Shillong, Sept. 27: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today conceded that the report of the Raghuram Rajan panel, which ranked the state as one of the “least developed” in India, was “true”.
“Is it not true? If it is not true, then why are our boys and youths joining militants?” Sangma asked at a press conference held here this evening following a meeting with his cabinet colleagues.
The report of the Raghuram Rajan Committee for Evolving a Composite Development Index of States was recently submitted to Union finance minister P. Chidambaram.
Among others, the panel had suggested a new methodology for providing funds to states based on a multi-dimensional index (MDI).
Based on the MDI scores, the 10 least developed states are Odisha, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
States with scores of 0.6 and above on the index have been classified as “least developed”; states with scores below 0.6 and above 0.4 as “less developed”; and states with scores below 0.4 as “relatively developed”, the report said.
Meghalaya had scored 0.693 MDI points.
The committee had measured under-development on the basis of 10 parameters — monthly per capita consumption expenditure, education, health, household amenities, poverty rate, female literacy, percentage of SC/ST population, urbanisation rate, financial inclusion and connectivity.
“We are far behind, and we need to catch up with the rest of the country. Forget about the world. If you are looking from a global perspective, India itself has to catch up with the rest of the world,” Sangma also said.
He said during a meeting with Planning Commission members, the state had underscored the need for Meghalaya to grow at 11 per cent during the current plan to be able to pull alongside with more progressive states.
“We are candid in saying that we are lagging behind. We are much behind, despite having the potential and the strength among the people. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us to create an enabling environment so that at the end of the day, people will stand to gain,” he said. “We have many things to do. A number of initiatives are on from the government. Meghalaya should be a destination for everything which would open up hundreds of new opportunities for our youths. That is what we are looking at.”
The Rajan committee had also proposed a general method for allocating funds from the Centre to the states based on both a state’s development needs as well as its development performance.
The committee had recommended that each state might get a fixed basic allocation of 0.3 per cent of overall funds, to which will be added its share stemming from need and performance to get its overall share.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi will be issuing his reaction to the Rajan committee report in a couple of days. His press adviser Bharat Chandra Narah said he was going through the report and would “personally” offer his reaction. Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki, his office said, would also respond to the report soon, adds our special correspondent in Guwahati.