January 14, 2010

HATS OFF TO BIHAR, BUT IT HAS A LONG ROAD AHEAD!

In the first week of January 2010, most newspapers carried a stunning report. And the report was based on data from the Central Statistical Organisation, which revealed that Bihar has clocked the second highest growth rate in the country, only second to Gujarat, between the period 2004/05 and 2008/09. Although in the same period, most of the backward states have shown a reasonably decent growth rate, but none could match up to Bihar. And what is even more remarkable is the manner in which the state has turned around. It was only in 2003/04 that it had shown a (de)growth of a negative 5.15%. Five years hence, the state has an aggregated growth of 11.03%, beating all conventions.

Initially, analysts were skeptical about the data, but once it was reported that the data had been released by CSO – a central government agency – all doubts were put to rest. What is more interesting is the fact that most of the growth has taken under Nitish Kumar’s regime – which also proves that howsoever poor a state might be, finally it all depends on an able leader whether a transformation can occur. And all credit should go to Nitish Kumar for his intent and a proper follow-through with governance. It is not just Bihar – the same can be said with respect to Uttarakhand, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh, as these states have clocked growth rates of 9.31%, 8.74%, 8.45% and 7.35% respectively for the same period, beating the conventional growth rates that had been seen over the years. What is even more intriguing and creditworthy is that of these states, four states – namely Bihar, Uttarakhand, Orissa and Jharkhand – have beaten the national growth rate of 8.45% during the same period!

But then, without taking away any credit from these states, there are a few issues that should also be taken into perspective for a more balanced evaluation. Though on the face of it, Bihar has stood second nationally, and next to Gujarat, but the fact is that the state has a long way to go to even get close to Gujarat in real terms. As we all know, growth rates are always relative. And in absolute terms, the growth of these states is nowhere close to that of Gujarat or a Maharashtra. States like Bihar, Jharkhand were growing on a very low base of historically languishing state GDP, whereas states like Gujarat and Maharashtra are already on a much larger base. Therefore, if states like Bihar, Orissa et al have to catch up and earn any kind of parity with other progressive states, then they have to grow even faster than the latter. Other than this, a high growth rate also does not guarantee that the growth is uniform – encompassing all sections across the state. A case in point has been Madhu Koda’s government. We all know the level of corruption that states like Jharkhand have been subjected to in the past few years. Indications now also are very clear that the so called growth rates have actually not touched upon the masses in these states – and this is not good news at all. As this means that the income disparity has grown not only at the national level, but to a large extent at the states’ level too. Along with all this, we also know that these newly praised states are also the states which are subjected to the maximum number of Naxal atrocities, which is also an indicator that though apparently the states have scored well on growth, the masses still remain disconnected. I’ve written about this a number of times earlier and would like to reiterate here that Naxalism has a deep connect with poverty. Over the years, Naxalites have prospered only in those states where poverty has been deep-rooted; and that’s why we don’t hear about the Naxal menace in Gujarat, even though we hear about the same in Maharashtra (because there are poor pockets in Maharashtra where Naxals thrive).

But then, as I said earlier, the credit can’t be taken away from these states. The better news is that if they have reached this far, the day is not far when they would even tread the extra mile to ensure growth to masses as well. Their biggest achievement is that they have been able to come out of the ‘BIMARU’ tag, with which they had been living for decades. But to finally be counted amongst the truly leading states of India, these states would have to ensure that growth looks meaningful and inclusive. For now, it’s at least visible!

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14 comments:

Jon said...

Well, Nitish is the star of the moment...

Hope the people in these states break out of tradionalism and choose leaders based on ability rather than caste

Himanshu said...

its a proud moment for all of us and especially for the Sheila Dikshit and other Delhities which are truly worried for the level of migration. When poor state start developing why a rickshaw puller come to Delhi after traveling 30-35 hours.
Best of luck Nitish. Hope all Biharis understand it and don't get betrayed by Lalu.

ravish said...

i agree to the writer in the context that economic disparity has grown. but seeing closely we will find that as the rich rich hav become richer the poors hav also become less poor. though the rate of growth of both rich and poor was different.so in the the end it's good only to see the economy of this state grow.

sweety said...

hi sir.
i m kavitha studying 3rd btech(ece) in AITAM tekkali.
recently i have read ur book that is "discover the diamond in u"it is a fabulous book sir.it is really very much helpful to the youngsters.i am very happy to say this sir.

anirudh said...

after all the good work done by nitish kumar,the businessmen still regard bihar as untouchable.people now choose able representatives from panchayat to parliament level.they don't want to be get beaten up in maharashtra or delhi.still corporates continue to betray bihar.
we feel proud when persons like you write about our neglected states.

SUYASH GAURAV said...

bahut achha ,ek baat to ab man bhi le india ki majboori batana hi muskil ka hal nahi hota ,aur baki bihar ne kar diya ,jai ho .

arindam fabulous thought and data ,i suppose now our govt. and other state will be compelled to have a detailed discussion on this very special achievement of mind producing state of india.and surely like to proof themselves.it will also atract people of telangana that division of state is not solution of their short coming..

Chetan Gupta said...

I love u Arindam Sir..!!!

Only 317 kidnappings for ransom were reported during the last four years as against 1,393 during the previous four. The kidnapping industry has clearly fallen. One indication of this is that doctors no longer refuse to go to patients’ homes on emergency calls. “Today you can see boards at clinics saying we go on calls,”. Most of Bihar’s infamous dons are behind bars.

However, while contractors and realtors stand to gain, more than half the state’s 8.2 crore people — 1.25 crore families — still live below the poverty line. For these families to prosper, Bihar desperately needs huge investments and more growth.

Love u Sir..!!
Chetan

Ashesh Raghav said...

Sir, Nw what Nitish needs is just the encouragement from the media. What he has done in the last 5 yrs is more than anything what we can expect. Now one can see dorment hospitals breathing in. Also the roads of each and every city has been well paved. Lot more.... Kudos to Nitish !!

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avnesh said...

Three Cheers... for Nitish Leadership n his team.. gr8 accomplishment.. lots more2 be done ... 2 bring the ancient glory.....now we can say ..
"ALL IZZ WELL" in this state ..Hats off for them fr developmental work ...

abhijeet said...

Hi arindam,
i am following your blog since a long time .i have been a passive reader so far.but this post provoked my thoughts and here i am making my first comment.
Whenever bihar as a state comes into news ,its either for all wrong reasons,or for some unfortunate ones.its very nice to know the recent growth story of bihar.as a state ,bihar never enjoyd the huge amount of money poured in by the corporate sector as comared to gujrat which had obvious reasons.what we need at this point of time is that the companies should show their interest in the state so that the common man there feel like being a beneficary from this whole developement.only then can we hope a sustainable growth taking place in bihar.
And yeah about your blog,its as always,full of food for mind.keep it up.ATB

ranjit said...

good morning sir i sri ranjit badaseth now sduding at Bed part 1 in regional institute of education bbsr(NCERT), sir i want to know that who is the writer of three idiots(filim). and recently publish sunday india editorial page is also very nice sir my email id is ranjitbadaseth@gmail.com.by sir thanks lot....

Yogesh said...

I absolutely agree with your comments on relative Vs absolute growth but good to see that these states are moving in the right direction...I sincerely hope that these benefits reach to the masses to become a truly developed state/nation..We have been a developing nation for ages and it's time to get rid of this tag...

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