The Paradox Of Bihar’s Growth: 7 Grave Revelations

By Twesh Mishra:

For a state that was once the vanguard of ‘Bimaru’(ill) states, Bihar has shown unprecedented improvement. Arising as a phoenix from ashes of misgovernance, the state has been widely publicised for exhibiting phenomenal growth since the ascent of Nitish Kumar as the CM of the state. But when delving deeper into Bihar’s growth, some hard hitting facts arise on the forefront. Here are seven of the gravest revelations that have not been given much limelight.

1) Bihar despite exhibiting a growth rate of 13.13% for the year 2011-2012, the state is ranked at the 14th position out of 29 states when considering the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Bihar churned a GDP of just Rs 1,10,778 Cr. while India’s GDP touched Rs 44,93,743 Cr. in 2009 – 2010. Notably Bihar contributes to 8.58% of India’s population, but only to 2.46% of the countries economy. (Source – Bihar Economic and Human Development Indicators – UNDP)

2) Out of the 17 states surveyed for India State Hunger Index, Bihar ranked at the 15th position. Faring better than only Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. Bihar scored 27.30 indices on the India State Hunger Index score while Punjab the state with the least hunger in the country scored just 13.63 on the same scale. (Source – International Food Policy Research Institute)

3) The same study revealed that a striking 56.1% children (<5 years) are underweight in the state. With 24.6% underweight children (<5 years), Punjab has the least proportion of underweight children. Nearly half the percentage of Bihar. (Source – International Food Policy Research Institute)

4) Worse were the child mortality statistics in the state, under-five mortality rate (deaths per hundred) in Bihar was at an astounding 8.5. Kerala the leading state had an impressive rate of just 1.6/100 births. (Source – International Food Policy Research Institute)

5) Literacy rate of the state was not faring any better, while the country exhibited 74.04% literacy, Bihar was stuck at 63.82% literacy. Kerala tops the list with an impressive literacy rate of 93.91%. (Source – Census of India 2011)

6) Another paradox that has emerged with Bihar’s double digit growth was that of poverty. As of 2010, 53.5% of Bihar’s population fellow below the poverty bracket. The gravity of this number can be further magnified when it is known that the out of the 354.68 million poor in the country, 54.35 reside in Bihar. (Source – Bihar Economic and Human Development Indicators – UNDP)

7) The Human Development Index ratings for Bihar have been further deplorable. With a score of 0.449, lower than Pakistan (0.504), Bihar has been placed at the last spot in the state wise HDI rankings. Kerala, the state that has topped once again achieved a HDI of 0.920, a ranking that is bailed out to the likes of developed countries such as Netherlands and United States of America. (Source – Human Development Report, 2011)

The purpose of highlighting these irregularities is not to undermine the phenomenal growth that Bihar has achieved over a decade. But it is necessary that one does not get carried away by flaunting a double digit growth figure, mentions at the RIO +20 summit and recommendations of being one of the best states to start businesses. Bihar needs to progress immensely before growth and development can be eased. The state government needs to focus on the social growth as well as the economic growth of the populace. A single track approach of promoting economic reforms whilst neglecting the societal needs would magnify disparity to unprecedented bounds.

[box bg="#fdf78c" color="#000"]About the author:

Twesh Mishra, Rationalist, political inclined, procrastinator, lazy, grumpy, moody, ponder master, slightly communist, slightly anti-leftist, racist, bluntly diplomatic and social media buff. Also, Political Correspondent,Youth Ki Awaaz.[/box]

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