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Slowdown in Economic Growth To Unemployment: A Look At All That’s Ailing Punjab

With polls due on February 20, Punjab is seeing a bitter war of words from PM Modi blaming Congress for its anti-farmer policies, to former PM Manmohan Singh hitting out at BJP’s ‘fake nationalism’, Priyanka Gandhi’s attack on the Centre, to Channi’s digs at AAP. Consisting of 117 assembly seats, Punjab is seeing an all out battle between multiple parties staking claim to the leadership. But how has Punjab performed over the last five years? Here’s an analyses by Newschecker of key indicators like economic growth, employment, health and law and order

Economic Growth Slowed Down In Punjab

According to the RBI, Punjab’s GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) figures grew 6.4% in 2017-18 compared to the previous year. This growth, however, slowed down over the years, to 5.9% in 2018-19, and 4.1% in 2019-20, before it falls by 6.6% in the pandemic year 2020-21. 

The per capita GSDP, which has remained above the national average, records a similar trend. In 2017-18 it grew 4.7% from the previous year. But in 2018-19, it grew only by 4.4%. In 2019-20, this growth falls further down to 2.9% and in 2020-21, the growth is -6.6% compared to the previous year. 

Also Read: Uttar Pradesh: How Far Did Yogi Administration Take The State On The Path Of Progress?

Punjab: Unemployment Almost Doubled Under Congress Regime 

The Unemployment figures in Punjab are not promising. On comparing the number of unemployed in January-April 2017 to the latest available figures (September-December 2021), we observe that it almost doubled, going up from 4.84 lakhs to 8.21 lakhs.  

The unemployment rate (UER) of the state has also gone up. While Punjab reported 4.05% unemployment rate in Jan-April 2017, it reported 7.85% UER in September-December 2021. However,  both these figures are pretty close to the national average during the respective quarters(4.68% during Jan-April 2017 and 7.31% during September-December 2021) indicating that the state trends were similar to overall national trends in the same time frame.

The labour participation rate (LPR) has also gone down, although  not as much as other poll bound states. While Punjab reported an LPR of 44.12 during Jan-April 2017, it fell to 39.99 during September-December 2021. As in the UER, the LPR is also consistent with the national average during both quarters. 

Also Read: As Goa Heads To Polls, What Does The Data Tell Us About Progress Of The State?

Crime Goes Up In Punjab 

Just like the other poll going states UP and Uttarakhand, Punjab also saw the total number of cognizable IPC crimes go up. While Punjab reported 39,288 cases in 2017 the state reported 49,870 cases in 2020.   

A closer look at serious crimes such as murders and rapes indicate a similar trend. The number of murder cases in the state shot up from 659 to 757 cases from 2017 to 2020. 

The number of rapes meanwhile, almost doubled between 2017 and 2019, from 530 to 1002, before dropping to 502 in 2020, the pandemic year.  Sexual assault on women, which remained in the same range from 2017-2019, showed a sharp drop in 2020. 

Other crimes against women, like domestic abuse and dowry deaths have maintained pace. While Punjab reported 1,199 domestic abuse cases in 2017, the number went up to 1,595 in 2019, before dropping to 1,271 in 2020.  

The number of dowry deaths in the state hovered in the same range, and was 68 in 2017 while it was 63 in 2020.

Looking at the law enforcement infrastructure, the gap between the actual and sanctioned Police Per Lakh population (PPR) has increased. In 2017, while the sanctioned PPR was 299.6, the actual PPR was 275. Meanwhile in 2020, the sanctioned PPR was 321,  while the actual PPR was 286.5.

The change in population per policeman (PPP) though has remained almost the same. While the sanctioned PPP was 333.82 in 2017, the actual figures were 363.63. This remained almost unchanged in 2020, with a sanctioned PPP of 311.53, while  the actual figures were 349.04.

Also Read: Uttarakhand: 5 Years, 3 Chief Ministers, But What About Governance?

Punjab: Health spending falls 

Looking at the amount of money spent by the Congress led government in Punjab on health, we see that the figure are steadily coming down since 2017. While the state spent 3.8% of its total expenses on health in 2017-18, it dropped to 3.7% in 2018-19 and 3.3% in 2019-20. While the figure rose to  3.6% in 2020-21, the budget estimate for health expenditure in 2021-22 was once again down to 3.4%. 


In terms of health infrastructure, the state seems to have done better, with the number of Primary Health Centres and number of beds increasing. According to the National Health Profile,  Punjab had 427 PHCs in the year 2017. This went up to 527 in the year 2021. Similarly, the number of beds in the state in 2017 was 11,834. This tally went up to 21,241 in 2021. Meanwhile, the shortfall of specialists in hospitals including Paediatricians, Surgeons and Ob-Gyn have increased slightly, from 427 in 2015 to 433 in 2020. 

According to the National Health and Family Survey, of other health indicators such as the prevalence of anaemia among women, Punjab has followed the national trend, with figures going up from 53.5% in 2015-16 to 58.7% in 2019-21. 

Other factors such as Infant Mortality Rate has decreased slightly, from 29.2% to 28%, while severe wastage in children has dropped from 5.6% to 3.7%. This even as the all-India average for severe wastage went up from 7.5% to 7.7%. 

Meanwhile, stunting in children under the age of 5 dropped from 25.7% to 24.5%. 

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Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon
Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.


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