Uttarakhand Stories

Himachal VS Uttarakhand

by Pragati Chauhan
Oct 30, 2015

Sustainable development is a multi-dimensional process which can be seen in Himachal Pradesh. On the other hand, Uttarakhand is a bad example of a hill development plan which needs improvement in various sectors.

Contrasting features between Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand:

Uttarakhand is the case of late formation while Himachal Pradesh is all set to meet National Population Policy (NPP) targets and is placed better in terms of development as it was timely formed. Since Himachal was a Union Territory for almost 10 years from 1 November 1956 to 1 November 1966, therefore, it was able to bag good development plans, funds, and expertise. On the contrary, Uttarakhand has been neglected for years and it only came to light after the havoc created during the 2013 flash floods that devastated the cardinal Hindu pilgrim sites from which the government reaped heavy profits. There is a dire need of good, honest and visionary leaders and CMs in Uttarakhand. Not only the Chief Ministers of Uttarakhand lack leadership qualities but they are much more interested in scams, corruption, verbal war and accusing each other than on developing Uttarakhand. On the contrary in the history of Himachal, there have been some great C.Ms such as Y.S Parmar, the first Chief Minister of Himachal and many more who have proved their metal over the years.

The geographical factors also play a significant role in the development of the state. While Uttarakhand has a population of around 8.5 million and the land area is 55,845 sq km, Himachal Pradesh has a relatively less population around 63 lakh and the land area is about 55,673 sq km. The land, water and weather conditions of Himachal Pradesh are suitable for agriculture and H.P has also been the proud producer of several cash crops. On the other hand, Uttarakhand which is a hill state has tough geographical conditions which makes farming difficult and there is no monetary support from any institution.

The reason behind slow development of Uttarakhand:

The main reason behind the slow development of Uttarakhand is the existence of sharp geographical differences in some areas of the state. Most of the remote villages are economically backward as they are not connected with motorable roads which has hampered the development process in these areas. There is lack of basic facilities like education, health care, transportation, sanitation and job opportunities. Also, there is little or no development in the far-flung villages. The schemes that are launched for the betterment of these villages exist only in papers and the money is not utilized for their development. While Dehradun and Nainital has high per capita income; the interior parts of Uttarakhand like Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh, Chamoli, Bageshwar have less per capita income. The people residing in these places live below poverty line which has lead to an unbalanced development. To present a flawless picture, the per capita Net State Domestic Product figures does not portray the true picture of the poor conditions faced by the people.

The role of government in bringing new reforms and policies for the development of the state:

The government also plays a major role in introducing growth inclusive policies, reducing poverty and achieving socio-economic development. In the year 2000 when Uttarakhand was formed, there were high expectations that the formation of the new state will bring an economic upsurge. However, these expectations were lead down because development work took place in the regions which were already developed. Later on, imbalance development and increase in regional inequalities was observed; resulting a situation wherein only state policies and governance could counter regional imbalances.

Percentage of Population Living Below Poverty Line:

State Name
Poverty(% of people below poverty line)
All India Average
Data Source: RBI, Release Date: Sep 16, 2013

Some hidden aspects behind the slow growth of Uttarakhand:

Unstable Government: Unlike Himachal, there has been no stable government in Uttarakhand. The state replaces its C.M in maximum one or two years and this has become an every day’s cup of tea for Uttarakhand government. In just 14 years this newly formed state has witnessed more than seven Chief Ministers (B.C Khanduri two times). Both B.J.P and Congress government have come to power but none of them have fulfilled their promises and objectives. If we do some research on the previous CMs of Uttarakhand we will come to the conclusion that most of them have failed to make a stable government which can take decisions and implement them simultaneously.

Workers Classification: The Work Participation Rate (WPR), which is defined as the percentage of the total worker to the total population is 36.93% in Uttarakhand and 39.30% on all India basis as per 2001 census. It is evident that the dependence ratio (proportion of non-workers) is higher in Uttarakhand. Surprisingly in Uttarakhand, there is a perceptible decline in the proportion of main workers and a significant increase in the proportion of marginal workers which has increased from 5.56% in 1991 to 9.54% in 2001.

Unemployment: Unemployment and migration are interrelated because in order to make ends meet people migrate to other cities either for jobs or for a good lifestyle. Those who are highly educated in Uttarakhand don’t get jobs which match their profile since Uttarakhand lacks well established Multi-National Companies. And the companies that are set up in Uttarakhand only exploit the workers by taking more work from them and paying less in return. Therefore, the people of Uttarakhand migrate to other cities for earning a handful money in order to support their families. Also, the government jobs that are introduced by the state, have fewer seats which are applied by thousands of aspirants. Plus there are times when the aspirants have to wait for more than a year for the results to come just because of the laid back attitude of the government.

Migration: Migration has been a major reason for hampering the growth of the state as there is ample of land for agriculture but labour is not available because they have migrated to other cities. In Uttarakhand most of the educated and talented individuals migrate to other cities for seeking better jobs. The “Brain Drain” concept is adversely affecting the state’s efforts in launching any ambitious scheme of development. While Himachal Pradesh hasn’t witnessed such things.

High Poverty Level: The poverty level in Uttarakhand is much higher than Himachal Pradesh both in rural and urban areas and at all-India level. According to Urban and Regional Planning, the poverty rate in rural areas of Uttarakhand is 40.8%, the urban poverty rate is 36.5% and the total poverty rate is 39.6%. Whereas, according to the report of Material Requirement Planning, the percentages are 31.7%, 32.0% and 31.8% respectively. The all-India poverty estimates are less than 30% on both the counts. On the contrary, Himachal Pradesh has poverty level infractions about 1/4 in the rural areas and 1/11 in urban areas. These data clearly indicates the need to create job opportunities in rural as well as urban areas of Uttarakhand for accelerating economic growth.

Education: There is the dearth of good educational institutions in Uttarakhand which has resulted in high rate of illiteracy in the hilly areas of the state. The villages of Uttarakhand don’t have good schools, the teachers are least interested in offering quality education as they get handsome salary from the government and do not care to teach well. Leave out education, most of the schools don’t even have furniture and toilets which are the basic facilities that a school must provide to its children. On the other hand, Himachal Pradesh has shown a keen interest in developing the educational sector. There are good schools and colleges in every district of Himachal therefore, the literacy rate is skyrocketing in Himachal.

Inappropriate Use of Natural Resources: Uttarakhand is bestowed with natural resources in abundance there are several water resources which are present in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand but still there is no electricity. The state is in darkness when it can illuminate every corner of the country. This kind of ignorance reminds me of the famous Hindi proverb “Chirag tale andhera” which means there is darkness under the shade of the lamp. The lamp which illuminates the darkest corner remains gloomy under its foot. Similarly, Uttarakhand which possesses one of the tallest hydroelectric dam called Tehri Dam supplies electricity to other states like Delhi and Uttar Pradesh while its own villages are living in darkness. 

It’s heart wrenching to see that the infinite dreams which are in the eyes of the kids are dying a slow and painful death. Since the villages are deprived of electricity, the children are unable to study and they are well aware of the fact that they have to live with this darkness for all their lives. Apart from this, there are a lots of valuable minerals which are found in Uttarakhand such as raw Magnesium, white Limestone, Lead, Copper, Uranium etc. Also, there are a wide variety of rare medicinal plants, fruits, spices which can be exported to foreign countries for increasing the capital of Uttarakhand.

Socio-Economic Factors: Economic development through rational utilization of resources and environmental conservation are the two important problems associated with the development of mountain areas. In the last four decades, Uttarakhand has witnessed an increase in population growth, in particular, increase in degradation & depletion of land resources, a decline in the productive capacity of the land, continuous dependence of a very large proportion of the population on land resources in general and on traditional subsistence agriculture in particular. All these factors have lead to the crawling development of the state.

Detrimental Effect of Natural Disasters on Tourism: Uttarakhand witnesses a number of natural disasters which occurs in various parts of the state due to which tourism sector gets affected. Tourists avoid visiting Uttarakhand due to the fear of landslides, floods, deluge, cloud burst etc. Therefore, effective measures should be taken for the safety of the tourists. For e.g: They should be informed about the weather conditions. In order to flourish tourism in Uttarakhand, National Highways should be build. Conservation of the forests should be done to maintain the lush green beauty of the hills which attracts tourists.

Poor Industrial Development: Uttarakhand is a perfect example of poor industrial development as there are numerous big industrial plants in the urban areas while the rural areas don’t have any. If Uttarakhand government lays emphasis on setting up small scale industries or cottage industries in the rural areas, it will balance out the uneven industrial development. If the local products made by the artisans should be promoted it will help in widening the market for handicraft items and making it popular among the people. This, in turn, will attract the buyers as traditional handicraft items are not easily available.

Poor Water Management Techniques: Uttarakhand experiences rainfall of 1050 mm, precipitation varies from year to year. The water management in Uttarakhand is poor and the state has not adopted effective measures to cope up with the problem of scarcity of water.

Small Landholdings and Lack of Irrigation Facilities: In Uttarakhand around 75% of the population is dependent on agriculture but due to small land holdings, lack of irrigation facilities, increasing population the farmers are not able to get a profitable output. The only fertile agricultural land is present in the narrow Tarai belt. Whereas, the other areas remain infertile due to the paucity of water. For this Watershed Management techniques should be adopted, dams, reservoirs, tube wells, underground tanks should be built in order to save the rainwater which can be used at the time of water shortage.

Read Similar Article: Himachal Model of Development

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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32 Responses

Kamlesh Singh Says

Main aapka dil se aabhar prakat karta hun jo aap iss jankari ko har ak nagrik tak pahucha rahi hai! par jab tak hamare (uttarakhand?)
(uttraanchal word hee aachaa thaa) ke niwasi yaa us state ke log jinhe development ki jarurat hai aawaj nahi uthaenge ya akjut hokar apne state ko aage nahi badhayenge tab tak uttaranchal ka vikash hona yaa karwana aashan nahi hoga, dusri baat hamare uttaranchal ko uttaranchal ke niwasi ki (jarurat)? hai jo apne gaon or state se palayan kar rahe hain ya jo kar chuke hain, “yahan mera kisi byakti or uske prati aapne state ke liye use thesh pahuchana nahi hai”par kuch to karna hoga? or main poori koshish karunga ki apne uttaranchal ke vikash main aapna pura sahyog pradan kar sakun!

dhanyawaad (jai uttarakhand jai devbhumi)

Ayush panwar Says

Such a huge knowledge regarding particular state …I appreciate your idea , thought about uttarakhand….Keep it up mam ..I expect you as a professional writers.. Mam

Digpal bisht Says

90% right reality is that both state suffering for unemloyement ,lack of development ‘corruption and no focus towards hilly areas but uttrakhand suffers for everything instead of a lot of natural resources …love u

Vinay bisht Says

Next level👍👍

Lal Singh Says

this is very interesting and fact full story by you I appreciate you for this story, hope some of government sources see this and take appropriate action for development of Uttarakhand.
keep posting truth story about states.

sdt@post.com Says

Good article but lacks statistical validation without which a statement does not bring out the reality in a manner that will hit home. Roads, education and medical facilities have generally been ignored by all administrations. They got the money from the Centre but was siphoned off by greedy administrators. One word of caution: we can’t not boast of pollution free environment and wail about inadequate industrialization. Industry will bring pollution though will provide employment. Besides religious tourism Rishikesh now has entertainment tourism (hiking, trekking, rafting, yoga) but the lack of roads and civic amenities are shameful. From Rishikesh to Dehradun, a distance of 50 km takes over 2 hours on the bumpy road.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks Abhinav for your valuable inputs and I truly agree with the part where you mentioned about curbing migration as most of the youngsters flock to bigger cities for livelihood and if like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand government focuses on channelising their natural resources a lot can be changed. Hopefully the tables will turn one day and Uttarakhand will become a prosperous hill state.

Abhinav Rawat Says

The article is well written and informative with supporting statistics and as rightly mentioned, political failure is the key reason behind the slow development of the state but one thing I fail to understand is that why there is nothing mentioned about Gairsain which was supposed to be the capital city of at the time of formation of state. Going with the title of this article, I think the difference between UK and HP is not just geographical but prominently historical which affects government’s action plan for development. HP received a head start as the places in Chamba, Mandi, Shimla were in the process of developing since British era making Shimla which already was “the summer capital” an easy choice for capital city as it is located in the inner part making it accessible from most areas of state hence contribute in development more effectively. In UK, due to the reluctance of politicians and bureaucrats still after 17 years the capital city is Dehradun and with the current structure where the politicians and bureaucrats and sitting in western border of state an honest long term effective planning for development of eastern part like Pithoragarh is next to impossible. I believe now the need is remember the very reason for the formation of this state i.e. development for people living in hilly parts to conserve their cultures and traditions and not just the development in areas of Udham Singh Nagar and Haridwar. As per my understanding, the biggest challenge right now is to control migration from hilly parts and the way out for that is creating opportunities for livelihood, and for this UK should do what HP did i.e. keeping focus on Horticulture and Tourism which again require per requisites like roads, water and electricity. No task is difficult if the people in government are willing to take a stand to channelise the efforts for creating and executing a sustainable development plan. But for this our politicians and bureaucrats need to sacrifice their access to malls and showrooms and lavish lifestyle and move the capital to Gairsain located at centre of the state, equally accessible from Garhwal and Kumaon.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thank You!

Tapeshwar Mehra Says

Nice and informative article …
One reason is also there as we are forgetting our tradition and culture..

Pragati Chauhan Says

So true Ajay Dimri.

Ajay Dimri Says

Finally words given to the thoughts!!
All credit to you for taking the effort to put down into words this very thought that must have come across many minds from our state, uttarakhand.i think this particular article should invoke a wider discussion among us not just stopping here and forgetting it in a week.
To be successful one should have lot of pride and self-respect with in so to reach the rightful place and we do have lots of pride in our cultural heritage and our simple and peaceful living. And now it’s certainly government’s turn to create the right policies like himachal whose only and only goal should be retain its greatest assets which is its people.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thank You so much.

Anupam Says

Nice and To the point article Pragati…keep up the good work

Pragati Chauhan Says

That’s the plight of Uttarakhand, the government wants to boost tourism but they are not ready to do the handful.

sanjay sakhalkar Says

Very informative researched article. Road must be developed on war footing I have visited almost all hilly areas, roads must be available for 24×365 . China built roads in tibet. Tourism will be incresed if roads and electricity condition are well established.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks Amit Pant.

Amit Pant Says

Very nice article …great job. Keep it up…(y)

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks for the inputs Pradeep, the facts that you mentioned are really noteworthy. I will include the aforementioned points in my article for sure.

pradeep Says

Well explained and touched every aspect but you forget to mention few major factor which hindered the development of this promising state with full of resources, high literacy rate, and very good citizens in terms of moral values. The one of major factor is unavailability of good, honest and visionary leaders and CMs except Maj Gen(R) BC Kanduri. Once these leaders are always busy making money and saving government how they can find time to think about development. We need here visionary leaders who have vision to follow and goals to achieve. Uttarakhand has potential to be No. 1.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Sincerest thanks to you.

r nautiyal Says

what a well written and informative article..was searching and thinking about this issue for a long time..

Pragati Chauhan Says

I agree with each of your words Garvit and thanks again, do stay connected with us.

Garvit Says

nice to see some changes in your articles. The political instability is one of most important factor for our state’s underdevelopment. UK is a nascent state and leadership is not mature, many contenders are in race to grab political power which results in instable government as we witnessed the recent turmoil.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Hello, Garvit thanks for your inputs. I would like to tell you that this article is in a series form and there is another article which has the details regarding Himachal’s rapid development. http://www.euttarakhand.com/himachal-model-of-development
Since our target audience resides in Uttarakhand so our main motive is to highlight the factors that lead to its slow development. I would like to clarify the doubts that you had regarding certain points that I have mentioned. Firstly, talking about poverty please check in the article it has been clearly mentioned that the poverty level in Uttarakhand is relatively much higher than Himachal. Also the land of Himachal is much fertile than that of Uttarakhand and it is also a proud producer of cash crops. If you haven’t read please check I have clearly contrasted Uttarakhand’s poverty level with Himachal’s which is way higher than the latter. Unemployment, because Uttarakhand doesn’t promise jobs according to the person’s profile and the Government jobs that are introduced for the aspirants, have fewer seats which are filled with thousands of applicants. Since Uttarakhand government doesn’t sanction a budget for setting up small scale industries or cottage industries hence there is imbalanced regional development in the state. P.S. If you’ll look deep into the vicious cycle of development, Uttarakhand is lagging behind just because of its slow development.

Garvit Says

a) Title is “Contrasting features between Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand” but your whole article has only two lines about Himachal Pradesh. i.e. 1) Himachal Pradesh is all set to meet National Population Policy (NPP) targets and is placed better in terms of development in a way pointing towards the benefit of being a timely formed state. 2) Himachal Pradesh has relatively less population of 63 lakh and the land area is about 55,673 sq km.
b) Whole article centres around problems of Uttarakhand with almost no comparison with HP.
c) Some of the issue which are mentioned as hindering factor for development of UK are actually not ,rather they should be termed as product of poor state of development. The problems like unemployment , poor industrial development, high poverty levels(which you have mentioned) are not actually precursor to problems of state rather they are realities due to under development of state.

PS: Please take this as positive criticism.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Sincerest thanks :)

K s bangari Says

Root cause analysis. fact fully done.thanks a lot to the writer.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Thanks a lot for appreciating my work. It’s because of wonderful readers like you that we are motivated to work even harder and bring out topics that need to be discussed about. Stay connected and happy reading :)

Pramod Chandra Kuniyal Says

Wonderful article!!! And after a long time I am feeling happy to see that the passionate writers (of Uttarakhand) are writing and spreading the awareness among inhabitants and policy makers about the sustainable development of the state. Certainly which is the need of hour to save and sustain the Himalaya state.

Pragati Chauhan Says

Sincerest thanks for finding my article informative and we already published an article on illegal mining on eUttarakhand prior than this. You can go through this link to read it http://www.euttarakhand.com/illegal-mining-in-haridwar, also currently we don’t have any data on budgetary allocation for different districts of Uttarakhand. So you can check Uttarakhand government website for this info. Thanks again.


Your article is quite informative.One point is to be added is illegal sand mining .
Can you provide budgetary allocation for different districts of UK