Nitish Kumar and Bihar

Nitish Kumar under the banyan tree where Lalu tied up a ghost to trouble Nitish.

Saba Naqvi Bhaumik in latest issue of ‘Outlook’ has written pretty highly about Nitish Kumar. Unfortunately, she has compared Nitish’s performance with one who damaged the total administration in Bihar by politicizing it. I wish the benchmark for the CM’s performance would have been some other high performing chief minister of one better performing state of the country. No one can doubt ‘from 10 am and till late evening’ hard working of Nitish Kumar. But then it must yield result visible through the development works all over the state.

It is good that Nitish ‘holds durbars where he himself scrutinizes public complaints and passes these on to the ministers and officials concerned’. But is it the best way of operating or can there be a better way? Can he use the gathering to pass on certain messages that relate to the responsibilities of the citizens of the state? Saba would have talked to more number of the intellectuals and elites as well as some people’s representatives to firm up the conclusions.

I feel Nitish must use the platform to spread the right messages to the people of Bihar and appeal to those present in ‘junta durbar’ to help the state in achieving its various people-oriented projects. They can make the Sarva Sikhsha Aviyan mission a success by sending all their children to schools. They can also help in family welfare planning. They can also see that whatever work is being done to provide a minimum amount of earning such as pond repair or road building, or plantation in NREGS are corruption free and useful on long term for the village. He must also appeal others to emulate some success stories such as one of the woman who is earning his living by growing mushrooms in Patna. The people must feel empowered and independent rather than dependent on unscrupulous officers for doles by sharing the government money with them.

Nitish Kumar has certainly taken up improving law and order in the state as top priority, and many dons are in jail after convictions by fast track courts. Unfortunately, a huge number of the followers of those dons are still freely carrying out the task. Can Nitish bring a change in the feudal mindsets of the people of Bihar that gets manifested in many horrendous incidents that are stilling getting reported in the media quite frequently?

But a lasting solution for all these social problems can come only through good education and through good disciplined and exemplary teachers, through creation of sufficient engagement for the young people of the state. Nitish will have to attract the entrepreneurs in big way in IT, ITeS, education, tourism, sugar, traditional textile and food processing sectors. He and his core team must find out why the industrialists are visiting him but not committing investment and starting business in the state. What are their apprehensions and how can that be removed? It happened the same way in the neighbouring West Bengal too. Till the time Jyoti Basu remained in power, no industrialists were looking towards the state. But one must credit Buddha Bhattacharya for creating an impression of positive and attractive change and his industry-friendliness. Nitish must at least emulate Buddha in attracting IT biggies by offering all that other sates are doing plus something more. It is the future of the state. It can bring a revolutionary change in living style. And for Nitish, it is doable. Let him create capacity in engineering colleges for an intake of 10,000 students. Let the universities prepare their science graduates too for the IT sector where they are in demand. Let the institutes focus on the quality of education along with the soft skill such as the ability of proficient communication in English language and basic computer knowledge. Nitish can certainly select able and missionary persons as cabinet minister and secretary for IT.

With not much of private investments and industries in Bihar, it is for the government to focus on projects that can lead to development, be it encouraging System of Rice Intensification, or inviting some entrepreneurs to start establishment such as ‘Dilli Haat’ for the state’s artisans or designers and craftsmen, or some thing like the village resort of Chokhi Dhani in Jaipur.Patna must attractions for the visitors to stay back and spend. But the government can certainly expedite the long pending distribution of government lands among the deprived class.

Many a times, I get confused and hurt when I hear the people from Bihar talking so casually. I lost my temper when someone said, “Nitish is least bothered. He can still be the chief minister after next election. And he would perhaps by tie up with Ram Vilash.” I shall be shocked if Nitish wishes to do that.

I still hope Nitish can find some miraculous ideas to bring Bihar at par of, if not ahead of, other high performing states, and shall like to be remembered for that in history of the state.

I wish he keeps a small group of advisors who can help him in providing the ideas and monitoring the key projects. And finally, I hope he gives up visibly painful confrontations with UPA ministers and try to use their services for the benefits of the states through the development projects that they can bring in for the state.

Latest: BJP may opt out and lend outside support to Bihar government

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