Wednesday, August 19, 2009

KBK - Kaun Banega Kangalpati

I belong to the state of Orissa. Yes, I from one of the most backward states of India. One of my professors in IIM B keeps on giving the example of Oriya’s being increasingly employed as guards, washer-men and servants to project Orissa’s backwardness. According to him, Orissa is the new Bihar. What he is actually forgetting is the economic situation in Orissa. The situation in rural Orissa is so pathetic that people just have to venture out to earn money.
Let us analyse the reasons for the backwardness of KBK(Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) region of Orissa.
Lets start with the political scenario.....
While the manifesto of all the major parties for the KBK region during the elections included the subsidy on rice, there were no provisions for what the KBK region really needs - intensive irrigation projects, medical colleges/services, safe drinking water, housing, new railway line, state highway, new bridges and downstream industrial development.
Perhaps, the prevalent image of KBK being a malnourished region is so overpowering that the politicians feel that subsidy is the only solution to KBK’s problems.
An interesting result of the elections was the miserable performance of BJD in western and southern Orissa and its victory in the Orissa assembly elections. KBK comes under the western Orissa belt. The western parts of Orissa especially the Ganjam district is not progressing as smoothly as the eastern Orissa. In the last five years, Mr. Naveen Patnaik has visited Kalahandi four times out of which three times were just before this election. BJD's failure in western Orissa was attributed by some experts to the anti-industrial sentiment (anti-Vedanta rally in Lanjigarh). Infact, it was the poor performance and apparent indifference of the government that prove to be its undoing.
According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, as many as 1450 projects for the development of KBK have been either closed or are incomplete. The funds allocated for the KBK region by the central government under the Revised Long Term Action Plan(RLTAP)have not been being utilized properly. The RLTAP came to an end in the year 2006-2007. The government had launched a Biju KBK Yojana as an alternative measure in the interim period. As of now, Orissa government has presented a new 8-year RLTAP plan(2009-2017) of Rs 4550 crores for the development of Orissa before the Centre. The Planning Commission is in favour of the plan, but has said it will take some time.
Let us analyze the performance of the schemes taken under RLTP(1999-2007)....
The performance audit of various schemes under RLTP by the CAG has some startling facts to mention. It is noteworthy to mention that BJD has ruled over Orissa since 1999, the inception year of RLTP.
A review of the popularly successful Watershed and Biju Krushak Vikas Yojana (BKVY) projects. The metrics targeted were :-
1. Projects scheduled for implementation - While the target was 2872, the projects completed were 1422 with a success percantage was 50%
2. Area planned for treatment - While the target was 7.49 lakh heactares, the area treated was 4.98 with a success percantage of 66.48%.
Participatory management was poor and contribution in pani panchayats and watershed development funds did not take off creating apprehension about future maintenance of projects

A review of the other schemes
  • The Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) failed to achieve the targeted employment days under RLTAP.
  • The afforestation programme aimed at conservation and extension of forests fared miserably. Employment targeted in the scheme was not met.
  • The Indira Awas Yojana could not provide dwelling houses to the entire targeted group. In the rural areas, success ratio was merely 27 per cent of the target.
  • Short supply of rice and dal affected emergency feeding to the beneficiaries.
  • Inadequate deployment of medical and paramedical health workers and shortages of medical equipment in the Mobile Health Units handicapped the basic health services.
  • Safe drinking water could not be ensured in many habitations.
Most importantly, there was virtually non-existent monitoring of schemes at state, district and block levels.
Inspite of such apparent flops, the Orissa government is buoyed about its ambitious plans. Had money had been the solution to all problems, Midas would have been the happiest person ever. Money can be the source of big problems, it can never be the solution of big problems.
The Orissa government would do a world of good for the KBK if they put in more heart into the initiatives rather than begging for money time and again.
P.S - Blogging after a loooonnnngggg time. Life @ IIM B doesnt give you time to blog.
P.P.S - Hopefully, I will try to be a more regular blogger.
P.P.P.S - Please read about the KBK region of Orissa. It really needs attention of all.


SURABHI said...

Hey..a very good narration of the problems of Orissa..I think Central govt. should give special attention to such states and try to identify the root cause of such problems and work to get rid of them permanently...

PJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tamsin said...

I loved the first para.. it's comic :P, ran thru' d rest, the actual part that is, ((I have a FinAc test :( )), but well detailed, I did not know most of it..chalo..keep bloggin..

Swamy Saran Atul said...

well written!
I found it easier to understand coz I'm a Bihari who spent 22 years in Orissa and now doing MBA in Bengal ;-)

Amartya Singh said...

@Surabhi: Thanx!!
@PJ:Why did you remove the comment?:P
@Tamsin:Thanx.But dont read much into the stats things.I am also having a tuf time in Finac.
@Atul:Expected a more radical comment from you.

sunidhi said...

I never knew there are so many problems in Orissa. You have articulated ur thoughts really well!!

sangram keshai nayak said...

why don't u publish novel based on ur real life experience..I think u r too good.waiting for ur novel...i will definitely buy 1.