Bihar’s economy is apparently a miracle, with its gross domestic product (GDP) growing by 11.44% in 2008-09, according to the statistics made available by the state’s Directorate of Economics and Statistics, and reproduced on the website of the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO). That’s not all. The state’s GDP at constant (1999-2000) prices also increased by 22% in 2006-07 and by 8% in 2007-08, according to the same source. Is this growth for real? Has the Nitish Kumar government actually done wonders for the state?
The challenge of development in Bihar is enormous due to persistent poverty, complex social stratification, unsatisfactory infrastructure and weak governance; these problems are well known but not well understood. The people of Bihar - civil society, businessmen, government officials, farmers, and politicians - also struggle against an image problem that is deeply damaging to Bihar's growth prospects. An effort is needed to change this perception, and to search for real solutions and strategies to meet Bihar's development challenge.
The main message of this report is one of hope. There are many success stories not well known outside Bihar that demonstrate it strong potential, and could in fact provide lessons for other regions. A boost to economic growth, improved social indicators, and poverty reduction will require a multi-dimensional development strategy that builds on Bihar's successes and draws on the underlying resilience and strengths of its people.
The primary results of Bihar's first Human Development Index (HDI) indicate that there has been improvement in the human development compared to the past due to better facilities created in the education and health sector.
The HDI value has gradually increased since 1981, but Bihar has been lagging far behind among the 15 major states. The indicators used for districts in Bihar to construct composite index are per capita district domestic product, adult literacy and infant survival rate, said project head Jagdish Prasad who is a senior faculty member of A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies (ANSISS).
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in a speech that could match any of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's orations in its lyrical quality, on Sunday put the onus of the state's development at the Centre's doorstep.
Speaking at the closing session of Global Bihar Summit 2012, Kumar deftly, but determinedly, blamed the Centre's policies for stalling Bihar's development. For the state to quickly catch up with the national averages on key parameters of living standards, he said, the Centre would have to loosen its purse strings.
At the same time, he gave a new dimension to the often-used term of inclusive growth, which has become something of a mantra for the United Progressive Alliance.
Development of Kerala and Goa are similar to Indonesia and that of Jharkhand and Bihar, it is similar to Democratic Republic of Congo. It is revealed from a recent data released of comparison of state-level and country-level multi-dimensional poverty index. Indonesia is termed as ‘middle-income country’ and Democratic Republic of Congo falls in ‘least-developed countries’.
The multi-dimentional poverty index was released by the UK-based Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) along with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) earlier this month. This new measure gives a broader understanding apart from income poverty. It measures education, health, standard of living and other factors in the list of ten.
Patna: It was perhaps the worst of times. With the fall of night, Patna would blanket itself in a pall of darkness, interrupted occasionally by traffic thinning rapidly with each passing hour. Downed shutters in shops would signal fearful business, rickshaws would accept no late evening passengers and women and children would be home before sunset. It was, for all practical purposes, a self-willed curfew.
As a painful memory of his growing up days, Sumit Prakash still has this vivid remembrance of his home town: notorious, lawless and hopeless about the status quo like a defeated warrior. “Six-seven years ago when I would go visit my parents in Patna, I wouldn’t be moving around without a bodyguard; I wouldn’t even be allowed to walk up to an ATM alone!” he recalls.