“The problem of extremism is not merely related to law and order. It can be contained through integrated social and economic development and providing gainful employment in far flung rural areas. There is therefore need to develop infrastructure in the backward states. At the same time, there is need to move forward at a very fast pace in the areas of education, health and poverty alleviation during the 11th Plan,” he asserted at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting on December 19, 2007 that dealt with the Draft of the 11th Five Year Plan that talks about “inclusive growth” and regional balance.
At NDC meeting Chief Minister Kora has sought special economic packages on the lines of the North eastern states, Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarnchal and Himachal Pradesh.”The topography of Jharkhand is also difficult for cultivation and in terms of development indices, Jharkhand is backward. Hence Jharkhand should also be given similar benefits under a special package.
AGRICULTURE: IRRIGATION HOLDS THE KEY
Despite being owner of 40 percent of country’s total mineral reserves and producer of 90 percent of country’s total coking coal production, 80 percent of the state population depends on agriculture and allied activities. The low agricultural productivity is attributed to less cropped area under assured irrigation and increasing dependence on rains. The state gets about 1300 mm rainfall a year. Of the total net sown area, 22 percent gets irrigation facility against national average of 40 percent. Whatever improvement has been achieved in this sector is largely due to good work done under the National Horticulture Mission.
Area under pulses and oilseeds has increased to 4.13 lakh hectares during the 10th Plan (2002-2007) period from 2.70 lakh hectares. The pulse and oilseed cultivable area has increased by 53 percent.The coverage area of vegetables and spices increased by 19 percent and fruits by 28 percent. The central government should give special attention to those states which “lag behind in agriculture production but have potential”, so feels the Chief Minister.
Yet another problem is the forest coverage, which is 30 percent of the state’s land. The national average is 23 percent. Many an agriculture and other developmental projects are stuck up as areas identified for such projects are forest land. On the other hand the state government is experiencing great difficulties in identifying the land for compensatory afforestation. The Jharkhand government pleaded for exemption of those projects, which had been cleared before the enactment of the new Forest Conservation Act.
To achieve the agriculture growth targets set for the 11th Plan the area of cultivable land has to be expanded. But presently only 18 lakh hectare out of the state’s total geographical area of 79 lakh hectare is used for cultivation. A special mention is made of Swarnrekha Multipurpose Project in this respect. SMP is to provide irrigation facilities in poverty stricken tribal areas of the state and its neighbouring states as well. The state’s target to achieve 6.3 percent growth in agriculture is largely dependent on this project. To augment more water in Swarnarekha Basin, the state government proposed to the central government linkage with South Koel River and Sankh River as well as linking of river Ganga, Damodar and Swarnarekha.
INDUSTRIALIZATION: POTENTIAL UNLIMITED
While talking about industrialization of Jharkhand one cannot but refer to massive contribution made by the Tatas. The seeds of industrialization were sown over 100 years ago by Tatas in undivided Bihar. Tatas are intertwined with industrialization of this mineral-rich state. It would be no exaggeration if one calls Tatas the brand ambassador of industrialized Jharkahnd. Established in 1907 by its Founder J N Tata, Tata Steel is the flagship of Tata Group, the most trusted corporate name in the country. The Government of Jharkhand and Tata Steel Limited sometime back had signed four separate Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on relating to the setting up new greenfield steel capacity and enhancement of capacity of the Jamshedpur Works as well as development of the State's skilled technical manpower on September 8, 2005. MoUs include (1) Setting up a 12-million tonnes per annum greenfield integrated steel plant in the Manoharpur and Seraikella areas of Jharkhand; (2) Expansion of Tata Steel's existing plant at Jamshedpur from 5 million tonnes per annum to 10 million tonnes per annum; (3)Co-operation in the area of Human Resource Development through Polytechnic; and (4)Co-operation in the area of Human Resource Development through Industrial Training Institutes ( ITI).
"We have been present in the State since our inception and the signing of these MoUs reaffirms our commitment towards the development of the State. The new integrated steel plant and the expansion of the Jamshedpur steel plant will give further impetus to the industrialization of the State. The MoU for cooperation in the field of Human Resource Development in the State and Tata Steel's commitment towards the State's unique Health Insurance Scheme for those living Below the Poverty Line are in line with our belief that the 'community' is the purpose of an enterprise", said Tata Steel Managing Director B. Muthuraman who signed the MoUs on behalf of the company on September 8, 2005.
Besides Tata Steel, there is Bokaro Steel Plant run by the state-controlled Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).
Steel tycoon L.N.Mittal is entering Jharkhand. His proposed 12 million-tonne steel project is expected to fuel the moment of industrialization of Jharkhand. The Mittal Steel project headed by Dr Sanak Mishra former Managing Director of Rourkela Steel Plant (a SAIL group company) as its Chief Executive Officer, will be implemented in two phases of 6 million tonne each.
Other important industries are Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (TELCO), Heavy Engineering Corporation (Ranchi), MECON (Ranchi), Timken India Limited (Jamshedpur), Bharat Cooking Limited (Dhanbad), Khilari Cement Factory (Palamu), Indian Aluminum (Muri), ACC cement (Chaibsa), Central Coalfields Limited (Ranchi), Usha Martin, Usha Beltron, Uranium Corporation (I) Limited (Jadugora), Hindustan Copper Limited (Mussabani) Tin Plate Company of India Limited (Jamshedpur), Indian Explosive Limited (Gomia), and Hindalco Bauxite (Lohardaga), etc.
INFRASTRUCTURE: PROBLEMS GALORE
“In view of the possible industrialization, it is imperative to improve and strengthen national highways, rail network and power generation in the state”, the Chief Minister asserted in his NDC speech. What is the state of road and railways in Jharkhand. Kora’s speech reveals that the state has 24.40 kilometer of roads per 100 square km, which is higher than the national average of 74.25 km. During the 10th Plan period 2500 km of state highways were widened and strengthened. 2635 km of rural roads were built up. 37 road bridges and 14 over bridges were constructed. The state government’s target is to “convert all the roads connecting the State capital with all the District headquarters to at least 2 lanes during the 11th Plan period,” Kora told the NDC.
On the central government’s suggestion to take up infrastructure projects on Public Private Partnership basis, the state government’s view is that investors do not invest in states which are weak in infrastructure. To offset this problem, the central government should liberalize and relax norms and conditions governing viability gap funding and extend budgetary support to create necessary infrastructure not only in Jharkhand but also in all other backward states.
In view of India’s Look East Policy aiming to increase trade with the ASEAN and East Asian countries, the state government’s Gobindopur-Sahenbgunj new corridor project that would connect the North East assumes immense significance and calls for back-up financial support of the central government. This involves construction of a huge bridge over river Ganga at Sahengunj. The cost of the project is estimated at Rs 1000 crore. “This corridor will open up the State its Santhal Pargana regions with North East via Siliguri. It is requested that keeping in view the importance of the project for the State, this state highway should be notified as NH (National Highway)”, says Chief Minister Kora.
Jharkhand region could be an attractive investment proposition for Indian Railways too. This region alone can contribute more than 50 percent of its freight revenue. The state government maintains that certain new essential railway lines need to be set up on priority basis. This would ensure higher revenues for the Railways as the state government has already signed up a number of new steel and power projects which are bound to generate much higher volume of freight traffic from Jharkhand region.
POWER: PRIVATE INVESTMENT A MUST
Power is yet another focus area of the Kora government. The state government is always open to private investments in this vital sector of Indian economy. The state government has already signed a number of MoUs with private sector firms. Once implemented the power generation capacity will augment substantially. But even that would not be sufficient in view of vast and expanding potential of the state for industrial investments. The state government has also asked the central government to consider a Nuclear power project in the state as the state has sufficient uranium reserves.
A vital issue in this respect relates to transmission of power. There is a need for central sector scheme for power transmission. The state is experience difficulties in inter/intra-state power transmission in the absence of adequate transmission network. The state government has suggested that the provision of 12 percent free power in case of Hydel Power Projects should also be made applicable to pit-head based thermal power projects.
The state government is of the view that the National Mineral Policy (NMP) should aim at gradual reduction in export of iron ore and allocate mines for captive use. NMP should also give priority in grant of mineral concessions to value adders in the state. The government has also sought preference for industries being set up in the state for coal linkages from the mines in the state. “The policy on coal linkage needs to be reviewed so that the economic interests of a poor state like Jharkhand are protected”, the Chief Minister told NDC.
The state government has also urged to the centre that rates of royalty on coal be fixed totally on ad valorem regime. Because of this, despite increase in the rate of royalty on coal, Jharkhand is loosing Rs 200 crore every year. The state wants the royalty regime be shifted to ad valorem basis.
HARNESSING HIDDEN POTENTIAL
Jharkhand is endowed with all possible sources of power generation- thermal, hydel, geothermal, wind, methane, gas and nuclear. This offers great opportunities for investors to invest in the power sector of Jharkhand. By the end of year 2006-07, the installed capacity of JSEB stands at 1720 MW. Total availability of generation both from its own sources and its central sector share works out to 1262(1024+238)MW. The study shows that load generation requirement for the year 2006-07 corresponding to a typical Peak Load day is 1534 MW. It has also been analyzed that present network is not adequate to meet the anticipated load demand by 2006-07. After construction of grid stations and demand transmission lines,network will be capable of meeting the increased load. Presently
IT: EMPOWERING PEOPLE
In Information technology, the state is putting greater emphasis on investments in ITES business. The state offers an environment which is different from the traditional crowded and saturated IT environment that exists in many cities. The state capital of Ranchi and Jamshedpur are being developed as ideal investment destinations for IT and ITES companies. Their advantages include availability of skilled manpower, low cost of operations, good quality of life and presence of institutes of excellence such as XLRI and Birla Institute of Technology.
E-Governance is a focus area of the Jharkhand government. Where the incidence of public interface is relatively more pronounced, the state government’s policy is to adequately leverage IT tools to ensure efficiencies and delivery of information and services in a cost-effective and transparent manner. In line with its e-governance project, the state government has early this year (2008) has automated the Treasury bill and process of entry and submission of bills in treasury have been completely transformed. Now the manual form of bills is completely removed for pay bill and computer generated print outs will be used.
To create trained manpower for IT sector in particular, the state government proposed to the central government setting up of IITs and IIMs. It has also proposed to set up IISER. The Sarba Siksha Abhijan has had a positive impact on the school dropouts which has reduced to 44 percent. Urging the central government to continue with the SSA scheme during the entire 11th Plan period, the state government has proposed to introduce SSA in the secondary education also.
There is vast scope for the state government to increase revenue from tourism as well. There are many scenic attractions in the state, namely, Ichagarh Bird Sanctuary, Udhava Bird Sanctuary-Sahibganj (Pathara Lake), Chachro Crocodile Breeding Centre–Koderma (Tilaya Dam), Chandrapura Bird Sanctuary, Jawaharlal Nehru Zoological Garden (Bokaro), Tenughat Bird Sanctuary, Dalma Wild Life Sanctuary (Jamshedpur), Tata Steel Zoological Park (Jamshedpur), Palkote Wild Life Sanctuary (Gumla), Bhagwan Birsa Zoological Gardens (Ranchi), Birsa Deer Sanctuary (Kalmati Ranchi), Betla National Park (Palamau), Ranchi Aquarium (Ranchi) and Hazaribagh National Park, Tatoloi hot water stream (Dumka) and Saranda Forest. The state has some famous temples like, Jharkhand Dham, Langta Baba Temple/Majar, Bindhvashini Temple, Masanjore Dam, etc.
February 7, 2008