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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reply from Nagaraj - Booming Bihar: Fact or Fiction? - Article by R. Nagaraj

All of had various kinds of reaction on reading the articles published by Mr. R. Nagaraj be it published in the Business Standard ( or on Sify ( or the article written by Mr. Nagaraj on the site : Booming Bihar: Fact or Fiction?

Many of us were surprised and agreed that his reaction was being very myopic and did not probably represent the complete truth or the sentiments of people on here.

Like many other, I had also published my views in myblog  article Booming Bihar: Fact or Fiction? - Article by R. Nagaraj . I had also marked a copy ot Mr. Nagaraj's email address. Subsequently I received a reply from Mr. Nagaraj and I am posting it below for everyone to read.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 9:20 PM
Subject: Re: Booming Bihar: Fact or Fiction? - ...
To: Prashant

Dear Mr. Prashant,
Thank you very much for your comments and questions. Let me reiterate the following:

1. My comment on Bihar was restricted to the hype of 11% growth, which seems suspect - given the fragility of the official statistics. I am sure you would agree that any rigorous analysis of social and economic issues should start with careful examination of facts.

2. The supposed growth is not broad based, but restricted to an exceptional growth in construction, which seems suspicious given the methodological problems in estimating value added in this sector.

3. While the government's publicity material apparently makes many tall claims, information contained in the official web site of the concerned department does not seem to fully support the claims, therefore, the doubts I had expressed.

4. It needs to be appreciated that Bihar was not stagnating prior to 2004, as many seem to believe. Economic growth during the last decade was slightly lower than the national average, with considerable yearly fluctuation (as I have shown). The growth rate seems to have improved after 2004, but the extent of improvement is open to debate (given the conflicting numbers, as I have shown).

5. My questioning of the hype is not meant to disregard the progress that Bihar seems to have made in recent years, which are commendable. In fact, I have said, in my epw piece, that there are some lessons here for the rest of the nation.

I hope the clarification helps.

R Nagaraj

I had also raised some questions to him and echoed my views in a subsequent reply to his email. I am sharing this information as it matches the views and thoughts of many Bihari people.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Prashant
Date: Mon, Mar 8, 2010 at 3:09 PM
Subject: Re: Booming Bihar: Fact or Fiction? - ...
To: ""

Dear Mr. Nagaraj,
Thank you for your prompt response.

Can you please provide me the links of the official websites which you have referred to in your email?

I appreciate the fact that you are taking on the role of carrying out the checks and balances for a government which is claiming substantially good statistics which could be completely or partially correct. However it is good to have accomplished and seasoned people who can raise the red flag which will keep the government on its toes.

At the same time, it requires other people to highlight the good and the bad happenings for a state and thus others can follow. This is what I am trying to do.

You have mentioned that there was economic growth prior to 2004 and that Bihar was not stagnating. You are right and economic growth was happening. But was this growth a result of focused efforts or was just a by product of running a state.. Taat economic growth was not resulting in any change for the people in Bihar or their lifestyle , as far as I can fathom. I am sure you would be aware that during Rabri Devi's 5 year rule, the state did not even have a state budget and all the expenses were passed on a "vote on account". In such a situation you would hardly expect any work was done for Bihar's betterment. Nothing was done for the upliftment of the people as Lallu Prasad and gang would have lost their support base. Therefore they kept the status quo as long as they could.

You will appreciate that the caste system is deeply rooted in the Bihar society. This has created many a hurdles in the the progress of Bihar. The only way one can reduce the caste differences and thus minimize the growth hurdles is by educating people. This was never an apparent focus area for Lallu and team. Atleast Nitish understands the benefits of education and is trying to do his bit in that direction, be it the appointment of 2,00,000 teachers on a contract basis or by re-building the dilapidated school infrastructure. Similarly Nitish's team has done a lot of things which are even acknowledged by the people at the grass root level (Improving security, law and order, better road infrastructure, tourism, etc). None of these were ever done or atleast no outcomes were visible during the 15 years of RJD rule.

We are very hopeful that Nitish will continue bringing the turn around. However, the conditions in the past so many years were so sad that majority of people from Bihar had to go out looking for labor jobs etc outside the state. Thus Biharis have offen been the subject of ridicule across India: You already know whats happening in Mumbai / Maharashtra with the MNS thing, etc.

However people have got hope now and the hope is that Nitish can turn around the state so that people do not have to leave the state looking out for jobs as much as they do now. I think Nitish has done a fairly large amount of work as compared to the previous regimes which has given people hope. However, as you have pointed out, there is hardly any self-sustaining work that has happened which can continue irrespective of the political situation in the state. Many of us believe that the base is made and now is the time to develop the state by building industries, improving the agriculture, etc which is the only way to improve the living of people in the state. We have to give Nitish a chance because he appears to be the best bet the people of Bihar have. The trust on Lallu and team is zero and people are confident that things will go back to the old ways if they return. (I am myself a native of Bihar staying in Mumbai and the last time I went to my village during Rabri's rule, I could stay at my own house for less than a day. I was convinced by many a neighbours that if I stayed longer my whole family would get kidnapped as my father is a very successful man coming from a small village in Bihar. Today my parents go and stay there for months together without any untoward things happening ).

I also find Nitish is a responsive man and many of my posts go to his email box too. I have received responses and actions also based on these posts which in itself is a big thing (coming from a politician of a state like Bihar). One such actions detail can be found at : Nitish Kumar 2.0 - - - Bureaucracy. However there is still a lot to be done and I think it will taken another 5-10 years of focus before the growth becomes self propelled.

So I, like many others, try to play the roles of keeping the checks and balances by writing about some of the things once in a while. However I am glad that eminent personalities like yourself are also taking interest in Bihar. I would appreciate if you will continue to keep track of Bihar and come up with your qualified comments and suggestions from time to time that will guide the people and government of Bihar.



---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Ashok Sharma
Date: Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 8:50 PM
Subject: Re:  Comment on Bihar GDP growth figures

Dear Prashant,
Thanks for sharing the response of Mr Nagaraj. His intention may be noble but the question remains unanswered "Why everyone get over excited by anything related to Bihar?".

The data is prepared by CSO which is not working on the payrole of Bihar Gov. Did Mr Nagaraj shared his apprehensions with CSO?

When was the last time we came across such article on any other state?? Why media ignored the per capita allotment to Bihar in 5-year plans since Independence.

There is no denying that there are many well wishers who want Bihar to succeed by providing critical feedback but in reality too much negative media campaign has hurt bihar's image so bad that

Bihar is still struggling to come back on its own term.

There was front page title in India today when I was in college. The title was - "The good , The bad and Bihar". Now how disgusting is that. We Biharis never realized that each and every negative campaign has given reasons to others that today .... Koi bhi sadak chap bihari ko gali de ke chala jata hai..and we bihari's ask ourselves.. "why me??".

We all know that we have problems...what bothers me is that when people get over excited and start blabbering about Bihar as if there is no one to give them befitting reply.

We should not take any more BS from anyone. BTW, Constructive feedback is always welcome :).



  1. ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Ravi Verma
    Date: Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 5:50 AM
    Subject: Re: [biharbrains] Fwd: New comment on Booming Bihar: Fact or Fiction? - Article by R. Nagaraj

    Dear Prashant Jee

    Maine aapke bheje sare mail parhe jo ki Mr. Nagraj ke article ke upar hain. Maine Mr. Nagraj ka article bhi parha tha. Mujhe ye kahte hue sharm aati hai ki aise so called economists log kaha the jab Bihar develop nahin kar raha tha yani ke Laloo Raj me, aur Bihar me Laloo aur Bharat me Globalisation lagbhag saath saath aaye aur us Golobalisation ke yug me aise aadmi ke haath me Bihar ki baagdor thi ki hum pichharte chale gaye. Aaj ye aankrebaji kar rahe hain aur bata rahe hain ki GDP kya hai aur ise kaise calculate kiya jata hai. What is GDP? Why is it so important? What is the Difference Between GDP and Growth Rate? What are the components of GDP? Etc. etc. Mr. Nagraj Economist hain aur lagta hai unhe ye bhi pata nahin ki CSO ki report kaise taiyar hoti hai. Aur wo state ko hi jimmewar thahra rahe hain. Ye wahi log hain jo Bihar ko failed state kahte nahin thakte the kam se kam aaj ye iske growth ki baat to kar rahe hain aur us par article likh rahe hain. Laloo Raj me inhone kabhi hay tauba nahin machaya tha ki Bihar pichhar raha hai iske liye state aur central government ko kuchh karma chahiye.

    Dekhiye jin aankron (CSO aur Bihar’s Economic Survey) ki tulna Mr. Nagraj ne kiya hai usme Bihar Government ka jo average growth 7.342 aa raha hai jab ki CSO me ye 11.028 aa rahi hai. Agar Rajya Sarkar ki koi chhavi sudharne ki jaldi hoti aur sirf aankrebaji hi development hota to aisa wo jyada growth ka aankra dikha ke kar sakte the, lekin rajya sarkar ne is mamle me imaandari dikhyayi hai. Ek saal to minus me growth hai. Aur CSO ki report me jo data hota hai usme 30 percent rajya sarkar ke aankre hote hai aur baki 70 percent me Indian Beauro of Mines, CSO aur Report of Annual Servey of Industries ke hi hote hain. Ab agar CSO ke aankre ye bata rahe hain ki Bihar 11.3 % growth ke saath barha hai pichhle 5 saalon me to isme problem kahan hai.

    Bihar sarkar ne kabhi ye daava nahin kiya hai ki humne (Bihar sarkar ne) Bihar ko Europe ya America me badal diya hai. Ye CSO ki report hai jo logon ko khatak rahi hai. Sawaal karma hai to CSO se kijiye Katghara me khara karna hai to CSO ko kijiye.


  2. ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: shyam sinha
    Date: Sat, Mar 13, 2010 at 6:10 AM
    Subject: Re: Fwd: New comment on Booming Bihar: Fact or Fiction? - Article by R. Nagaraj


    I don't know who is Nagraj & who is giving him importance, it hardly matters for us. Ek kahawat mere papa kaha karte the bachpan mein - "haathi chale bazaar kutte bhuke hazaar", I believe this is applicable to all the persons who have been -ve views always about Bihar.

    In my recent 2-3 visits, at least I felt sense of security across and many jobs opportunities at many levels and awesome infrastructure development.

    Best Regards,

    Shyam Kumar Sinha


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