Thursday, March 23rd, 2023 03:22:09

Root-causes of Odisha afflictions

Updated: August 19, 2017 5:20 pm

Odisha can boast of mineral resources but it can’t boast of hi-fi industries. It has 40 million peoples speaking Oriya but they lack unity. They had an elegant past of trade and business overseas, probably they had discovered the sea route to most of east nations, but now Odiya people are turned just lazy . They had a great art and culture in their past but they lack representatives at international levels. They can only cry for Rosgulla belongs to them, not to Bengal. They can only feel proud that they  have a dham out of four but never care for it. They have a classical language but they can’t have its digitized form. They have strong political leaders but they refuse to talk and apply minds .They can only copy not have and creative mind. That’s why they are backward. In spite of all these reasons let have a glance at reasons that constitute Odisha’s plight.

Very poor political leadership

You may be surprised to hear this, but Odisha attracts the highest FDI (on paper) every year: A total of 763 FDI proposals worth over Rs 1.78 lakh crore were filed across various states in India during 2011-12, according to Assocham. Services, telecommunications, construction, computers (software and hardware), real estate and housing, chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, power, automobiles and metallurgical industries received the highest FDI inflows across India. Assocham has also called for a time-bound, non-discretionary, simplified and less number of procedures and approvals to help uplift overseas investors’ confidence and foster more investments in India.

Take a look at the states that attract the highest FDI: Odisha has emerged as the most preferred destination for overseas investors with investment proposals worth Rs 49,527 crore (Rs 495.27 billion), during 2011-12, according to apex industry body Assocham. Andhra Pradesh attracted Rs 33,936 crore (Rs 339.36 billion) for 70 proposals. Gujarat received Rs 20,258 crore (Rs 202.58 billion) for 131 proposals. But the political machinery in Odisha specializes in blocking these investments (see fig)

Poor infrastructure
The state is sandwiched between Point 1 & Point 3, yet this is one area where there has been some improvement. The beautiful NH6 & the newly built Bhubaneshwar are examples. When the Tatas came here, there was no question of hiring local talent. Today engineering colleges have sprung up in the most unlikely of places, but freshmen are forced to leave the state & their families behind in search of jobs.

There are of course reasons for the prevalence of the opinions. One of them is the lack of an IIT in the state. IIT Bhubaneswar is a result of recent developments and would surely go a long way in improving the image of the state as a whole. Another factor is a lack of airports. There is only one international airport and that is of course in the capital city, Bhubaneswar. To go to any other place in the state, you would need to be on the ground. Its not as if there are no other well to do towns and cities in Odisha, apart from Bhubaneswar. But they are not recognized by people of other states. There are proper towns like Rourkela, Sambalpur, etc. but it is doubtful that a person from another state would recognize the names.

Frequent Natural Disasters
In a state like Odisha, the economic implications of a natural disaster can be long lasting & often irreversible. After all, its not Japan. The Great famine of 1866 to the Super cyclone of 1999 & everything in between is the reason why Surat has 6 lakh Odiya immigrants & every third restaurant in India has a flock of Odiya waiters.

Not much use from the ocean

Although Odisha has a long coastline, it is as good as being landlocked as there are no nearby regions to trade with. The ocean is large and is prone to brutal cyclones. In contrast, Gujarat had the Arabs & Persians closeby, Bengal had southeast Asia close and the south had Sri Lanka close and also a part of ancient routes to the west. In fact, until after independence no major port was built in Odisha.

 Lack of political competition inside the state
Naveen Pattnaik has been chairing as the CM of the state for  15 years. He is in his chair just because people don’t have alternative.Other parties like BJP, Cong. don’t have strong leadership which leads to weak opposition that’s why BJD clean sweeps every Assembly Election(2009 & 2014) with a great margin.But,there is cut throat competition in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra,Bihar, UP etc. If Karunanidhi is distributing TVs , Amma will distribute laptops to woo voters.

Lack of political motivation

 BJD is the sole strong contender for all elections. Why ? Because it has the name of Bhumiputra Biju Patnaik. No doubt, Biju Babu architected modern Odisha. But, genetics doesn’t always ensure that son would be similar to father. Naveen Patnaik has done a lot for attracting industries but, lack of competition will demotivate even the best of all. Industries come every year, Naveen Patnaik graciously welcomes them. Proposals are sent to Union Govt. And they block it due to environmental reasons. If they don’t, then tribals here block it. And administration says, “Who cares ? We will win next elections.”

Not understanding the tribals

 Ministry of tribals affairs didn’t exist until Vajpayee’s Govt. And still, today, many politicians, civil servants, doctors, teachers, etc hesitate to visit tribal areas in interiors of Odisha’s forests. Hence, these tribals are also cut-off from modern world. Result ? They block industries. They because they do not know what a industry is or what urbanization is. Because nobody ever made them aware of it. They are very innocent people whose life revolves around food and their family’s well-being. It is mistake of the government. They should push them to mainstream society & and its benefits.

Inefficient Populist Measures

 Populist measures are good only until they are reaching the people in dire need of them. Problem with us Indians is that these populist measures make us more lethargic. Also, due to rampant corruption, many undeserving people try to scoop out their share, thus hoarding the privileges and it never reaches the poor. My opinion is, government should focus on job generation than going on populist measure announcement spree. Here are a few of them :

  1. Aahar Yojana
  2. Free Laptops to school students
  3. Free Cycles to school students
  4. Various BPL Schemes
  5. 1/kg rice
  6. Ration Card scheme


 By Uday India Bureau


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