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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Radio for education

Bihar government is thinking of using the radio to reach out to the poor people of Bihar and educating them about the importance of literacy, sanitation and kicking bad habits like consuming alcohol and tobacco.

At the outset it is a good media option as many of the people hear radios in Bihar. However, will they listen to someone talking rather than listen to someone singing. The programs have to be made interesting enough for the people to listen to them and I am sure the people working on this plan will figure out a way to use the tool effectively. And even if it has some impact on the people , then the effort will be worth it.

Finally, this shows that more and more people are thinking of ways to improve the situation in Bihar in some way or the other and this is definitely good news.

More details about this news can be read in The Economic Times article "Reaching out to Bihar's poorest, via radio"


Prashant
progressivebihar.blogspot.com


An interesting take on Nitish and Bihar

I came across an interesting article in Times of India which is a take on Nitish Kumar and Bihar in a way. Its a long read and most of us know about the things discussed, but is a good read if someone has the time.

The last paragraph is interesting. Shaibal Gupta of ADRI has said that if Bihar continues to grow at double digits every year, it will take 18 years for Bihar to catch up with Maharashtra.

The article can be read at "From darkest India, an enlightened leader"

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bihar's plan outlay - 28,000 Crores

Bihar's plan outlay has been enhanced from R. 24,000 Crores to Rs. 28,000 Crores. Many will be surprised to hear that the plan outlay has grown more than 10 times in the last 11 years. The plan outlay for Bihar in 2001 was Rs. 2,644 Crores.

More details can be found in the Zee News article Bihar's plan size to be hiked to Rs 28,000 crore

Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1980 MW Thermal Power Plant @ Shivanpur in Aurangabad.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar laid the foundation stone for a 1980 MW capacity Thermal Plant at Shivanpur in Aurangabad on the 28th of January 2012. The power plant is being constructed by Nabinagar Power Generating Company Pvt. Ltd , a joint venture between NTPC and Bihar State Electricity Board. Salient features of this power plant are:

  1. The power plan is being contructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 12,965 crores.
  2. It will have 3 units of 660MW each in the first phase.
  3. Two more units of 660MW each will be constructed in the subsequent phases.
  4. The first phase is likely to be commissioned by 2015.
  5. Total land required for the project is 2,833 acres out of which 1,872 acres is private land.
  6. Farmers whose land has been acquired will get a compensation at the rate of Rs. 21 lakh per acre.
  7. Bihar will get 70% of the power generated by this power plant.
I think its a good step toward improving the electricity situation in Bihar and attracting more industries. I hope that the power plant doesn't face any delays and hickups that we are used to seeing in such large projects. We should also look at kick starting more power projects that can be completed faster so that Bihar can quickly fulfill the shortfall of electricity that it currently faces.

This Power project was first approved in early 2010 and the central government had also approved coal linkages in March 2010 (Coal linkage for two 660Mega Watts plants). However it has taken almost 2 years after clearing the coal linkages to move ahead on this project. The main hurdles on the way was getting a central government approval to use the water from Ganga for the power plant and the second hurdle was land acquisition.

Overall a good step in the right direction. More details about the Thermal power plant can be found in the Times of India article - Bihar big leap towards ‘power

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Small but steady steps for a Green Revolution in Bihar

It is not the state government alone that can usher in prosperity and development within the state. Once the government has laid the foundation of a better administration and sense of security, many people can contribute in the state's growth. And some of the steps taken by farmers signal signs of a green revolution that could come to Bihar. With Bihar being  predominantly an agricultural economy , it would be good to have a fresh green revolution in Bihar.

Some of the recent achievements in the agricultural space that I have come across and  which will make many people happy are

  1. Sumant Kumar of Nalanda district created a new world record in paddy cultivation  . He had a bumper yield of 224 quintal per hectare which was enough to break the world record set by a Chinese farm scientist Yuan Longping. Sumant's four other friends , Krishna Kumar, Nitish Kumar, Ramanand Singh and Sanjay Kumar also had extraordinary produce. They used an unconventional way of paddy plantation called "System of Rice Intensification (SRI)"
  2. Jyoti Manjhi from Gaya had first popularised this technique of SRI in Bihar by cultivating paddy on barren land.
  3. Manoj Kumar of Muzaffarpur motivated farmers in and around his village Mustafaganj to embrace organic farming and use vermi-compost on a large scale. 
  4. Villagers in Mustafaganj also have started planting 10 saplings of Semel (silk cotton trees) to meet the expenses of the wedding of their daughters in future.
  5. Similarly in Dharhara village of Bhagalpur, villagers have for long, been planting fruit trees on the birth of every girl.
  6. Sudhanshu Kumar from Samastipur was awarded the "Best Mango Grower Award" last year
  7. Samriddhii - that aims to redesign the Vegetable supply chain in Bihar specially for the marginalized vegetable and fruit grower farmers of Bihar
For an all round development of Bihar, we need progress in all areas and agriculture is one area that will have the impact on majority of the people. Thus the above achievements definitely are something that will make all of us proud.

Sources for the above data

Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More 5 star hotels in Bihar

A sign of prosperity is that people have more money , are willing to spend more money and are not scared by the law and order situation to spend money. And this is definitely a case when one sees applications for starting 5 star hotels in Bihar. In the recent times there have been applications for atleast 6 Five Star Hotels in Bihar that have got approved.




Sr. No.
Location
Proposed Infrastructure
Company
1
Patna
Five Star Hotel
M/s Shirti Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.
2
Patna
Five Star Hotel
M/s Amit Metaliks Ltd
3
Exhibition Road, Patna
Five Star Hotel
M/s Kumar Infratrade Enterprises Pvt. Ltd
4
Patliputra, Patna
Five Star Hotel cum shopping complex and IT Park
M/s Recon.
5
Budh Marg, Patna
Five Star Hotel
M/s Meridian Budha Hotels
6
Patliputra, Patna
Five Star Hotel
M/s MV Hotels & Projects Pvt. Ltd


 Similarly there are projects for building resorts primarily around Bodh Gaya.


Sr. No.
Location
Proposed Infrastructure
Company
1
Bodh Gaya
International Tourist Resort & Golf Course
M/s Shirti Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd.
2
Bodh Gaya
Resort
M/s P & M Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd
3
Patna
Resort, Water Park and Education Development
M/s Bajaj Buildcon Pvt. Ltd.
4
Bodh Gaya
Three Star Hotel cum Resort
M/s Yatri Bihar Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.


Besides this there are other smaller projects for Hotels, Restaurants, etc that are being actively considered by the administration or have already been approved.


Thus, all this signals a faith in the government and lesser scare from Politicians / Goons, etc. This is again a great news because it has the potential to improve the image that many Indians still have about Bihar.


These source of these projects are the projects clearance list on the Government of Bihar website.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Republic Day

Wishing everyone a Very Happy Republic Day

Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com

Is Bihar one of the least corrupt States in India?

Atleast that's what two economists Bibek Debroy and Laveesh Bhandari think. They  have concluded that Bihar is now the least corrupt state in India, in their just released book "Corruption in India" The DNA and the RNA. As per them corruption has taken over India , which most of us will agree with. However they also conclude that Bihar - once that bastion of graft - is now "the least corrupt state" in India.


They attribute this to one simple ingredient - Political Will. This and a lot more is captured in the an article "The Battle for Bihar" published in Foreignpolicy.com  by Sudip Mazumdar. This article looks at the corruption scenario across Bihar. Some of the quotes by people included in the article are
  1. Anti-corruption crusader Anjali Bhardwaj of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information states"  Nitish Kumar has shown that with a clean image and strong political will, one can bring about steady improvement in the life of citizens. He strengthens democracy and stands out among all the other politicians in India."
  2. Pradeep Arya, a prominent businessman who regularly deals with Bihar government agencies states "  "Nitish Kumar, unlike other politicians, does not only talk, but acts on his promises"
  3. Bill Gates endorsed Nitish Kumar's reforms by saying " The great works being done here are lessons for other places in the world"
Sudip has also thrown in some recent statistics about Bihar which are an interesting read:
  1. Bihar boasts the fastest growth rate of India's 28 states
  2. Economy expanding at an astonishing rate of over 14 percent , far ahead of the national average of about 7.5 percent
  3. 66,000 criminals have been convicted in the past 6 years for crimes ranging from murder and kidnapping to stealing public funds. All convicts are barred from getting government contracts.
  4. 20 officials, including a former state police chief, have been caught in cases of having "ill-gotten" properties.
  5. Bihar government built 2400 km of road in 2011, compared to 415 km in 2004.
  6. Bihar administration has opened 15,000 schools
  7. Bihar has filled doctors in 60 - odd government hospitals and over 800 primary health-care centers in rural areas.
  8. Bihar's implementation of Right to Service Act (defining timelines for providing 50 essential services to people)
  9. Bihar's Lokayukta act that gives a five-member ombudsman panel broad powers to investigate and prosecute all government functionaries, including the Chief Minister .
The conclusions by Bibek and Lavish are very thought provoking and its a good sign that corruption in reducing in Bihar. It might be a fact that there is still a lot of corruption in Bihar but we are seeing the wheel turn and atleast 2 economists stand out when they say that Bihar is the least corrupt state in India.  


Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com


Sunday, January 15, 2012

License for Power Distribution

Essar Power has applied for a license to distribute power in Bihar. Will this improve the power availability in Bihar?

I feel it will definitely improve the situation because there would be more accountability and penalization that can be done with a private company as compared to what can be done with Bihar State Electricity Board. I am sure there have been improvements made by BSEB over the last few years and getting private players into the picture will only further improve things. So allowing Essar or a suitable private player to distribute power with necessary controls in place would be a good thing.

Details about Essar Power trying to enter power distribution can be found in the Economic Times article "Essar Power plans foray into distribution business"

Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jalalgarh Fort in Purnia to be restored

Another tourist destination in Bihar is on the anvil of being revived. The Jalalgarh Fort in Purnia which is currently in ruins will be restored to its erstwhile glory.

The Jalalgarh Fort, built by Saiyad Muhammed Jalaluddin Khan, is a large quadrangular structure with lofty walls and is situated about 20 KMs from Purnia.

This is another good step. However, I hope that the project is successfully implemented. About 2 years back the Central Minister for Tourism had announced that Tutla waterfalls in Rohtas will be developed as the Grand Canyon of India. After that there has been no news about it . Even after follow ups with the current Tourism Minister and Dy Tourism Minister at the Center, their PAs, the Tourism Secretary of Bihar and others , I have not received any updated on the progress of Tutla Waterfalls. Hopefully Jalalgarh will not face the same fate.

More details about the news can be found in the Zee News article "Bihar: Jalalgarh fort to be restored"


Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com

Monday, January 9, 2012

50 Lakh trees - An Innovative approach

I came across an interesting article which I felt like sharing with everyone.

The ruling JD(U) has made planting a sapling and nurturing it a prerequisite for anyone hoping to join the party. The person has not only got to plant the sapling but also provide a photographic proof that the sapling has been planted to the members of the Harit Bihar Abhiyan committee. The committee will not only provide a unique number to all the saplings planted but also visit the tree at some point or the other to verify if its being well taken care of. It is indeed a novell way of driving a green initiative in Bihar.

JD(U) hopes to enroll 50 lakh new members in the next 2 years and if the green plan of it works, Bihar will have an additional 50 lakh trees planted over the next 2 years. Howzzat!!!

More details can be read in the Indian Express news article "The Green Thumbs".

Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com

Sunday, January 8, 2012

China, Taiwan & Japan pledge support for Tourism Development

China, Taiwan & Japan have pledged more than Rs. 200 Crores of support for developing tourism infrastructure in Bihar. The Bihar goverment, which is already preparing to transform Bihar into a world-class destination for religious and historical tourism, will gain from these investments.

Taiwan has committed to investing Rs. 100 crores in restoring tourist sites in two locations - Betiyah and Nandangarh which are part of the Buddha trail. Similarly China has proposed an equal investment for the Center of higher learning being built at Nalanda. And Japan will support other projects like infrastructure, roads and education in Bihar.

Bihar has a great heritage of being the birth place of Buddhism and Jainism besides being the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh and Goddess Sita and if developed well, Bihar can become a major global tourist location.

These and other more details can be found in the Economic Times article Bihar to take tourism development as countries promise funds


Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tourism in Bihar - The current situation.

It would not surprise many if someone said that only 63,321 foreign tourists had visited Bihar in 2005. Most would have reacted  that they were surprised that even so many foreign tourist had actually visited Bihar if this question was asked of any one in 2006. In fact giving the situation and picture painted of Bihar in those days,  the reaction would not have not been very off the mark.

Fast forward to 2008, a total of 3,45,572 foreign tourists visited Bihar, i.e. about 5 and half times more in just 3 years time. Now as the Business Line has reported, 5,27,773 foreign tourists have visited Bihar in the first 11 months of 2011. Thus the growth in foreign tourists visiting Bihar has been about 9 times as compared to the number of tourists in 2005.

In 2005 the number of foreign tourists visiting Bihar was only second to Goa; come 2011 and  Bihar has the highest number of foreign tourists visiting any state in India. A total of 1,27, 05, 531 domestic tourists also visited Bihar even though many would have been Biharis returning back to see their state and their people. But then it is good, that the changes in Bihar are prompting many Biharis and other Indians who seldomly came  to Bihar before are now coming or returning back more often.

Quite a feat, don't you  think so, for a state which  not too long ago , was considered by many as a stigma on the face of India! 

It gives immense pleasure to present these statistics on my blog as Bihar is again and again now proving wrong many of its detractors and more so taking large strides towards prosperity.

Many of us would outright vouch that Bihar has a huge potential for tourism growth and the above data really justifies it. However there is still a lot more possible and what is required is to continue building better infrastructure and highlighting the tourism potential of Bihar both in India and abroad. I think that government is working in the right direction with the various infrastructure initiatives and promotional activities like "Discover Bihar" that are being carried out. However for the faster growth of tourism in Bihar more private participation is required.

I was happy to hear about the Digital museums being promoted in Nalanda and Gaya by a few entrepreneurs which can be seen in this NDTV article on Youtube. There must be many more that I have not heard of or just not come across and I think there is many more that will come. It is the destiny of Bihar and Bihar will prosper.

More details about the current statistics can be found in the Business Line article "Bihar woos visitors with eco tourist spots". Details of the earlier stats can be found in my blog post "Tourism Picking up in Bihar"

Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com 

First Major MNC to arrive in Bihar

Molson-Coors-Cobra will be the first major MNC brand of products to be made in Bihar. Lord Karan Bilimoria - a member of the British House of Lords and President of the Indo-UK business council has decided to setup the first brewery of the Molson-Coors-Corba brand of beer in the outskirts of Patna. The fact that the beer market in Bihar has grown from 700,000 cases per year, five years back, to 7 million cases per year, combined with the improved law and order has brought these brands of beer to Bihar.

While beer might not have been the best thing to come to Bihar, it has a silver lining. Other industrial houses who have been sitting on the brink and hesitating to invest in Bihar would be more willing and forthcoming to take this step if Molson-Coors-Cobra brand of beers are manufactured in Bihar. This will give out the right signal to others to seriously consider investing in Bihar.

Hence I am hoping for more larger and strategic investments reaching Bihar in the shorter term.

More details on this article can be found in the Hindustan Times article Brisk beer sale inspires Bilimoria to set up brewery in Bihar


Prashant
www.progressivebihar.com

Friday, January 6, 2012

Discover Bihar - A roadshow to promote Bihar as a tourism destination

Finally a good step is being taken to promote Bihar as a tourist destination within India. The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation is organizing a series of  roadshows in 10 cities across India. These cities include
  • Hyderabad
  • New Delhi
  • Kolkata
  • Chennai
  • Bangalore
  • Guwahati
  • Mumbai
  • Jaipur and
  • Ahmedabad
The 'Discover Bihar' event features a folk dance recital by a cultural troupe from Bihar and the locations likely to be promoted are Sonepur, Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Vaishali, Sesaram, Rajgir and Gaya.

More details can be found in the Times of India article - ‘Discover Bihar’ road show today

Prashant (http://www.progressivebihar.com/)




Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gates Vaccine Innovation Award for Nitish Kumar

The Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation will award Bihar Chief Minister the first Gates Vaccine Innovation Award. The Bill Gates and Melinda Foundation has accepted a proposal to confer the Gates Innovation Award on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for the first Gates Vaccine Innovation Award.


The award will come at a time when immunization programs in Bihar have greatly improved in the recent times and no polio cases were reported in Bihar in the last 15 months.

Great Work Nitish ji and kudos to your team that made this happen.

More details can be found in the Indiawest article Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to Receive Gates Foundation's Innovation Award.


Starting New Year 2012

A Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2012 to everyone.

I thought the best way to start the new year is by writing about the person who is one of the primary reasons why we all talk and discuss about Bihar - Nitish Kumar and then posting an interview given by him on the 1st of Jan this year.

A little about Nitish Kumar

Name

:

Nitish Kumar

Nick Name

:

Munna

Father’s Name

:

Late Shri Kaviraj Ram Lakhan Singh

Mother’s Name

:

Late Smt. Parmeshwari Devi

Spouse’s Name

:

Late Smt. Manju Kumari Sinha

Date of Birth

:

1st March, 1951

Place of Birth

:

Bakhtiarpur, District – Patna, State – Bihar

Marital Status

:

Married

Date of Marriage

:

22nd February 1973

No of Children

:

One

Education

:

B. Sc. (Engineering)

College

:

Bihar College of Engineering, Patna, Bihar

Others

:

Teetotaler , does not drink or smoke

Key Roles

27/5/2000 to 20/3/2001

:

Union Cabinet Minister, Agrculture

20/3/2001 to 21/7/2001

:

Union Cabinet Minister , Agriculture with additional charge of Raiways

21/7/2001 to 21/5/2004

:

Union Cabinet Minister, Railways

3/3/2000 to 10/3/2000

:

Chief Minister of Bihar

24/11/2005 to 24/11/2010

:

Chief Minister of Bihar

26/11/2010 to date

:

Chief Minister of Bihar



I am pasting the interview given by Nitish Kumar to Times of India. Happy Reading

----------------------------------------Interview-----------------------------------------

Q. Your clean image and popularity is rare for CMs from Bihar. Many now say they hope to see you as PM some day.
I have no interest in moving out (from Bihar) to Delhi, and do not even dream of becoming PM. I am satisfied serving the people of my state. `` Bihar ki seva, desh ki seva hai (The service of Bihar is service of the country). I am a grassroot socio-political worker and my feet are firmly on the ground.
 
Q. Are you satisfied with the performance of your administration?
I am a hard task master, not easy to please. And there is so much to work upon still that the day I say I am satisfied, work will come to a standstill.

Q. What was the biggest challenge that you faced when you took over as CM?
When I took over six years back, Bihar was a lawless state and nothing seemed to move. But I succeeded in establishing the rule of law and people are witness to this enormous change. Problems were aplenty but resources limited. We had to work against many odds, the toughest being the law and order situation.

Q. Bihar is still grappling power shortage and lack of foreign investment . How do you plan to address them?
We are doing our bit to to create a favourable atmosphere that will bring in big industries soon. Labour migration has been checked. When power generation starts, they (industry) will be attracted. If the Centre accords us special category status, there will be a network of industries in Bihar and investments will flow. We have already changed it from deindustrialization to reindustrialization . We have turned a `Bimaru' state into a healthy state but the medicine for sound health is with the Centre.

Q. What are the dreams for Bihar that remain unfulfilled ?
If dreams are fulfilled, people will stop dreaming. I have many: improved connectivity between every corner of the state with Patna; to see students and scholars coming back to the old centre of learning, Nalanda, and I dream of the revival of the old glory of Bihar.

Q. What would you have been if not a politician?
I took an engineering degree and joined the State Electricity Board, but almost halfheartedly. My first day in the office was the last. The political life always interested me. I am not in politics by fluke.
 
Courtsey - Times of India's article I dream of the old glory days of Bihar and Bihar Government's official website

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