Sunday, October 31

Junior, not the weaker sibling

On Haryana Day, Ramesh Vinayak writing in Hindustan Times, compares Punjab with the neighbouring state to take stock of what it was that made Haryana click and why Punjab didn't

On November 1, 1966, Haryana emerged on the map of India as a separate state, carved out of Punjab. The two neighbours have ever since shared prickly ties, fighting protracted politico-legal slugfests over river waters and territorial issues. While the jury is still out on the contentious issues, the two have also been engaged in another battle -this one, on the development front.

Four and a half decades on, the verdict on this race is clear: Haryana, once dubbed as the poor cousin of Punjab, has outpaced the senior state on most key parameters. Be it per capita income or average growth rate, fiscal buoyancy or manufacturing and realty boom, even foreign direct investment, Haryana has scripted a trailblazing success story, surging ahead of Punjab, which is caught in a leader-to-laggard syndrome.

In fact, the border state's historic head start -the Green Revolution-powered growth of the Seventies -has almost petered out and Punjab now finds itself bracketed with the slowest growing states.
Haryana, in contrast, continues on a rapid-fire progress mode, with the Gurgaon skyline its leitmotif.

That was for the differences. What is common is their dark underbelly -the poor human development indices, most dubious being the highly skewed sex ratio, the worst in the country, because of rampant female foeticide. Haryana also has a blind spot from inequitable growth, which is confined mostly to cities and towns.

As Haryana steps into its 45th year, Hindustan Times tracks the growth trajectory of the two states to answer the oft-asked questions -who is ahead, in what and why? It's true, Haryana has benefited as much from its proximity to the National Capital as from better-managed economy, while Punjab has the lost decade of the '80s to blame for it losing out on virtually every “revolution“ -automobile, IT or retail -that swept across the country. Yet, in the 21st century, there's no denying the overarching factor remains quality of governance.

No comments: