How Bihar Showed The Way To Development: The Beating Retreat Of An Indian State

Posted on November 1, 2010 in Society

By Avnish Gaurav:

Development is a complicated word. A task difficult to perceive , execute and assess. Its hard even to imagine carrying out this complicated task in a place trapped in its own complicatedness. I am talking of a place that has been referred to by international media as “Notoriously Lawless State”, “India’s Corner Of mystery”, “So Called Backward State” and much more. There have been statements like “Even the poorest of African nations are better”. Hope you now have a picture, though vague, of this strange corner on our planet.

What you are going to read next may send shudders down your spine. Can you imagine a place that used to be in the news for its caste massacres, murders, kidnapping is now the second fastest developing state in India. It may seem like a still from a fiction movie but it’s a fact that during the last few years the state saw:-

  • A reduction of 15 lakhs in the number of non-school goers.
  • A 24% decrease in the number of primary school dropouts.
  • Construction of 12,000 additional school buildings.

With agriculture as the only source of income, the state managed to make an investment of Rs 35,364 crores within last five years in various infrastructure projects. Where the very news of someone going to USA or launching a business was sufficient to attract calls for ransom and even kidnapping, has now attracted investments worth Rs 30,000 crores. The likes of Domino’s pizza, Yo-China and Smokin Joe’s now find this place lucrative for investment. Condemned as a state with the least employment opportunities, it has recruited lakhs of teachers and police personnels and the count is still on. Solving a problem and eradicating the same are two different things. Eradication needs a visit to the root cause and sincere efforts. In one such endeavor, girls from Class 6 to Class 8 were given two sets of uniform, shoes and a school bag, costing Rs 700. Girls who enrolled in Class 9 were given Rs 2,000 each to buy a bicycle. The scheme proved to be so widely popular that between 2007-08 and 2010-11, enrolment of girls trebled.

There are certain phenomenon whose progress goes un-noticed but the world is baffled at the sudden unexpected outcome. One such incident was the migration of intellectuals which if not stopped would make the turnaround of Bihar, a virtually impossible task. The good news is, a comprehensible fraction of learned people settled in different parts of the world are willing to contribute to the development of their home state. Compared to 80,263 vehicles registered in 2005-06 — 3,50,000 were registered in 2009-10. Whatever be the field, the stats are improving exponentially.

Once synonymous with despondency, dilapidation, deprivation and degradation with crumpling bridges and highways it has built an overwhelming 6800 kilometers of roads, more than 1500 bridges. Where Chief Minister’s office used to work with a few aged Remington typewriters, is now all set to have a computer in each block to start with.

After all it is not for nothing that India’s economics Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen could not stop himself showering praises for the state.

The phrase “Ups and Downs” seems to be defined by the experience this place has undergone. Once a booming state during the Chandragupta dynasty, having played a pivotal role in the spread of Buddhism and India’s freedom struggle, this ill-fated state suddenly slipped into an era of gloom and murkiness. Other places on earth with similar conditions have either been trapped in civil war or left at the mercy of others. Thanks to the perseverance and optimism of the people here, even after a prolonged traumatic period one can easily feel a new confidence seeping through its young generation. A desire to make a comeback, a determination to achieve the impossible. There is still a lot to be done in the fields of health, industrialization and social equity.

Let’s be a part of this euphoric turnaround and contribute to help India set a benchmark.

The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

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