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.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Acceleration of Bihar's Growth and development.

There was a discussion in one of the forums about the difference between "vikaas" and "pragati" in Bihar's context. It was pointed out that today Bihar government is developing the basic infrastructures which will provide the growth needed for Bihar. It was also pointed out how investments in different areas are important for accelerating the growth in Bihar.

In my view investments into agriculture, tourism and industry is definitely required to put Bihar in the accelerated growth mode.

Industries:

Bihar government has been trying to attract investments into India which is a very good sign and with the improved law and order and security and road infrastructure we will see an increase in industrial investments. But this will take time to bear fruits as industrial investments normally take time to mature. The government should not only make efforts to attract more investments but also provide the right kind of support in getting these projects implemented in the shortest possible time keeping in mind the best option for the people of Bihar.

However there are two areas in which Bihar can immediately start reaping more benefits with investments from the Bihar / Central government and lesser dependence on investors: Tourism and Agriculture.

Tourism:
There are many places that can be converted into tourism attraction easily and Bihar can earn much more revenues from tourism than it currently does. With relatively lesser investment and in shorter duration of time, Bihar can attract much more revenues which can be ploughed back in the development of Bihar.

Some examples pointed out for places which can be developed, besides the already more popular attractions, are Sitamadhi (birthplace of Sita) and Gandhi Museum (currently suffering from neglect) in Motihari…

How about the wildlife of Bihar? Bihar boasts of 2 national parks and 21 sancturies. These include the country’s only hideout for wolves, a sanctuary for dolphins, a crocodile centre and a lake that is home to an infinite variety of birds migrating from Central Asia.

Similarly there will be many more such important tourist attractions which if adequately developed and marketed, can benefit Bihar.

I happened to visit Hearst Castle in USA in early 2000s. I was surprised by the amount of revenues this tourist attraction far away in wilderness was attracting, just based on the positioning the marketing team has achieve for Hearst Castle. If one look at Hearst castle and more so from within, one will realize that Bihar's historical and cultural heritages have much more to offer than a Hearst Castle. And still we are not attracting many tourists (domestic and international), that can be attracted to Bihar.

Agriculture:
Bihar mainly being an agricultural economy (and that can be said about all India as 70% of Indian GDP is agriculture and related industries), it is of prime importance to strengthen the investments in agriculture such that our farmers are negligibly effected by climatic adversities. On one hand certain districts are suffering from no rain and on the other hand some districts are suffering from floods. The Bihar government should immediately start investing in infrastructure which would allow the excess water, from areas that get flooded, to be used for irrigation in the areas where there is no rainfall. It is important for the sustained growth of Bihar, that the government over the next 2-3 years makes concerted efforts to bridge this gap between dry areas and flooding areas. Bihar will be so much more economically stronger if this is done.

Even though 70% indian economy is agriculture based, the investments in irrigation projects is very low even though the investments in agriculture development fund is Rs. 3.25 lakh crores. The government of India in 2009-2010 is only investing about Rs. 1000 crores on irrigation projects which in my mind should be increased and implemented on a war footing in all agricultural economies of India. (Budget information courtesy: India Union Budget 2009 - 2010)

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