A mystical state comes of age

From being ranked second-poorest state 30 years ago, Rajasthan clocked second-highest growth of 9.4% in 2008-09.

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Economically-prosperous states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are ‘happening’ places and, therefore, enjoy near-continuous coverage in print and electronic media. At the other extreme, when an exceptionally-poor state such as Bihar begins to register growth rates of 8-9%, it catches the eye of not just the national but also international press.

But the achievements of states that are neither at the top nor at the bottom go largely unnoticed. One such state is my own: Rajasthan. Going by the available per-capita income data, Rajasthan was the second poorest state in financial year 1980-81, ranking barely above Bihar. For years, it was pejoratively referred to as a Bimaru state alongside Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.