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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013 and Expectations from Bihar in 2013

Dear Friends,
I want to wish you and all your families a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year. I hope this year brings a lot of joy and happiness in your families.

I also wish that the next round of improvements in Bihar start taking place this year. All of us know that there have been significant strides made in turning around Bihar. However there are big problems still lying in the areas of

  1. Bureaucracy - A lot of people are focused in making money (read black money) for themselves and are not effectively doing their work.
  2. Police - Doesn't still seem to be taking up any rightful work without asking for a bribe. (An example mentioned below)
  3. Judiciary - Most cases keep taking ages to resolve because either the judges don't turn up for hearings or keep dragging the cases unnecessarily. The same is the case with the District Magistrates (DMs). (I know that this is happening now because I am myself going through this for the last 7 years)
  4. Education - The teachers really need to be trained to deliver. First round saw lots of teachers getting appointed. The next round is the improvement of these teachers' quality.
I hope enough focus is put on these 4 areas this year without which the changes in the lives of local people will not happen. The next phase of Bihar's development will require a revamp in all the above areas.

Example email of the situation in Bihar:

Cool Bihari [Bihar's - Change in Destiny and Progress] Bihar Progress Report 2012

mukesh singh Sat, Dec 15, 2012 at 8:49 AM

To: ""


   Nice to see the reports, painting nice pictures of Bihar but reality is different. Of course it is better than Lalu era, but not as good as it is projected in our groups or Media.
I was there a month before for Diwali and Chhath and I can cite just 2 incidents.

1. To lodge an FIR for mobile missing(to get same number), my brother has to pay 200 rupees. Yes he was able to pull SP number from website talk to somebody on that and got student concession rate as 200. [ Real rate may go up]. [ It was in Hajipur]
2. In my village we got electricity, first time AFAIK, but it is only for BPL family. You can't become consumer and only option is left to get unauthorized connection. Due to load people are buying Community Transformer since normal transformer are of 16 KB which can't take much load. My brother has complained to everyone including chief minister (seems there was some website for it), but results are same.

I don't say things didn't changed, roads are good overall mood in village is that in corruption front it is becoming worse than Laloo era, specially in Teachers appointment, people told me that loopholes were put in this to benefit Mukhiya and other official officials ..

My experience may be one off but just wanted to share ...

Mukesh's experience highlights some of the problems that still exist today and needs focus and willpower to bring in these changes by the people and by the Government of Bihar. 

May Bihar Win:

Prashant (

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Apathy in taking up tourism projects : Case in point - Tutla

The state tourism department keeps announcing new tourism projects all the time. However, how many of them are really being executed is a big question in my mind.

In February of 2009, when the then Union Minister of State , Kanti Singh, had visited Bihar , he had ambitiously announced that Tutla waterfalls would be developed as a major eco and adventure tourism site of international importance. (Read India's Own Grand Canyon - Tutla (Tutala) Waterfalls)

Today after almost 4 years, there is no news or progress in developing the Tutla waterfalls. Forget any progress, there are still no pictures available of Tutla that is spread over 240 sq kms.

But the apathy doesn't end there. As I understand, the Central Tourism ministry will only take up projects when the state tourism department sends a proposal to the center. However, Bihar's tourism department did not think that its worth taking up such a project proposal across. Amazing that no one has thought of putting together such a proposal that too for a place which had tremendous tourism potential.

Over the last 1.5 years, I have written atleast 8 times to various tourism ministers at state and center, tourism secretaries, Chief Minister, Chief Minister's secretaries, PAs, etc but have not received a response ever from anyone except from Mr. Sandeep Kumar, who is the PS to the current Tourism Minister of State. His response was  - Has the state govt sent any proposal?

Beyond that nothing. This was in September of 2011. Subsequent messages to the various people did not yield in any responses.

If this is the way the tourism department works in Bihar, then Bihar will never be able to capitalize on the tourism potential it possesses. And tourism is the 2nd most important avenue for Bihar's growth after agriculture. Do we really need bureaucrats like the current, who are inactive and cannot even take through identified projects in 4 years time. Infact the entire bureaucracy needs a revamp... It appears that most of them are not seeing my mails (so not responding) or are just ineffective or  are not doing their work. The list of people that I have written to are
Sandeep Kumar
PS to MoS - Center
Minister of Tourism - Center
Sultan Ahmed
MoS Tourism - Central
S. K. Pintu
Bihar Minister for Tourism
Tourism Secretary - Bihar
Director Tourism - Bihar
Joint Director Tourism - Bihar
Dy. Director Tourism – Bihar
Ghufran Ahmad
Assistant Director - Tourism (Bihar)
Priteshwar Prasad
Assistant Director - Tourism (Bihar)

And then follow-ups with the following

Nitish Kumar
CM of Bihar
Chief Minister's Secretary
Public Grievance Cell – Bihar
Private Secretary to CM

Snapshots of my mails are as follows:

Email 1

Prashant Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 11:33 PM
To: Tourism Minister, Sultan Ahmed, Sandeep Kumar

Dear Sirs,
I had read about an article sometime back when the erstwhile Tourism Minister of State had announced that Tutla Waterfalls will be developed as a Tourist destination and it was the Grand Canyon of India. This happened on Feb 10, 2009. I was trying to find out information on the progress of this project but could not find any further information on this , hence writing to you.

Would it be possible to get an update on the project?
Will appreciate to get any feedback on this.


Email 2

Sandeep Kumar 
Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 8:59 PM
Reply-To: Sandeep Kumar 
To: "Prashant"
Has the state govt sent any proposal?
Sent from my Nokia phone
-----Original Message-----
From: Prashant
Sent:  21/09/2011, 1:12  AM
To: Tourism Minister, Sultan Ahmed, Sandeep Kumar
Subject: Re: Tutla Water falls - Status

I was hoping to hear back on this. Do let me know.


On Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 11:33 PM, Prashant  wrote:

 Dear Sirs,
 I had read about an article sometime back when the erstwhile Tourism
 Minister of State had announced that Tutla Waterfalls will be developed as a
 Tourist destination and it was the Grand Canyon of India. This happened on
 Feb 10, 2009. I was trying to find out information on the progress of this
 project but could not find any further information on this , hence writing
 to you.

 Would it be possible to get an update on the project?

 Will appreciate to get any feedback on this.

Email 3

Prashant Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM

To: Nitish Kumar

Cc: Grievance Cell - Bihar, Private Secretary to CM
No replies from anyone.


On Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM, Prashant  wrote:
Dear Nitishji,
While I know you are very busy on getting the special status and necessary support from the center to accelerate Bihar's development, there are areas that need focus like tourism which can help continue the growth of Bihar while we wait for more industries to come.

I was very excited about the Tutla Water falls project when it was reported in Feb 2009 as it seemed to have an immense potential not only to attract foreign tourists but domestic tourists as well. However, I am dismayed to see that there was no follow up done by either the Bihar tourism ministry or Center's tourism ministry. The center was expecting a proposal from Bihar for Tutla's development and apparently that proposal has not gone. I had written a couple of mails to various people in the ministries and I did get a reply only from Sandeep Kumar (part of Center's tourism department) asking whether the Bihar government had sent across the proposal, but did not get any other response.

I think some of these areas do have a strong potential and just requires focus. Whether people reply to me or not is immaterial as long as the work continues. I wanted to bring this to your notice as it often helps drive development across Bihar.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Prashant
Date: Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 3:19 PM
Subject: Re: Tutla Water falls - Status
To:Tourism Minister – Central, Sultan Ahmed, Sandeep Kumar, S. K. Pintu, Tourism Secretary – Bihar, Director Tourism – Bihar, Joint Director Tourism – Bihar, Dy. Director Tourism – Bihar, Ghfran Ahmad (Asst Dir – Tourism, Bihar), Priteshwar (Asst Dir- Tourism, Bihar)

I haven't had a response in almost a year. Can any of you senior people respond to my query on Tutla Waterfalls please.


What can I say. The Tourism department needs to become agile and focussed. And so do the others in the bureaucracy. Otherwise Bihar will still remain the 8th or 9th state in the ranks of the number of tourists visiting Bihar, whereas it has the potential to becoming one amongst the Top 5 states.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Improvement in Services - Healthcare leads the pack

A survey carried out by A. C. Nielsen suggests that people are feeling happy with the improvement in core serivces in Bihar.  The result of the survey carried out by A. C. Nielsen states that 86% of the surveyed people are satisfied with the improvement in health facilities in Bihar. The survey, however doesn't indicate the sample size of people who were surveyed, so it is difficult to state if this is a Pan Bihar phenomenon and represents Bihar as a whole or whether this is restricted to some region or areas of Bihar. One good thing is that its carried out in rural Bihar.

Service (Improvement  in quality of service in the last 4 years)
Percentage people satisfied
Health Services
Services related to pension
Ration shops under Public Distribution System (PDS)
Grievance redressal

Thus people feel that in general there is improvement in the services in last 4 years which is a good sign that shows that development is happening and people are perceiving the developments.

This and more details can be found in the Economic Times article "Healthcare improves in Rural Bihar - Study"

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tourism Status in Bihar ( As of the End of October 2012)

The tourism data released by the Government of India at the end of October 2012 shows that the total number of tourists visiting Bihar in the 1st 10 months of this year was 1.95 crores which was about the same number of tourists that visited Bihar in the complete year 2011. This is about a 20% increase in the number of tourists that visited Bihar in 2011. However the number of foreign tourists that visited Bihar remains flat and roughly the same number of tourists will visit Bihar in 2012 as they did in 2011.

The below table represents the total number of tourists that have visited Bihar in the last 9 years and is courtesy the Tourism Website of Bihar.

Total Domestic Tourists
Total Foreign Tourists
Total Tourists
2012 (First 10 months)
2011 (Jan. TO Dec)
2010 (Jan. To Dec)
2009 (Jan. To Dec)
2008 (Jan. To Dec)
2007 (Jan. To Dec)
2006 (Jan. To Dec)
2005 (Jan. To Dec)
2004 (Jan. To Dec)

These numbers varying slightly as you see different government sites and publications but is a fairly accurate representation of the number of tourists who have visited Bihar in the last 9 years.

Further information on the 2012 data can be found in the Times of India article "1.95cr tourists visit Bihar in 10months of 2012"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rs 6000 crores siphoned off out of Rs. 8189 crores - MNREGA

Corruption was always at a high in Bihar be it in Lalu's regime or earlier regimes or even Nitish Kumar's regime. I have heard of examples where

  1. PWD officials used to go to their offices 3 - 4 times in a month. Once to collect their pay, once to sign the monthly roster and once or twice in between. Offcourse black money was asked and sought for every work that had to be awarded or every work that had to be done.
  2. Police wanting money to do anything even if it was the right thing to do including lodging one's report.
  3. 80-85% money for any scheme was siphoned off even before they reached the grass root levels where the scheme was to be implemented. The chain of corruption ran from the minister down to the BDOs and the clerks in the BDO offices.
All this combined with the inaction from Politicians in power for any development, led to the downfall of Bihar and called a BIMARU state: A state that had the potential of being the most prosperous state in India became a failed state. And then came Nitish Kumar who brought with him a lot of hope - a hope for progress and betterment of life for everyone living in Bihar. With this change of leadership at Bihar came a lot of change for Bihar:
  1. A sustained growth of more than 10% over the last 5-6 years out of 7
  2. Increasing GDP
  3. Better roads and infrastructure
  4. More prospering people and happier people
  5. More schools, more teachers and more students
  6. Bihar no longer being called a BIMARU state or a failed state
  7. A drive towards girls empowerment and
  8. An increase in the funds for development with a growing annual planned expenditure
But one thing that did not change was corruption. It was there from before and is there even today - If anything it has only grown because there is now more money to loot. And there have been on and off reports of corruption at the Bureaucratic level, the SDO level etc but we all chose to ignore it as this got overshadowed by the growth Bihar was seeing in the last 7 years (something not seen in the prior 15-25 years). However , this corruption is now eating into the growth of Bihar and more importantly hindering the growth in Bihar. The survey conducted by the Delhi based NGO "Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS)" suggests that Rs 6000 crores out of the Rs 8189 crores given against the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act)  have been siphoned off by the corrupt officials and only Rs. 2189 crores have reached the people.

Does this news come to many of us as a shock? I think the answer would be NO as most of us would agree that there is enough corruption in Bihar. But do all of us agree to allow this kind of corruption ? I would again say that the answer is NO. This corruption has to stop and steps have to be taken to stop such corruption. We have lived long enough overlooking the corruption in the last 7 years BUT NO MORE. This corruption has stop. The free hand with which Bureaucrats, officials , police and politicians are looting Bihar has to stop. This Rs 6000 crores could have immensely helped the poor people instead of going into the pockets of these people. Strict action is required against all corrupt and the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar cannot continue to treat this corruption as low priority and continue to ignore the rampant corruption in the Bureaucracy and elsewhere any more.THE CORRUPTS NEED TO BE PUNISHED. Mr CHIEF MINISTER - Please take action against all the corrupt officials, bureaucrats and politicians. People of Bihar should be above all whether its the officials, bureaucrats or the politicians.

On another note, while action is being taken against the corrupt officials, I feel that the Rs 6000 crores could be an exaggeration as the survey has focused only on the poorest of the poor and other sections of society might have benefited from the MNREGA scheme, if reports that migration to other states in search of labor jobs has reduced by more than 35-40%, have to be believed. But that said, even if the amount siphoned off is lower, it in no way reduces the gravity of the situation. THE CORRUPTS HAVE TO BE PUNISHED.

This change has to be brought in Bihar.... Period!!!

The details on the MNREGA corruption is courtesy The Times of India article "Rs. 6000 cr MNREGA funds siphoned off in Bihar?"

Bihar Progress Report 2012

The 7th annual progress report of Bihar was released by Chief Minister,  Mr. Nitish Kumar on the 24th of November 2012. I am attaching the hindi version of the report here for everyone's reference. I have also asked for the English version and will post it once I get it. I will also post my views on the report shortly.

The link is also present on my main blog page at Progressive Bihar

Adventure tourism at Valmiki tiger reserve

The state government of Bihar plans to develop the Valmiki Tiger reserve as a place for adventure tourism where people can indulge in boating, rafting and mountaineering. There would be entrances built at Madanpur, Goberdhana and Manguraha. Rest houses will also be built for visiting tourists.

Besides adventure tourism including sightseeing, one key historical place which can become a major tourism attaction in this area is the Valmiki Ashram which is located in the Chitwan National Park, Nepal. One can reach the Valmiki ashram through the Valmiki Tourism Reserve.  This ashram is the home of Valmiki who wrote the epic Ramayan and is also believed to be the place where Goddess Sita had taken shelter after being renounced by God Ram. Luv and Kush were also born here.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "Bihar Govt plans adventure sports at Valmiki Tiger Reserve".

While this is a good and welcome move, I am skeptical of the plan taking shape and adventure tourism actually starting at this place. This is based on my experience with the Bihar government's earlier examples of announcing tourism options and then doing nothing about it. Case in point is the Tutla Waterfalls and I will write about it in one of my subsequent posts.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tie up with Mauritius tour operators to visit Bihar

Many people from Mauritius , who are of Indian origin, have their roots in Bihar. A majority of these people want to come to Bihar to explore their roots, at least once in their lifetime. Thus it is befitting that the Bihar government has signed a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Association of Tour Operators (ATO), from Mauritius to launch tour packages which will allow all such people to visit Bihar in a more structured way to explore their roots... and the program is aptly named as "Discover Your Roots".

I think the Bihar government should sign a similar MOU with Suriname, Fiji and Trinidad & Tobago which also have a significant Indian population that come from Bihar.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "Memorandum of Understanding with Tour Operators of Mauritius"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Astro Tourism Circuit

The Bihar government plans to develop Khagual, Taregna and Taregna Top as a astro-tourism circuit, These are historical locations, where renowned astronomer and mathematician Aryabhata conducted astronomical studies. Aryabhata, who was born in 476 AD , also wrote the monumental work "Aryabhatiyam" at the age of 23.

Aryabhata has also been credited for inventing "zero" and giving it a place within the numerical systems besides approximating the value of Pi (π).

The state's science and technology department has decided to develop these three places as centers of tourism attraction highlighting the life and work of Aryabhata. These centres would showcase Aryabhata's concepts and models.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "Government to develop Astro Tourism Circuit"

More details about the number zero can be got from the article "History of Zero"

Go see Patna Museum this Diwali

The Patna museum, which is 84 years old,  is undergoing renovation and will have new galleries and lighting systems that will be of international standards.

It will also house an exhibition gallery where local artists could exhibit their art. Besides this there would be a modern cafeteria , better lavatories and a  museum shop for souvenirs.  It should be worth a visit to the museum and hopefully becomes a tourist destination for tourists from outside the state, bringing in more job opportunities for the local people.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "This Diwali Patna Museum to get a new look"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Some high level financial statistics for BIhar.

  1. Plan expenditure leapfrogged from Rs. 4000 crore in 2004-05 to Rs. 24,000 crore in 2011-12
  2. Average annual GSDP (Gross State Domestice Product) grew from 4.42% between 1999-2000 and 2004-05 to 11.36% between 2004-05 and 2010-11.
  3. Bihar's GSDP is now larger than that of Punjab
  4. Bihar's per capita income is one-third or the national average and one-seventh of New Delhi
As per some report I had seen though, If Bihar was a country on its own, then the per capita income of Bihar would have been the 3rd lowest in the world... Something still very worrisome and needing to be fixed surely and quickly.

Monday, September 10, 2012

40% reduction in worker's migration from Bihar

This is one piece of great news that I read in the Times of India today. As per the labor resources department minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal, the migration of unskilled workers from from Bihar to other states has fallen by around 35-40% compared to what it was in 2005.

Two years back this percentage was 30%. Hence there is definitely more for the unskilled people to do in Bihar than it was even two years back confirming the fact that the opportunities in Bihar are increasing at least in the unskilled worker's category. These are the people who have lately been the bone of contention in many places like Maharashtra and Punjab. Punjab's bicycle industry is already bearing the brunt of the shortage of workers who are preferring to stay back in Bihar. Even incentive like free mobile phones, bicycles and increase in salaries from Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 6,000 is not motivating these workers to go to Punjab. As a result around 5000 bicycle units in Punjab are facing a 50% shortage of workers. Soon industries in other states would also start suffering when they face such shortage too as the number of migrant Bihari workers reduce.

Well done Nitish and the whole team.. Well done Bihar.

More details can be found in the Times of India article "40% drop in workers' migration"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why are there more crimes these days

Only a few months back, last year, we were all happy that the crime situation in Bihar had significantly improved and we had very few crimes in Bihar. But in the last few months there are so many news articles about rapes in Bihar. What is happening. Are the people in Bihar , riding on the growing prosperity wave, getting more frugal and indulging in things like rape. Is prosperity changing the mental attitude of people? Or is it that media is better represented in Bihar now more than ever before and therefore many things which did not make news before have started making news now... Or is there a breakdown in the law enforcement mechanism in Bihar resulting in more crimes happening.

Or is there some other reason which I am not thinking of. In any of the cases , the government has to start thinking and reacting quickly to remedy the situation otherwise whatever edge, goodwill and trust that they have gained from people will quickly evaporate if the situation does not improve at the earliest.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Coal linkage for Barauni Thermal power plant - 500MW of power

Nitish Kumar, after following up for years to get coal linkages from the Government of India, has finally managed to get his first victory in this area, albeit a small one : He has managed to get coal linkages for two 250 MW power plants in Barauni.These state run power plants are expected to be up and running by July 2014 and will add 500 MW of power for the state.

This is a good win for Bihar even though it came after a long drawn campaign and possibly in return for supporting the the President/Vice President elections in India. People are debating and agruing about it all over the web, but at the end of the day , it is Bihar and the people living in Bihar who will benefit by this coal linkage. Kudos to Nitish Kumar for maneuvering through it.

More details can be found in the Times of India article " Nitish Kumar gets coal supply for Bihar plant with PM's help"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bihar's GDP 2011-12

At the beginning of June, the data on GDP for the year 2011-12 was out. Once again Bihar was the fastest growing state in terms of GDP. Bihar grew at 13.13 % based on constant (2004-05) prices.

Congratulations are in order for everyone who is making this possible. This is great news  because this growth is more due to inclusive growth i.e. growth due to government spending on infrastructure, law and order, etc and not reliant on the corporate world. What this means is that the current growth will not be so much affected by the economic situation in the corporate world. At the same time, Bihar's GDP will get an impetus if and when the corporate world starts getting into Bihar in a big way. Hence hopefully the Bihar GDP growth story will continue to grow.

The Top 5 GDP growth states for 2011-2012 were

2011-12 GDP growth percentage

With this growth, Bihar's GDP is now larger than Punjab and is the 13th largest state in terms of GDP in India. Even though Bihar's GDP is now larger than Punjab, we still have a long way to go: The per capita income of Bihar is much lower than that of Punjab.

Anyway, its good to see that Bihar's GDP is continuing on a growth path. As per some analyst that I read, if Bihar continues on this growth path for the next 15 years, it will definitely become a prosperous state. Bihar's GDP from 2004-05 until 2011-12 is as follows:

Bihar's GDP
Percent growth over previous year


I am sharing the GDP data of various states and union territories in India. The GDP for all the states and union territories at constant (2004-05) prices for the year 2011-12 are as follows:

2011-12 (in INR Crores)
(2010-11 : 775,020)
Tamil Nadu
Uttar Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
(2010-11 : 365,295)
West Bengal
 (2010-11 : 204,398)
Madhya Pradesh
 (2010-11 : 182,647)
Himachal Pradesh
Jammu and Kashmir
(2010-11: 15,754)
Arunachal Pradesh
(2010-11 : 4,557)
(2010-11: 3,642)
Andaman and Nicobar Islands

If anyone wants more details of all the states GDP, historic data from 2004-05 then the details can be found at GDP of Indian States (2011-12)

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