In a recent interview, tech mogul and Lok Sabha candidate Nandan Nilekani claimed that the motto of ‘bijli, sadak, pani‘ (electricity, road, water) was passe. But is it really? In today’s post, I look at statewise data for access to electricity, roads and sanitation. How many Indians can lay claim to electricity, roads and water?
Map 1 looks at statewise data on the % of households that have access to electricity. Map 2 looks at statewise data on the % of households that have a basic latrine. Graph 1 looks at the total length of roads in each state, whereas Graph 2 looks at road density per 1000 persons in each state. The last 2 graphs look at data from 2008 whereas other data is from the Census of 2011. As always, click on the maps/graphs to view an enlarged image.
These graphs paint a grim, if predictable, picture. Tens of millions of Indians are struggling to achieve a basic standard of living. Bijli, Sadak, Pani is just as relevant as the earlier clarion call of Roti, Kapda, Makaan (Food, Clothing, Housing). New technology might present a more efficient way of transferring services but the objectives of public policy haven’t moved on. True growth must be just and equal. It seems clear that India’s economic growth has left out vast swathes of its population. Federal and state governments must give serious thought to pursuing policies that promote equitable growth.