Odisha– In May 2021, the Chief of UN for Disaster Risk Reduction or UNDRR, Mami Mizutori praised the CM of Odisha Naveen Patnaik for his greater steps towards reducing the disaster risks, investing in precautions, and more. She added that there are valuable lessons we’ll learn from him.
Here we are talking about that state, has lost around 10,000 lives in the 1999 deadly cyclone. Odisha was one of the states in India that were standing in extreme low development till 2000. From there in the last month, we heard the news that the people in Bhubaneswar the capital of Odisha was fully vaccinated & became the first city to achieve 100% vaccination of its total population against Covid, and not only that even the city is proving vaccines to migrants who joined the city for works.
How did Odisha manage to attract these drastic changes?
We all know the National anthem of India, ‘Jana Gana Mana’. The word Utkal from the anthem represents Odisha. The land of Odisha covers 1.55 lakh square km with over a 4.5 crore population.
History of Odisha-
In Ancient, Odisha was also mentioned with the name ‘Kalinga‘. One of the major events with respect to Kalinga was when Samrat Ashok had attacked this region in 261BC. During this Kalinga war, more than 1,00,000 people lost their lives. Odisha built the Jagannath temple and the Konark temple with the help of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
After the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, the Gajapati kingdom was established. Although after 1568 it was annexed by the Bengal sultan Alivardi Khan. After the second Anglo Maratha war in 1803 British annexed the northern and western districts of Odisha in Bengal’s presidency.
In 1903 we saw the formation of Utkal Sammilan, their main demand was to unify the Odiya-speaking region and creation of a separate state. Later on, on 1st April 1912, Bihar and Orissa Province was separated from the Bengal presidency, and in 1936 Odisha was made a separated Province.
Natural resources of Odisha
If you talk about natural resources like Minerals, water forests, Odisha has a lot of these.
11 major rivers are passing through Odisha. Mainly Mahanadi covers 65,628 sq km inside Odhisa. Check the below images for the rivers, their origin, and area covers.
When we look into the land resources, it is divided into 3 main regions. Central Mountain Region, Western Hill Region, Coastal Plain Region. Odisha receives pretty good rainfalls from the northwest as well as southeast monsoon. Odisha has tidal, monsoon, mountain, and evergreen forests in it. These forests cover 32% area of the total geographical location.
Odisha also has good mineral resources. Iron ore, Limestone, Manganese, Chromite, Bauxite, etc are available in different parts of the state. For chromite, Odisha plays a dominant role in India with 98%. Coal with 24% and Bauxite with 59%. Where Sambalpur and Sundargarh are famous for Maganese, Jharsuguda and Angul have large coal regions.
Issues faced by Odisha
You might be thinking about how a state can face so many problems despite the fact that it was/is rich in natural resources. Even the state was added in the least developing states “BIMAROU“. [BIMAROU-Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha & Uttar Pradesh]. The challenges for Odisha are quite similar to the other states, multidimensional. Physical, Social, Political, Technological, Ecological.
Odisha has a large population of SCs and STs. They’ve been deprived of growth for decades. During the 1980s the percentage of the poor in them was around 62 to 79 percent. Where the average of poor in the entire population was 50 to 55 percent. Not only in Odisha, during that time poverty in ST & SCs was usually higher than in other groups. Another data, during 1999-2000, over 47% of Odisha’s population were below the poverty line. The state was also facing issues for basic educations.
After independence, the state didn’t have many land reforms. That led to the increment of small and marginal landholders. The rural crisis started when the marginal workers increase in the place of cultivators. In post-independence, over-focused on minerals and mining industries, reduced to the path towards growth. These industries led to the degradation of naturals resources, on which the maximum livelihood was dependent. Owning the maximum state resources by miners, contractors, private companies were also a problem. The decline of the environmental assets was primarily due to the unsustainable exploitation of mineral resources. The reduction in the long-term investment in agriculture, absence of a commonly shared vision of Govt., degradation of human resources are the main reasons for the slower economic growth for the states. Even the state was straggling for infrastructure amenities.
Other than, the inadequate state policies, poor technologies, mismanagement of resources also the big challenges Odisha was facing. After the death of Biju Patnaik in 1997, the state was becoming more politically unstable. Again the natural disasters like the 1999 cyclones caused more destructions in the state.
Major Initiatives are taken by Odisha-
The upward moment started with the Naveen Era. When Naveen Patnaik took the place after the death of his father. He was first elected from the Aska Lok Sabha Constituency. He formed the ‘Biju Janata Dal (BJD)’ in order to focus on the specific issues that are needed to resolve. In the initial time, the party made an alliance with the ‘Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’. BJD led Naveen Patnaik to receive a good appreciation for his work after the effect of the 1999 cyclone. And he became the Chief Minister of Odisha in 2000.
He took the first responsibility for those poor and unprivileged people in Odisha. The government devised several schemes for upliftment and integration. He realized the need for mass development for the state and started several projects like roads, bridges, etc. For food security, he introduced a scheme of ‘Rice at 1 rupee a kg’. According to the data, it helps 85 lakh families. Deprived people were getting meals for Rs 5. Govt. also launched ‘Mission Shakti’ to empower the women in the state. With the help of this mission 5 lakh SHGs (Self Help Groups) were established. Also for child malnutrition, Govt introduced Odisha Mamata Yojna with 1100 crore assistance. This helps to decrease the mortality rate from 96 percent to 40 percent.
Children from STs and SCs were also getting stipends from the Government. Other than that ‘Madhu Babu Pension Yojana’ helped the older people, widows in the state. ‘Kalia scheme’ is also provided by the state Govt. to the farmers. They also get the medical treatment facilities by ‘Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana. In a few years (approximately 3) Odisha created more than 5 lakh jobs. With that 11 lakh, youth will get the training for employment.
Patnaik also took several steps to conquer the corruption in the state. We got that when he fired 3 ministers from his own party. More Police stations started forming to provide a safe livelihood. The vision became clear to him, and all the citizens of Odisha thought/think the same through his eyes. The 5T’s (Technology, Time, Transparency, Transformation, and Teamwork) became his priority. ‘Industrial Policy Document’ in 2001 helps Odisha to attract Private investments in the state.
How he took the measures to reduce the risks of natural disasters-
Now let’s come to the most important point, why is he getting this much appreciation from all over the Globe?
Unfortunately, Odisha became the hub of natural calamity. We saw that during the ’90s and still it is going on… Naveen Patnaik realized that these disasters can be a major hurdle towards the path of his dreams. He strengthened the Disaster management System of the state and reformed it.
Today the Government is ready to confront any circumstance. They claim, that they gained from past encounters and made the frameworks based on that.
In a recent interview, Naveen Patnaik said The State is ready to handle the circumstance. Expressing that the Government has taken a few outcome-arranged measures to decrease the risk to individuals from cataclysmic events, the Chief Minister said readiness ought to be dynamic, aggregate, and participatory. Requesting that the organization be ready with Standard Operating Procedure dependent on experience, he said Odisha stays the premier State to systematize local area-based planning.
The Odisha Govt. focused on a massive industrial investment, fiscal discipline & effective disaster management. The state became a hub for steel, Ferro Alloys, Aluminium manufacturing. Yet there are some issues Odisha needs to think about, ‘The KBK region. The 8 districts all together this region is still facing the below poverty line issue. KBK region is facing severe draughts, which is making it way more difficult for agriculture. Eventually, that led the place to more food insecurity. The place is also known as ‘The Hunger Belt of India’.
The State is also famous for ‘arts & culture’. It will be needing another article to explain the historical beauty it has. ‘Udaygiri and Khandagiri are one the most famous and oldest architectural place in India. Heritage gumpha’s like Hathi, Ananta, Bagha, Ganesha, Rani, etc are must-see places in India. If you have not visited Odisha also you must have heard the temple name, ‘Puri Jaganath Temple. Let me tell you one thing this temple deserves the hype it has.
Lastly, I would like to add Odisha does have huge natural resources. The way we are seeing the exponential growth in the state, the Govt. needs to look more precisely for a few specific issues.