Nitish’s Initiatives Need Punch

If I believe media, Nitish must be credited with many firsts initiated from Bihar, be it RTI on line, 50% reservation for women in panchayats, direct subsidy on diesel for farmers or huge employment of primary teachers. With stalwarts such as Lalu and RamVilash opposing everything that Nitish or his government does, the initiatives deserve additional credits. Even the central government is trying to block what Nitish plans for taking the state out of its dismal situation.

Some of the requests and approvals that are pending with Manmohan’s government in Delhi are worth consideration.

1.Nitish has proposed an interlinking of rivers in North Bihar to fight the menace of flood and drought. Why should not the centre take a quick decision on it? On its own Manmohan’s government could have helped Bihar by engaging one of the best consultants on flood control in world to come out with the most feasible proposal and taken Nitish’s assistance to get that executed. I suggest this because of the state’s poor financial condition to spare the hefty charges of an international consultant.

2.Nitish has also requested the centre or the ministry of agriculture to facilitate the setting up of ethanol producing facilities with sugar mills in Bihar that has one of the most conducive conditions for it. The integration of co-generation with the plant would have also helped to improve power situation. I wonder why the centre is holding up the proposal.

3.Nitish has forwarded an urgent legislation to take up the cases of corrupt individuals who amass disproportionate wealth in fast court, convict them quickly and attach their properties. Why should the centre delay such path breaking initiatives?

4.Nitish has been seeking a special status for the state so that the entrepreneurs setting up enterprises can get some concessions encouraging them to invest in that backward state. Unfortunately, the Manmohan government is not ready to comply with Nitish. How long the people of Bihar can tolerate the injustice? Is not the Manmohan government failing in niti as well as nyay both that Nobel Laurent Amartya Sen has propounded in his latest book, ‘The Idea of Justice’?

Nitish has been able to impress the former President Kalam, Amartya Sen, and even Manmohan in principle. Nitish is also among the 25 great faces of India as presented in ‘The Week’. But with Manmohan getting reputed for inaction, the state keeps on suffering. I only expect the people of India to appreciate the unique situation of Bihar. Bihar with its great past must overcome the problematic present and move to future with raised head. If the centre doesn’t listen to its requirements, it can’t wait any more. Nitish or its other honest leaders must lead people’s movement to get the long pending issues such as drought and flood solved by the centre in a time frame.

Big businesses shying from investing in Bihar are working against their social responsibility of bringing equitable development in all regions. Can’t the big private companies such as Tatas and Birlas, Bajaj or Maruti set up at least educational institutes in Bihar? Why are the big names in education sector hesitant to come in Bihar with so much of commercial potential? Are they not aware of the large number of the students from Bihar that are migrating to far-flung states for education? Why should not they discuss their apprehensions if any with Nitish or Modi and get assured?

Interestingly, Nitish has started involving and encouraging the people of Bihar to participate in building of the state. I wish the state issues a development bond and appeal the people to invest in the fund for some critical projects related particularly to water resource management, education and healthcare.

I expect a grassroots movement to improve the quality of education at the primary and secondary level as well for the water storage. The panchayats must play a big role in universalizing education, disciplining teachers, or engaging some honest educated teachers to supervise the school or even arranging funds and resources from all private and public sources to develop the village school complex as a landmark of the village. Unfortunately, the panchayats are not shaping up well. Instead, it is becoming a playground for politically backed individuals with vested interests with no concerns for the social fabrics that it is supposed to build, support and strengthen. Nitish with so much of grassroots contacts must try to make panchayats work for the locals effectively. Only that can bring prosperity right up to the last man that he wishes.

Nitish must succeed. But he requires some real punch in his initiatives to succeed.

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