As reported, before polling in the last Bihar elections, Jagdeep Chhokar and Trilochan Sastry (an IIT, IIM and MIT-educated operations research expert who also taught at IIM-A) met Nitish Kumar. He said since some with criminal records were already in the fray, he could not help. But “he promised that in the event of his becoming CM, none of them would be made ministers,” says Sastry. He adds, ”Nitish Kumar kept his word. Today we have in Bihar, ministers who don’t have criminal records, at least on paper.” This is what the most Bihar watchers think. Nitish and his team are bringing some change. It may be slow but is coming steadily.
Bihar that used to be in news earlier for all wrong reasons, is taking some steps that are coming as ‘first’ time in any state. Bihar was the first to allocate 50% reservation to women in village and district councils. As reported, it wished to employ 50% women teachers in its drive to fill up the vacancies of teachers, about 1.5 lakh in number.
From January 2, 2007, Bihar has switched over to the five day working in the government offices. Mission is to improve for better efficiency. Working hours are more on regular days to compensate the loss of Saturday and the casual holidays have also come down from 16 to 12 days. Even the CM reaches his office well ahead of the time (and with his lunchbox) and so do all top bureaucrats.
Interestingly, is Nitish Kumar trying to run the government as CEO, and to introduce corporate culture in government functioning. He is credited with some more firsttimers. He appointed retired army men on contract in the state police force and formed Special Auxiliary Police. He has also appointed retired CBI officials on contract to form a special anti-corruption cell. Let these innovative out of the box solution bring efficiency and change the image of Bihar.
And very soon, RTI will just be a phone call away in Bihar for all the people. “The government has planned to set up a call centre where a person can ring in to seek the information required by him. The call centre will then write a formal application which would be forwarded to the concerned department through fax or internet and, on getting the information sought, would pass it on to the person. It will cost the person just Rs 10 as call charge.”
I wish he took up some more tasks on prority. Can Nitish Kumar arrage a monitoring of some of the central projects of immense importance to the state- East-West Corridor and Golden Quadrilateral Expresswaya passing through the state, seven new road projects of NHDPIII that are included for Bihar, taking the length of roads in the state from 113 km to 890 km, and rural electrification and road work under Bharat Nirman?