Nitish Kumar’s Bihar

Nitish Kumar, the engineer chief minister of the bottom position holder state, Bihar completed one year in office. In last week, I came across two of his interviews that appeared in ‘The Indian Express’ and ‘The Hindu Businessline’.

Except for some claims on investment proposals for sugar factories, there is nothing exhilarating but for a very genuine hope about the state’s future. ‘Bihar has to become a developed state by 2015 to be in tune with the President’s Vision 2020.’ However, Nitish though engineer by qualification never came out, what he and his government will do in less than four years to make the people of the state feel confident to look for better Bihar by 2020.

I shall like to only remind engineer in Nitish Kumar that today with technologies available there are hardly any projects that can’t be completed in 3-4 years. You require only a steely will power. Chief Minister’s putting10-12 hours at work can only set example, but for the implementation of the projects taken in hand, he will have to select his executing team, delegate, and monitor the completion within the timeframe.
Nitish Kumar will have to prioritize, decide on some10 major projects, and see that they get completed. As otherwise, the remarks ‘There are so many things to do; we are fighting on many fronts’ and then ‘After all, the mineral-rich districts of the erstwhile Bihar State have gone to Jharkhand,’ reflect indecisiveness and perhaps frustration. Again, Nitish Kumar must be innovative on his offerings to the investors to attract them towards Bihar, as all the states of India are competing in providing more and more allurements to industrialists.

As it appears, Engineer Nitish Kumar has given up easily on the state owned and private industrial complexes including one at Dalmianagar. He could have appointed at least some reputed consultants such as Mc Kinsey or Booz, Allen, Hamilton, or Boston Consulting for helping Bihar in preparing a roadmap for prospective industrial revival of Bihar. It would have been an expenditure made with a purpose. The chief minister must aggressively attempt for fast-track development instead of just giving up apparent when he says, ‘I don’t think we can do anything about its revival right now.’

His idea of a land bank with a corpus of Rs 200 crore is an excellent approach direction of land acquisition for industrial units of interest. And I wish Nitish Kumar could get the 61 proposals (for setting up various industrial units totaling an investment of Rs 26,000 crore that his government has cleared) get completed in 3-4 years as promised.

Bihar has many strengths of its own. Its huge tourism potentials for Hindus (Gaya), Buddhists (Buddha Gaya), Jains (Vaisali), Sikhs (Patna Sahib), and Muslims (Phulwarisarif) itself can boost the state’s economy tremendously, if it is exploited with a businesslike approach. Nalanda International University can bring in $1 billion or more if one works seriously and a permanent prestige for the state. Unique traditional textile related products from Madhubani and Bhagalpur are other prospective employment providing strengths of Bihar. In food processing industry based on cereals, vegetables, and fruits, Bihar can always compete with any other state. Bihar has manufacturing potentials in leather goods and pharmaceuticals with plenty of raw materials available in the state.

But the biggest asset of Bihar is its manpower. Why should they be considered only for menial work of the nation? Let the state invest in establishing trade schools, and other professional educational facilities by encouraging established educational trusts and philanthropist business houses. It hardly matters if the young men after education migrate to other cities in India or to Middle east. It will help state in long run as it has happened in Southern states. If Premji Fondation can assist Rajasthan, if Intel, Microsoft, and IBM can help other states, why can’t they be allured to help Bihar in education? Can’t every district headquarter of Bihar have DPS or Kothari International or other reputed educational academies? Why should the chief minister be so dependent on the center for secondary education?

It is unfortunate that neither the journalists raised question nor the CM mentioned anything about the potential of knowledge sector, BPO when a huge lot of technocrats from Bihar are serving the sector. The sector is not very capital intensive also. Bihar produces students in abundance with excellent academic records. Bihar can have BPO in legal, medical, and education areas. The CM is to get his engineering colleges in top gear and encourage bringing in some finishing institutes for fluency in English.

I shall agree to Nitish Kumar’s remark, ‘Others, preferably independent people should rate me.’ I wish the journalists such as Shekhar Gupta, who are familiar with Bihar, would have made some independent research on the progress made in Bihar in last one year and published their findings instead of these interviews.

Finally, I found the fire missing in the CM in these interviews that is a must for the development of the state that was made to sleep for three decades.

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