealth in different regions and states, but also show the difference in political and social thinking, discourse and legacies along with the process and the implementation of development schemes in these states.

Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh along with many other Northern India states are among the most politically and socially active states. However whenever, it comes to economic activities and development, these states are often at the bottom. In fact it seems that the economic activities and development have not been the priority of these states. The popular and prominent voices in these states echo much about social justice and hardly talk anything about economic activities, development, poverty and income inequalities. Even the results of political and social activities haven’t yielded anything for these states. And every talk about employment is limited to government jobs only!

For decades, political and social activities in these North Indian states have basically revolved around the slogans of social justice which have never cared about the economic activities, development, income and economic equity. Not surprisingly, these slogans have neither achieved the goals of so-called social justice nor the development ignoring every possibility of economic inclusiveness of the society. It seems that there are positive correlations between the slogans of social justice and poverty and economic inequality via lack of economic inclusiveness!
Dr. Rajeev K. Upadhyay

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