New Delhi: Manik Sarkar lost his biggest electoral battle on Saturday with the BJP ending the 25-year-long regime of the communist party. Sarkar’s no-frills and honest image was not enough to power the CPM government one more time.
For many, the results were a foregone conclusion, considering the lack of industry, infrastructure and investment in the state and its crippling effects. The BJP during its campaign had made several promises to revive the economy, including one job opportunity to every family through reviving and establishing industries, promoting IT industry and bringing foreign and domestic investors.
Tripura, as of now, has the highest unemployment rate in India. According to the Employment-Unemployment Survey for 2015-16 by Labour Bureau, Tripura has an unemployment rate of 19.7 per cent. It ranked 22 on the Ease of Doing Business rankings for 2017.
Tripura also features in the bottom plank for per capita income, ranking 24 of 36 states and union territories, showed India’s Economic Survey report for 2017-18.
With an income of Rs 71,666 per person in 2014-15, Tripura ranked below the the national average of Rs 86,454, between backward states like Rajasthan (Rs 75,201) and Madhya Pradesh (Rs 56,182), as per an analysis by India Spend.
Enlisting key areas in Tripura that need addressing, state’s Economic Survey 2015-61 said, “High rate of poverty, low per-capita income, low capital formation, inadequate infrastructural facilities, geographical isolation, communication bottleneck, inadequate exploitation, inadequate use of forest and mineral resources, low progress in industrial field and high unemployment problem.”
Agriculture is the main source of employment for 64 per cent of the state’s population but 60 per cent of the state is forestland, and barely 27 per cent undulating land is available for farming. The CPM government has also not been able to implement the Seventh Pay Commission.
Healthcare was boasted about during CPM’s election campaign, however, according to rural health statistics from 2016, of the 80 specialist doctors needed in Tripura’s state hospitals, only one was in position, according to latest.
The BJP’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan also might find prominence here as while Tripura’s open defecation rate is 3.5 per cent, nearly 40 per cent of its population still does not have access to “improved sanitation”, toilets where waste is disposed without human contact.
However, along with uplifting certain areas, BJP has the dual responsibility of maintaining the already developed avenues. Tripura has a literacy rate of 87.8 per cent, making it the fifth most literate state in the country as per the 2011 Census. The state’s sex ratio, at 960 females per 1,000 males, is also above the national average of 942.