Jharkhand - The way forward

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Jharkhand - The way forward

Tuesday, 14 January 2020 | Amritanshu Prasad

Before we delve into the strategy particulars for Jharkhand, let us examine a general definition of strategy given by Quinn :

“A strategy is a pattern or plan that integrates an organization’s major goals, policies and action sequences into a cohesive whole. A well-formulated strategy helps marshal and allocates an organization’s resources into a unique and viable posture based on its relative internal competencies and shortcomings, anticipated changes in the environment, and contingent moves by intelligent opponents.”

If we discount the aspect relating to ‘contingent moves by intelligent opponents’ since the definition was written in reference to a competitive business environment, Jharkhand can learn a few important points from this:

  • Declaring of major goals and sustainable policies to achieve those goals
  • Integration of major goals and policies
  • Unique strategy formulation for Jharkhand keeping in view its inherent strengths ? Defining the internal competencies and shortcomings
  • Environmental assessment and its impact on the plan and policies

Recommended Strategy for Jharkhand decision makers

In view of the above the following factors should be accorded importance while deciding the strategy mix for Jharkhand:

  • Long-Range/Perspective Plan – The State should work upon a Long Range / Perspective Plan along with road map for at least ten years. If the State has to leap-frog from its present state to the desired state, the same cannot be possible without meticulous planning.

This planning should not be a political agenda or manifesto but rather a blue-print for the States’ progress on a firm footing. It should be prepared by a select group of competent bureaucrats, economists, academicians and practicing managers from leading business houses.

The plan should be a comprehensive growth plan with specific mention of the basic growth items to cater to the continuously burgeoning population such as drinking water, 24 x 7 electricity provision, housing, sewerage and drainage system, parks, municipal amenities, public toilets, garbage removal and disposal system, primary health and sanitation, town hall, library etc.

  • Health & Sanitation – Jharkhand lacks miserably in health and sanitation facilities. There has to be a proper focus on medical facilities, basic health-care and Amritanshu Prasad Page 2 of 4 sanitation. It also lacks super-specialty facilities and many patients have to travel to other locations for treatment.

Jharkhand has to make all efforts to improve doctor to population ratio and get good specialists/ surgeons and give a fillip to medical facilities, health and sanitation in the State. Introduction of people-friendly systems and institutions are required to let the medical benefits percolate to the needy masses.

  • Education & Learning – Jharkhand has some leading institutes in the country for primary and higher education area. There are some distinguished schools, Technical Institutes and IIM identified as Centres of Excellence.

To cater to the education needs of the brilliant children of the State there is ample scope for proliferation of such Centres of excellence.

The gap between demand and supply is huge making the children opt for other states for technical or professional education. Such potential can be tapped in Jharkhand to a large extent. Besides this, the basic and primary education also needs a boost. The main issue, however, is providing education for the poor, illiterate masses, ensuring the three Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) for the people who never had access to this and teaching the girl child. This is a major challenge.

  • Infrastructure strategy - The State should invest on providing best possible infrastructure of roads, bridges, energy generation, transmission and distribution, civic amenities, water, housing, canals & waterways, public buildings, tourism infrastructure.

Infrastructure is the first aspect that catches the eye. Good road & railway network and air connectivity go a long way in improving the accessibility, image and economy of a place.

  • Exploitation of mineral wealth – Jharkhand is the mineral destination having nearly 40% of the country’s mineral wealth. Hence, all efforts should be made to make proper utilization and exploitation of minerals like coal, iron-ore, copper, bauxite, uranium, kyanite, mica, etc. Govt. bodies like Jharkhand State Mineral Development Corporation (JSMDC) who have good mines including those of ironore and coal have ample scope to generate revenue for the State by opting for joint-ventures with the private sector and expert Mines Developers to exploit the mineral reserves for the benefit of the State.

 Despite coal and other mineral deposits in abundance, there has not been a push to extract and utilize the minerals. New thinking should go in this area for the development of the State.

  • Metal based industry- Considerable scope exists in Jharkhand to start new metal based industry or expand the already existing ones. The incentive schemes of the State government need to be relooked and implemented vigorously to instil confidence in the industry.

Many industries which were closed should be restarted for increasing employment in the State.

  • Water and Environment Management – Jharkhand receives an annual rainfall of about 1400 mm which can fulfil the needs of the State if the same is properly harnessed, stored and distributed.

 Water is an area of concern since the hilly Amritanshu Prasad Page 3 of 4 terrain of Chhotanagpur plateau makes a large part of the rain evacuate quickly into the Bay of Bengal leaving irrigation potential unexplored in the absence of adequate water harnessing structures, dams and canals. Conservation of ground water has to be taken up in a big way. Aggressive and properly planned management of water resources and water harvesting is required for providing water and arresting depletion of water table in the State.

Along with this strict Forest Conservation must be implemented so that the environment is not endangered with the increased accent on growth and industrialisation.

  • Employment generation and skill–development - The need to develop skills has already been recognized by the Government of India. Skill development has been identified as a focus area by the Govt. of India.

Jharkhand should capitalize on this opportunity and must work on employment generation in the traditional areas as well new technology areas. Considerable training is to be provided for the new industries being set-up in the State.

  • Storage and marketing of local produce – Fruits and vegetables are grown in abundance in Jharkhand but in absence of proper cold-storage facilities, the shelf life being limited, many of the perishable items do not see the light of day. The farmers are unable to find a buyer or tap the opportunities that exist in the metro cities where people are prepared to spend lavishly to consume such high-quality variety of fruits and vegetables. Pisci-culture (fishery) has been a success in Jharkhand. The same needs to be stepped up with cold storage and transportation improvement.
  • Tourism Industry – Jharkhand has tremendous potential in the tourism sector but has not tapped this potential adequately.

It has a host of scenic spots, religious destinations, healthy resorts, lakes, ancient temples, wild-life, water-falls which are popular tourist attractions. Providing safe and comfortable tourist destinations with good transportation, food and beverage facilities will boost the tourism industry manifold and generate employment and income.

The top priorities for the government should be education, health, irrigation & agriculture, infrastructure development, reviving mining and manufacturing, providing social justice, preserving ecology and Jharkhand Culture and giving a fillip to services sector for maximum value creation.

Jharkhand is at cross-roads today having completed nearly nineteen years of existence and formation. It should bench-mark against Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand who have commenced their developmental journey simultaneously and have already made their mark. India Today magazine in its special issue did not rate Jharkhand very highly in the ranking of the Indian States.

To reverse this perception and enhance its image in consonance with the potential that it enjoys, Jharkhand decision makers need to think seriously for forging a single minded plan for the betterment of the State. It is time to embark upon a new well-considered and surefooted journey to vindicate the aspirations of the people of the State.

The views expressed by the writer are his own and he can be contacted at prasad.amritanshu@gmail.com.

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