There is just so much talk about how the state of Maharashtra is shining. But in reality a closer look at studies and reports by economists and experts shows that behind this shining Maharashtra is a picture that the state government should seriously start worrying about because it’s a picture of disparity, poverty and backwardness. But when the congress and NCP is busy bickering over bank scams and mudslinging games, there seems to be no one in the corridors of power to actually care about where the state is headed.
The conclusions that are being drawn from recent studies conducted by economists and experts is spelling a sorry picture of the state. According to reports, a team of economists from Mumbai university conducted an evaluation of the funds received by the state from the center for various development schemes and found out that the state is far from meeting the goals of implementing these schemes.
* funds going unutilized in key areas of employment, food, education and health
For the first time in the history of the state, Maharashtra has joined the league of the five poorest states of the countries that fail to provide a decent living to citizens. Maharashtra has joined the poorest states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Orissa-where one in every two children is underweight. And it’s not like the state does not have money. The problem is that it is not utilizing it. According to statistics, Maharashtra
-Spent less than 60% of the allocated food subsidy for school children
-Failed to pick up 15% of food meant for children from go-downs and
-The state has not even built enough anganwadis. It could build only around 140,000 anganwadis which are children centers that are far less than the requirement.
And it’s not just in this area but nearly half of the budgets in employment and health too go unutilized each fiscal year. Economist dr. Abhay pethe says that “since money for these flagship programmes comes from outside, a sense of ownership is lacking. Despite a scarcity of resources, it is tragic that Maharashtra fails to absorb and utilize funds coming its way.”
* poor progress in using prime minister’s fund for rural development
The worst is that the state has failed to meet the deadlines set for all urban infrastructure project. Reports show that until december 2009, more than 75% of the infrastructure projects started in cities across the states have not met deadline of the project. The worse has been the progress on the work being done under the pradhan mantri gram sadak yojana. This scheme was started in the state to better connectivity in rural areas. Though there was positive progress in the scheme when it took off, off late bureaucratic apathy and delays have marred this scheme too. Not just the prime minister’s scheme, but the rahul gandhi boasted mahatma gandhi national rural employment guarantee scheme has not benefited the needy in the state. In 2009 – 2010, the state spent only 44.78% of the funds released under this scheme.
* power shortage brings over all progress to a grinding halt
Power in Maharashtra or rather the power crisis in the state is a reflection of how the state is slipping into backwardness. In the year 2009 – 2010, according to reports the power deficit reported in the state was 22%. This forced 8-10 hours of load-shedding in many parts of the state and in some areas even 12 hours.
* lack of vision and planning
According to economists, the main reason for Maharashtra slipping down on all fronts of progress is lack of both vision and planning. The report conducted by Mumbai university and given to planning commission exposes a bleak picture of the state in education and health. Such is the scenario that whether one is speaking about schools, hospitals or angandwadis, all are running without the basic requirement. Forget other facilities, even the manpower in these institutions are poor. For instance, in 2009, state run health care centres were short of senior doctors by 54%, junior doctors by 9.16% and nurses by 50%.
* poor coordination between congress at the center and state
Experts say that what is unfortunate is that another reason for the slow pace of progress setting in all over Maharashtra is that the funds coming from the center never reach on time and there is no one pursuing the matter on behalf of the state or so it seems. An example of this are the funds that the center gives the state for mid-day meal for children studying in municipal, zillah parishad or other state run schools. The money under this scheme every year is received in december. Utilizing it before the end of that finanicial year then becomes quite a task. Even on these basic fronts, other states like kerala are much better off than Maharashtra. The irony for Maharashtra is that leaders from its own soil have the key portfolios at the center – sharad pawar has the agriculture ministry, vilasrao deshmukh has the rural development portfolio and power lies in the hands of sushilkumar shinde but when all these minister’s names are coming up in one scam and the other, looks like they are finding no time to do justice to their home state Maharashtra. Bureau report – NMTV News.