Chhattisgarh, a 21st century State, came into being on November 1, 2000. Larger than Tamil Nadu, it is just the right size, and is also fortunate to have a low population density. Good Governance is the highest priority in this Fast Track State. There is both policy stability as well as political stability. Government has been kept small and the State is in excellent fiscal health.
Chhattisgarh is truly a land of opportunities. With all major minerals including diamonds in abundance, it is the richest State in mineral resources. There are mega industries in Steel, Aluminium and Cement. Chhattisgarh contributes substantially to the Human Resources of India. Several hundred students from the State qualify for admissions in prestigious academic institutions every year. Bhilai, the knowledge capital of the State, alone sends over 50 students to the elite Indian Institutes of Technology every year. A unique Private Universities Act has been passed to attract investments in quality higher education.
Its large power surplus is attracting power-intensive industries, and the State is poised to become the power-hub of the nation. Its central location helps easy power transmission to any part of the country. The State is supplying power to Delhi, Gujarat and Karnataka, among others. Chhattisgarh ranks high in terms of good industrial relations and labour productivity. There has been no labour unrest in either Bhilai or Korba, the Power capital, for several decades.
12% of India's forests are in Chhattisgarh, and 44% of the State's land is under forests. Identified as one of the richest bio-diversity habitats, the Green State of Chhattisgarh has the densest forests in India, rich wildlife, and above all, over 200 non-timber forest products, with tremendous potential for value addition.
The City of Bhilai with its modern and cosmopolitan lifestyle is just 30 km from Raipur, the State capital. A new world-class capital city is to come up near Raipur's airport. Raipur is at the centre of the rail and road routes between Mumbai and Kolkata, and is well connected to Delhi and Chennai. Bilaspur's Railway Division is the most profitable Railway operation in the country, contributing 17% of the revenues of Indian Railways.
One third of Chhattisgarh's population is of tribes, mostly in the thickly forested areas in the North and South. The central plains of Chhattisgarh are known as the "Rice Bowl" of Central India. Female literacy has doubled in the last decade, and male literacy is higher than India's average. Gender ratio is next only to Kerala.
Bastar is known the world over for its unique and distinctive tribal heritage. The Bastar Dassera is the traditional celebration of the gaiety of our tribals. All of Chhattisgarh has many virgin, unexplored tourism destinations.
Above all, the State's biggest asset is its 208 lakh people. The people are friendly, open, warm and industrious. Chhattisgarh has an enviable record of social harmony and maintenance of public order. Upholding the Rule of Law is top priority for the Government.