Here are some handy hints for the next quiz contest you plan to take part in. With 32km of rail route per 1,000sq km, Assam connects the entire Northeast with the rest of India. Sixteen of Jharkhand’s 22 districts are affected by insurgency, yet it has only 74 policemen per lakh of population. Uttarakhand has close to 72% literacy rate, much ahead of its parent Uttar Pradesh’s 56%. The average Bihari is the poorest in India and the average Goan is the richest.
Bet some of these nuggets of information have surprised you. Yet, these are easily culled from this set, Indian States at a Glance. Beautifully produced by Indicus Analytics, a Delhi-based research firm, these colourful and slim books can be placed within reach of your desk, ready to use. The set was long overdue, not only because of its ready reference-ability, but also because each one of us, despite staying in one of India’s 29 states, are hopelessly unaware of what goes on in this federal country of ours.
Editors Laveesh Bhandari and Sumita Kale write in the introduction that the “Eleventh Plan wants the real income of the average Indian to double in 10 years—an admirable objective, but one that would necessitate a greater coordination at all levels of governments”. And “as states begin to change… the future of India will dramatically change”, agrees economist Bibek Debroy in the foreword.
Each state profile has four components: An overall profile, economic profile, social profile and district profile. As a result, the reader gets relevant micro data, such as the number of seats for MBA programmes or penetration of two-wheelers and four-wheelers in districts,. Data is quite updated, other than the population and National Sample Survey data, the rest being from the period 2004-06.
Why 22 volumes when India has 29 states and eight Union Territories? While Assam is accorded a special one-volume treatment, the rest of the Northeast is put together in one volume. Similarly, all the Union Territories, Goa and the national capital region of Delhi have been bunched in one volume. One small complaint: Surely Delhi, the capital, with an area of 1,483sq km and only 8% of its population living below the poverty line, compared to 40% in Bihar, deserves a separate book. (Write to firstname.lastname@example.org)