After the defeat of BJP and the victory of the JMM-INC-RJD alliance in Jharkhand, the way has been cleared for Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren to become the chief minister of the State.
The challenges before Soren have but begun staring on his face. We compile five major challenges before the would-be chief executive of Jharkhand.
Debt of over Rs 85,000 crore
The Jharkhand government currently is burdened by a debt of Rs 85,234 crore. When Raghubar Das took over the government in 2014, the state had a debt of Rs 37,593 crore. The state’s debt increased rapidly under the Das government. The outgoing government borrowed more than the amount in loans previous Jharkhand governments had taken in the 14 years before 2014.
Soren faces the challenge to reduce this debt after becoming the chief minister. The farmers owe to the state over Rs 6,000 crore. The next chief minister will face the challenge of getting farmers out of their individual debts as well.
Removing ‘poor state’ tag
Since being separated from Bihar in the year 2000, Jharkhand has carried an unofficial tag of a poor state. In this state, more than 36.96% of the population still lives below the poverty line. Getting Jharkhand out of the tag of poor state is another challenge for Soren.
Jharkhand has made news headlines time and again due to starvation deaths. In the year 2017 in Simdega district, an 11-year-old girl named Santoshi died crying “Bhat! Bhat!” (Rice! Rice!). There was an uproar over this death due to hunger.
In figures, Jharkhand needs about 50 lakh metric tonnes of food grains every year, but only 40 lakh metric tonnes can be produced in the state in the best condition. The challenge for Soren is to fill this deficit of 10 lakh metric tonnes.
Maoism, other phenomena of violence
While in Jharkhand, Naxalites (Maoists) have been cornered in many districts, but there are still 13 Naxal-affected districts. These include Khunti, Latehar, Ranchi, Gumla, Giridih, Palamu, Garhwa, Simdega, Dumka, Lohardaga, Bokaro and Chatra districts. Freeing them from Naxals will be a challenge for Soren.
Jharkhand has also been infamous for what the left calls “mob lynching”. It will be a challenge for Soren to stop incidents of the type that are often a result of frustration of the people at seeing the law not working. Better policing is, therefore, a major task for the next state government.
On becoming the fifth chief minister of the 19-year-old state, Soren will face a major challenge to provide employment in the state with one of the largest percentages of unemployed youths in the country. According to the sample survey office report in April this year, Jharkhand is among the 11 states in the country where the unemployment rate is the highest.
According to this report, Jharkhand is at number five in the country in terms of highest unemployment rate. According to the NSSO data, Jharkhand had a 2.5% unemployment rate in 2011-12, which rose to 7.7% in 2017-18.
Kerala had the highest unemployment rate of 11.4% according to the report. One out of every five youths in Jharkhand is unemployed. About 46% of postgraduates and 49% of college graduates of the state do not get jobs. This figure has been revealed in the report of the Institute of Human Development.
The Economic Survey 2018-19 says more than 1 lakh youth were trained under the government’s employment schemes, but 8 out of 10 youth are looking for work.
Soren had said on his Facebook page that the unemployment rate in Jharkhand was crossing all limits. It is to be seen what he can do about it.
Soren wrote before the election, “It is growing like a disease. While the unemployment rate in the country is currently 7.2%, it is higher in the state at 9.4%. In the last 4.5 years, the Raghubar Das government of BJP has duped the youth. There are more than 4 lakh registered unemployed people in the state. A much larger section of the population is wandering, looking for employment.”
The JMM head had had said, “I promise to the unemployed youth of the state when my government comes, 100% youth will be given employment in the state, and unemployment allowance will be given to them until someone is able to provide them with employment.”