Progressive Bihar - Finally the sleeping giant is waking up

Progressive Bihar - Finally the sleeping giant is waking up
Progressive Bihar - Come support it's growth path.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bihar Economic Survey 2013-14

The Bihar economic survey for 2013-14 is out. Clearly, the political maneuverings have taken a toll in Bihar's Growth story. While the GSDP and Per Capita income has increased, it has not increased at the same rate as before even though the industrial growth percentage is significantly higher than during the economic survey of 2012-13.

Key highlights:

  1. Per Capita Income:
    1. The Per Capita Income of Bihar has grown to Rs. 28,317 in 2012-13 , vs Rs. 25,653 in 2011-12. 
    2. During the same periods the per capita income of India was Rs. 68,757 in 2012-13 vs Rs. 60,972 in 2011-12 (12.76% increase)
    3. Bihar's Per Capita income grew by 10.4% vs 12.8% for India in the last one year of comparison
    4. Thus the political in-fighting has taken a toll on Bihar.
    5. The Per Capita income of Bihar today stands at 41.2% of India's per capita income whereas in 2006-07 it was 32.2% of India's per capita income
  2. GSDP
    1. The estimated GSDP at current prices in 2012-13 is Rs. 3.09 lakh crores vs Rs. 2.53 lakh crores in 2011-12
    2. The GSDP at 2004-05 prices in 2012-13 is Rs. 1.65 lakh crores vs. Rs. 1.52 lakh crores in 2011-12
  3. Best and Worst districts by GDP: In 2010-11, Patna (Rs. 57,483), Munger (Rs. 21,019) and Begusarai (Rs.18,447) are the most prosperous districts of Bihar. On the other end of the ranking ladder, the most economically backward districts are Sheohar (Rs. 6209), Banka (Rs. 7764) and Madhepura (Rs. 8102).
  4. Industrial Sector Growth rate
    1. The industrial sector growth rate stood at 17.1% in 2012-13.
    2. This is higher than 9.5% in 2011-12, however lower than 28.4% achieved in 2010-11.
  5. Roads: 
    1. The total length of roads in Bihar stands at 1.62 lakh KMs in 2012-13 vs. 1.23 lakh KMs in 2011-12. These include rural unpaved roads.
    2. Bihar has a road length of 174.88 kms. of road  per lakh population in 2012-13.
There are many more details about the economic status of Bihar and the details can be found at the Bihar Government's Economic Survey Report for 2013-14.

How will 2014 unfold for Bihar

The last one year has seen a very tumultuous political climate in Bihar and there has not been much talk of developments though some news or the other trickles in. However, the focus has been the JD(U) - BJP split and the Nitish - Modi spats.

There is a lot to talk about on these spats but then none of them is focused towards Bihar's growth or development and hence my blogging had ebbed to one of the lowest in 2013. However, as time goes by and as the government in Bihar is able to prioritize focus on development and de-prioritize the Nitish - Modi Spat or the JD(U) - BJP split, I think there would be more to write about Bihar this year.

Hoping for the best for Bihar's development this year. May the wheels of development catch speed and may Bihar develop more and more this year. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

6 member European Union Delegation visited Bihar

6 European union members have shown some interest in Bihar by visiting Bihar and learning about the Bihar growth story and the social and economic trends at the ADRI (Asian Development Research Institute). I am happy that other countries are taking interest in Bihar. I hope this translates into some growth opportunity for Bihar.

The list of six people are
  1. Joao Cravinho - Ambassador of the European Union and this was his 2nd visit in less than 3 months.
  2. Piere Vaesen - Ambassador, Embassy of Belgium
  3. Jorge Roza de Oliveira - Ambassador, Embassy of Portugal
  4. Janos Terenyi - Ambassador, Embassy of Hungary
  5. Darja Bavdaz Kuret, Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia
  6. Anne Marchal -First counsellor, head of section, political affairs
More details in the Times of India article European Union team discusses Bihar's broad trends

38% increase in automobile sales over last year (Indication of a good foundation)

With major development news from Bihar has almost stopped coming, there was one piece of news that brought some good feeling. The news was that the automobile sales in Patna was about 38% more than last year. This reflects a growing set of people with money to spend on automobiles (including 2 wheelers) but more importantly people feeling secure enough to spend money on cars without fears of someone snatching it from them.

At least the foundation built by Nitish and the NDA team is strong. I hope Nitish can refocus on development and Bihar's growth as he did during his first tenure as the CM. What is required is more focus, more focus and focus only on Bihar's growth and development.

More details about the vehicle sales in the Times of India article Vehicles' sale in fast lane this Diwali

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What is happening to our CM, Mr. Nitish Kumar?

I sit here day in and day out reading about Bihar and all the news from Bihar. However, from the past many months, I really don't see any substantial development news coming out of Bihar. Forget substantial, I don't even see much news at all of any kind of development. I want to write about the developments but there is nothing to write about... No Industries, no resolution/reduction of the Maoist problem, no agricultural evolution, no speeding of power projects, etc , nothing which will make me sit-up ,watch and write.

What has happened to Mr. Chief Minister. In his efforts to consolidate his position in the political scenario in Bihar, he seems to have lost his way and drifted away from the very path that made him successful... Development and Bihar's Growth. With all the political maneuvering that is going on, Nitish Kumar is not able to focus on any development at all.

It is only development that will keep Nitish at the helm... All news of developments have stopped coming from the last 2 years... There is still time for Nitish to realize that his existence and success were only due to the focus on development that he had. Only focusing on Development is something which is going to come to his aid in future. If he wants to remain in power and continue to develop Bihar (which everyone had come to expect of him,) then Nitish has to again leave the other activities aside and focus on development. He has to put all his energy towards development over the next few months and beyond. Only then will he continue to have the support of the people of Bihar.

Nitish Kumar ji - It is time to rethink. Please focus back on development. Leave the other distractions and focus on Bihar's growth.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The breakup of NDA in Bihar

It has been a high drama time for sometime where the rift between JD(U) and BJP (at national level) continued to grow. The JD(U) and BJP at the state level continued to work together but yesterday, the two parties parted ways. I think it was a sad day for Bihar because both the parties together had given us hope. Anyway, this is done now and we have to look forward to how things shape up in Bihar.

For me, it is still Bihar's development that is top priority and I am hoping the following will happen:

  1. Nitish appoints good people as ministers to fill the vacancies created by such good ministers like Sushil Modi.
  2. No hooligans/criminals are made ministers just in the name of politics
  3. Nitish and team surely and purely focusss completely on development and getting industries into Bihar.
  4. The pace of development in Bihar picks up
  5. Large industries and industrial houses start coming to Bihar
  6. The education system and quality continues to see improvement and 
  7. The law and order does not get disturbed in Bihar; if anything, it should only improve.

At this point, we are all watching and will continue to support Nitish if he focuses on Bihar's development and makes constant strides towards a developed Bihar. 

But Nitish, please take note: We, as a Bihari diaspora, are only interested in Bihar's development and have supported you in the last over 7 years because of the good work you have done. We will continue to support you if we see continued development. However, if we see vote bank politics without an adequate development, we will not hesitate to vote for someone else who we think will bring that development to Bihar.

We all are only interested in the development of Bihar.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Holi

Holi Ka Gulal Ho, 
Rango Ki Bahar Ho, 
Gujhia Ki Mithas Ho, 
Ek Baat Khas Ho, 
Sab Ke Dil Main Pyar Ho, 
Yahi Apna Tyohaar Ho, 
Wish you all a Very Happy Holi!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Top 15 states as per %age per capita income growth 2011-12


Bihar again continues to rank #1 in per capita income percentage growth; the per capita income for Bihar grew at 11.75% in the fiscal 2011-12. This is good news again for Bihar and all Biharis. However, Bihar will have to grow much faster to improve the current per capita income of Rs. 25,653 and bring it to the national average of Rs. 68,747.  Bihar's per capita income is 37% of India's per capita income average and thus there is a lot of ground to cover.

Hence Special Category status is required to accelerate the growth rate of 10-15% in the 11th plan to 20-25% or more. Therefore I support the demand for Special Category Status for Bihar.

I have posted a chart of the Top 15 performing states in the per capita income percentage growth in fiscal year 2011-12 courtesy LiveMint.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

35% reservation for Women in police recruitment

Just read an article that Nitish Kumar has announced 35% reservation for women in police recruitments. Happy to read this as it is another step in the right direction of empowering woman in Bihar and improving the status of woman in Bihar. A good step in my view.

43,000 new vacancies will be filled up in the Police department over the next 5 years. That's about 8500 recruitments every year. This would mean that 15,000 women will join the police department in the next five years. Kudos on the right step to empower women.

On another note, Bihar today has got just 69 cops per one lakh people against the national average of 143. A lot still needs to be done. I hope the 43,000 recruitments happen in time and help further improve the law and order situation in Bihar, not only in the large cities but also in the smallest pockets of Bihar.

More details can be found in the NDTV article "35% reservation for women in police recruitment in Bihar:Nitish Kumar"

Another big reason Why Bihar needs Special Category Status

I was reading an article in India Today. This article was published in the beginning on March (4th of March) and talks about how a political party in Maharashtra once again mistreated the people from UP and Bihar while they were trying to get admissions for their children into a Sainik School at Satara.

I did not know that Sainik Schools are for particular states only and that people from other states could not get admission there. But here the problem was not even that. The people who were trying to get admission had a domicile certificate from Maharashtra and hence were entitled to try and get admission there. However, this political party targeted these people just because they belonged to the states of UP & Bihar.

Hence, apart from all the other very important reasons for getting special category status for Bihar, I feel that just to stop other Indians from mistreating Biharis, Bihar needs special status category. Special status category will create the necessary avenues for Industrial and other developments in Bihar. This development will empower people, reduce their backwardness, reduce poverty and increase the education levels of the generations to come. So special category status will help get Bihar reach this level where others stop mistreating and misbehaving with the people of Bihar.

And therefore, I support Bihar's demand for Special Category Status.

More details about what happened in Satara can be found in the India Today article here.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why Biharis should support the Adhikar Rally in Delhi today

Nitish Kumar and a lot of his cabinet colleagues, MLAs, MLCs and other politicians are gathering today for what is being called as Adhikar Rally. This rally has been organized for demanding special category status for Bihar. However people are debating whether special category status should be provided to Bihar or not.

Now consider this: 26% of the poor of India stay in Bihar and form 42% of Bihar's population. Is any other information really required to provide special category status to Bihar. If providing assistance, tax breaks, and more benefits to Bihar can result in the upliftment of so many poor people in India, then does anyone even need to think twice or even debate whether special category status should be given to Bihar.

People are saying that this is Nitish Kumar's show of strength to arrive at national political arena. However,
If special category status and the benefits associated with it are for the upliftment of the people, then I have no doubt that Special category status should be accorded to Bihar and therefore we all should support the Adhikar rally in Delhi today.

Hence everyone who is in Delhi today should try and be part of the rally. The support is very much required for the upliftment of Bihar.

I support the upliftment of Bihar.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bihar Tableaux at Republic Day Parade

This year Bihar tableau will be one of the 15 tableaux from different states that get selected for the Republic day parade. The tableau are selected by a committee in New Delhi based on the creativity of the tableau idea.

What will be on display during the Republic day parade would be Sikki craft which most of us will see and correlate as most of us have seen dauras. The preview of the Bihar's exhibit is as below.


Ten artists from Bihar would be actually making the sikki grass crafts as the tableau passes through the Rajpath while a 2 min music specially composed for the tableau will be played continuously.

More details can be found in the Times of India article Bihar to showcase Sikki craft at Republic Day in Delhi and the image is courtesy India Forums

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Starting Year 2013

The key news that I read about Bihar today was that the government was going to convert most routes reaching Patna from any direction (Patna to be connected by four-lane roads), would be widened to 4 lane roads. This is indeed good as we are far behind a lot of states where the state capitals are connected by 4 lane or even 6 lane roads from various directions which has been a vehicle for those states prosperity.

However, I had a very basic question as we step through day 2 of year 2013 : How long can we sustain the gdp growth and the growth of the people of Bihar just relying on the road constructions?

We need more longer term avenues through which people can by themselves generate money to sustain their growth. Road construction is just an artificial way of supplementing people's growth but can only be done for sometime. What we really need are other areas and avenues of development which can become a self sustaining and self propelling growth instrument. For this we need the following:
  1. Power - Dedication and focus in getting Bihar the 5000MWs of power by 2015 that the minister has promised. Looking more granularly, there should be no delays in getting 500MWs of power added to Bihar every 6 months from the beginning of 2013. If anything this should only grow to 1000 MWs or more every 6 months by the end of 2013. (Read Bihar to become power surplus by 2016: Minister)
  2. Industry - Try as much, we have not seen any real industrial grow in Bihar. The State government has to accord priority and make it attractive for industries and industrial houses to set foot in Bihar. Till now this seems to be lacking. Couple this with the problems of power, it looks like Bihar is going to remain devoid of industries until 2016. Without industries any major growth will be inhibited and the industrial policy has to be made so attractive that the industrial houses are forced to set shop in Bihar even with the problems of power being faced today.
  3. Tourism - Like I keep mentioning, tourism is the mainstay of immediate growth of Bihar, outside of agriculture and a key focus has to be put to implement all the projects within defined time frames which seems to be not happening at this time. A lot of projects are being announced, but I don't hear any thing on the completion of these projects. Either they are not be announced or they are not getting completed in time. (Example - Tutla waterfalls about which I have written in my article Apathy in taking up Tourism projects)
  4. Agriculture - Identify ways by which the farmers can be empowered to produce more out of their lands and prosper. Maybe its just spreading education on the advances in the art of farming. Today farmers are the people, who suffer the most in our country and make the least amount of money even though they feed the billion plus people of India.
  5. Diversification outside of agriculture - Can we look at diversifying into other related areas like honey making, etc which can be done on not so much productive land? I don't know but thats a thought to ponder upon and there would be experts who could answer this question.
There is a lot to be done and miles to go before we can sleep. A strong, focused and motivated bureaucracy and state machinery including the state government is required in order to fulfill the dreams of Biharis. Are we all upto it?

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013 and Expectations from Bihar in 2013

Dear Friends,
I want to wish you and all your families a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year. I hope this year brings a lot of joy and happiness in your families.

I also wish that the next round of improvements in Bihar start taking place this year. All of us know that there have been significant strides made in turning around Bihar. However there are big problems still lying in the areas of

  1. Bureaucracy - A lot of people are focused in making money (read black money) for themselves and are not effectively doing their work.
  2. Police - Doesn't still seem to be taking up any rightful work without asking for a bribe. (An example mentioned below)
  3. Judiciary - Most cases keep taking ages to resolve because either the judges don't turn up for hearings or keep dragging the cases unnecessarily. The same is the case with the District Magistrates (DMs). (I know that this is happening now because I am myself going through this for the last 7 years)
  4. Education - The teachers really need to be trained to deliver. First round saw lots of teachers getting appointed. The next round is the improvement of these teachers' quality.
I hope enough focus is put on these 4 areas this year without which the changes in the lives of local people will not happen. The next phase of Bihar's development will require a revamp in all the above areas.

Example email of the situation in Bihar:



Cool Bihari [Bihar's - Change in Destiny and Progress] Bihar Progress Report 2012

mukesh singh Sat, Dec 15, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Reply-To: coolbihari@yahoogroups.co.in
To: "coolbihari@yahoogroups.co.in"



PrashantJi,

   Nice to see the reports, painting nice pictures of Bihar but reality is different. Of course it is better than Lalu era, but not as good as it is projected in our groups or Media.
I was there a month before for Diwali and Chhath and I can cite just 2 incidents.

1. To lodge an FIR for mobile missing(to get same number), my brother has to pay 200 rupees. Yes he was able to pull SP number from website talk to somebody on that and got student concession rate as 200. [ Real rate may go up]. [ It was in Hajipur]
2. In my village we got electricity, first time AFAIK, but it is only for BPL family. You can't become consumer and only option is left to get unauthorized connection. Due to load people are buying Community Transformer since normal transformer are of 16 KB which can't take much load. My brother has complained to everyone including chief minister (seems there was some website for it), but results are same.

I don't say things didn't changed, roads are good overall mood in village is that in corruption front it is becoming worse than Laloo era, specially in Teachers appointment, people told me that loopholes were put in this to benefit Mukhiya and other official officials ..

My experience may be one off but just wanted to share ...


Mukesh's experience highlights some of the problems that still exist today and needs focus and willpower to bring in these changes by the people and by the Government of Bihar. 

May Bihar Win:

Prashant (www.progressivebihar.com)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Apathy in taking up tourism projects : Case in point - Tutla

The state tourism department keeps announcing new tourism projects all the time. However, how many of them are really being executed is a big question in my mind.

In February of 2009, when the then Union Minister of State , Kanti Singh, had visited Bihar , he had ambitiously announced that Tutla waterfalls would be developed as a major eco and adventure tourism site of international importance. (Read India's Own Grand Canyon - Tutla (Tutala) Waterfalls)

Today after almost 4 years, there is no news or progress in developing the Tutla waterfalls. Forget any progress, there are still no pictures available of Tutla that is spread over 240 sq kms.

But the apathy doesn't end there. As I understand, the Central Tourism ministry will only take up projects when the state tourism department sends a proposal to the center. However, Bihar's tourism department did not think that its worth taking up such a project proposal across. Amazing that no one has thought of putting together such a proposal that too for a place which had tremendous tourism potential.

Over the last 1.5 years, I have written atleast 8 times to various tourism ministers at state and center, tourism secretaries, Chief Minister, Chief Minister's secretaries, PAs, etc but have not received a response ever from anyone except from Mr. Sandeep Kumar, who is the PS to the current Tourism Minister of State. His response was  - Has the state govt sent any proposal?

Beyond that nothing. This was in September of 2011. Subsequent messages to the various people did not yield in any responses.

If this is the way the tourism department works in Bihar, then Bihar will never be able to capitalize on the tourism potential it possesses. And tourism is the 2nd most important avenue for Bihar's growth after agriculture. Do we really need bureaucrats like the current, who are inactive and cannot even take through identified projects in 4 years time. Infact the entire bureaucracy needs a revamp... It appears that most of them are not seeing my mails (so not responding) or are just ineffective or  are not doing their work. The list of people that I have written to are
 
Sandeep Kumar
PS to MoS - Center
tourismminister@nic.in
Minister of Tourism - Center
Sultan Ahmed
MoS Tourism - Central
S. K. Pintu
Bihar Minister for Tourism
secytourismbihar@yahoo.com
Tourism Secretary - Bihar
directortourismbihar@gmail.com
Director Tourism - Bihar
jd.tourism1@gmail.com
Joint Director Tourism - Bihar
dy.directortourism@gmail.com
Dy. Director Tourism – Bihar
Ghufran Ahmad
Assistant Director - Tourism (Bihar)
Priteshwar Prasad
Assistant Director - Tourism (Bihar)

And then follow-ups with the following

Nitish Kumar
CM of Bihar
cms-secy-bih@nic.in
Chief Minister's Secretary
gc-cms-bih@nic.in
Public Grievance Cell – Bihar
ps1-cms-bih@nic.in
Private Secretary to CM


Snapshots of my mails are as follows:

Email 1

Prashant Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 11:33 PM
To: Tourism Minister, Sultan Ahmed, Sandeep Kumar

Dear Sirs,
I had read about an article sometime back when the erstwhile Tourism Minister of State had announced that Tutla Waterfalls will be developed as a Tourist destination and it was the Grand Canyon of India. This happened on Feb 10, 2009. I was trying to find out information on the progress of this project but could not find any further information on this , hence writing to you.

Would it be possible to get an update on the project?
Will appreciate to get any feedback on this.

Regards
Prashant

Email 2

Sandeep Kumar 
Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 8:59 PM
Reply-To: Sandeep Kumar 
To: "Prashant"
Has the state govt sent any proposal?
Sent from my Nokia phone
-----Original Message-----
From: Prashant
Sent:  21/09/2011, 1:12  AM
To: Tourism Minister, Sultan Ahmed, Sandeep Kumar
Subject: Re: Tutla Water falls - Status


Hi,
I was hoping to hear back on this. Do let me know.

Regards
Prashant

On Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 11:33 PM, Prashant  wrote:

 Dear Sirs,
 I had read about an article sometime back when the erstwhile Tourism
 Minister of State had announced that Tutla Waterfalls will be developed as a
 Tourist destination and it was the Grand Canyon of India. This happened on
 Feb 10, 2009. I was trying to find out information on the progress of this
 project but could not find any further information on this , hence writing
 to you.


 http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-02-10/patna/28010413_1_mundeshwari-union-minister-site


 Would it be possible to get an update on the project?

 Will appreciate to get any feedback on this.

 Regards
 Prashant
Email 3


Prashant Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM

To: Nitish Kumar

Cc: Grievance Cell - Bihar, Private Secretary to CM
No replies from anyone.

-----


On Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM, Prashant  wrote:
Dear Nitishji,
While I know you are very busy on getting the special status and necessary support from the center to accelerate Bihar's development, there are areas that need focus like tourism which can help continue the growth of Bihar while we wait for more industries to come.

I was very excited about the Tutla Water falls project when it was reported in Feb 2009 as it seemed to have an immense potential not only to attract foreign tourists but domestic tourists as well. However, I am dismayed to see that there was no follow up done by either the Bihar tourism ministry or Center's tourism ministry. The center was expecting a proposal from Bihar for Tutla's development and apparently that proposal has not gone. I had written a couple of mails to various people in the ministries and I did get a reply only from Sandeep Kumar (part of Center's tourism department) asking whether the Bihar government had sent across the proposal, but did not get any other response.

I think some of these areas do have a strong potential and just requires focus. Whether people reply to me or not is immaterial as long as the work continues. I wanted to bring this to your notice as it often helps drive development across Bihar.

Thanks
Prashant




---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Prashant
Date: Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 3:19 PM
Subject: Re: Tutla Water falls - Status
To:Tourism Minister – Central, Sultan Ahmed, Sandeep Kumar, S. K. Pintu, Tourism Secretary – Bihar, Director Tourism – Bihar, Joint Director Tourism – Bihar, Dy. Director Tourism – Bihar, Ghfran Ahmad (Asst Dir – Tourism, Bihar), Priteshwar (Asst Dir- Tourism, Bihar)

I haven't had a response in almost a year. Can any of you senior people respond to my query on Tutla Waterfalls please.

Thanks
Prashant



What can I say. The Tourism department needs to become agile and focussed. And so do the others in the bureaucracy. Otherwise Bihar will still remain the 8th or 9th state in the ranks of the number of tourists visiting Bihar, whereas it has the potential to becoming one amongst the Top 5 states.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Improvement in Services - Healthcare leads the pack

A survey carried out by A. C. Nielsen suggests that people are feeling happy with the improvement in core serivces in Bihar.  The result of the survey carried out by A. C. Nielsen states that 86% of the surveyed people are satisfied with the improvement in health facilities in Bihar. The survey, however doesn't indicate the sample size of people who were surveyed, so it is difficult to state if this is a Pan Bihar phenomenon and represents Bihar as a whole or whether this is restricted to some region or areas of Bihar. One good thing is that its carried out in rural Bihar.

#
Service (Improvement  in quality of service in the last 4 years)
Percentage people satisfied
1
Health Services
86%
2
Certificates
77%
3
Schools
76%
4
Services related to pension
76%
5
Ration shops under Public Distribution System (PDS)
72%
6
Anganwadis
71%
7
MGNREGS
86%
8
Grievance redressal
36%

Thus people feel that in general there is improvement in the services in last 4 years which is a good sign that shows that development is happening and people are perceiving the developments.

This and more details can be found in the Economic Times article "Healthcare improves in Rural Bihar - Study"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tourism Status in Bihar ( As of the End of October 2012)

The tourism data released by the Government of India at the end of October 2012 shows that the total number of tourists visiting Bihar in the 1st 10 months of this year was 1.95 crores which was about the same number of tourists that visited Bihar in the complete year 2011. This is about a 20% increase in the number of tourists that visited Bihar in 2011. However the number of foreign tourists that visited Bihar remains flat and roughly the same number of tourists will visit Bihar in 2012 as they did in 2011.

The below table represents the total number of tourists that have visited Bihar in the last 9 years and is courtesy the Tourism Website of Bihar.

Year
Total Domestic Tourists
Total Foreign Tourists
Total Tourists
2012 (First 10 months)
1,88,00,000
7,93,000
1,95,93,000
2011 (Jan. TO Dec)
1,83,97,490
9,72,487
1,93,69,977
2010 (Jan. To Dec)
1,57,87,256
4,92,913
1,62,80,169
2009 (Jan. To Dec)
1,57,84,679
4,23,042
1,62,07,721
2008 (Jan. To Dec)
1,18,89,611
3,45,572
1,22,35,183
2007 (Jan. To Dec)
1,03,52,887
1,77,362
1,05,30,249
2006 (Jan. To Dec)
1,06,70,268
94,446
1,07,64,714
2005 (Jan. To Dec)
86,87,220
63,321
87,50,541
2004 (Jan. To Dec)
81,35,574
38,118
81,73,692

These numbers varying slightly as you see different government sites and publications but is a fairly accurate representation of the number of tourists who have visited Bihar in the last 9 years.

Further information on the 2012 data can be found in the Times of India article "1.95cr tourists visit Bihar in 10months of 2012"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rs 6000 crores siphoned off out of Rs. 8189 crores - MNREGA

Corruption was always at a high in Bihar be it in Lalu's regime or earlier regimes or even Nitish Kumar's regime. I have heard of examples where

  1. PWD officials used to go to their offices 3 - 4 times in a month. Once to collect their pay, once to sign the monthly roster and once or twice in between. Offcourse black money was asked and sought for every work that had to be awarded or every work that had to be done.
  2. Police wanting money to do anything even if it was the right thing to do including lodging one's report.
  3. 80-85% money for any scheme was siphoned off even before they reached the grass root levels where the scheme was to be implemented. The chain of corruption ran from the minister down to the BDOs and the clerks in the BDO offices.
All this combined with the inaction from Politicians in power for any development, led to the downfall of Bihar and called a BIMARU state: A state that had the potential of being the most prosperous state in India became a failed state. And then came Nitish Kumar who brought with him a lot of hope - a hope for progress and betterment of life for everyone living in Bihar. With this change of leadership at Bihar came a lot of change for Bihar:
  1. A sustained growth of more than 10% over the last 5-6 years out of 7
  2. Increasing GDP
  3. Better roads and infrastructure
  4. More prospering people and happier people
  5. More schools, more teachers and more students
  6. Bihar no longer being called a BIMARU state or a failed state
  7. A drive towards girls empowerment and
  8. An increase in the funds for development with a growing annual planned expenditure
But one thing that did not change was corruption. It was there from before and is there even today - If anything it has only grown because there is now more money to loot. And there have been on and off reports of corruption at the Bureaucratic level, the SDO level etc but we all chose to ignore it as this got overshadowed by the growth Bihar was seeing in the last 7 years (something not seen in the prior 15-25 years). However , this corruption is now eating into the growth of Bihar and more importantly hindering the growth in Bihar. The survey conducted by the Delhi based NGO "Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS)" suggests that Rs 6000 crores out of the Rs 8189 crores given against the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act)  have been siphoned off by the corrupt officials and only Rs. 2189 crores have reached the people.

Does this news come to many of us as a shock? I think the answer would be NO as most of us would agree that there is enough corruption in Bihar. But do all of us agree to allow this kind of corruption ? I would again say that the answer is NO. This corruption has to stop and steps have to be taken to stop such corruption. We have lived long enough overlooking the corruption in the last 7 years BUT NO MORE. This corruption has stop. The free hand with which Bureaucrats, officials , police and politicians are looting Bihar has to stop. This Rs 6000 crores could have immensely helped the poor people instead of going into the pockets of these people. Strict action is required against all corrupt and the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar cannot continue to treat this corruption as low priority and continue to ignore the rampant corruption in the Bureaucracy and elsewhere any more.THE CORRUPTS NEED TO BE PUNISHED. Mr CHIEF MINISTER - Please take action against all the corrupt officials, bureaucrats and politicians. People of Bihar should be above all whether its the officials, bureaucrats or the politicians.

On another note, while action is being taken against the corrupt officials, I feel that the Rs 6000 crores could be an exaggeration as the survey has focused only on the poorest of the poor and other sections of society might have benefited from the MNREGA scheme, if reports that migration to other states in search of labor jobs has reduced by more than 35-40%, have to be believed. But that said, even if the amount siphoned off is lower, it in no way reduces the gravity of the situation. THE CORRUPTS HAVE TO BE PUNISHED.

This change has to be brought in Bihar.... Period!!!

The details on the MNREGA corruption is courtesy The Times of India article "Rs. 6000 cr MNREGA funds siphoned off in Bihar?"

Bihar Progress Report 2012

The 7th annual progress report of Bihar was released by Chief Minister,  Mr. Nitish Kumar on the 24th of November 2012. I am attaching the hindi version of the report here for everyone's reference. I have also asked for the English version and will post it once I get it. I will also post my views on the report shortly.

The link is also present on my main blog page at Progressive Bihar

Adventure tourism at Valmiki tiger reserve

The state government of Bihar plans to develop the Valmiki Tiger reserve as a place for adventure tourism where people can indulge in boating, rafting and mountaineering. There would be entrances built at Madanpur, Goberdhana and Manguraha. Rest houses will also be built for visiting tourists.

Besides adventure tourism including sightseeing, one key historical place which can become a major tourism attaction in this area is the Valmiki Ashram which is located in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal. One can reach the Valmiki ashram through the Valmiki Tourism Reserve.  This ashram is the home of Valmiki who wrote the epic Ramayan and is also believed to be the place where Goddess Sita had taken shelter after being renounced by God Ram. Luv and Kush were also born here.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "Bihar Govt plans adventure sports at Valmiki Tiger Reserve".

While this is a good and welcome move, I am skeptical of the plan taking shape and adventure tourism actually starting at this place. This is based on my experience with the Bihar government's earlier examples of announcing tourism options and then doing nothing about it. Case in point is the Tutla Waterfalls and I will write about it in one of my subsequent posts.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tie up with Mauritius tour operators to visit Bihar

Many people from Mauritius , who are of Indian origin, have their roots in Bihar. A majority of these people want to come to Bihar to explore their roots, at least once in their lifetime. Thus it is befitting that the Bihar government has signed a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Association of Tour Operators (ATO), from Mauritius to launch tour packages which will allow all such people to visit Bihar in a more structured way to explore their roots... and the program is aptly named as "Discover Your Roots".

I think the Bihar government should sign a similar MOU with Suriname, Fiji and Trinidad & Tobago which also have a significant Indian population that come from Bihar.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "Memorandum of Understanding with Tour Operators of Mauritius"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Astro Tourism Circuit

The Bihar government plans to develop Khagual, Taregna and Taregna Top as a astro-tourism circuit, These are historical locations, where renowned astronomer and mathematician Aryabhata conducted astronomical studies. Aryabhata, who was born in 476 AD , also wrote the monumental work "Aryabhatiyam" at the age of 23.

Aryabhata has also been credited for inventing "zero" and giving it a place within the numerical systems besides approximating the value of Pi (π).

The state's science and technology department has decided to develop these three places as centers of tourism attraction highlighting the life and work of Aryabhata. These centres would showcase Aryabhata's concepts and models.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "Government to develop Astro Tourism Circuit"

More details about the number zero can be got from the article "History of Zero"


Go see Patna Museum this Diwali

The Patna museum, which is 84 years old,  is undergoing renovation and will have new galleries and lighting systems that will be of international standards.

It will also house an exhibition gallery where local artists could exhibit their art. Besides this there would be a modern cafeteria , better lavatories and a  museum shop for souvenirs.  It should be worth a visit to the museum and hopefully becomes a tourist destination for tourists from outside the state, bringing in more job opportunities for the local people.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "This Diwali Patna Museum to get a new look"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Some high level financial statistics for BIhar.

  1. Plan expenditure leapfrogged from Rs. 4000 crore in 2004-05 to Rs. 24,000 crore in 2011-12
  2. Average annual GSDP (Gross State Domestice Product) grew from 4.42% between 1999-2000 and 2004-05 to 11.36% between 2004-05 and 2010-11.
  3. Bihar's GSDP is now larger than that of Punjab
  4. Bihar's per capita income is one-third or the national average and one-seventh of New Delhi
As per some report I had seen though, If Bihar was a country on its own, then the per capita income of Bihar would have been the 3rd lowest in the world... Something still very worrisome and needing to be fixed surely and quickly.

Monday, September 10, 2012

40% reduction in worker's migration from Bihar

This is one piece of great news that I read in the Times of India today. As per the labor resources department minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal, the migration of unskilled workers from from Bihar to other states has fallen by around 35-40% compared to what it was in 2005.

Two years back this percentage was 30%. Hence there is definitely more for the unskilled people to do in Bihar than it was even two years back confirming the fact that the opportunities in Bihar are increasing at least in the unskilled worker's category. These are the people who have lately been the bone of contention in many places like Maharashtra and Punjab. Punjab's bicycle industry is already bearing the brunt of the shortage of workers who are preferring to stay back in Bihar. Even incentive like free mobile phones, bicycles and increase in salaries from Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 6,000 is not motivating these workers to go to Punjab. As a result around 5000 bicycle units in Punjab are facing a 50% shortage of workers. Soon industries in other states would also start suffering when they face such shortage too as the number of migrant Bihari workers reduce.

Well done Nitish and the whole team.. Well done Bihar.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "40% drop in workers' migration"

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