Located in central India and sitting on huge resources, MP is a state with political stability and houses people from diverse social, cultural and religious backgrounds.
This state was the largest in India by area until 2000, when its south-eastern Chhattisgarh region was carved out as a separate state.
Madhya Pradesh is home to a large tribal population, who have been largely cut off from the mainstream development.
This makes MP one of the least developed states in India with an HDI (human development index) value of 0.375 (2011), which is well below the national average.
The state's per-capita gross state domestic product (nominal GDP) is the fourth lowest in the country (2010-11).
MP is also the lowest-ranked state on the India State Hunger Index (ISHI) with a score of 30.87 against the national average of 23.30.
In recent years, the state's GDP growth has been above the national average.
Rich in mineral resources, MP has the largest reserves of diamond and copper in India.
More than 30% of its area is under the forest cover.
Its tourism industry has seen considerable growth, with the state topping the National Tourism Awards in the year 2010-11.
Madhya Pradesh has achieved the distinction of having the highest per capita income growth in the country in 2013-14 as compared to the previous year.
The central state is gradually breaking the Bimaru (Bihar, MP, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh clubbed together for backwardness) shackles it was tied down with for ages.
MP's per capita income growth at 20.1% is the highest among states in the country for 2013-14, with only the union territory of Pondicherry recording a higher per capital growth of 30.1%.
But in spite of the high growth in per capita income, the state remains one of the poorest in the country with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Assam at the bottom of the rung.
The annual per capita income of MP at Rs 54,030 (2013-14) is much below the national average of Rs 74,380.
Over the decades, the government has made agriculture a profitable vocation and gradual industrialisation has ushered in prosperity in backward areas with gainful employment.
The more important thing is that Madhya Pradesh is no longer a Bimaru state as was the case a few years ago.
The GDP growth has been double that of the country since 2010-11.
The services sector has been growing at more than 10% year-on-year from 2008, while the agriculture sector growth in 2013-14 was 24.99%.
Economists attribute the rapid growth to the improvement in the infrastructure that has attracted more investments and led to more job creation.
The average monthly per capita income in Madhya Pradesh (at 2004-05 prices) stood at Rs 4,500 as against Rs 2,600 in Bihar, which is the poorest state in the country, as per the Economic Survey 2014-15 data.
At current prices, the gross state domestic product (GSDP) of Madhya Pradesh for 2014-15 was $84.27 billion.
Between 2004-05 and 2014-15, the GSDP growth was 12.83%.
Madhya Pradesh is rich in natural resources - fuels, minerals, agriculture and biodiversity.
The state represents 8.3% of the country's coal reserves and has 218.04 billion cubic metres (BCM) of estimated coal-bed methane reserves.
The state also has the largest reserves of diamond and copper in India, apart from significant reserves of limestone, manganese and dolomite.
Due to its centralised location, Madhya Pradesh has excellent connectivity to several parts of India.
Many FMCG companies have moved their warehouses here to save on logistics expenses.
MP is the second largest state of India and has a unicameral government with a 230-seat legislative assembly.
The state also sends 40 members to the Parliament in Delhi: 29 are elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and 11 to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House).
The major political parties in Madhya Pradesh are the Indian National Congress (INC), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bahujan SamajParty (BSP).
Unlike in many of the neighbouring states, the small or regional parties have not had much success in the state elections.
Since November 2005, the BJP led by its charismatic CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been ruling Madhya Pradesh.
A gold medallist in philosophy, Chouhan has been a political leader since childhood.
In 1976-77, he participated in underground movement against Emergency and was imprisoned.
In 2005, he was appointed as the BJP president of Madhya Pradesh unit and in the same year, he went on to become the Chief Minister of the state.
In 2008 assembly polls, he once again led the party to victory in the state elections and assumed the position of Chief Minister for the second time.
Chouhan as top executive of MP has been focussing on improving the education, generating employment, uplifting the scheduled castes and rehabilitating the slums, among other initiatives.
He has always been a supporter of women empowerment and has undertaken several steps to protect the girl child, improve the health and socio-economic security of women.
But Shivraj Chouhan has few corruption charges levelled against him.
In few cases, he has been given a clean chit but some cases are still pending.
Like for instance, in July 2014, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijay Singh, issued a letter to him alleging that Shivraj Chouhan favoured his brother-in-law. This case is still pending.
The Vyapam scam is an admission and recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in Madhya Pradesh.
MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known by its Hindi acronym "Vyapam" (Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal), is responsible for conducting several entrance tests in the state.
These entrance exams are held for recruitment in government jobs and admissions in educational institutes of the state.
The scam involved a collusion of undeserving candidates, who bribed politicians and MPPEB officials through middlemen, to get high ranks in these entrance tests.
Cases of irregularities in these entrance tests had been reported since the mid-1990s, and the first FIR was filed in 2000.
However, until 2009 such cases were not thought to be part of an organised ring.
When major complaints surfaced in the pre-medical test (PMT) in 2009, the state government established a committee to investigate the matter.
The committee released its report in 2011, and over a hundred people were arrested by the police.
The sheer scale of the scam came to light in 2013, when the Indore police arrested 20 people who had come to impersonate candidates for PMT 2009.
After the role of organised crime rackets and politicians in the scam came to light, the state government formed a Special Task Force (STF) of the police on 26 August 2013, to investigate the scam.
Several activists and politicians, including members of the opposition Congress demanded a CBI probe in the scam under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
On 7 July 2015, after controversy about increasing number of allegedly suspicious deaths, Chouhan informed media that he will write to high court requesting to order a CBI probe into the scam.
On the same day, the Congress requested for resignation of Chouhan to allow fair probe into the scam.
In July 2015, the Supreme Court issued an order to transfer the case to the CBI.
By June 2015, more than 2000 people had been arrested in connection with the Vyapam scam.
Meanwhile, the alleged suspicious or unnatural deaths related to Vyapam scam probe has touched 50 till August 2015.