For many, the news of Bihar’s remarkable turnaround growth of 11.3%, second highest in the country has come as a big surprise. Surprising as it may sound, it was expected growth for those who have been following the plethora of slow but steady fundamental changes which Bihar economy has been undergoing over the past few years. Undoubtedly, the leadership of the state deserves all the due credit and the much maligned bureaucracy also needs to be appreciated for the remarkable turnaround.
The latest CSO data shows that in the five-year period between 2004-05 and 2008-09, Bihar’s GDP has grown by a stunning 11.03%.In this period, Bihar – traditionally a laggard state that actually saw a 5.15% negative growth in 2003-04 – is the second fastest growing state, just a shade behind Gujarat’s well-publicized growth of 11.05%. Last 3 years the growth has been at around 17-18%.
In my view, this is just tipping point of the much awaited change and thankfully the state didn’t miss its last chance to make up for the colossal losses of the past. Bihar’s GDP in real numbers is still one of the lowest in the country and there is much effort needed to give the state its due which has been denied so far. The growth has been primarily fuelled by reinstating basic governance model in place and considerable effort of the current administration has been towards doing damage control of the past. The state would have done much better if it hadn’t been for the natural calamities and half hearted support from the central govt for few of its critical projects.
India Today reported on the some of the highs of the year for Bihar.
· Bihar initiative of reserving 50 % seats for women in Panchayat Raj Institutions and local bodies was adopted by the country.
· A large number of companies and private institutions reached Bihar.
· Bihar registered a quantum leap in tourism sector. Bihar Administrative Reforms Mission Society Constituted.
· Bihar’s percentage per capita growth of 12.07 per cent is not much behind the all India per capita growth rate of 12.73 per cent.
· According to Bihar economic survey for 2008-09, State has registered impressive growth trends in three sectors in the state – construction (21.53%), communications (16.01%) and trade, hotels and restaurants (12.03%).
· Among all States and union territories, Bihar with a crime rate of 118 stood at 28th position in the country.
· In the education sector Bihar remained a viable centre for quality learning, as the already functional branches of Indian Institute of Technology, Chanakya Law University and Chandragupta Institute of Management-which were established during the earlier years- continued to draw top talents.
· Besides, a panel led by Nobel laureate Amartya Sena is also in the process of setting up an international university at Nalanda. Process is underway to accord the status of central university to Rajendra Agriculture University.