IndiaCSR News Network
Odisha is one of the interesting places in India which has different challenges need focused development interventions. It is very much infamous in world for its prolonged poverty challenges. It is termed as ‘Bimaru’ state of India in Planning commission report . Even after 67 years of independence of this country Odisha could not rise to economic independence as desired by Govt. It has a few macro level issues which obstructed its curbed its progress and it stunted growth. It always demanded special input for its poverty issues. On analysis it comes to notice that following poverty reasons are mostly responsible for its poor condition.
Common poverty reasons
Regular disaster challenges
Poor quality of life
Poor skill building processes and arrangements
Poverty in Odisha
Poverty is a state where there is lack of all the minimum standard conditions and financial resources to sustain life and growth of person, community and state those are acceptable by society. In recent past Odisha is described as 2nd highest poor state in India out of 14 poor states in UNDP fact sheet. Its Human development Indicator is 22 out of 23. That indicates its economic and human development status in the country. Malnutrition (Higher cases of undernourishment of calories than national index), chronic hunger, MMR, CMR, malaria,Dengu, low purchasing power. Lack of basic development amenities, lack of quality governance are the major issues of the state.
There has been continuous structural issues. In spite of several Govt led development schemes, thousands of NGO interventions, years of effort to strengthen the economic conditions of people a big percentage of total population is still under abject poverty. On analysing recent development changes we find following are major incorporations by Govt of Odisha in addition to several other national development schemes. In recent past the State Government has taken steps to implement new agricultural policy, irrigation facilities to 35% of the total land,reduced interest on agricultural loans, strengthening of facilities for drinking water, road construction, education, health, etc. It has encouraged popular schemes / yojanas like Biju Krushaka Yojana, Gopabandhu Gramin Sadaka Jojana, Mo Kudia Jojana, Madhubabu Pension Yojana, Two Rupees Rice Scheme, increased wages scheme for Kendupatra pluckers, etc There has been claims by present Govt of steps taken to bring the Scheduled Tribes to the mainstream of the society under various developmental plans and projects. But lack of attention to public grievances and simultaneously no attention to corruption and findings of development studies and researches have been the major reasons of delayed progress in the state. This is a state that has beautifully prepared employee code of conduct but that has been never used for its purpose. Therefore corrupt officials are moving scot free and in practice of all nuisances. The above mentioned Govt schemes do not have adequate coordination compliances. Involvement of criminal minds in politics and administration has been increased to a massive scale. That has siphoned large amount of Govt funds to private parties.
Odisha has history of more than 1000 years of prolonged history of natural disaster like droughts, flood, cyclones, pest infestations, communicable diseases etc. The degree of devastation may be different but natural disaster like cyclone, flood and drought are regular in this geographical location of the world. Every year millions of rupees is spent here on relief material purchase and distribution to address this issue. There has been policies and codes enacted to address the challenge of natural disaster. Unfortunately this macro level giaganti challenge appears never ending subject matter for the state and nation. Unfortunately all the good intentions and efforts of Govt and other agencies are found to be waste, ineffective and of short duration for this reason. We can assess the extent of damage of resources from last few disasters in Odisha. More than 70000 people due to natural disaster like cyclone and flood were killed in a duration of 1963 to 1999. From 2000 to 2014 the death toll reduced to a great extent but the damage and catastrophic incidents of resource loss and livestock loss still continue. Out of 50 lakhs and more coconut tree 45 lakhs are uprooted only in 1999 super cyclone. Millions of hectors of paddy land were totally devastated. More than 1.5lakhs livestocks are wiped out from this region. Death toll due to drought usually remain unreported. But frequently reported hunger death and health issues due to malnourishment are the major indicators of rampant food scarcity issues in Odisha. It is found Odisha lacks vision on this sector and very from understanding the benefits from cyclone shelter, appropriate technology application for crop production and food processing with ensured market; green shielding through mangrove cultivation, restoration, forest management, community housing, appropriate housing for cyclone prone region, promotion of right kind of infrastructure in different difficult pockets etc.
Odisha has 62 number of officially recognised tribes. There is special Govt arrangement called Odisha Tribal Livelihood Development Program It is very much known to the world that Odisha has been experiencing poverty, inequality and development in tribal pockets denial for last half of the century. Only 15 to 20 % of the reserved employment meant for tribal population in Odisha is fulfilled so far . Education and health services in tribal pockets are the most neglected area of development in Odisha. It is a known fact that education services in tribal pockets are very poor. Teacher absenteeism has been a menace for the Govt. Quality infrastructure and pedagogic support are just mentioned in official documents but the reality is far from what mentioned in the documents. Health services and health awareness , even awareness on their entitlement and schemes of Govt did not penetrated in the remote tribal villages and border areas of the state. Officers, political people are confused of reaching the unreached. To this context when we relate the health services in these areas we find the pace of development can not reach a seizable target population even in another 50 years time duration. Facilities meant for tribal population are siphoned to private contractors and unscrupulous business or political associates. Only 7% of tribal population use toilet. It is a regular feature of underdevelopment in this region that every year tribals die in unknown diseases. ICMR report says, Orissa is one of the ten states in the country covered under the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB).
According to the latest report of NNMB (2000 – 2001), Orissa continues to have second highest level of under nutrition among the ten states. When compared with the aggregate figures for chronic energy deficiency (BMI < 18.5) in adult men and women in these states the level is higher in Orissa. The prevalence of chronic energy deficiency (CED) in adult men in the state is 38.6% compared to aggregate of 37.4%, whereas the CED prevalence in the adult women is 46% against 39.3% aggregate figure. Therefore it is a huge challenge to face in this millennium. Odisha tribe has been the worst victim of displacements of large development projects like dams, industries and mining operations. Maximum biodiversity materials are disturbed because of such development activities by Govt and private initiatives. Tribal population lost its age old wisdom of plants, resources, governance and health system because of loss of biodiversity. That also brought several environmental problems where Odisha has been a witness to all those issues.
Poor quality of life
Odisha people are at remote from Quality life concept. Standard life is yet to be met in Odisha. Therefore Quality life is always a remote dream here. When tribal population has only 7% of use of toilet , non tribals use of toilet has increased from 8% in 2001 to 14% in recent years (unpublished data). A grave situation in terms of quality life. Maximum of the tribal locations are still have energy scarcity although they are displaced and suffered due to multi-purpose dam and electricity projects in their area. They face maximum cases of sickle cell anemia and other genetic health issues. Most of the communicable diseases are still rampant in Odisha. Social issues like untouchability, witch killing, dowry death, honour killing and superstitious activities are still existing in this century of science and technology although there has been some reduction within last 20 years. Quality life is mostly measured under HDI and Happiness Index. As HDI shows alarming situations in Odisha and indicates to high stress life of human situation it is a fact that the education and health system has been ineffective for several reasons. Education of women are still demanding high thrust from administration and input through participatory functions. Similarly large gaps are there in health measures in reality and promised in manifestos of ruling party. The regular feature of unhygienic village conditions are alarming but unattended by local panchayats and state health system. Lack of monitoring system is a huge challenge for the state. Public participation of eradicating corruption in public distribution system always remain unachievable dream. Therefore state has faced delayed women empowerment measures, infrastructure development, developing basic amenities in villages and addressing lawlessness situation in several occasions and events. Therefore quality life development is a remote dream for this state.
Poor skill building processes and arrangements
It is quite interesting to observe that this state has several educational hubs in various districts. When it comes to labour engagement or employment we opt to get human resource from other states. It happens so because of lack of adequate number of quality skilled labour in sectors like civil construction work, tools and instrumentation, scientific research, food processing, banking, funds management, financial counseling, career counseling, crop production and storage, marketing, management of human resource, education and so on. The arrangements are lacking infrastructure, unavailability of human resources, delayed sanction of fund and poor execution of various schemes and activities. It is a fact that state lacks sufficient number of institutions which would drive above mentioned areas to improve and establish the development thought maturity in action. Therefore economic advancement is slow and lacks rigor in spite of so many policies and legal arrangements and processes. State has more than 500 engineering colleges with capacity of 500000 student output in various streams of engineering but lack adequate number of technician certificate courses which are the real need and demand in the market. The course cost is so high students from lower strata of society can not afford it. Schemes to support poor SC/ST/ Backward class people are not well published in Odisha. Therefore many talented students remain away from such facilities. Youth in Odisha are less entrepreneurial as they do not know about the registration systems in DIC, commercial tax, excise and export & import along with other taxation processes. They are not aware of loan availability and transactions in bank.
Poor Governance in panchayats are the first evidence of poor accountability issue in Odisha. In Odisha stubborn corrupt officials keep on delaying the response to grievances of people. Unless there is a corrupt push the files can not move from one table to other. Therefore several criminal and corrupt happenings surface several time in media involving officials, businessmen and political stalwarts. The mindset of positioned govt officials are not able to generate trust in public mind. The advent of IT application in Govt has made some definite changes in Odisha. But it is still at infant stage. There lacks capacity of executing agencies and loopholes in inducted processes and value system to achieve the desired objective. There has been huge number of processes and models of success could be followed to bring transparency and healthy atmosphere around development projects and institutions. Due to deep rooted accountability issue corruption has been part of life and growth. That is how individuals grow and mass remains poor under exploitation by individuals. MDM dal scam, Chitfund scam, mines scam, land scams etc are the major scams jeopardized the economy of the state.
Bibhu Prasad Mohanty
Independent Development Consultant