Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Is it only politics ?

Despite having inherited economy in a shambles, the Uttar Pradesh government led by Mayawati seems to have favoured 18 lakh employees and teachers over 18 crore people of the state.

The government on Thursday announced that it would implement the new pay scale for 8,00,000 employees, 6,00,000 teachers and 4,00,000 pensioners, which would put heavy burden on the state exchequer.

The new scales as recommended by the 6th Pay Commission would be implemented from January 01, 2009, just a few months before the general elections. As a result the employees and teachers alone would consume over Rs 33,600 crore a year.

Simply put, the new pay structure would touch state annual plan size of Rs 35,000 crore leaving little in the coffer for development and welfare works for the people who have been electing governments with great dreams in their eyes.

The elections would be decisive for Chief Minister Mayawati, who is in a hurry to conquer Delhi.

The chief minister had in fact announced in the Assembly in August the implementation of the 6th Pay Commission recommendations with effect from December 1 this year while the arrears would be paid from January 1, 2006. It was expected that it would create an additional financial burden of Rs 5189 crore per annum on the state exchequer. The state government would incur an additional financial burden of Rs 14,775 crore to pay the arrears.

Now, the government has asked officials to rework the details of the burden on the exchequer and figure out how to generate resources for the purpose.

The hurry with which the new pay scale was announced without going into its impact on the people and the state clearly showed that the country’s biggest state continued to crumble under the burden of politics. It did not matter who the ruler was. Just six months before the new pay and perks were announced with retrospective effect from January 2006, the government had presented its annual budget for year 2008-09 in which revenue deficit was estimated at Rs 1, 11,698 crore. The government had also announced 212 new projects involving Rs 12801.18 crore.

It was only because of too much of politics that despite 40 million tonnes of food production, over 30 per cent of state’s 17 crore people hardly get a one-time meal, not necessarily full of nutrition. According to the Planning Commission’s first-ever ‘UP Development Report’ (2001-2003), though UP could claim to be the largest producer of food grains in the country, the yield and per capita production was much lower than other states. Besides, according to this report, during the post-reform period the real GSDP in the undivided UP had an average annual growth of 4.22 per cent as against the all-India figure of 6.3 per cent.

‘During the most recent period of 2001-02 to 2002-03, the average annual growth has just been about 2.24 per cent. Likewise, the per capita income was also 47 per cent of national figure (Rs 11,856 against Rs 21,373). Tragically, the gap was just 17.2 per cent in 1980-81 to almost 47.7 per cent in 2002-03′.

An overdose of politics has caused retarded growth of the state. Four months ago the Mayawati government in collaboration with UNICEF brought out ‘The State of Children of Uttar Pradesh’, the first-ever such document in the country and it revealed the condition of children in the state was worse than that of the children living in sub-Saharan Africa. The report disclosed that while the state was home of 52 per cent of the severely malnutritioned children, the all-India figure was 43. It also revealed that while the percentage of malnutrition among children was just 35% in the least developing world, the figure for sub-Saharan Africa was meagre 28 per cent. South Asia as whole has 42 per cent compared to 26% in the developing countries.

One does not need to be an economist to understand why (according to the Annual India Today survey) among all the states UP ranked 16th in agriculture, 8th in consumer market, 14th in infrastructure development and 9th in governance.

[Analysis in this topic is purely personal and data collected from different sources. It is not politically motivated and not published to dampen the moral and joy of the State Govt, employees. It is only mere view of the author who did not want to be named.]

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