Author; Dr. Bhagban Prakash

Odisha and Goa, both coastal states, had started the development journey together in the fifties with similar per capita income. Today while Goa is at the top of the development pyramid, Odisha is at the bottom! During last couple of years more than 3000 farmers have committed suicide.   What went wrong and why? How to get out of this unfortunate situation? There is no authentic research on the issue.
Since the year 2000, Millennium Development Goals (MDG) have become the buzz word among development professionals all over the world. Odisha chose to remain silent. The UN summit participated by 189 member States had fixed up the goals in 2000 to be achieved by 2015.MDG  had consolidated a set of eight interconnected development goals into a global agenda with time-bound targets and quantifiable indicators while outlining for a road-map on how to proceed.
The goals were (1) eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, (2) achieving Universal Primary Education, (3) Gender equality and empowerment of women, (4)3ip for development.
Now a statewide surveyon Goal No.1, says that significant levels of poverty are still prevalent in the state- both extreme and ultra. There is more number of exclusions than inclusions in different social security schemes. On Goal No. 2, the survey regrets that despite significant progress in enrolment a great disparity exists across gender, geography and communities.implementation of Right to Education Act, has not taken off. On Goal No. 3, the survey finds that despite programs like Mission Shakti and reservation for women in Panchayat bodies, female infanticide, domestic violence and maternal mortality alarmingly continue. On Goal No. 4, its finding is that the infant mortality rate prevalent in Orissa is higher than the national level.
Another report by Coalition for Food and Nutrition Security, India reveals that  Odisha is already under the grip of a silent emergency caused by rampant malnutrition and under nutrition.  It has to stress upon more effective implementation of schemes like ICDS and better monitoring of nutrition programs for children and pregnant women.
On Goal No. 5, the survey finds serious lacuna in implementation of flagship programs like the National Rural Health Mission under which schemes like Janani Suraksha Yojana is designed to address the maternal health and mortality issue. Health infrastructure in rural areas, particularly in interior tribal pockets, need urgent improvement on priority basis, the report has noted.
Similarly Goal no 6 and 7 are equally disappointing.Thus theover allscore card for the state is sub-par and much remains to be done if the State was to have any chance of getting even close to the Goals set by Millennium Development Campaign.
It is an irony that while Odisha’s GDP is growing, the absolute number of its people under poverty is increasing without matching job growth. By 2025, the State would need three million more jobs for its working population. Our agriculture sector is now in shambles and can not create even half of the new jobs required. And we have failed to create an alternative in areas of small and medium enterprises.
Issues are many, but to improve the situation Odisha needs strong and innovative planning supported by policy research and committed leaders with professional competence. Out of the 3.2 million people who get elected from panchayat to parliament, about 1.30,000 are in Odisha. Many of them are relatively young but without leadership skills and experience of governance. Our parliament and state assemblies have become unproductive and are often marked by disruptions and forced adjournments, neglecting urgent issues of national and regional importance. Many Law makers are ignorant of laws and rules that guide the proceedings in legislative assemblies and parliament.
In view of this we may have to revisit our priorities, and rethink on how to strength then the representatives democracy with forward enlightened representatives.Otherwise the new set of development programmes announced by the Prime Minister cannot make any headway. Similarly a stereotyped political class with their own power agenda and a weak,indifferent and corrupt bureaucratic structure can’t carry the country forward. So all the three -social, political and public spheres beg for a change of outlook and attitude.

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29 July 2016 at 03:34 ×

I entirely agree with Dr. B.P. People change their leaders,change the governments but they themselves do not change necessarily. Unless the people change the nation cannot change. People should be made to understand that change is both possible and desirable. Yes, its easier said than done. But we have examples like Goa as made out in his writing. Wars change the boundaries of a state but there was a case in 261 B.C. where war changed the heart of the vanquisher. not anywhere but in Odisha. Utkal s Utkarsh is the responsibility of its young people,who only can bring about the desired change. Dr. h s suresh 9448027400

29 July 2016 at 11:24 ×

Thanks for your valuable comment.