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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Business Standard - Bihar needs Nitish

An interesting article published in Business Standard caught my eye. Various newspapers, magazines and journals are closely following the Bihar elections , some taking a neutral stance, some highlighting the positives of one or the other, but none of them has completely sided with anyone... until now.

The Business Standard in an article published on 24th of October, i.e. today has clearly taken a stand that Bihar needs Nitish Kumar in a similarly titled newspaper article.

Bihar needs Nitish Kumar

India deserves more chief ministers like him
Business Standard / New Delhi October 24, 2010, 0:19 IST

This newspaper has not often taken political sides. Indeed, Indian journalism has not had the western tradition of the media declaring its political preferences. In the state of Bihar, however, which has now entered a month-long election period, the choice is clear and preferences should be stated. Bihar’s voters have to choose between five more years of a government led by Nitish Kumar, or five years or less of confusion created by an uncertain and split verdict, or five years of some nameless politician serving his tenure in Patna at Delhi’s beck and call.

There are many reasons why Bihar deserves Mr Nitish Kumar. First, he is a decent chap. In the rough and tumble of Indian politics it is not easy to come across men and women of basic and simple decency. That in itself should be a good reason for his remaining at the forefront of Indian politics. Second, he has done an impressive job. While the Congress party has every right to criticise his government and question his record in the heat of an election campaign, the fact remains that Mr Kumar has done more for Bihar than any other chief minister of this hapless state in the past five decades. Consider some simple numbers.

According to the state’s economic survey published earlier this year, Bihar’s economy registered an annual growth rate of 11.35 percent over the five-year period from 2004-05 to 2008-09, covering most of the term of Mr Kumar. It was only 3.5 percent per year in the previous five years. This should rule out the idea of returning to a Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi regime. Bihar’s per capita income rose from Rs 10,415 per year in 2008 to Rs 13,959 in 2009, compared to Rs 7,443 in 2004-05. This impressive growth comes from an across the board improvement in the state’s performance, barring the industrial sector. Bihar’s agriculture sector, construction, education, health and services sectors have all witnessed impressive growth. It is only in the industrial sector that the state’s economic survey shows low growth. The contribution of Bihar’s manufacturing sector to gross state domestic product (GSDP) was a lowly 4.69 percent. Bihar has less than 1 per cent share of India’s agro-processing industries. Despite the much improved performance of agriculture, health and education, Bihar remains a laggard and has a long way to go before it can catch up even with some of the more developed north Indian states, not to mention the states of western and southern India. 

However, if Bihar has to have a chance, if it has to finally catch up with India’s more developed regions, it needs another five years of the kind of development-oriented administration that Mr Nitish Kumar gave the state. If Bihar can move closer to the national average in terms of the various indicators of development, that national average will itself rise significantly. India cannot sustain growth rates of over 8 and 9 per cent, not to mention 10, if populous and large states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh remain stuck in the morass of backwardness, both economically and socially. While Ms Mayawati Kumari is wasting a golden opportunity in Uttar Pradesh, doing little for development and being obsessed about herself and her wealth and power, Mr Kumar has remained focussed on development. He is a model chief minister that other Indian states should also aspire for. Our vote goes out to Mr. Kumar.

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