Why Punjab has suffered long, steady decline
Punjab has historically been one of the fastest-growing and richest states of India, with one of the lowest poverty rates. Punjab’s farmers are the best in India, boasting the highest rice and wheat yields. The state was at the very heart of the green revolution which, starting in the mid-1960s, ended Indian starvation and heavy dependence on food aid. Punjab was among the first states to provide weather-proof roads and electricity to all villages, these being important facilitators of the green revolution. Electricity was required to provide irrigation through tubewells, and good roads were essential to move inputs to farms and produce out to markets. Punjab has always boasted a tradition of entrepreneurship, and willingness to travel to other states and countries in search of work. This has produced a large return stream of cash remittances, estimated to be the second largest of any state after Kerala.
However, since the 1980s, the state has lost its economic leadership among states, and steadily slipped behind other states. Since the 1990s, (see graph), Punjab’s GDP growth has been lower than the national average. According to government data (CSO estimates November, 2011), the state’s GDP growth in 1994-2002 was 4.32% per year, against the national average
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