Bihar Getting Visible

I was shocked when I found a very poor reply from Prabhu Chawla to a question asked by one Rajeev on ‘India Today’ website. He said, “Nitish Kumar is also following policies which help certain castes and not the entire state.”

Many a times, I wonder why does Bihar get so poor media coverage, when as I guess quite a large number of the reporters, in print as well as digital media, are from Bihar. Can’t they make the reporting more meaningful by reporting some success stories too? As I have seen, quite a lot of work is going on at least on two central projects in Bihar related to rural road and electrification. While my own village has got the good roads from at least two sides, Yamuna’s village has got electrification. I hear and read similar news from different sources too. However, one hardly sees any coverage of these two projects in media. For our reporters, Lalu still remains the most favourite, be it his new blog or the 32-lb ‘garib rath’ cake on his birthday.

But I am happy that very lately Bihar is getting some good coverage on quite a few other developments. That too is not of lesser significances. Let us see some examples of good media coverage.

Bihar’s litti-chokha: ITDC is promoting Bihar’s litti-chokha. “Apart from being tasty, litti and chokha are rich in fibre and low on calorie. This will certainly suit the taste of those looking for a combination of tasty and healthy food.” Ashoka Group hotels are including litti-chokha in its menu and will served it at the international food festivals to be organized by ITDC in Germany and Hungary later this year.

Political: Another news that was widely covered related to the decision of the continuance of Sushil Modi as deputy CM of Bihar. BJP used a “secret ballot” to sort out the crisis. Many may differ with me, but I find the method as the best in a democracy. BJP proved its difference. I am sure it will now be the initiative of Sushil Modi and certainly Nitish to improve the fellowship with the disgruntled members of the cabinet and the assembly, if the alliance is to be effective and exemplary. Modi might have passed the test, but he must try hard to improve his man-management. Congress must take note.

Education: Another interesting news related to the unique institute Super-30 of Patna. The whole country watched with interest the superb performance of Super-30 of Bihar. The institute makes every person of Bihar feel proud. However, as anti-climax, Avayanand has disassociated himself from the institute. I wondered earlier how could he do that service with his demanding police assignment. However, I am unaware of the internal issues or politics if there is any. To the joy of many, Nitish promised to bear the entire expenditure of the education of those who got into IITs. The Chief Minister had earlier announced Rs. 50,000 cash reward for all successful students.

The media also covered the news of Chandragupta Institute of Management, Patna (CIMP), designed on the pattern of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, which got inaugurated in Patna. Higher education is getting a boost in Bihar. The Chanakya Law School University on the pattern of the National Law School of India University, Banglore has already started operating and a small batch of students will also join IIT of Bihar. The establishment of these institutes will build some prestige. But it demands a very conducive and efficient infrastructure and educational environment that can attract the best students in Bihar. It also expects that Bihar government will be able to attract the biggies of the India Inc to set up enterprises in Bihar.

Bihar has also given top performance in cutting down the number of out-of school children in the age group of 6-14 to 10.10 lakh this year from a mammoth 21.19 lakh last year. Muslim, SC, and ST children have made the most remarkable contribution. Out of 33.06 of Muslim child population in the said age group, only 2.83 lakh were out of school in March 2008 as against 4.24 lakh in March 2007. In case of SC, only 2.71 lakh SC children are out of school in March 2008 as against 4.99 lakh in March 2007. Out of the 2.41 lakh ST children in the age group of 6-14, now only 25,901 out of a total of 2.41 lakh ST children in Bihar are out of school as against more than 45,000 in March 2007.

Economy: Bihar is in news for its record procurement of wheat, as Nitish Kumar demanded to arrange more procurement for the benefits of the farmers. Bihar has also urged the Centre to review a recent amendment to a rule that forbids producing ethanol directly from sugarcane juice without manufacturing sugar. It prevents investment in sugar industry in Bihar in which many industrialists are showing interest. Reliance Industries Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd have also renewed their interest in taking over three State-controlled sick sugar mills in Bihar.

Bihar is also in news for extraordinary telecom growth. According to an Assocham state-wise analysis of mobile subscription released last Tuesday, Bihar registered the maximum increase in annual telecom subscribers, marking a growth of 88.2 per cent in the fiscal 2007-08 as compared to the 51.1 per cent in 2006-07.According to aother news report, Bihar may get technical help from Israel to enhance the quality of litchi.

Governance: While Nitish Kumar endeavour to convict the ‘purane papis’ (old culprits) is showing result, I wonder if it can mellow down the ‘bahubalis’ (dons) and cut down the deep-rooted culture of corruption from Bihar. The news related to the ‘shortcut to babudom’ scam revealed the depth of corruption in high society of Bihar. It pains. But Bihar is to go many miles. It must get SEZs. It must cash on potential of tourism. It must capitalize the skill of its artisans. And Nitish must stop his fight with Ranghubans Prasad or declare that Bihar does need NREG scheme. According to an official performance report on the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREG) by state governments, Bihar is again at 25th position out of 27 states with Orissa at 26 and Maharshtra at 27, when Rajsthan tops.

Is it not a good going? Will the reporters of Bihar help in bringing out the best in Bihar?

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