Uttarakhand, a Himalayan state of India was carved out of Uttar Pradesh (UP) on Nov 1, 2000. This year the state completes two decades of its existence after separation from the massive power house state of India. What has Uttarakhand achieved in these two decades? Let’s look into the positives.

Before we delve into the achievements of Uttarakhand in last two decades, it will be prudent to see the baseline – have a peek into the economic condition of the area when it was part of UP.

Worst Region of BIMARU States of India

UP has been part of  infamous BIMARU (meaning “Sick” in Hindi) cluster of States since the term was coined in the 1980s. This is an abbreviation for most backward states of India – BIhar, MAdhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Out of these four states, Uttar Pradesh is shamefully at the second worst position just above Bihar. Unfortunately, the two regions of current Uttarakhand – Garhwal and Kumaon – were among the most backward regions of Uttar Pradesh. This is the condition from where Uttarakhand started its journey on November 1, 2000.

The Growth Story

After parting ways with Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand has turned into one of the fastest growing states in India*. This has become possible by exploiting the potentials in hydroelectric power, horticulture of medicinal plants, yoga-based services, vacation retreat tourism, wildlife tourism and religious tourism. Massive focus on skills development, improvement in transportation, favorable law-and-order situation and proximity to Delhi also played a major role in this growth story.

Into the Big Boys League

According to a report by McKinsey& Company – “India’s Economic Geography in 2025: States, Clusters and Cities” ** , in terms of per capita income, Uttarakhand is among the top 8 States (top 10 States + Union Territories) of India. This places Uttarakhand in the exclusive club of top performing states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab and Kerala.

This rank looks all the way impressive in comparison to its mother state UP -which was second last at 32nd rank in the same list.

Goals for Next Decade (2020-2030)

The current level of economic momentum is a perfect setting to make a big push to get to the next level. The infrastructure, industrial, IT and defense related development project are likely to help accelerate the pace. As per the “Uttarakhand Vision 2030 Report” *** by Department of Planning, Government of Uttarakhand, the state is aiming for a quantum leap by setting the following goals:

 Enhance horticulture processing from 7.5% to 15%
 Make the state as top 3 tourist destinations from present rank 12
 Take Net Enrollment in Upper Primary Education from 71% to 100%
 Increase Domestic Tourist arrival from 294 lakh to 881 lakh
 Increase Foreign tourist arrival from 1.1 lakh to 2.75 lakh
 Increase Per Capita Income from Rs 1.61 lakh to Rs 2.88 lakh

Conclusion

After becoming a separate state in the year 2000, Uttarakhand was able to focus on the developmental projects suited for its geography and cultural-socio-economic uniqueness. The growth achieved in past two decades talks volumes about its struggle, hardship and the success. Bigger challenges await its path to growth but with the current direction the goal is achievable.

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Blog by Girish P Bhatt, Founder & Trustee, Uttarakhand Mandal of America (UMA), California, USA (Email:girish@umaus.org)

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* https://www.ibef.org/states/uttarakhand-presentation

** http://www.governancenow.com/files/Indias%20economic%20geography%20in%202025%20States%20clusters%20and%20cities.pdf

*** https://des.uk.gov.in/files/Uttarakhand_Vision_2030.pdf

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