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.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bihar Growth Statistics and Image Management - Article by Mr. T. V. Sinha

This is an extremely well written email from Mr. T. V. Sinha that has highlighted the changes that have come in Bihar. I am sharing this email with everyone so that not only members of some yahoogroups but also everyone who ever thinks of Bihar and does an online search should know that Bihar is changing.... and that it is changing for Good.

Anyone who wants the email id of Mr. T. V. Sinha can write to me and I will share the email id.


On Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 3:31 AM, TV Sinha wrote:

Bihar is at the cusp of a major change. Or as Ajit Chauhan puts it, it is at the tipping point. We have all seen the reports of CSO giving the high growth rate of Bihar. Unsurprisingly, there has been an equally vehement outcry against these positive news articles. If these were constructive criticism, one would have learnt something from them, but unfortunately, much of this outcry is simple denigration. In such a scenario, we Biharis are duty bound to work together and present the true picture of Bihar. Image makeover is essential if Bihar has to catch up with the rest of the country or indeed the world. Last five years have shown some hints of growth. The next five years are crucial whether Bihar will be on road to progress and growth or will slip back to underdevelopment and ignominy.

I have tried to collect recent criticism of Bihar and put the rebuttal to those. Hope this helps counter the continued denigration of Bihar

Agriculture growth of Bihar has languished:

It is certainly not a fact that Bihar is at the bottom of growth in the farm sector. Indeed, today Bihar is self sufficient in food, which was not so earlier. Farm sector has grown at 5.6% per annum over a five year period and is a great achievement.

It can be a matter of research how this growth in farm sector could have been even higher if there was a major irrigation investment, which has not happened in Bihar. Farmers have innovated and achieved growth. Some of these are private investment in farm automation, improved seeds and fertilizer and training of the farm hands due to their exposure to farming in Punjab, Haryana etc where the agricultural universities have played in farm hand training. Also, thanks to better availability of information, price realization for the farmer is much better which incentivizes higher farm productivity.

If Agricultural growth is only 5.6%, how has a largely agrarian Bihar economy grown at 11.03%:

Well, the growth in 2004-9 and 1999-2004 sector wise is as follows:

Agriculture: 5.6% from 2%; Manufacturing: 8% from -1.9%; Construction 35.8% from 8.4%; Telecom 17.7% from 9.4% and Trade, Hotel, Restaurant: 17.7% from 11.6%

Indeed, the growth has come from largely from what is called services sector at an aggregate level. But there is no reason to doubt the growth figure itself.

Here are some more specific statistics: Consumption of cement in Bihar has grown 27% vs the India average of 9%, no of flights from Patna has increased as follows: from 2 to 5 to Delhi, from 2 to 5 to Calcutta, From 2 to zero to 2 to Mumbai, from zero to 1 to Hyderabad and Bangalore each. Gaya had virtually no regular flights five years back. Today, it has 25 international flights a week to Bangkok, Colombo, Paro, and Singapore. The number of bridges constructed between 1975 and 2005 was 300 and is over 400 between 2005 and now รข€" Nitish Kumar inaugurated 140 bridges on June 14, 2009 in a symbolic gesture; the number of vehicles in Patna has increased from 1.75 lakhs in 2007 to 2.93 lakhs in 2009, a 67% increase in just two years.

Bihar growth is on a low base. Specifically, can a poor student who had scored a low 30 who has now scored 45 be considered successful when a good student has moved from 80 to 85

Economic growth is always taken on the existing base. China has been considered a miracle economy for two decades now, but can hope to catch up with US only by 2035. Economies can only grow gradually, not suddenly. The case of Bihar is like any other growing economy. Also, bear in mind that in spite of the low base, the economy was not growing fast earlier. In 2005, after the hung assembly which could not produce a government, Bihar bashing journalists, inspired by the MV Kamath who had infamously said that Biharis are not fit to rule Bihar and require extended outside tutelage, had grandly suggested President's Rule. The conventional wisdom had suggested that we can only get a government worse than that of Lalu. Bihar can only go down. Is there any reason we should not celebrate the success which has been achieved in such a hopeless environment?

Data is given by Bihar and not by CSO.

Well this is the same for all the states and has been the same in the past also. This system has not changed this year. For example, the growth of Gujarat is also based on the figure given by the Gujarat govt. Also, I find it quite funny that Pronab Sen of CSO should so disown the data released by his own department. They are not a clerical staff tasked to aggregate the data, but Cnetral Statistical Deptt who have all the tools and expertise available to cross verify the data with other trends as also sample survey that they do.

The number of BPL family has increased from 66 lakhs to 1.25 crore:

Bihar govt says the original figure of 66 lakhs was an underreporting. They quote the figure of 1.25 crore to get more funds for the BPL families. This has absolutely no relevance or relation with the economic growth or the lack of it.

Simple fact is that annual plan expenditure for Bihar has increased from 2500 crore in 2004-05 to 1200 crore in the current fiscal year. This has naturally led to growth of the economy. Also, fruits of liberalization such as disbanding of freight equalization has finally started to yield. That perhaps is also the reason for Jharkhand's growth.

Besides all these, the focus of the state govt on law and order and the commonsense schemes of the govt like strenghtening PHCs, road improvement ot make Patna accessible within 5 hours from any part of Bihar etc have played a major role in the growth.

Finally, in addition to the great philosophical tradition of Bihar, trade and commerce have had a long history, broken only in the dark sixty years of Delhi iimposed fabian socialism. The tome of Chanakya is called Arthashashtra - the treatise of money. Sonepur has had the largest cattle fair of the world since time immemorial. The most exploitative Nawabs of Bengal could not diminish the mercantile importance of Patna during the 18th century. Andrew Yang, an academic from US did a research and wrote the book Bazzar India which chronicles this. Time has come to reclaim the leadership in the economic sphere and the whole world will be at the feet of Bihar.

Let us see the glass as half full rather than rue that it continues to be half empty. Not too long time back, it is fully empty!

Let me end by giving a link to India Today which also printed an article on Patna titled P for Progress


T V Sinha

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