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What has changed in Uttarakhand since it separated apart from Uttar Pradesh up to this point?

Uttarakhand is a state in northern India that was formed in 2000 after separating from Uttar Pradesh. It is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas and has a rich natural and cultural heritage. Some of the changes that have occurred in Uttarakhand in the last 23 years are:

  • Economic growth:
    • Uttarakhand is one of the fastest growing states in India thanks to the massive growth in capital investment arising from conducive industrial policy and generous tax benefits. The state has also developed its tourism, horticulture, renewable energy and IT sectors. The state’s GSDP is projected to be Rs. 2.76 trillion (US$ 33.61 billion) in FY23.
  • Political instability:
    • Uttarakhand has seen ten chief ministers in 23 years of its existence as a separate state. Only one of them has completed five years’ term. The frequent change of leadership has affected the governance and development of the state. The state has also witnessed several protests and movements for various issues such as statehood, reservation, environmental protection and anti-corruption.
  • Forest loss and degradation:
    • Uttarakhand has lost over 50,000 hectares of forest land to various activities such as infrastructure development, mining, agriculture and encroachment in the past 23 years. The state has also seen an increase in forest degradation due to factors such as overgrazing, firewood collection, invasive species and climate change. The loss and degradation of forests have reduced the biodiversity, ecosystem services and resilience of the state.
  • Climate change impacts:
    • Uttarakhand is witnessing rapid climate change effects such as changing temperatures, upward-moving snowlines, receding glaciers, erratic rainfall, reduction of snow in winter, changed cropping seasons, shifting cultivation zones for certain crops, and drying up of perennial streams. These impacts have increased the vulnerability of the state to natural disasters such as floods, landslides, droughts and forest fires. The recent glacier burst at Joshimath that caused a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river is an example of a climate change-induced disaster.

The changes that have occurred in Uttarakhand have both positive and negative effects on the livelihood of its people. Some of the effects are:

  • Employment opportunities:
    • The economic growth and development of various sectors have created more employment opportunities for the people of Uttarakhand, especially in urban areas. The tourism industry alone employs about 10% of the state’s population. The state has also promoted entrepreneurship and skill development among the youth through various schemes and initiatives.
  • Out-migration:
    • Despite the economic growth, Uttarakhand still faces the problem of out-migration, especially from rural areas. According to a 2018 report by NITI Aayog, about 700 villages in Uttarakhand are completely abandoned and another 3,900 are almost empty.According to new statics there have 1564 empty villages in the state. The main reasons for out-migration are lack of livelihood options, poor infrastructure, low agricultural productivity, environmental degradation and social factors. Out-migration has led to loss of human capital, social cohesion and cultural identity in the state.
  • Human-wildlife conflict:
    • The loss and fragmentation of forest habitats have increased the human-wildlife conflict in Uttarakhand. According to a 2019 report by the Wildlife Institute of India, Uttarakhand recorded the highest number of human deaths (57) due to wildlife attacks among all states in India between April 2016 and May 2019. The main animals involved in the conflict are leopards, elephants, bears and monkeys. The conflict has caused loss of life, property and crops for the people living near forest areas.
  • Adaptation strategies:
    • The people of Uttarakhand have adopted various strategies to cope with the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods. Some of these strategies are diversifying crops, shifting to organic farming, adopting water conservation practices, using renewable energy sources, forming self-help groups and cooperatives, seeking alternative income sources and participating in community-based disaster management. These strategies have helped them to enhance their adaptive capacity and resilience.

Uttarakhand has undergone significant changes in the last 23 years that have both positive and negative effects on its livelihood. The state needs to balance its development goals with its environmental conservation needs to ensure a sustainable future for its people.

Source and Refer Article

(1) Uttarakhand State Presentation and Economy Growth Report | IBEF. (2) In 20 years, Uttarakhand has had just 1 CM completing his term.(3) Uttarakhand Has Lost 50,000 Hectares of Forest Land in the Past 20 ….
(4) Uttarakhand – Wikipedia.(5) Climate change in Uttarakhand, Its Detrimental Effects and Measures.(6) Climate change is already forcing farmers in Uttarakhand to migrate.(7) Climate change behind Uttarakhand glacier burst, experts feel.(8) Why Uttarakhand should choose a more sustainable path to development in …. .

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