Jharkhand: The Curse of Development and Displacement

Co-Written by Dr. Md Afroz & Md Tabrez

jharkhand 1


The formation of Jharkhand on the behest of development and change in the life of local people were actually political gimmick to encash the euphoric regional sentiments for power. The ruling national parties used to retreat in policy matters that threatens their political stability in changing political atmosphere due to the rise of regional parties conditioned to regional movements. Jharkhand is one of the best example of this flimsy politics where national parties retain its political bases through championing stands be it preservation of regional identity or development agenda altogether rhetorically used to seduce masses and to make orphan region’s emerging powers.

Rich State Poor People

Jharkhand a tribal dominated state with 32.96 million populations scattered in 79,110 sq. Km area is having rich mineral resources. The Gross state domestic product (GSDP) is 3.28 lakh crore in the year of 2019-20, and per capita income is 79,873 rupees as per government data. It is having 40 percent minerals of the country alone where it retains the sole producer of coking coal, uranium and pyrite. It ranks 1st in the production of coal, mica, kainite and copper in India. It produces approx. 25 percent steel of the country. This is why state becomes the vanguard of industrialization among Indian states. It has a wide range of industrial plants both public undertakings and private limited.

Despite all, Jharkhand still remains one of the poorest Indian states along Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh where more than half of India’s poor populace live in (Indian Express Report). According to the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) 10 indicators; health, education, and standard of living in which nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance; access to cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water; electricity, housing and assets. In all these parameters state miserably failed to deliver a sustainable growth through policy & programmes.

The Tragedy of Development

If we go through the literal meaning of development, it is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change in physical, economic, environment, social and demographic status. The purpose of development is to raise the level of quality life of population and the creation of local regional income and employment opportunities without damaging the resources of the environment. The purpose of creating a separate state Jharkhand was regional development and it came into being on 15 November 2000 after a century-old demand articulated by the people of this land.

The dilemma of development caused by developmental projects in the name of change in people’s life and later the people most in need of protection are displaced. One can trace history and can be seen in many forms of systematic marginalisation of the Jharkhandi people’s rights over the natural resources. The land, nature, Forrest and water which belong to them from decades and several policies, law have been passed to protect the rights of the Jharkhandis.

In the name of development it is counted as one of the backward and ailing states of the country. Not only this, it is also surrounded by forests of India’s largest tribal-dominated state. The only means of tribal’s livelihood is forest wealth. But, due to its lack of policy use, there is a loss in both environment and economic forms. At the same time there is a bad effect on the livelihood of the tribals. While on one hand you have deforestation, on the other hand, the land of the tribals is being snatched.

Forced Displacement

Land is needed for industrialisation urbanisation or some public purposes. Acquiring land for development projects without providing for resettlement violates the basic rights of the tribal people, displacing the tribal people without providing for their resettlement deprives them of their basic right of occupation of their land which results in several problems like deprivation of their means of livelihood, migration to other places in search of work and living in poor conditions there, all of this just goes to show that displacement worsens the current position of the people. Since the need to provide special protection to the tribal has been recognized it would be an irony that when they are made to sacrifice to contribute for national development, their rights are completely violated and they are deprived even of their due basic rights.

Forced displacement of these communities has caused them to relocate to unfamiliar and hostile environments, away from their traditional habitats. The process of forced displacement has increased their vulnerability to exploitation, pushing them to poverty, chronic malnourishment, starvation and ill health, including serious psychological trauma. In the absence of adequate access to the forests, Adivasi and other communities are deprived of their food security and diversity, livelihoods’ security, which inevitably results in poor health outcomes. The poor access to medical care, the impact of extraction and other industries affecting the environment, further exacerbates the poor health conditions. Not only does it impacts their livelihoods, health, but also widens the existing gap of health inequities among Adivasi communities.

Current Scenario

Despite holding 40 percent of India’s mineral wealth, economic development of the state has not been sufficient to trickle down to the people in need. The poverty level in Jharkhand, as measured by the Tendulkar Committee, is one of the highest amongst all large states with high levels in both rural and the urban parts. However, special efforts are being taken by Jharkhand and the Central Government to overcome this shortage and damage. While implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, the Niti Aayog is also making efforts to ensure that the entire country and not only Jharkhand benefits from proper consumption of available natural resources.

The way forward

Development is essential tool for the up-gradation of people’s lives. It requires land for building industries, communications, civil infrastructure and services that obviously need land acquisition from citizens that are traditionally source of their livelihood means. Jharkhand is a emerging state having large number of SCs & STs and OBCs population whose socio-economic condition are at par below, any development initiative without their consideration would meet same fate as it happened in Nandigram of West Bengal. There is need of appropriate legislations and provisions to safeguard the rights and development of local people. It is necessary to uplift their socio-economic conditions by providing reasonable compensation and livelihood means especially to the tribes by diversifying resources for reducing poverty and socio-economic depravities.


B K Thakur  Journal of Economic & Social Development, Vol. – X, No. 2, December 2014

https://www.livemint.com/Specials/bqVly6xj4usB3DiTibS3DK/Spatial-poverty-in-Jharkhand.html Accessed on 22-11-2020


https://www.financialexpress.com/economy/jharkhand-lifts-most-people-out-of-poverty-still-remains-among-poorest-states/1644302/ Accessed on 17-11-2020

Accessed on 21-11-2020



Author Details

Dr Md Afroz, teaches Political science & Public Administration @MANUU. he has obtained MPhil, PhD from Jamia Millia Islamia. his interest lies in; federalism, ethnic conflict, Nation-building, democratic decentralization and governance.

For more info.

[email protected]

Follow @khwajaAfrozSidd


MD Tabrez Alam, Doctoral Scholar @ Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi. As a researcher, the quest for knowledge begins from the fieldwork. Currently, he is working on Urban inequality and housing segregations in newly developed township India.

For more info.

[email protected]

Follow @ktabrezshams




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