By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 23 Sep: Participating in a national seminar at Doon University, leading economists and development experts today called for an urgent need to revisit the development landscape of Uttarakhand, which is still lagging on several indicators despite doing relatively well in the first decade after its formation in the year 2000.
Addressing the two-day National Seminar on “Development Experiences of Uttarakhand”, organised by the Department of Economics, Doon University, Niti Aayog Member Professor Ramesh Chand said that, despite having the required natural resources, geography and hill and plains terrain, Uttarakhand lags behind Himachal and Sikkim, which calls for urgent analysis.
Making a comparative analysis of the development landscape of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, Professor Chand highlighted that the per capita income of Himachal Pradesh is greater than that of Uttarakhand at current prices. He called upon the researchers and scholars to work on these issues. “Uttarakhand has seen a phenomenal growth till 2012-13 but the growth has declined because of some specific reasons like floods and cloudbursts. Again the per capita income of Uttarakhand declined after 2017-18, much before the Covid-19 pandemic,” Professor Chand asserted.
Doon University Vice Chancellor Professor Surekha Dangwal wondered whether people had forgotten the factors that were behind the demand for a separate hill state. Emphasising that women bore the worst brunt of increasing migration, Professor Dangwal called for collaboration between various state agencies and between state and central agencies, universities and other institutions. Professor Dangwal added Doon University is committed to taking up such research and making recommendations to policy makers.
Delivering the Special Address, former Uttarakhand DGP Anil Raturi wondered what could be the factors that led to the decline in GDP in the second decade, while the state did well in the first. While three states came into being in the year 2000, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Uttarkhand is relatively heterogenous in terms of terrain but the development activities and major investments are over concentrated in the plains of the state, he declared. He highlighted that the actual distribution of wealth as projected by the multidimensional poverty index and Gini Coefficient had shown improvement.
As Uttarakhand has entered its ‘youthful’ stage and shall be completing soon 25 years of existence since its formation, it is worth introspecting the progress so far achieved, identify challenges ahead and undertake strategy and midway corrective measures to fulfil the long cherished aspirations of the people of Uttarakhand, Professor Mamgain, Head of the Department of Economics, said, adding that these issues were not captured in the mainstream discourse on development.
The session was attended by Dr Reena Singh, Dr Rajesh Bhatt, Prof Amitabh Kundu, Prof AP Pandey, Dr SP Sati, Dr Otojit, Professor VA Baurai, Dr Vartika Pande, Dr Savita Karnataka, Professor Pramod Kumar, among other professors and research scholars from universities and other institutions.
Over 100 academicians and policy experts participated in the seminar focussing on identifying strategies and reorienting development priorities in the state in the coming years. As many as 50 researchers presented their papers on the first and second day.