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Chhattisgarh: Why Development Holds The ‘Garh’ (Fort) Here

Chattisgarh Election

With the conclusion of the final phase of assembly election 2018 in the state of Chhattisgarh, we take a look at the reasons behind the sustained appeal of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), party ruling the state for three consecutive terms since 2003 and again has the higher chances of getting elected as per most of the opinion polls.

Before we delve into many details, let’s track the current status of Maoist violence or Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) as that is the first thing which comes to mind as soon as the state of Chhattisgarh is being talked about. In the last 4 years, there has been a substantial improvement on this front, the Modi government has adopted the two-pronged strategy to check the Maoist violence in India and Chhattisgarh is a clear beneficiary of it.

Fighting the Maoists

  • Incidents of violence saw a 20% decline in the affected states, with a reduction of 34% deaths in 2017 as compared to 2013.
  • The geographical spread of Maoist violence also shrunk, 44 districts witnessed zero violence in 4 years.
  • Districts affected by Maoism has now come down to 90 from 126 earlier.
  • About 3,380 Maoists surrendered from 2014 to 2017 whereas only 1,380 Maoists had surrendered between 2010 and 2013.

Boosting Development to Counter the Maoism

  • Maoists fear roads construction as that takes government near the people. Therefore, the government built 4,537 km roads in 34 LWE affected districts.
  • Improving the communication network, 2,329 mobile towers were installed and 4,072 are under consideration.
  • Focusing on Education, 8 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and 5 new Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas were opened.
  • To skill the youth in these LWE areas, 15 ITIs and 43 Skill Development Centres were set up.
  • Bringing banks to people, 428 new bank branches & 1,045 ATMs opened in 35 most LWE affected Districts.
  • 565 new Post Offices have also been opened.
  • Under the newly launched UDAN scheme, Bastar has been put on the aviation map of India through flight services from Jagdalpur airport.

This development led strategy of Modi government has helped Chhattisgarh in fighting the Maoist violence and reducing the area or ‘Red Corridor’ in the state.

The various other areas of development have been listed below.

  1. Health
  2. Agriculture
  3. Industries
  4. Infrastructure
  5. Tribal Welfare
  6. Key Takeaways
1. Health – Indicators Reflect the Healthy Status of the State

Chhattisgarh is led by the chief minister who himself is a medical practitioner by profession which is also reflected in the healthy status of the state.

  • Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has declined by 45% ever since BJP came to power in the state.
  • Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) has also gone down by more than 48% since BJP took over.
  • Institutional deliveries in Chhattisgarh have risen by 5 times to stand at 70% which is a great achievement in a state prominently populated by tribal people in very remote areas.
  • Increased immunization (76%) has ensured greater resistance in the population against the diseases in the disease-prone climate and geography of Chhattisgarh.
2. Agriculture – Chhattisgarh has Many Records Under its Belt

If we talk about the progress of agriculture in the state, Chhattisgarh has been four times winner of Krishi Karman Award for highest food production in the state. Apart from that, between 2011-2012 and 2016-17, the absolute contribution of agriculture in the state’s Gross State Value Addition (GSVA) grew at a CAGR of 12.56%.

  • Chhattisgarh’s rice production is likely to go up from 74 lakh tonnes in 2014 to 95 lakh tonnes in the Kharif season of 2018-19. It is thus undoubtedly called the ‘Rice Bowl of Central India’.
  • Apart from grains, production of fruits and vegetables doubled between 2008 and 2014. Also, the area under fruits and vegetable production increased at the rate of 61% and 36% respectively in that period.
  • Chhattisgarh has been the best performer in the implementation of the soil health card scheme followed by Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh. This reflects the sensitivity of the government towards maintaining the soil fertility.
  • On irrigation front, Krishak Jeevan Jyoti Yojana launched by the government facilitates 5 horsepower irrigation pumps with 6000 units of power, free of cost, on an annual basis. Consequently, the irrigation pump connections have increased to 5,00,000 with an added benefit of free power. In addition to that, the ‘land under irrigation’ increased from 23% to 37% under the present government. Total irrigated land in Chhattisgarh is more than 20 Lakh Hectares.
3. Industries – Chhattisgarh from ‘minerally rich to industrially strong’

Chhattisgarh is ranked 4th in terms of the value of major mineral production in India. Gone are the days when some of its industrial pockets were labelled as ‘islands of development’. With the focus shifting to ending the regional disparities, the state has witnessed the development across its geography.

  • CRISIL the premier rating agency has rated Chhattisgarh as one of the fastest growing states in the past five fiscal years 2013-17. The state is attracting maximum industrial investment across the country, with development happening at a faster pace than other developed states in the country.
  • Chhattisgarh ranks at a commendable 6th nationwide in terms of “Ease of Doing Business” rankings conducted by DIPP. This shows the attention of the current government towards making Chhattisgarh a business-friendly state.
  • Interestingly, manufacturing has a huge share in the economic production of the state which is termed a developing state. In Chhattisgarh, manufacturing has the contribution of 48% to state GDP or GSDP.
4. Infrastructure Building in Chhattisgarh has Seen a Paradigm Shift

Infrastructure building is a barometer to measure the level of a state’s progress. And, Chhattisgarh is undoubtedly levelled high on this parameter too.

  • Naya Raipur is India’s first greenfield smart city.
  • Integrated Command and Control Centre of Naya Raipur Smart City is one of the finest examples of technological advancement of Chhattisgarh. The entire city is seen through cameras from one control centre and can be controlled from there.
  • According to a report, total railway lines in Chhattisgarh were 1,187 km in 2000 (developed in 150 years of railway history) which increased to 1,744 Km in 2016 (in 16 years).
  • Road Network – Due to speedy construction by the state authorities, state highways have increased from 3,213 km to 4,369 km whereas Main district roads have shot up from 2,118 km to 11,338 km which is a growth of more than 400%.
5. Tribal Welfare – Top Most Priority

The Story of Chhattisgarh cannot be complete without mentioning almost a one-third tribal population of the state.

  • To address the problem of higher education for tribal youths, the university was established in the tribal region of Sarguja.
  • Bastar Net – the first phase, of laying of more than 40,000-km long optical fibre network connecting all the seven districts of the tribal region to provide internet services, has already been inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • DMF (District Mineral Foundation) – Under Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY), DMFs have been set up in all the mining districts in which funds collected from mining companies are being utilized in the development of hospitals, schools, roads and toilets. Importantly, mining districts of Chhattisgarh have significant tribal population. Chhattisgarh is among the top three states for its DMF collections which have helped in fueling the development in the tribal region.
6. Key Takeaways - Major Milestone Achieved by Chhattisgarh
  • Housing for All – More than 6 lakh poor people in Chhattisgarh benefitted under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
  • Banking for All – More than 1.3 crore Jan Dhan Bank Accounts have been opened in Chhattisgarh alone
  • Loan for All – About 26 lakh people were given loans without guarantee under MUDRA Yojana
  • LPG Gas for All – Under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala yojana, 22 lakhs of total beneficiaries are from Chhattisgarh
  • Electricity for All – Chhattisgarh has achieved 100% village electrification and 99% household electrification
  • Sanitation for All – State reaching the 100% sanitation coverage
Conclusion

Above development story explains why the people of Chhattisgarh has elected BJP for three consecutive times. With Chhattisgarh seeing the further development like a new Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Bhilai established in 2016 and effective check being placed on the menace of Maoism, current assembly elections look to be a positive case for the ruling party in the state.

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