The growing income disparity between states in the last 20 years has finally caught the attention of policy makers. Statistics compiled by the Planning Commission bring into sharp focus the increase in regional disparities over the last two decades. It is expected that the data would help put in place measures in the 10th Plan to reduce the income gaps. According to latest data available with the commission, the average per capita income of Indians in 1999-00 was Rs 10,214. This has risen from Rs 8,498 in 1995-96 (both based on 1993-94 prices) and Rs 1,630 recorded in 1980-81 (based on prices prevailing then).
The figures show that while the average per capita income in Delhi is a whopping Rs 24,032 per annum, the per capita income in Bihar is a paltry Rs 4,475. Orissa is marginally better than Bihar with Rs 5,441 per annum and Assam at Rs 5,968 per annum.
The coefficient of variation between states - which roughly measures the difference between the incomes of states with per capita income higher than average income and states with per capita income lower than the average income - too has been increasing over the years.
While in 1980-81, the coefficient of variation was 32 per cent, in 1999-2000 it increased by 9 per cent to touch 41 per cent. The ratio of highest to lowest per capita income has gone up to 5.4 in 1999-00 from 4.4 in 1980-81. If Delhi is excluded from the list, then the ratio of highest to lowest stands at 3.4 during 1999-00 up from 2.9 in 1980-81.
The top earners among states include Maharashtra with a per capita income of Rs 15,410, Punjab with Rs 14,678, Haryana with Rs 13,463, Gujarat with Rs 13,434 and Tamil Nadu with a per capita income of Rs 12,504.
Besides Bihar, Orissa and Assam, other states in the low income category include Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan with per capita incomes of Rs 6,373, Rs 6,972 and Rs 8,272, respectively.
States which are hovering near the average per capita income figure include Karnataka, West Bengal, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh with respective per capita incomes of Rs 10,928, Rs 9,425, Rs 9,678 and Rs 9,318.
The individual per capita income figures of the remaining states and Union territories, which include the north-eastern states, Chandigarh, Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar islands, is still being compiled by the Plan panel and is expected to be in place by this week.