ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reaching the Unreached in Uttarakhand

The basic problem in the Uttarakhand region is the hilly terrain and the absence of a transportation network, making access to basic needs like water and sanitation, primary health care and education almost impossible on a universal basis. The unreached have to be reached. Some observations on the problem of drinking water.

Uttar Pradesh is politically the most dominant state in India, with 85 seats in the Lok Sabha. Demographically, however, it is the weakest state, with the most dismal prospect for population stabilisation. According to population projections, UP’s population will be well over 400 million by 2051. Though fertility rates are declining, according to the latest available data from National Family Health Survey 2nd round (NFHS-2), the total fertility rate (TFR) in UP was 3.99 or 4 per woman during 1996-98, the highest in India. The infant mortality rate (IMR) was also about the highest in India (86.7 per thousand).

The plain fact is that UP is an unmanageable state, given its population size and its geographic diversity. Vested political interests have always opposed the splitting of UP into several smaller states. The States Reorganisation Commission had recommended in 1956 the division of this enormous state but the government paid no heed to it. UP continues to remain one of the most backward states of India despite the fact that it has produced six prime ministers and even the present prime minister’s constituency is in UP.

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