Changing Bihar: The Heroes?

Bihar, till yesterday was India’s Somalia: a failed state; a metaphor for India; or the state of anarchy. Bihar, as reported, has certainly become a miracle economy.

The CSO data and the news reports will certainly satisfy and encourage Nitish and his government, if they have honestly worked hard. There is already a whisper for proponing the assembly election to cash on the mood. It may be possible for a different reason: A torrential rain and flooding of Kosi may drown Nitish and his dream.

However, few shall doubt some visible changes happening in Bihar. My own village is better connected by road and after 62 years we are having electricity too. The school building has got a facelift and boundary wall now. The village may soon have a primary hospital too. And this a widespread phenomenon reported from all corner of the state. And with electricity and road, as usually observed, the GDP goes up by 1-2 %.

Lalu and Ramvilash have not yet come out with their reactions. I assume they must be in consultations with their advisors and consultants. And it’s not only Times group, but a noted economist such as Bibek Debroy considers Bihar’s performance as clear break from backwardness. However, some are still skeptics in the era or paid news in media.

But who are the heroes? Who are making this happen? Unfortunately, there is hardly any manufacturing and industry in Bihar. But some aggressively futuristic and innovative farmers are firing on all cylinders. They cumulatively must be providing a big contribution to raising the GDP. One such exemplary story comes from scores of villages in Bihar’s Vaishali district who produce cauliflower seeds. These completely organic seeds are sold across Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra under an exclusive brand called Vaishali under various names like satya beej, green seeds and jawahar seeds. Some locals term it ‘Yellow Revolution’. “Farmers sow cauliflower plants in July and sell the vegetables -grown in two-thirds of their land -by November-December, leaving one-third of the crop for growing cauliflower seeds. The seed is harvested during February and March. A katha (1361 sq ft) yields 7-8 kg of seeds. High-quality seeds get sold for up to Rs 4,000 per kg, and reach across the country.”

Many areas in Bihar are observing some radical changes in the productivity in agricultural produce with new practices of multi-cropping combining commercial crops too. Potential is huge. Alok, Pintoo, and Rinkoo, the younger generation in our families have made the same landholding produce many times more than we saw it in past.

I wish the state’s bureaucrats could have worked harder and innovatively as they would have been done for their competitive examinations in good old days. I don’t expect much from the politicians of the state.

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