Progressive Bihar - Finally the sleeping giant is waking up

Progressive Bihar - Finally the sleeping giant is waking up
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Economic Survey - Social sector spending in Bihar

LiveMint has published a breakdown on the social sector spending of funds in Bihar. It is an interesting article, the focus of which is to highlight that 44% of all funds spent in Bihar have been spent on Patna.

Courtesy: Live Mint


Some of the interesting statistics provided for fiscal year 2008-09 , highlighted by this article are

Per Capita Income: Highest three districts (economically advantaged districts)
  1. Patna: Rs. 37,737 
  2. Munger: Rs. 12,370
  3. Begusarai: Rs. 10,409

Per Capita Income: Lowest three districts
  1. Sheohar: Rs. 4,398
  2. Araria: Rs. 5,245
  3. Jamui: Rs. 5,516
Per capita expenditure
  1. Bihar average: Rs. 3,821
  2. Patna: Rs. 29,390
Per capita expenditure on primary education
  1. Bihar average: Rs. 425
  2. Patna: Rs. 3,867
Per capita expenditure on medical facilities
  1. Bihar average: Rs. 106.92
  2. Patna: Rs. 752
 Per capita expenditure on sanitation
  1. Bihar average: Rs 6.4
  2. Patna: Rs 55.4 
Per capita expenditure for the welfare of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes
  1. Bihar average: Rs. 23.32
  2. Patna: Rs 87.46
Funds for Medical facilities
  1. Patna: Rs. 410 crores
  2. Sheohar (the poorest district): Rs. 2.9 crore
Drinking water: No funds for Sheohar, Arwal, Nawada and Lakhisarai.

Sewage and Sanitation: No funds for 6 districts out of 38.
First of all I am glad that even LiveMint (liz Mathew) has started taking keen interest in Bihar just like many other people. Secondly these numbers will help bring this matter to the attention of the government of Bihar so that they can put adequate focus.

But my take is that , this is how the growth story of most states happen. Doesn't it? Didn't Mumbai advance much more than the other districts of Maharashtra before the other districts started picking up. It is a step by step journey and you can only take so many steps in a period of time. After all it takes a lot of effort to turn around the situation from no governance to better governance, from a failed state to a growing state.

I think looking at those numbers in isolation is not correct. What has happened in the last 4 years is that there is hope and optimism and a positive feeling in the air. Everyone is now looking forward to betterment and growth. Only about 5 years back no one including these newspapers, economists and everyone even thought that Bihar could start improving even though Biharis prayed for it. Many of these newspapers and economists did not even consider thinking of Bihar, analyzing Bihar or writing about it. Now thats a big change the Bihar government has brought it. Everyone is talking about it: Every one knows that Bihar has a growth story and every one wants a hand in this story.

But today we have hope. And as one economist pointed out that, due to the backwardness, only Patna and a few districts had the capacity of absorbing and using the funds.

Nitish Kumar, in an earlier interview with LiveMint had said that that welfare measures introduced were universal. A couple of statistics missing in the analysis of many people , that Nitish Kumar pointed out were
  1. Rs. 700 was being provided to each and every girl in Bihar from VIth standard onwards to buy school uniform, a school bag and shoes.
  2. In 2006, the number of girls going to high school was 1,50,000 and now it is 4,50,000.
Now this is the kind of statistics that I would like to hear. Because even though this statistic doesn't do much to elevate the problems in the short term, it is creating the platform for the long term success and development of Bihar. This will truly improve the living conditions of the people of Bihar and help in eliminating the social problem of casteism deeply rooted in the minds of many Bihari people. This will truly change Bihar.

Hence I believe that Nitish Kumar is focusing on building a strong foundation on which, Bihar will once again become a very glorious state.

The detailed article can be read at Patna gets lion’s share of Bihar’s funds, poor districts left behind

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