Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

‘BIMARU’ Tag: What does this term mean?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: BIMARU states

Mains level: Read the attached story

Central idea: While addressing a summit in UP, PM recalled the tag of ‘BIMARU’, once used to describe the state.

What are BIMARU states?

  • The term “BIMARU” is an acronym formed from the first letters of five states – Bihar, MP, Rajasthan, and UP – that were believed to be economically and socially backward in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • The term was popularized by economist Ashish Bose in the 1980s to describe the poor economic and social indicators of these states.
  • He coined this term in a paper presented to then-PM Rajiv Gandhi.
  • These states were characterized by low literacy rates, poor infrastructure, high poverty rates, and low levels of industrialization.
  • The term “BIMARU” itself is an amalgamation of the Hindi words “bimar” (sick) and “ru” (a suffix meaning “land of”).

Behind the slang name ‘BIMAR’

The BIMARU states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh are characterized by several economic and social features that distinguish them from other states in India. Some of these features include:

  • Low per capita income: These have traditionally had low per capita income levels compared to other states in India, with Bihar having the lowest per capita income among Indian states.
  • High poverty rates: They have a high percentage of people living in poverty, with Bihar and Uttar Pradesh having some of the highest poverty rates in the country.
  • Low literacy rates: They have lower literacy rates than the national average, with Bihar having the lowest literacy rate among Indian states.
  • Poor healthcare indicators: They have traditionally had poor healthcare indicators, with high infant and maternal mortality rates.
  • Agriculture-based economy: These states are primarily agricultural states, with a significant percentage of the population engaged in agriculture and related activities.
  • Significant population: They are among the most populous states in India, with Uttar Pradesh being the most populous state in the country.

Overall, the BIMARU states have traditionally lagged behind other states in India in terms of economic and social development, although in recent years, there has been progress in improving development indicators.

Persisting challenges

These states still face significant challenges, including high levels of poverty and unemployment.

  • Still a national laggard: There is still a significant development gap between these states and the more developed regions of the country. For example, in 2019-20, per capita income in Bihar was only about a third of the national average, and in UP, only about half of the population has access to basic sanitation facilities.
  • High Population: The share of BIMARU states in the absolute increase in India’s population during 2001-26 will be of the order of 50.4 per cent while the share of the south will be only 12.6 per cent.

How are these states faring now?

  • In recent years, some of these states, such as Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, have shown significant improvement.
  • In terms of economic growth, several of these states have experienced high growth rates in recent years, with Madhya Pradesh and Bihar recording growth rates of over 10% in 2019-20.
  • Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have also recorded growth rates of over 7% in recent years.
  • There has also been progress in improving social indicators such as literacy rates and healthcare infrastructure.
  • For example, Bihar has seen a significant increase in literacy rates, with the state’s literacy rate increasing from 47% in 2001 to 63% in 2011.

Alternatives to ‘BIMARU’ terms

  • PM has urged to refrain the use of such terms as they only serves to reinforce negative stereotypes and inhibit progress towards more equitable development across the country.
  • He coined the term such as ‘Aspirational Districts/Blocks’ as alternative to such negative word.

Way forward

This involves several key strategies to address the economic and social challenges that these states face. Some of these strategies include:

  • Enhancing economic growth: The BIMARU states need to focus on enhancing economic growth through policies that encourage investment, job creation, and entrepreneurship. This can include measures such as improving the ease of doing business, providing infrastructure, and investing in sectors with high growth potential.
  • Improving social indicators: They need to focus on improving social indicators such as literacy rates, healthcare, and sanitation. This can involve investing in education and healthcare infrastructure, and implementing programs that target poverty reduction and social inclusion.
  • Enhancing agricultural productivity: Given that agriculture is a major contributor to the economy of BIMARU states, efforts should be made to enhance agricultural productivity and efficiency. This can include investments in irrigation and modern agricultural techniques, and support for small and marginal farmers.
  • Encouraging inclusive development: In order to reduce disparities and ensure inclusive development, policies and programs should be targeted towards the most vulnerable and marginalized sections of society. This can include measures to promote gender equality, social inclusion, and address issues such as caste-based discrimination.
  • Leveraging technology: The BIMARU states can leverage technology to enhance economic and social development. This can involve the use of digital technologies to improve access to education and healthcare and promote entrepreneurship and innovation.


  • Overall, while the BIMARU states have made progress in recent years, there is still a long way to go in terms of achieving more equitable development across the country.


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