Bihar’s Miracle May Make Other States Envy

Bihar is India’s new miracle economy. It was one of the main news headlines on the front page of Sunday Times of India. Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s column in Economic Times was the reason for this headline.

If I go by my inbox e-mails, the news has excited many well-wishers of Bihar. I did also get a kick. Only recently I had gone through some articles based on the panel discussion organized by Business Standard Hindi in Patna that had made me morose and so I wrote ‘Bihar’s Bad Luck’. Let us see what Aiyar says:

“The best news comes from Bihar, historically the biggest failure. From 2004-05 to2008-09, Bihar averaged 11.03% growth annually. It was virtually India’s fastest growing state, on par with Gujarat (11.05%). That represents a sensational turnaround. Nitish Kumar deserves an award for the most inclusive revolution of the decade.”

I have also gone through the recently published progress report for the last four years of Nitish rule. As usual, that is so poorly drafted by the babus that one hardly gets enthused to complete it. Why can’t the officers who go to all sorts of management training bring some freshening changes in their presentations and working?

The state will have the next election for the state assembly this year itself. Lalu and Ram Vilas are camping in Patna and consistently teasing and obstructing Nitish to make the people of Bihar notice their presence. Will Aiyar’s certificate matter in bringing the election result in Nitish’s favour? I doubt as it will hardly reach to those who matter in these elections.

However, the news will certainly help in changing the image of Bihar overall. Nitish has certainly worked hard to reach the people. His achievements have been many. I have been regularly writing about my expectations. But I wonder why Nitish doesn’t involve the people more. Why can’t he appeal to the rich business people of India to help him in providing education facilities, say at least 100 Higher Secondary Schools and 50 engineering and medical colleges, even if necessary on their terms in Bihar? Why can’t he involve the educationists of the state to scale up the quantity of intake and the quality of teaching in its existing science and commerce colleges? Some of them might wish to become entrepreneurs themselves. If it can be a lucrative business in other states, why can’t it be so in Bihar? I am sure some in his government itself are not the obstructionists. I wish he would have wound up different state school boards and got all schools affiliated to central boards to bring better equity at national level.

I would have loved to see a healthcare centre in any of the village- my own, maternal one or one from where my wife comes. I myself and my sons in US would have loved to contribute as much as we could. In my own village, I would have given my land for it. I can also contribute the investment required for a Knowledge Centre with computer and Internet facilities on pattern of ITC’s e-choupal for my village. But there is no such initiative at work.

But I am really happy with the findings of Mr. Aiyar. It certainly highlights that Bihar has a huge potential to get out from its laggard status. And the industrialists must come forward and invest there. Nitish must get his due reward and the people must elect him again and not the suspect black sheep.

And as Aiyar wishes, ‘Let us celebrate the emergence of Bihar’ and pray that Bihar gets it due from centres and business community to make it a respectable and prosperous state.

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