To be able to understand the failings of mineral rich states like: Jharkhand, Orissa & Chattisgarh, we’ll need to delve deeper into the East-West conundrum.
- The Western part of India is relatively prosperous thanks to stable state governments since independence. In many western states (Gujarat & coastal Maharashtra) the presence of a traditional mercantile class since antiquity has helped create an atmosphere of thriving economic activity. Moreover, liberalization of economy ( although a bane for small scale industries) helped those who were ready to adjust with times: new expertise, better production techniques & the boom of economy trickled down on a vast segment of mercantile class of western India.
- The Eastern half on the other hand has had a hard time dealing with changing conditions over the past seven decades (a feudalistic mindset may also be one amongst a multitude of reasons for this). Further, Eastern India (the region of Bengal) suffered the most under the British Raj (Bengal & adjoining regions were continuously under British rule post Battle of Plassey in 1757). Post independence, this historical chasm between East & West further grew owing to rise of Naxalism ( in 1960’s); a direct product of holding onto an anachronistic feudal culture.
- In context of mineral rich states of East India the menace of naxalism has severely hampered progress. Maoist run parallel governments are rampant across multiple towns particularly in the tribal belt; scant development in such areas has effectively turned them into Maoist hotspots. This has unleashed a vicious cycle of under development as popular schemes can barely be implemented in zones of political unrest rendering them even more vulnerable to Naxals & their ideologies (blowing of schools, demanding levy from industrial establishments often populates the front page of leading news dailies).
- Political instability: Between 2000 & 2014 a total of 9 governments were formed in the state of Jharkhand. Nothing harms a state more than a crippled government. Investors were never ready to commit in a politically volatile state that too with security issues .Those who reluctantly agreed demanded exorbitant returns ( read: arm twisting the state government ) & hence, the result: little trickling down on the hapless masses:
“per capita income stands at a grim, Rs.29,786, as of 2011 & with BPL population hovering at around 40% of total (source: UNICEF India) with high child undernourishment & anemia among women running rampant.”
States like Orissa & Chattisgarh were less politically turbulent however, prosperity for the masses was never in proportion of industrialization. Certainly, there has been a lack of political will from the side of state governments. These states are surely the best example of failure of lassiez faire theory (trickle down effect).
(Originally written on Quora)