Like Pakistan, Uttar Pradesh is home to about 200 million people, which it can’t seem to take care of very well.
New Delhi: The chasm between India and Pakistan on the world’s economic and social indicators is rather wide today. Even though India also struggles on the social front, many Indians tend to draw solace saying “at least we’re better off than Pakistan”.
Yet, there is a part of India — the political heart of the country — that mirrors the arch-rival neighbour’s struggles on many indicators. Like Pakistan, it is home to about 200 million people, and can’t seem to take care of them very well. It is India’s most populous state: Uttar Pradesh.
In 1947, Pakistan was born with a financial disadvantage — the only money in its coffers was what India transferred under the terms of Partition. But in the first few decades after Independence, its smaller size and population gave it the edge over India and it began doing well both socially and economically.
Uttar Pradesh went in the opposite direction, becoming part of India’s BIMARU grouping of laggard states — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP — which dragged down growth.
Most of the problems that plagued India were magnified in Uttar Pradesh, and even as recently as 2016, the World Bank said this of it: “Uttar Pradesh is home to the largest number of poor in India. Despite improvement in the recent decade, the state has experienced slower growth and poverty reduction than the rest of the country. Consumption inequality, on the other hand, has increased slightly in urban areas.”
While Pakistan and Uttar Pradesh have very similar total populations, the key difference is density — while UP’s 200 million are spread over an area of 2.4 lakh sq km on the Gangetic plains, Pakistan’s 197 million live in an area more than three times as big (7.9 lakh sq km).
Per capita income is one of the main indicators of economic well-being. It helps in better understanding of the average living standards of people, because it gives the average annual income for each individual.
The per capita income of Uttar Pradesh in 2014-15 was Rs 43,861, or about $731 as per the approximate average price of the US dollar that year. Pakistan’s per capita income that fiscal year was $1,513 — more than twice that of UP.
Though there have been many efforts to alleviate poverty in both UP and Pakistan since 1947, a huge chunk of the population is still poor.
According to the World Bank, about 60 million people — or 29 per cent of the population of UP — are classified as poor.
In Pakistan, as per 2015 data, the number of people living below the national poverty line is about 47.8 million — or 24.3 per cent of its entire population.
Labour force participation
Labour force participation rate is the section of the working population between the age group of 16-64 which is currently employed or seeking employment.
Estimates from the World Bank suggest that 56 per cent of the working-age population in Uttar Pradesh is part of the labour force as of 2012.
Data from the CEIC, meanwhile, shows that about 54.4 per cent of the working-age population of Pakistan constitutes the labour force, as of December 2017.
Shireen Mazari, the country’s minister for human rights, recently said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will help in creating new jobs in the country.
Per capita electricity consumption
An economy’s consumption of electricity signifies the size and level of development.
According to the government of India, the per capita consumption of electricity in Uttar Pradesh for the financial year 2016-17 was 524 kWh. It is also the state with the second largest power deficit in the country — according to a Hindustan Times report, the average peak demand in UP between April 2017 and March 2018 was 20,274 megawatts against the supply of 18,061 megawatts.
In Pakistan, the per capita consumption of electricity was 471.042 kWh for the year 2014. It is now hoping China will make more investments in the sector and help consolidation and self-sufficiency.
Access to toilets
One of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus areas has been to build toilets for India’s rural populace. It certainly seems to be a pressing matter in Uttar Pradesh, for 74 million people didn’t have access to any kind of toilet (own, shared or public), according to a report by the Quality Council of India in 2017. Only the Saharanpur division has been declared open defecation-free so far.
Pakistan also faces the problem of open defecation, but according to the World Bank in 2015, the number of people practicing it was approximately 23 million.
An important factor used to measure the overall physical health of a community is the infant mortality rate — or how many children per 1,000 births don’t live to celebrate their first birthday.
The situation has improved dramatically since then, with UP’s ratio at 43 per 1,000 according to a 2016 NITI Aayog report. However, the deaths of 23 children in a period of 24 hours at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College last year put the spotlight straight back on the plight of infants and children in the state.
Pakistan is in even worse shape on this indicator. According to UNICEF data, in 2017-18, Pakistan’s infant mortality is 64 of every 1,000 children — the worst in the world. New prime minister Imran Khan had addressed this in his first speech as PM, saying the key cause was the use of contaminated water.
Sex ratio at birth
India has struggled with female foeticide and infanticide for years, given the deep-rooted social preference for a male child, and Uttar Pradesh is no different. According to the 1981 Census, the sex ratio at birth in UP was 882 females per 1,000 males.
Pakistan was doing much better at the time. In 1982, its sex ratio was 940 females per 1000 males.
However, both have declined from their respective spots. While UP’s ratio was languishing at 879 between 2013 and 2015, according to a NITI Aayog report, the figure for Pakistan had fallen to 920 by 2017, but still better than Uttar Pradesh.
According to a report in Dawn, female foeticide is a growing trend in Pakistan. A study conducted by the Population Research Institute, a non-profit organisation, revealed that of the 24 million sex-selective abortions across the world, more than 1.2 million were done in Pakistan alone.
Life expectancy at birth
Life expectancy at birth is how long a newborn child can be expected to live if the current death rate does not change. A higher life expectancy rate suggests a better living standard, better lifestyle and access to quality health services. According to the World Health Organisation, the average life expectancy of a newborn child around the world is 72 years (2016).
In UP, though, as per the latest data available with the NITI Aayog — for 2010-2014 — the life expectancy at birth is just 64.1 years, considerably lower than the national average of 67.9 years.
Pakistan fares only slightly better: According to 2016 World Bank data, the corresponding figure for Pakistan was 66.48 years.
Cases of stunting
Stunting is caused by malnutrition, and is also associated with an underdeveloped brain. It may lead to long-lasting consequences on a person’s mental and physical health.
World Bank data shows half the number of children under the age of five in Uttar Pradesh suffered from stunting as of 2012.
In fact, of all the cases of malnutrition in India, 60 per cent are found in UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. To combat this, the government has started a Rs 9,000 crore Poshan Abhiyan in March 2018.
The story is not much different in Pakistan — according to UNICEF, in 2011, 44 per cent of children below the age of five were stunted.
The Express Tribune noted that nutrition deficiency in Pakistan costs the country approximately 3 per cent of its GDP, or $10 billion.
Prevalence of HIV
According to the Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, in Uttar Pradesh, 0.12 per cent of the state’s estimated adult population was HIV-positive in 2016-17.
On the other hand, approximately 0.1 per cent of the total population in Pakistan aged between 15-49 years was HIV-positive as of 2017. According to Samaa TV, a report submitted to the Attorney General’s Office in the Supreme Court shows that 1,32,000 people have been diagnosed with AIDS.
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a measure of average achievements in key dimensions of human development — health, education, and the standard of living.
According to data available on the Global Data Lab, the HDI score of Uttar Pradesh for the year 2015 was 0.566, while Pakistan was further behind with a score of 0.551.
In the 2018 HDI rankings for countries, Pakistan is placed 150th out of 189 countries, while India is ranked 130th.
Adult literacy is another measure where both these geographical entities have struggled. According to the government, by 1981, only 32.65 per cent of the population of Uttar Pradesh was literate. The figure for Pakistan that same year, according to the World Bank, was even worse — 25.725 per cent.
By 2012, however, Uttar Pradesh had nearly doubled the figure to 60 per cent, according to the World Bank. In Pakistan, too, there had been great progress — 57 per cent of the population was literate by 2012.
The World Bank reported that in 2012, just 27 per cent of adults in Uttar Pradesh had gone on to receive secondary education or above.
The problem is compounded by a lack of teachers — a Times of India report suggested that half the posts in secondary schools were lying vacant.
The situation was better in Pakistan in 2012 — more than 38.1 per cent of the total population had undergone secondary education.
However, things are far from hunky-dory — a report published in the Daily Times showed that the country had the second highest numbers of school drop-out girls in the world.