The Daunting Task: Eliminating Poverty from Odisha

Why does it seem that poverty and Odisha seem to be made for each other. The long uninterrupted governance of the present political set up has not improved matters. The state still maintains its second position from the bottom in the Human Development Index. Much has been written about the subject and more surely will be.

The issue needs to be analysed with objectivity and without emotions. I feel tempted to fall back on an analogy– of a kindly mother-in-law and a wily daughter-in-law or vice versa. The kindly soul keeps feeding the wily one without much reciprocity. In such a situation the wily one gets healthier and the kindly one goes sick.

For many reasons, many districts of the state have not developed despite abundant natural and human endowments. The state of un-development has been chronic. Remedial attempts have not been more than cosmetic. This approach has not taken us anywhere except disillusionment of the affected population apart from denial of natural justice and the state continues to bear the poverty tag.

The logical and objective solution seems to be creation of a new state comprising the regions that have lost out on development. I am confident that the examples of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Telangana would serve us as guide. People have a right to a decent standard of living. Deprivation and suffering cannot be open ended.

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