NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Monday blamed Bihar, UP and Chhattisgarh for keeping the country backward. He was speaking at the first Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Memorial Lecture at Jamia Millia Islamia University. Kant said that the states in India's southern and western region were growing rapidly, but Eastern states were lagging behind on social indicators.
The Niti Aayog chief said: "Eastern part of India particularly states like Bihar, UP, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan is keeping India backward especially on social indicators. While we have improved on ease of doing business, we have remained backward on human development index. We are still 131 out of 188 countries in HDI."
The HDI is a composite index which assess the social and economic development levels of a country. This ranks the country in four principal areas: mean years of schooling, expected years of schooling, life expectancy and per capita income. The latest HDI report, which was released in 2017, placed India at 131st position among the 188 countries.
The Niti Aayog chief said that the government was working on these social indicators through Aspirational Districts Programme to improve country's development index.
He said: "Education and health are critical and these are areas in which India is lagging behind. Our learning outcomes are poor - a class 5 student is not able to do class 2 substraction. Class 5 student is not able to read his mother tongue. Infant mortality rates are very high. Unless we improve on these aspects, it will be difficult to grow in a consistent way."
Various reports in past have revealed that Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have poor literacy rates. According to Census 2011, Bihar had a literacy rate of 61.8 per cent, Uttar Pradesh of 67.7 per cent, Rajasthan of 67.1 per cent and Madhya Pradesh of 70.6 per cent.
Last year, IndiaSpend came out with an analysis which claimed that in Madhya Pradesh, as few as 34.1 per cent of children in class 5 could read a class 2 text book and in Rajasthan, only 45.9 per cent of children in class 5 could subtract.