Uttarakhand Stories

Himachal Model of Development

by Pragati Chauhan
Nov 02, 2015

Himachal Pradesh was one of the most backward hill states in the early 60’s and 70’s. It was the outcome of the growth inclusive policies and plans adopted by the state that it became a role model for other hilly areas.

Why Himachal Pradesh has become a role model for development in hilly areas?

When Himachal Pradesh was newly formed the main agenda was how to develop the state. Y.S. Parmar, a radical thinker who was the first chief minister of the state was obsessed with the development of Himachal Pradesh. Therefore, he came up with an idea, “Paharon mein sirf sadak de do, vikas apne ap ho jayega” (make roads on the hills development will follow itself). Parmar stood on his words and followed his plan, decades later the state was reckoned as a role model of development in the country. His mantra became successful and it taught that giving priority to the development of vulnerable areas can help in the inclusive growth of the nation as a whole.

Himachal’s development cannot be regarded as a magic spell which changed the scenario at once, rather it was powered by effective policies which transcended the political divide. Till 70’s and 80’s the state boasted a great infrastructure and in 90’s social development took place which attracted the attention of the policy planners.

Himachal Pradesh a pioneer of economic transformation:

Himachal Pradesh represents an ideal model of development for the hilly areas. It was the first hill state which was the pioneer of economic transformation. The state took considerable steps for providing good connectivity. A major part of revenue was used in building motor-able roads up to 43% in the first four Five Year Plans which played a pivot role in the progress of Himachal Pradesh. In the year 1948, the state had only 288 km of roadways now the same state possess a great network of roads up to 27,500 km. During the fifth, sixth and seventh Five Year Plans, power sector became the priority, consuming one-fourth of the resources.

The state witnessed a setback when it was in debt:

Nothing can be achieved without failure, the state also faced an acute crisis when it was under an astounding debt of Rs 25,000 crore. At that time, it was listed as the second most fiscal deficit state which overcame the debt with the help of some effective policies. In 1988 the state achieved 100% rural electrification but the dream of a far more prosperous Punjab is yet to achieve.

The objectives laid for the development of Himachal Pradesh were:

1) To reimburse growth, construct, renovate, develop, improve, manage and maintain other infrastructure projects including those related to Power, Telecom Information and Technology, Transmission of Electricity, Water Supply Projects, Irrigation Projects, Sanitation and Sewerage System, Housing, Building, Education, Hospitals, Tourism, Transport, Aviation, Ropeways, Rail System, Mining or any other notified public facilities of similar nature to Build Operate and Transfer (BOT), Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT), Build Operate Lease and Transfer (BOLT) or any other scheme which will undertake the above mentioned works in the State of Himachal Pradesh.

2) To act as a special purpose vehicle for resource mobilization on behalf of the State Government for all infrastructure projects and also discharge obligations in this account on revenue or any other receipts accruing to the State Government from such projects.

Himachal Pradesh: A role model for underdeveloped hilly areas

Infrastructure: In 90’s there was a revolution in social infrastructure about 45% of the eight and ninth plan budgets emphasized in building schools, providing health care facilities and water supply.

Education: Government laid emphases on education therefore, it constructed schools in the far-flung areas of the state. It also established cluster universities for higher education. The most fruitful outcome was that primary education propelled the literacy rate from 31.3% to 77.13% in two decades. The literacy rate of Himachal Pradesh outnumbered one of the most literate states Kerela which was the biggest feat for a developing state. The number of educational institutions has almost tripled to 15,000 since 1971.

Tel-connectivity in rural areas: Himachal Pradesh made a significant change in the telecom industry by becoming one of those states which possessed the best rural tel-connectivity.

Political Stability: The state had a political stability which helped in continuing various policies and priorities. It has been four decades since the formation of Himachal Pradesh but it had only five chief ministers which indicate a high degree of political stability. This has also ensured a close monitoring of development schemes at the grass root level.

The Interest shown by Private Enterprises: Private enterprises have shown huge interest in investing in Himachal Pradesh as it exhibits a remarkable physical and social infrastructure.

 

Pragati Chauhan

Pragati Chauhan

A writer by profession, thinker by choice and a nature lover since birth. I have always loved expressing myself through words, I believe words have a certain kind of melody which can be understood by anybody.

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