Jharkhand: Strides to Improve Public Finance

Team INCLUSION

Jharkhand is located in eastern India and is surrounded by Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Odisha to the south and West Bengal to the east. It is divided into 5 divisions and 24 districts. The state is known for its rich mineral reserves including coal, iron ore etc. The Gross State Domestic Product of Jharkhand in 2012-13 was Rs 27,030 crore.

Key Achievements

Of the two categories in which, Jharkhand bagged Skoch Order-of-Merit, the first one that we will take a look at is the Finance one. Here, the state won three Order-of-Merit, two by Finance Department, for ‘Portal for Personal Claim Settlement Cell’ and for ‘Karamchari Sewa Portal’. The latter project aims to facilitate the employees to get easy and transparent access to their financial data round the clock. It also provides various services on SMS and Mobile App. GPF contribution details are made available to employees instantly on the portal, without any manual intervention and they can immediately verify and generate their GPF A/Cs and do other attendant transactions. As a result, there has been a 78 per cent increase in the advance withdrawals for 2014-15. The other project that won the Order-of-Merit was by the Department of Commercial Taxes, Jharkhand for its Jharkhand VAT IT Project. In this, the objective was to build a single integrated, web-based system covering entire span of a dealer’s taxation cycle on one hand and to transition from manual and time consuming service model to electronic, free and quick service model leading to savings in time, cost and effort of taxpayers.

In the Agriculture & Rural Development category, Jharkhand State Watershed Mission Under Rural Development Department won Order-of-Merit for Empowerment of rural poor youth through Diploma in Watershed Management (DWM) in Jharkhand State; Use of Satellite Based Proposed Activity Map in preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) under IWMP (Integrated Watershed Management Project) projects—A case study of Khunti; and, Gravity Irrigation System under IWMP- Jharkhand. The last mentioned project was borrowed from an already constructed old Gravity Flow Irrigation system under IWDP programme by Ram Krishna Mission at Silli block. The impact of this project can be gauged from the fact that the farmer’s annual income was Rs 4,000 to 5,000 per annum before the commencement of the system and now almost all the 33 farmers under this project are cultivating their land throughout the year and getting income of more than a Rs.60,000 per annum. Under the project, ‘Empowerment of Rural Poor Youth through Diploma in Watershed Management (DWM) in Jharkhand State’, a total of 50 candidates have qualified out of which, 40 candidates are from the concerned Watershed Village and the rest 10 candidates are from urban and other areas.

Look Ahead

The fastest growing sectors in the Jharkhand economy since the year 2000 has been communication–with the rise of the mobile industry, manufacturing and railways. However, the matter of concern is that the slowest growth has been recorded in agriculture, which forms the livelihood of 80 per cent of the people and which is still predominantly dependent on rainfall. Unscientific agriculture, poor infrastructure, naxalite problem and political instability pose major developmental challenges, which need to be transcended to achieve all-round development.

Jharkhand is known for its vast reservoir of natural resources in terms of forest areas as well as minerals. However, in spite of this immense potential, it has not been able to utilise them properly. The lack of diversified activity and dependence on mining resources shows up in growth of other sectors also. The services sector contributes just a third of the state income. All these will have to be re-looked at in the light of better and transformative governance so that the real benefits can accrue to all citizens.

(Comments are welcome at info@skoch.in)

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