Monday, January 18, 2010

Rising Bihar: a miraculous or expected growth?

When one would think of BIMARU states namely - BIhar, MAdhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh - the first thing that comes to one's mind is the social and economic backwardness of these states. For years, corruption and bad governance never changed these states even while other states of India were leaping ahead. However, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh continued to be the worst performers and hence Indian national growth always lagged behind.

There was no news complete without the news of kidnapping, extortion, ransom from Bihar a few years ago..but today there are fewer cases than they were earlier. What a sudden transformation ? Here's a Bihari describing his state after Nitish took over and how things have begun to change.

Things change with time and Bihar is a classic example. All credit goes to CM Nitish Kumar and his incredible IAS officers' team. They continue to do some amazing wonders in governance and governance delivery mechanisms. For the past 5 years, they have shown how dedication and determination can change a lot in the society.

Law and order:

1)First, drastic reduction of kidnapping from 1393 to 397....down to 20% spread over 4 years..
2) 38,824 cases of conviction putting all the major dons like Shahbuddin, Sunil Pandey etc who would come on TV and declare they would murder, kidnap anyone - all are behind bars.
3) No longer gunmen holding guns on the streets of Patna - at day or night...a return of law and order - all due to the Home Secretary Amanalluah (IAS Officer).
4) Today, international banks, private companies are ready to invest and no longer scared of the law and order issues.

Infrastructure:

1) Pratay Amrit - an excellent IAS officer - got 259 bridges constructed in 3 years.
2) 6800 km of roads made - enabling just 4-6 hour from Patna to anywhere in the state.
3) The state's 38 districts have good connecting roads - a miracle indeed - all under R.K. Singh (IAS officer)
4) 1600 major bridges, culverts constructed.
5) W.r.t villages almost 50% is covered and remaining 50% is being covered.

Social and economic front:

1) An IIT was opened, new institutes of fashion technology have come into the scene and classes being conducted.
2) 1 lakh teachers recruited in govt schools where hardly 1 or 2 were teaching and they were scared of the goonda raj during Laloo-Rabri regime.
3) Out-of-school children have dropped from 13.1%(2006) to 3% (2009).
4) out of-school girls rate dropped from 20% to 3%.
5) Banks ready to give loans to people and result 40% increase in automobile sales and most of them who would not buy any vehicles because of extortion and other law and order issues no longer fear because there is a significant change in law and order situation.
6) Malls, private institutes, private enterprises are booming - an 18% increase in cement inflow for construction.
7) 21% construction increase, 16% increase in telecommunications, 12% in trade, hotels etc and 2% in agriculture.

Everything is not perfect..Almost 50% population lies below poverty line. Bihar still is at the bottom in terms of many social parameters including food distribution but I think it is a national problem.

Nitish Kumar also does certain things very differently. Some instances of reports that I came across

1) He is striving for revival of historic Nalanda University by roping in teachers, academicians from across the world to come and prepare syllabus, course content for the future university coming up in Nalanda. He wants to revive the Nalanda magic (no one knows whether it's going to be successful).
2) He went to Rajgir ( a famous historic place ) and conducted his cabinet meeting and asked bureaucrats to make it a tourist spot.
3) He personally enacted a law reserving 50% panchayat seats for women hoping that women would come forward and take part in governance
4) He announced that any volunteers - govt school teachers going into villages will get monetary and other benefits from the govt to increase the literacy rate which is abysmal 47%.
5) He conducting Janata Durbar which has become very famous wherein every Monday people feel safe to come and express their day-to-day problems and this style resembles Naidu, Modi and other CM's who effectively did the same.

Here are some more articles that appeared in 1)Times of India, 2) Another article in TOI.

However, from a non-functional government for 15 years to a visibly functioning government, Bihar has come a long way and it has a long way to go but it is a transition from "no hope" to "complete hope". Let's hope Indian empire's first ever capital Pataliputra (patna) comes back to its golden days again.

I still remember some of my friends from Bihar telling me people flocking in elections not to vote for Laloo's party and vote only for Nitish and see the result - Laloo won just 2 seats of the 42 in 2009 Lok Sabha while had won almost 30 seats in 2004 when Nitish was not into the picture.

So, in short, Bihar's growth was expected due to a humble and hard working Nitish Kumar, but it would be a miracle only if it sustains it.

Here's a further in-depth write up from 2 journalists who travelled through Bihar recently.

2 comments:

ujwal said...

A very nicely complied article with facts and figures. I would like to state few more facts like the growth rate of Bihar is 13% which is second only to Gujarat. It is one of the fully e-governed state now. There are many more facts like this and whenever i come across such facts, only one thing comes into my mind. How can a state make such progress in just 5 years? Keeping in mind that before Nitish rule it was a complete anarchy in the state. The only answer i can think of it lies in the rule of nature, which says " after very dusk there is dawn and after every dawn there is dusk".

ayush rocks said...

@Ujwal: SOrry to say this, but, Guj. has the 2nd highest GDP in India....11.6% whereas bihar has a GDP of 12.3% :)