The political battle in Madhya Pradesh is at its peak! Recently, while addressing a public rally, PM Modi made a remark where he said that MP is no longer a BIMARU state. This narrative was further promoted by other party leaders including the present CM of MP. Opposition engaged in counterclaims.
But, the most interesting thing in this whole argument is neither the ruling party nor the opposition cited any data to substantiate their claims. And, that generated a curiosity in me to look at what numbers actually say about the state of development in MP. Hence, this short write-up is to bring things into perspective and be able to see where our state stands!
Whether MP is still a BIMARU state or not? I have three quick responses to it:
1. Low ranking in overall poverty reduction: The most simple way to understand this whole debate is, despite whatever the argument is, MP is the fifth poorest state in India and it continues to hold this position in NFHS 2015 and 2019 as well. No change there.
2. MP ranks poorly in most of the social indicators: Out of 12 crucial social indicators that the Poverty Index of India uses, MP ranks poorly in most of them barring three or four. These indicators are as important as nutrition, cooking fuel, drinking water etc. In fact, in most of these indicators, we are far worse than the national average. For instance: The national average of the population without drinking water is 7%. However, for MP it is 22%. That’s huge!
3. Significant improvement still a long way to go: After Uttar Pradesh (3 crore 42 lakh), Bihar (2 crore 25 lakh), MP has been able to pull the maximum people out of poverty (1 crore 35 lakh). This is really significant. Also, the improvements made in indicators like sanitation (from 65% in 2015 to almost 35% in 2019), bank accounts, and electricity are worth applauding. Yet, as mentioned above, this has not been enough to improve the rankings of the state in the overall poverty index.
Some important caveats:
– This is a small effort to present an overall and simplified picture of such a complex issue. There are multiple other factors to look at this data and interpret. But this is to develop a general understanding of the issue.
– The National Multidimensional Poverty Index has its own drawbacks and critics but for the sake of this analysis, we continue to rely on it as it is.
– Also, we are not economists. But a bunch of public policy and development professionals from MP who love to see things through data.
Hope this helps!
We will try and bring more such simple-to-understand insights and perspectives on developmental issues in Madhya Pradesh.
Rishabh is the Co-founder and Chief Editor at TA. He tweets at @Writer_Rishabh.
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