Saturday, 31 December 2016

India: Promoting healthy life for Human Development

Dr. Devendra Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action

Wishing you a Happy New Year

The positive health outcomes ultimately contribute to better educational outcomes and a more productive and higher-skilled labor force. India, therefore, must convert its young population to a competitive advantage, and general health, nutrition and children by choice are foundational to that outcome which promotes healthy life.

This post discusses the state of general health.

India’s current state of health is alarming. Recently, the world's most revered medical journal - The Lancet - has censured severely Government of India for ignoring health sector and has warned that India is on the “verge of a collapse under the weight of its own ill health”. In an exclusive interview to Times of India, Lancet's editor-in-chief Richard Horton said that failing to combat non communicable and communicable diseases will cost India's health system and social care "enormously making India collapse”. [1]

The World health organization has identified India as one of the nations that is going to have most of the lifestyle disorders in the near future. [2]  Nowadays, not only are lifestyle disorders becoming more common, but they are also affecting younger population. The population at risk shifts from 40+ to may be 30+ or even younger. Already considered the diabetes capital of the world, India now appears headed towards gaining another dubious distinction of becoming the lifestyle-related disease capital as well. These include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and osteoporosis, among others.  A study conducted jointly by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Max Hospital shows the incidence of these diseases is increasing at an alarming rate, especially in the young population.

Modern science through improved sanitation, vaccination, and antibiotics, and medical attention has eliminated the threat of death from most infectious diseases. However, communicable diseases are still a major cause of deaths in India.

The  data, released by the office of the Census Commissioner, reveals that one in two deaths in the country, estimated in the period 2010-13, are due to non-communicable  or lifestyle diseases. However, for urban areas, NCDs account for nearly 60 per cent of deaths. Communicable diseases in the top 10 include lower respiratory tract diseases like bronchitis and pneumonia, diarrhea, TB and diseases occurring to prematurely born babies. Road injuries are the tenth most prevalent cause of death. Together, these 10 make up 60 per cent of the 10.3 million deaths in India every year. The top 10 causes of deaths in India have remained the same since 2004-06, with a slight change in order.

As such, one can draw the conclusion that India at present faces a combination of communicable diseases and non-communicable, with the burden of chronic diseases has exceeded that of communicable diseases. Projections nevertheless indicate that communicable diseases will still occupy a critically important position up to 2020.

India's position in the middle of the transition from a poor, healthcare-deficient country to an advanced country is brought out starkly when compared with examples from other countries. In Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita gross domestic product less than one-fifth of India's, eight of the top ten causes of death are communicable diseases. At the other extreme, Norway, with per capita gross domestic product over ten times that of India, has just one communicable disease — lower respiratory tract infections — among its top ten, with the other nine being non-communicable diseases.

China, which started off from conditions similar to India, has moved much further towards the advanced end of the transition. It too has only one infectious disease among its top ten causes of death.

These are disturbing statistics. India needs to dramatically improve the quality of life for its citizens in terms of cleaner environment; better citizen amenities and preventive healthcare measures to improve the health of people; and to bring under control the seasonal diseases like Chikungunya and Dengue, the dreaded vector-borne diseases, quickly and effectively. The prologue resultant debility is seriously affecting the productivity of the sufferers and thus, economics of their families and organizations. People of this country should not be made suffer every year when preventive measures are already known.

In addition to better sanitation and sports, yoga needs to be promoted as a non-sectarian wellness initiative to control communicable and non-communicable diseases. On the occasion of the second International Yoga Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well to highlight the non-sectarian character of yoga. Emphasizing that yoga was not religious in nature; he asserted that the traditional practice was even meant for atheists. Moreover, he described yoga as an instrument that provided health assurance with zero spending. A mass movement that promotes yoga can be one way of following the dictum that prevention of ill health is better than cure. Further, the Government of India must rethink about reintroducing The National Cadet Corps in all the   schools and colleges on the voluntary basis. 

Most of the challenges facing India’s health system can be attributed to under investment and the inefficient use of resources, as argued by Dr. Prabhat Jha of the Centre for Global Health Research, University of Toronto.   Further, the promise of universal health coverage will remain unfulfilled unless health is prioritized, as noted by Dr.  K. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India.  In addition, an inadequate number of doctors and a poor network of public hospitals, coupled with bureaucratic bungling, means India often struggles to spend even its allocated budgets. 

Asia's third-largest economy spends around 1 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on public health, compared with 3 per cent in China and 8.3 per cent in the United States. (Indian states manage their health budgets separately.) As a result, the per capita spending rates are extremely low at US $ 109 (in Purchase Power Parity terms) as compared to the USA ($7,285) and Brazil ($837). The global figure is US$ 863 (WHO World Health Statistics 2010). As such, there is an urgent need to increase the budgetary allocation for health.

There is an urgent need to develop an effective healthcare delivery system, which addresses both communicable and non-communicable healthcare needs. For this, India needs to adopt an integrated national healthcare system built around a strong public-primary care system with a clearly articulated supportive role for the private and indigenous sectors. [3]

The draft National Health Policy 2015, which provides a broad roadmap for health system reforms, calls for strengthening primary care services to provide comprehensive care for several health conditions including non-communicable diseases.  Further, continuity of care would be ensured through linkages with secondary and tertiary care facilities. Both public and private sector providers would be engaged to deliver the service package, which would be paid for by the government-funded health insurance schemes, as noted by the draft NHP. 

In addition, there is an urgent need to enhance the standard of medical education/training in India. Medical education and its subsequent impact on medical care has been adversely affected by Medical Council of India (MCI), which regulates medical education and licenses doctors, MCI’s emphasis on infrastructure in colleges and not quality of students. Niti Aayog’s (formerly Planning Commission) draft legislation wants to replace the current system with a common entrance exam as well as a common exit test to make sure doctors meet minimum standards prior to practice. It is important to end the vested interest medical colleges have in churning out substandard doctors.

Furthermore, for India to be healthy, we have to focus on the nutrition.

The next post discusses the state of nutrition.

[1] Refer at:

[2] Refer WHO at: 

[3] Refer author’s article: India needs efficient healthcare system for overall development at:

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Changing the way India learns to unlock the human potential

Dr. Devendra Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled
Plutarch, a Greek thinker and essayist

Education is both a process and an outcome; it is the process of acquiring information, knowledge and skills; but it is also the ability to demonstrate the possession of such information, knowledge and skills so as to qualify to be referred to as educated individual or human capital. Therefore, within the term “education” is embedded the concept of productivity.[1]

There is a general belief that education leads to efficient work which in turn leads to social and economic development. There are roughly 450 million people in India that make up our work force. Of these, 90 percent have not completed school or higher education. Why? Because, of the 630,000 villages in India, over 500,000 don’t have schools that can provide education above Class VII.

Without a doubt, labour productivity is linked to education. Let us consider what is happening at the education front especially at the school education.  

India does well to keep ninety seven per cent of children between 6 and 14 years of age enrolled in schools and most of them are attending the school on a regular basis,  but the problem is now of quality, not quantity. More than half our school students are being classified as functionally uneducated and unskilled or simply half educated. NGO Pratham’s 10th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2014, based on the survey in 577 districts and 16,497 villages covering 3,41,070 households and about 5,69,229 children in the age group 3-16 ,  noted that overall situation with basic reading and arithmetic continue to be extremely disheartening in India. According to ASER 2014 that: “Half of all children in Std V have not yet learned basic skills that they should have learned by Std II”; and “Close to half of all children will finish eight years of schooling but still not have learned basic skills in arithmetic”. [2]

As a result, the current pool of India’s labour force has very low employability mainly due to low productivity resulting from the poor quality of education.  If the labour productivity is low, then employers do not hire workers. And that is happening in India. India graduates more than five million graduates every year. Engineers comprise a small (but significant) part of it at around six hundred thousand, whereas the rest take up a variety of three or four year bachelor degree programs. The National Employability Report 2013   reveals that a significant proportion of graduates, nearly 47 per cent were found not employable in any sector, given their poor English language and cognitive/analytical skills. The report also indicates that only 17.4 per cent of technical graduates (engineers) in the country are ready to be employed. What this also means is that the rest, that is, 82.6 per cent, engineering graduates are unemployable. Again, their lack of English language knowledge and cognitive skills were identified as the major obstacles to their suitability in the job market. [3]

As such, various states have been complaining of a significant decline in learning outcomes. So they have been making RTE provision as a scapegoat and asking the Centre to revoke the provisions like no-fail policy. But such exam-obsessed approaches won’t improve learning outcomes.

There are many problems faced by India’s education system, as noted in my paper: “Education in India needs intensive care, not a quick fix”.[4]  The paper argues that the real solution lies in improving assessment and accountability systems, which largely translates into improving teacher recruitment and training.

From more than 90 per cent of aspirants failing the central Teacher’s Eligibility Test year after year to teacher absenteeism touching as high as 40 per cent in the poorest states to the prevalence of English teachers who just can’ not speak English, all around there are signs that teacher recruitment and training are in terrible shape in India. TOT Editorial rightly noted that “rather than obsessing over exams for students let’s focus on setting standards for teachers, having a system that rewards the good ones, and equipping teachers with modern pedagogical tools to teach critical thinking rather than rote lessons." [5] Only two things will truly de-stress students: good teachers and better opportunities after they graduate.

The similar views were expressed by The Economist, most trusted news magazine.  In its recent paper entitled: “How to make a good teacher”, the paper argued that forget smart uniforms and small classes to raise the standard of school teaching.  “The secret to stellar grades and thriving students is teachers”. The paper further emphasises that what matters in schools are teachers? Fortunately, teaching can be taught. [6] In sum, the idea of improving the average teacher could revolutionize the entire profession. If this is to change, teachers need to learn how to impart knowledge and prepare young minds to receive and retain it. And in the education reforms, this should be our priority.

The T.S.R. Subramanian committee, entrusted with preparing a new education policy for India submitted the report to the Government of India in May, 2016 suggesting measures that the country must take to improve the sector that caters to over 300 million students in the country. Among various measures to make good teachers, the report recommends that Teacher Entrance Tests (TET) should be made compulsory for recruitment of all teachers. The Centre and states should jointly lay down norms and standards for TET. [7] 

In addition to rational curricula and pedagogy as well as teachers’ training and teir selecti, we must explore how unconventional methods of teaching and learning could be used in improving the quality of education.  Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in their book - The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business - sketch a future dominated by technology.[8] With vivid examples and brilliant analyses, they show how the internet and other communication technologies will empower individuals and transform the way nations and businesses operate. The authors  believe that “the most important pillar behind innovation and opportunity – education- will be tremendous positive change in the coming decades as rising connectivity reshape traditional routines and offer new paths for learning” (Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen,2013,21). According to the writers that in 2012, when the MIT Media Lab tested this digital technology in Ethiopia by distributing preloaded tablets to primary-age kids without accompanying teachers, the results were extraordinary: within months the kids were reciting the entire alphabet and writing complete sentences in English.

India's government-run schools are terrible, and education faces a drastic shortage of teachers across the board. If digital technology were deployed into education, the villages or remote areas with no access to schools suddenly become accessible. India has a satellite in orbit as well, which is meant to be used exclusively for education. Any institution can use it to impart education to children in remote areas.

For children in countries like India, the digital technology promises new access to educational tools, although clearly not as in developed world. And we must explore the implications of the burgeoning digital technology to improve the quality of education in India, because “physical class rooms will remain dilapidated; teachers will continue to take paychecks and not show up for class; and books and supply will be scare. But what’s  new in  this equation  - connectivity- promises that kids with access to mobile devices  and internet will be able to experience school physically and virtually, even if the latter is informal and on their own time”( Eric and Jared, 2013 22).

Father, there is urgent need to allocate mote funds to the education sector. The new education policy recommends that the outlay on education should be raised to at least 6 per cent of GDP without further loss of time. 

In sum, poor governance at school level and muddleheaded policies in higher education has hurt young people. To foster an environment of job creation, it is critical to produce employable Indians. This should be India’s motto. If India is to meet the more ambitious development goals in a challenging external environment, the post-2016 agenda needs to focus on ensuring a structural transformation of education system. That will enable labour to shift towards higher value-added sectors and more knowledge-intensive activities, thereby improving labour productivity relative to other developing countries. In other words, the government must focus on quality education, infrastructure rather than attempting to introduce controversial issues in the education system.

[1] Biao Idowu. 2010. Education, work and productivity in developing countries. Educational Research, Vol. 1(11) pp. 548-555.

[2] Refer Pratham’s 10th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2014

[3] For details, see: The National Employability Report Graduates 2013 at: Also see: The National Employability Report (NER) for Engineers by Aspiring Minds at: .

[4] Kothari, Devendra. 2016. Education in India needs intensive care, not a quick fix, RAEA Policy Paper No. 6, PP. 1-18.

[6] Refer article: How to make a good teacher: What matters in schools are teachers? Fortunately, teaching can be taught, The Economist, June 11th, 2016.

[7] GoI. 2016. Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016, Ministry of Human Resource Development Government of India.

[8] Refer: Eric Schmidt  and Jared Cohen. 2013. The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, Kindle Edition


Monday, 31 October 2016

PM Modi’s dream of India and issue of human development

Dr. Devendra Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action


Three key dimensions of human development are – education, health, and living conditions.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his dream for India while addressing a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8th 2016, a dream that included empowering every Indian by  the seventy-fifth anniversary of India's independence (Year 2022),through many social and economic transformations”. And this is achievable; but, this is where the right actions will be needed.

India faces serious challenges as well as great opportunities in becoming the vibrant economy, as desired by PM Modi. The biggest challenge is to diffuse access to education, skills, health, sanitation and water supply in a more inclusive manner. On the other hand, India’s vast young population is an asset or opportunity. India has more than half of its population below the age of 25 and more than two-third below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan. And such a vast young population can contribute significantly to socio-economic development. Many countries in Asia and Latin America have experienced impressive economic growth over the last three decades, and researchers and economists have attributed these gains in part to demographic changes that have facilitated growth.

This demographic contribution also known as the “demographic dividend” to accelerating economic growth is, however, misunderstood by leaders and policy makers in India who, based on its large youth population, are optimistic about the prospects for such a dividend without structural changes. No doubt India has a window of opportunity for rapid economic growth but if the right social and economic policies are developed and investments made. In other words,    an investment in human development is needed to foster opportunities for developing a skilled and healthy as well as productive work force.

The human development concept focuses on improving the lives people lead rather than assuming that economic growth will lead, automatically, to greater opportunities for all. Income growth is an important means to development, rather than an end in itself. The United Nations Development Programme (UNPD) defines human development as denoting “both the process of widening people’s choices and the level of their achieved well-being”. It further states: “the primary objectives of human development is to benefit people; and income is not the sum total of human life”. In other words, the human development approach is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. [1]

 The concept has relatively more importance in labour-surplus countries like India. India is endowed with more of labour due to high fertility. The transformation of raw human resource into highly productive human resource with proper inputs is the process of human capital formation.
To attain the Modi’s dream by 2022, it is imperative to focus on human development issues. For this, India  needs a comprehensive human development agenda  which include ensuring quality education especially school education; enhancing primary and reproductive health looking to the needs of clients; improving living conditions including sanitation; shifting access labour force from agriculture  to non-agriculture sectors; and sustaining human capabilities in the context of climate change and environment degradation.

Among these, first three need immediate attention to expedite the process of creating an environment in which people can develop to their full potential lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs and interests. It is about expanding people's choices and enhancing capabilities having access to knowledge, health and a decent living environment to participate in the life of their community and decisions affecting their own lives.

These three important inputs of human development, as noted below, will be discussed briefly in the coming posts.

1. Changing the way India learns to unlock human potential

2. Promoting healthy life through: a.  Improving general health, b. Reducing the level of malnutrition, c. Minimizing unwanted fertility, and

3.  Improving physical living conditions including water and sanitation

[1] For details, see first Human Development Report 1990, which was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Whether BIMARU states continue to lag behind?

Dr. Devendra Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action

“Unless the Modi Government of India and BIMARU states engineer a common agenda for human resource development to lift these economies, the shadow of poverty as well as poor governance issue will continue to haunt India and thwart its tryst with destiny. This is a challenge for India’s development in the years immediately ahead".

In the early 1980s,  Prof. Ashish Bose made headlines after presenting a one-page synopsis of a research paper to the then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, blaming the “BIMARU” states for India’s burgeoning population and other socio-economic problems. BIMARU is an acronym formed from the first letters of the names of the Indian states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.[1] BIMARU has a resemblance to a Hindi word ‘Bimar’ which means sick. Researchers and policy makers have argued that India cannot develop itself unless BIMARU states are developed as well; since these states, having 40 per cent of India’s population, have recoded high fertility as well as high maternal and infant mortality, low literacy and very high unwanted fertility amid poor socio-economic development.[2]

The post explores whether   BIMARU club still has four states? Whether there is some remarkable socio-economic development in these starts?

While addressing an election meeting in Bihar in August 2015, Prime Minister Modi asserted that among the four BIMARU states - only Bihar was still lagging behind while Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh had surged ahead. Further, the concept of 'BIMARU’ state, as argued by the policy makers and politicians of these states, is outdated, since these states have been advancing faster than some of the developed ones. While speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival, 2015, Arvind Panagariya, Vice-Chairman of the NITI Aayog (formerly Planning Commission),   said that Rajasthan had come out ahead of many other states in terms of development and was no “longer considered BIMARU”. Five years ago, in 2010, the then Planning Commission Deputy Chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that “the old BIMARU concept is no longer true”.

A comparison of some basic facts about these states would, however, show that the conclusion is not only incorrect but also unfortunate. Even after three decades, acronym “BIMARU”, used to define underdevelopment and poor socio-demographic indices in these states seems to ring true. All these four states still continue to lag behind, their people still enmeshed in poverty and under-development. The Rajan Committee report has also included these states in the category of the “least developed states” of India.[3]

Table 1 presents variables used by Prof. Bose to discuss the causes of slow progress in these states namely: total fertility, infant and maternal mortality and literacy. A comparison with earlier data reveals that nothing changed in the last three decades.

Population of India at 0.00 hrs of 1st March, 2011 was 1210.8 million compared to 1028.7 million in 2001. In absolute terms, the population of the country has increased by 182.1 million during the Last census decade. Slightly less than 37 per cent of the total population of the country   (445 million) was enumerated in the BIMARU states in 2011. However, these states contributed around 44 percent of the total increase of India’s population during the census decade.

The BIMARU states recorded relatively high rates of population growth during 2001-2011 as compared to the national average. In the last census decade, Bihar, with population of more than 104 million, had the third highest rate of decadal population growth in the country at 25.1 per cent; though this is misleading, as the other two faster-growing states were Meghalaya (total population 3 million) and Arunachal Pradesh (1.3 million), states that hardly have the demographic heft of Bihar. Among major 17 states with population of more than 30 million each, Bihar had the highest rate of population growth in the country. UP, with an even heavier demographic drag, grew at 20.1 per cent during this period. India grew at a much slower 17.6 per cent during this decade.

A sizable proportion of population growth in these states is fueled by unwanted fertility. Table 2 (Cols. 8 and 9) indicate that the number of births that were unplanned or simply unwanted had increased between National Family Health Survey 2 (1998-99) and NFHS 3 (2005-06). Among the all the states of India, the total unwanted fertility was highest in Bihar (1.6 children per woman), closely followed by Uttar Pradesh (1.5). Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh also recoded the higher unwanted fertility than all India average of 0.7 children per woman.  

As a result, the BIMARU states have some of the highest fertility rates in India. In 2013, the Total Fertility Rate (children per woman) was 3.4 for Bihar, 3.1 for Uttar Pradesh, 2.9 for Madhya Pradesh, and 2.8 for Rajasthan, compared to 2.3 for India as a whole.  A comparison of the total fertility (Table 1) with total unwanted fertility (Table 2) indicates that if unwanted births could be eliminated, the Total Fertility Rate would drop to below replacement level fertility required to initiate the process of population stabilization in the country. 

These states also recorded very high infant and maternal mortality rates. All four states have infant mortality rates - infants dying due to disease and malnutrition before they are a year old - higher than the national average, with Madhya Pradesh worst at 54 deaths per 1,000 live births. Maternal mortality rates, that is, mothers dying while giving birth due to lack of adequate facilities, are unconscionably high in all four states with Uttar Pradesh at 292 and Rajasthan at 255, as against the national average of 178. In all four states, around a third of children are underweight. 

To know development in a community, Literacy is another indicator of economic development. For purpose of census, a person in age limit of seven and above, who can both write and read with understanding in any of the language is considered as a literate in India.  In 2011, Bihar was at the bottom of the heap of 28 states and 7 Union territories in literacy rate ranking. Rajasthan (33rd rank) and   UP (29th) were not far behind. Bihar had the lowest male literacy rate, while Rajasthan recorded the lowest female literacy rate in the country.

Human capital is one of India’s greatest assets. Yet, the world’s fastest growing economy has not touched millions of Indian citizens at the bottom of the economic pyramid. The latest Human Development Report, 2015 does not speak very high about India’s achievement in enlarging people’s opportunities/capabilities and improving their well-being. India ranked a lowly 130 in the Human Development Index (HDI) even if up from last year's 135 in the list of 188 nations. It is mainly due to stagnancy in education, health especially reproductive health, women's empowerment, living conditions and level of urbanization in BIMARU states continue to drag India down. In other words, the biggest challenge before India today is to diffuse access to education, skills, health and related issues in a more inclusive manner in BIMARU states to unlock its human potential.[4]

For a country as vast and diverse as India, among the 17 major states of India, the southern states retain their high  ranking in 2014 compared with a 2007-08 HDI constructed by the National Institute of Labour Economics Research and Development (earlier known as the Institute of Applied Manpower Research), an arm of the NITI Aayog. On the other hand, all the four BIMARY states were at the bottom, as shown in Table 3. The 17 major states of India, with their sizeable population and geographical area, are bigger than many countries in the world. If the 17 states were to be deemed as separate countries, then these would rank from 104 (Kerala) to 163 (Bihar), according to the scores in the latest UN report.

Table 1: Selected Indicators, BIMARU States
Decadal population growth
(In percent)
(Number of children per  woman)
(Infant deaths per 1,000 live births)
Mother deaths per live 100,000 births)
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Source: Registrar General  India, and Census of India.

Table 2: Selected Indicators, BIMARU States
Percent female  literates
Percent  of couples using modern contraceptive
Percent of children fully immunized
Number of unwanted children per woman
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Source: Registrar General India and National Family Health Surveys 2 and 3.

Table 3: Major States of India by HDI ranking , 2015
Major State of India
HDI Value
Himachal Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
Jammu & Kashmir
Andhra Pradesh
All India
West Bengal
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Although, some of these states have experienced high growth rates, they still lag other more progressive states. In an article - Are BIMARU States Still Bimaru? - Economist Vinita Sharma extended Bose's analysis to recent years to ascertain if the proposition is still valid. She finds that the BIMARU states have made a lot of progress, yet they continue to be BIMARU as the gap between them and the national average persists in a majority of indicators.[5]

In 2013, a committee constituted under the chairmanship of Raghuram Rajan, then Chief Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance, developed an index of backwardness to compare states with ten sub-components including per capita expenditure, the poverty rate and urbanization rate. On that ranking, Odisha ranked the lowest followed by Bihar and Madhya Pradesh at joint second from last. Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were also tied at the same rank.

Politically, BIMARU states are very important. Between them these four states account for 174 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha. The BJP’s challenge will be won and lost here. As such, the BJP, the ruling party, has to focus on these battleground states if it wants to come back in power in 2019.

In sum, unless the Government of India and BIMARU states engineer a common agenda for human resource development to lift these economies, the shadow of poverty and as well as poor governance issue will continue to haunt India and thwart its tryst with destiny. This is a challenge for India’s development in the years immediately ahead.

[1] Since 2000, there has also been a change in the geographic composition of BIMARU states, with Bihar being bifurcated into Bihar and Jharkhand; Madhya Pradesh being bifurcated into Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh; and Uttar Pradesh being bifurcated into Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

[2] “Emerging demographic divide: A dilemma for India” Blog Entries by Devendra K Kothari at:

[3]Rajan Panel Report on backwardness of States of India”, Blog Entries by Devendra K Kothari at:

[4] Refer, Author’s article: India: Empowering Human Capital- an Unfinished Agenda at:

 [5] Refer, Vinita Sharma. 2015. Are BIMARU States Still Bimaru?, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 50, Issue No. 18.