Nowadays, India is facing a tremendous problem of revolt from the people of backward and under-developed regions of certain states demanding to form an independent state of their own. The khalistan movement in Punjab, Telangana movement in Andhra Pradesh, Gorkhaland, Vidarbha movement in Maharashtra, etc are some major revolts across the country. This article emphasises more on Vidarbha and will try to give solutions for preventing the partition of Vidarbha from Maharashtra.
Vidarbha (19404 sq km) region is located in the eastern part of Maharashtra. Famous for oranges, this region comprises of 11 districts namely, Buldhana, Akola, Washim, Yavatmal, Wardha, Nagpur, Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli. With the GDP growth of 6.7%, it is transforming itself into a centre of business and industries.
With increase in the numbers of suicides by the farmers, the revolt of “Vidarbha as a state” increased tremendously. Declaration of Telangana by the UPA government has added fuel to the fire.
Under-development is always considered as the main reason for such kind of revolts. There are certain reasons for the under-development in this region too. 65% of population in Vidarbha is dependent on agriculture directly or indirectly. As cotton is the important crop, the region is more dependent on rain. It enjoys only 400-600 mm of rainfall. This leads to bad results and loss of income. This forces a farmer to take loans which he could not repay. This leads to the suicide of poor farmers followed by under-development of the region. Certain plans for the development of the region by the govt. Of Maharashtra has failed consistently. Although, “Advantage Vidarbha” remains as a promising project. With the literacy rate of 83.6%, the region constitutes 15.6% of Maharashtra’s GDP.
Vidarbha has got 3000 ha of industrial land and 90 industrial areas. It has adequate power generation capacity and total water reservoir capacity of 5607 mm m3. It has 32.93% of total railway network of the state with Nagpur connecting all the parts of India. In last 5 years, domestic passenger traffic of this area has increased by 14.8% and international passenger traffic by 4.1%.
It has 4 out of 5 national parks in the state. Competitive and aggressive policies of neighbouring state and cities have elevated Vidarbha’s position in textile industry value chain.
Here are certain development measures government can take to prevent the partition of Vidarbha from Maharashtra….
- There must be at least 15-20% capital subsidy for new textile units which will attract industries (currently 10%).
- On the accounts of unstable rain, at least 1000 ha of land must be kept for textile zones.
- Government must try to engage large amount of population in industries and not for agriculture. Specially the young and unemployed talent within the region.
- Bodies like MIHAN must transform the vacant region like Gadchiroli into a Cargo Hub so that it will develop the area and generate employment.
- Strong and benefiting policies for Agro and food processing industries are needed.
- There must be a strong improvement in tourism policies as the region is well known as the “Tiger land” including 4 out of 5 national parks of the state.
- Government must appoint bodies like CIDCO in other areas and not only in Nagpur. CIDCO has done tremendous and successful development in the cities like Navi Mumbai.
- Development of more than 100 power plants in the region is essential.
- Auto and auto ancillary industries are needed to be strengthened. As they are very weak.
- There must be additional FSI for IT/ITES units with 10% premium.
- Development of IT parks. (currently only 3)
- Need to setup a dedicated agency which provides a fillip to economic development.
- District level panels are must.
- There must be single window clearance system for companies.
- Industries to facilitate value added employment generation.
All these plans need a skilled labour which is lacking in Vidarbha. This happens due to migration of talents to the developed areas of the state and country. Government must try to give attractive wages to the Son’s of soil and must attract talent from all parts of India to overcome this problem.
Despite its inheriting strength, the region is not able to attain its full potential.
However, I feel that the economic transformation of Vidarbha could take place provided the concerned stake holders come together to develop an integrated and cohesive approach to support the sectors/industries which can be potentially developed in Vidarbha.