Amarinder Singh took oath as Punjab CM today
With Captain Amarinder Singh taking oath as the Chief Minister of Punjab, Congress has recuperated its lost ground in the state after 10 years. It has also being cited within the Congress as an example as to how to challenge the renascent BJP, which is exiling the party in one after another state all across the country.
Given the anti-tenure against the Akali-BJP alliance over ten years, winning the Punjab Assembly election was not as difficult for Captain Amarinder Singh, whose real challenge will be to deal with the problems that are plaguing the state.
The seven challenges that the newly appointed Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh will have to face are shared out with in the following paragraphs.
- ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN
Punjab is known for its robust agriculture and agri-based industries, in which it have attracted workers from across the country over the years. But, of 10 years under the Akali-BJP rule in Punjab, the rate of agriculture growth has been declined for the last nine years.
The agriculture growth was 0.95 percent in 2004-05, which according to the Punjab government figures had gone into negative, -3.4 percent in 2014-15. Nearly about 65 lakh people who are engaged in the agriculture have been adversely affected by this decline.
- SUICIDES OF FARMERS IN PUNJAB
Even though, the per capita income has registered in an increase of about five percent from Rs. 96,638 in 2014-15 to Rs. 101,498 in 2015-16, it does not reflect in any kind to the real picture of farm crisis in Punjab.
In the last Agriculture Census data, the average farm sizes have reduced from 3.9 hectares in 2005-06 to 3.7 hectares by 2010-11. The worsening farm crisis is reflected in the rising number of suicides in Punjab, in which such a thing was almost unheard of earlier.
- RISING UNEMPLOYMENT
Rising the unemployment is one of the big challenge before Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. The unemployment rate in Punjab stands at percent 16.6 for young workforce aged form 18-29 against the national average of 10.2 per cent.
Punjab is also among the states having highest rural youth unemployment rate.
According to government reports, 18,770 factories that were shut down between 2007 and 2014 under the Akali-BJP rule leading to huge unemployment. The Congress manifesto in Punjab has promised an unemployment allowance of Rs. 2,500 per month. But, CM Amarinder Singh will have to find a more feasible solution of this problem.
The scale of drug addiction in Punjab had been gauged by the fact that Aam Aadmi Party based on its election campaign in Assembly election.
According to the Punjab Opiod Dependence Survey for 2015, there are almost 2.30 lakh opioid dependent and also 8.60 opioid users in the state.
The report says that about 80 per cent of the drug addicts tried to quit but only about 35 percent of the willing users has received professional help from the state government.
- OBESITY AND ANAEMIA
It found that Punjab has a highest average medical expenditure per episode of hospital admission in India. About 83 percent outdoor and 66 percent patients are dependent on private healthcare infrastructure.
Besides, Punjab is grappling with a unique problem. It faces the challenges of obesity and anaemia at the same time. Obesity among men is pegged at 27.8 per cent and among women at 31.3 per cent.
Instantaneously, the percentage of anaemic men has doubled between 2005 and 2015 from 13.6 percent to about 26 percent. In 2005, 38 percent women were anaemic. Their proportion increased to greater extent of 53.5 in 2015.
- CRUMBLING SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE
Punjab is also facing an acute problem of drop-out rate in school rising. The average annual drop-out rate at the primary school level has increased from 1.3 percent in 2014-15 to 3.1 percent in 2015-16.
According to District Information for System Education (DISE) data, 84 percent of primary-age students are enrolled in primary school in 2015-16.
But, only 51.6 percent of secondary-age school students were enrolled in secondary school. Over 32 percent of students are dropped out at the primary school level.
- PRO- KHALISTAN VOICES
Nabha jailbreak last year brought back focus on attempts by disruptive forces to revive Khalistan movement in Punjab.
Khalistan Liberation Force of Chief Harminder Singh Mintoo has escaped from the Nabha jail in Punjab along with other five dreaded gangsters. The state was put on high alert when that happened.
Any How, They were later arrested but pro-Khalistan voices remain a concern for Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.