Comparing Western UP and Bundelkhand
For large states like Uttar Pradesh, there are always
inter-regional comparisons regarding economic development and growth. However,
without taking cognizance of the performance on the human development front,
such comparisons often yield an incomplete and misleading picture. By factoring
in these indicators, this article attempts to compare levels of human
development in the two economic regions of UP, namely Bundelkhand and Western
The understanding of development has undergone a sea change
in the last few decades. Earlier viewed just in terms of material well-being of
people, contemporary development discourse focuses on broader aspects of human
well-being as well. Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen view development “in terms of the
expansion of the real freedoms that the citizens enjoy to pursue the objectives
they have reason to value, and in this sense the expansion of human capability
can be, broadly, seen as the central feature of the process of development” (Dreze
and Sen 2002: 35). In this context, poverty can be seen as nothing but
“capability deprivation” (Dreze and Sen 2002: 36).
Economic growth, even when narrowly seen in terms of per head
income growth, can certainly facilitate the enhancement of human capabilities.
But as Dreze and Sen suggest that there are many influences other than economic
growth that influence the development of human capabilities. Moreover, “the
impact of economic growth on human capabilities can be extremely variable,
depending on the nature of that growth”, that is, whether the growth is
inclusive, whether it is generating employment and whether it is benefitting the
poorest of the poor (Dreze and Sen 2002:37).
This article attempts to compare the status of human
development in two diverse regions of Uttar Pradesh (UP)—Bundelkhand and Western
UP, and find out the variable impact of economic growth on human development in
both the areas. The article is based on the Second Human Development Report
published in 2008 by the UP government. The report has been prepared according
to the methodology propounded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
and uses data available till 2006-07.
The state of UP has been divided into four separate economic
zones—Western UP, Central UP, Eastern UP and Bundelkhand. Apart from Bundelkhand,
which lies in the dry Vindhean plateau, all other regions lie in the fertile
Gangetic plains. The regions also differ in population size and density with 37%
of the state population residing in Western UP, 40% in Eastern UP, and 5% in
Bundelkhand (UPHDR 2008: Chapter 1 Section IX).
Plagued by underdevelopment, the Bundelkhand region of Uttar
Pradesh is known for its backwardness. This has fuelled the already existing
demand for statehood in the region. People feel that statehood can address the
underdevelopment in the region. There are seven districts in the Bundelkhand
region and 22 in Western UP. Therefore, the task of comparing the two areas may
seem a bit formidable.
The two regions of UP under study are compared by calibrating
economic prosperity and the human development achieved, to understand what kind
of relationship exists between economic development and human development in the
two areas. The indices used to estimate the condition of human development here
are the Human Development Index (HDI), Gender Development Index (GDI) and Human
Deprivation Index (in place of Human Poverty Index).
Besides the following indices, we shall also look at
literacy, per capita net district domestic product (NDDP) and rural poverty
incidence among other indicators. Through a comparison of these factors between
the districts of Western UP and Bundelkhand, we aim to find out which region has
developed in what area and how the government has distributed resources between
the two regions for the development of human capabilities.
Human Development Index
The HDI according to the UNDP standards, measures the
“average achievements” in “three basic dimensions of human development”—“a long
and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living”. The HDI thus
estimates and analyses the variables of life expectancy at birth, educational
attainment and “gross domestic product (GDP) per capita as proxy for a decent
standard of living and as a surrogate for all human choices not reflected in the
other two dimensions” (UPHDR 2008: Box 2.1).
Out of the seven districts of Bundelkhand, none is ranked
very low in the HDI (that is, below 0.50 HDI), two fall within the low category
(0.50 to 0.54), three in the medium category (0.55 to 0.59) and two, that is,
Jhansi and Jalaun are in the high category, with ranks 8 and 16 respectively. It
is interesting to note that none of the districts have very low HDI values, and
only two of them—Lalitpur and Banda, figure in the low category. However, these
two districts along with Chitrakoot, Jalaun, Mahoba and Hamirpur have also made
the most progress in HDI during the period of 2001-05 (UPHDR 2008: Fig 2.9).
In Western UP, two districts, Rampur and Badaun, fall in the
very low category of HDI, five lie in the low category, six lie in the medium
category and eight are in the high category. Due to a substantial difference
between the size of the two regions, with Western UP being much bigger than
Bundelkhand, the performance of districts in the two regions are compared in
terms of percentage. Thus 31.8 % of districts in Western UP lie in the low or
very low category in HDI, whereas only 28.7% districts in Bundelkhand rank in
the low and not the very low category.
Moreover, it is only Bareilly district from Western UP that
figures in the list of ten districts that have significantly improved in terms
of HDI (UPHDR 2008: Fig 2.9), and three districts from Western UP figure in the
list of 10 districts which have shown the least improvement in HDI (UPHDR 2008:
Fig 2.10). None of the districts in Bundelkhand are in the list which show the
least improvement in HDI (UPHDR 2008: Fig 2.10).
Courtesy: Economic & Political Weekly