What Is So Wrong With Giving Bihar A Special Status?

Posted on April 23, 2013 in Politics

By Nimisha Jain:

As the Congress-led UPA government approves to allot Bihar a ‘special status’ and grant a package of 12,000cr, the political picture of India appears to be shaken. The centrality of thoughts doesn’t restrict itself to the present position and corresponding needs of the state but instead revolves around the political game that appears to have been played. The opposition parties seem to be ready with their binoculars to observe every little hint of mutual alliance of the JD(U) with the ruling party. The mere coincidence of two events- the split-up of JD(U) with the BJP and special grant to Bihar- is impeding the Indian political world to empathize with Nitish Kumar, current Chief Minister of Bihar, who has based his demands on genuine grounds.

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Bihar is a state that has been experiencing backwardness in every sense, right from its literacy rate, per capita income, agricultural productivity or infrastructure. The poor developments in Bihar don’t confine themselves to certain spheres, instead they spread wide to cover almost the entire domain. Primarily an agricultural economy, the state lacks considerable growth in the other two sectors- manufacturing and service. The minimal contribution of these sectors to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) gets further enhanced by the poor productivity of the primary sector. The prime reason being the lack of infrastructure which provides no cure to the frequent and devastating floods as well as droughts. The disappointment from this key sector upshots large- scale unemployment and migration of workers and therefore, keeps the economy poverty-stricken. Not just on the economic face but also on the social one, what inhibits the scope of betterment is the extremely poor condition of education and health that prevails in this state.

Though recent expansions have been detected in primary schooling, the problems of low enrollments and high gender inequality again show up at the secondary level and add to the burden. What parallels this pitiable condition is the mourning health status of the economy- the factor aggravating it the most is the lack of sanitation. Open defecation is still a trend and only a meager proportion of the rural households have toilets. The amazing picture of Bihar is further beautified by the kaccha houses that dominate the rural areas, the unsatisfactory drinking water system, the ‘dark’ which covers the countryside, the social exclusion of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs and the highly attributed gender inequality.

What does rationality suggest for a state like this? A special consideration, special aid and therefore, a special status. Why is everyone so reluctant in offering a helping hand to a deserving state? The aversion could have been justified if the leader was found to be unsatisfactory and lame in actions. But what history suggests is contradictory. Nitish Kumar has been found to be successful in not only introducing various reforms but also in implementing those in a justified manner. That is the reason that under his leadership, service and manufacturing sectors have shown fair improvements, educational and health grades have bettered and infrastructure, mainly the roads, have seen advancements. As a collective result of all, the state with the lowest per capita income came out with flying colours to record the highest growth rate. Hence, the actions of such a leader truly justify his demand for resources to better the prevailing status of his downtrodden state.

The need is evident from the reality and its fulfillment is the solution to the problem. There seems to be no space for any sort of suspicion but it seems that our leaders are creating one. Shouldn’t everyone just concentrate on demands for the development of the nation and let go their personal interests? Shouldn’t every leader help the other one in performing the best? This attitude is not merely in the context of Bihar, but of all the underdeveloped and struggling states, especially the BIMARU states. A little special attention and support to these won’t do any harm. Instead it would only strengthen national integrity and lead to a healthier nation. Therefore, let’s be ‘rational’ so as to think of ‘national’.

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