Jharkhand is pursuing an equitable model of development that can cater to the needs of different sections of society
I come from a state as vibrant as Jharkhand and with a mission to empower the state to make a difference to the quality of lives of our people. This is not to say that there exists with us a magic wand. There are challenges along the way, but as long as the end goal is clear, it becomes easier to stay steadfast and firm, taking small steps and at times giant strides for effective change. Inherent leadership issues at the state level, which could not cope with growing unrest and aspirations of the people, became quite obvious when people cast a vote for change.
For those not too familiar with my state, Jharkhand is endowed with 40% of India’s mineral reserves. It is the coal capital of India with a third of the reserves. It ranks first in coal, second in iron ore, third in copper ore, fourth in fire clay and bentonite, fifth in chromite and vermiculite … and there is much more to enlist with bauxite, dolomite and feldspar. And yet we suffer the paradox of plenty, or more popularly known as ‘resource curse’.
For a long time now, we have lived in the shadow amongst the BIMARU states, which, in itself, undermined the confidence of people to take their destiny in their own hands. In this context, the role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inspire belief in people to take charge of their destiny, their future and progressively move forward towards betterment has been critical.
Despite the kind of legacy we inherited, the task didn’t seem easy, but at the same time the overwhelming faith reposed by the people in us has allowed us to move ahead and plan development with their participation.
Jharkhand has not only been the first state to table the Budget this year, but there has also been every attempt to make it of the people, by the people and for the people in the true sense. Inputs and suggestions have been taken for the first time in the state right from the gram panchayats to the district administrations. In fact, we received over 1,005 suggestions and we have made every effort to as much feasibly take on board these inputs in the state’s financial statement this year.
It may come as surprise to our readers to know how much difference a recently launched simple pilot project of distribution of eggs to children attending anganwadi kendras has made to the health of our children. In fact, the health of our children, the future of the state, has been a critical concern for us. We intend covering 38,400 anganwadi kendras across 24 districts by April 1, 2017. Women in our society traditionally have been relegated to traditional roles. This obviously has changed at the more urbane level, but much more support is required in states like ours to help them come on their own. We are trying to empower, engage and enable our women to become economically independent and also respond to their health needs. Various women-centric schemes like distribution of mulching cows, 33% reservation of women in state police forces and providing entirely free of cost LPG and stove connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana are some of the steps in this direction.
At the same time, we do realise the importance of industry and business in Jharkhand’s growth journey. The state needs to engage with businesses that can be partners in its growth and development. The development of the state is directly linked to the development of agriculture and industry. We would like to directly engage with industry and businesses that see their future in the future of our people.
It was keeping this in context that our call for business has aptly found expression in “Invest in Jharkhand: In Your Success, We Shall Measure Ours.”
This first Global Investors Summit that took place on February 16-17 in Ranchi was planned with this thought and vision in mind. Jharkhand offers a variety of opportunities across industries and we hand-picked sectors for discussion and debate at the summit, which not only helped us get new ideas from our very eminent speakers, but also identified the determining blocks linked to the development of the state. Some of these sectors are mines & minerals, urban development, infrastructure, make in Jharkhand, agriculture & food processing, textiles, IT & ITeS and more. It is a balanced combination of the traditional and the new. The famed Tussar silk from our state and Jharcraft, the brand store, showcase art, craft and traditions of Jharkhand. For us, developing the textiles sector is inevitably linked to empowering the traditional means of livelihood of our people and nurturing new skills in keeping with changing technologies. This brings me to the fact that we realise we live in a fast-paced technology-driven world.
The youth of the state need to acquire new skills to stay apace with this change. For this, IT & ITeS and skill development acquires significance in the new scheme of things. I am impressed by the entrepreneur zeal and contribution of our youth, who are charting new territories. My government is seized of this changing environment and look to offer all kind of support to create a dynamic Jharkhand in which start-ups can take a lead.
Need I remind you, we have many renowned educational institutions which have been powering the destiny of not only of our country, but are also significantly contributing to economies abroad. The alumni graduating from prestigious institutions like XLRI, Xavier Institute of Social Service, Indian School of Mines, IIM, BITS (Mesra) are a talent much sought after. However, at some level, we have not been able to engage the graduates from these institutes enough to stay with us.
Creation of new opportunities that can leverage this breadth of talent demands a change in vision and policies to enable us meet the aspirations of this very dynamic youth. It has been our vision, in this context, to create a more balanced and equitable model of development that can cater to the needs of people of different sections of society, but more importantly nurture those without opportunities and bring them into the mainstream for ensuring inclusive growth.
In their future, lies ours.
The author is the chief minister of Jharkhand