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.

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"

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