UP will take 64 years to catch up with TN: minister calls 'achhe din' bluff

Uttar Pradesh will still take 64 years to catch up with TN, former state finance minister Thiaga Rajan writes in Frontline

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath with PM Narendra Modi (photo: @myogiadityanath)
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath with PM Narendra Modi (photo: @myogiadityanath)

A.J. Prabal

Contrary to the propaganda of good governance and claims that the economy of Uttar Pradesh, as a proportion of India’s GDP (gross domestic product), had overtaken that of Tamil Nadu, the northern state will actually take 64 years to catch up with TN, even if UP grows at a two per cent higher rate every year.

In a scathing and masterful comparison between the economic performance of UP and TN published in the Frontline, Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, a former finance minister of the state and its current IT minister, called the bluff that claimed that UP’s GSDP (gross state domestic product) was at 9.2 per cent higher than TN’s 9.1 per cent.

These are some of the points made with official data and infographics by the minister:

· In 2004-05, UP’s economy was 19 per cent larger than that of TN and remained larger until 2013-14. It has steadily fallen since the dawn of 'achhe din' and in 2022-23, was 95.48 per cent of TN’s economy.

· Even by NITI Ayog’s contentious claims, questioned by experts, two per cent of TN's population lives in poverty, compared to almost 23 per cent in UP.

· In 20 years from now, TN’s per capita NSDP (net state domestic product) will still be twice that of UP. At an accelerated growth rate that is 2 per cent higher than TN’s every year, it would still take 64 years for UP’s per capita NSDP to catch up with TN’s.

· UP's current population of 24 crore is three times that of TN, while TN’s per capita NSDP is 320 per cent that of UP’s.

· The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its reports has pointed out a pattern of underspending by UP between 2016-17 and 2020-21, with 20 per cent of the total budget provision remaining unspent in 2019-20.

· The poorer the state, the faster it can register growth and the greater its access to funds in the Indian Union — is the logic of why successive Finance Commissions in India recommend a net transfer of funds from richer to poorer states. Yet, this has not worked in the case of UP.

“…When Tamil Nadu receives only 29 paise for every rupee it contributes to the Union, and Uttar Pradesh gets Rs.2.73 for every rupee it contributes — we do not complain or begrudge it; we only lament that such largesse has not resulted in faster growth or equitable progress…,” writes Thiaga Rajan.

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