Bihar’s great leap forward

by Shelton on September 24th, 2015

filed under Student Credit Cards

How we plan to continue my state’s transformation by developing its social sector

Home to about 17% of the world’s population, India has witnessed commendable transformations since Independence.

Agricultural revolution transformed us from being chronic importers of grain to net exporters; per capita incomes increased significantly and gave birth to a sizeable middle class; life expectancy doubled; literacy saw a fourfold improvement. We suddenly became home to globally recognised corporations in the areas of pharmaceuticals, IT, automobiles, etc., and increasingly found a voice in international politics commensurate with our size and population.

However, growth in our social sector has not necessarily kept pace with our economic growth. The last two decades especially have seen this gap widen and there is an urgent need to bridge it. A disconcerting issue is while our per capita incomes have increased substantially over the last two decades, more than half our population continues to struggle for basic amenities in life. Twenty crore Indians are yet to see electricity in their homes; only 30% of rural households have access to piped water; and 65% of small villages do not have access to all-weather roads nearby.

This narrative is lent further complexity and challenge when we realise that within India itself regional records are so varied, and there exist states who have seen significant rewards accrue out of their concerted efforts towards social sector spending. We are all witness to the exemplary growth that Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh have demonstrated.

By pursuing aggressive social policies in areas of education, health, and by making resolute efforts towards putting in extensive social infrastructure such as roads, drinking water, sanitation, and more, these states have found a place as leaders in HDI and quality of life in the country. Furthermore, social development in these states is only adding to the robustness of their economic growth.

In the last 10 years, Bihar too has witnessed unprecedented all-round growth and prosperity. After decades, the conversation about the state has acquired a positive tone and tenor. A stable foundation has been laid on which a brighter and prosperous future of Bihar awaits to be built.

Driven by the ideal of ‘development with justice’, my government has focussed on ensuring governance, rule of law and effective delivery of basic services. Bihar has outperformed the country on most socioeconomic indicators, at 17.99%, decadal GSDP (gross state domestic product) growth rate has been at an all-time high.

Per capita income has grown, so has agricultural, industry and service sector GSDP. There has been a fourfold increase in power supply. More than 36,000 of our 40,000 villages are now almost completely electrified. Bihar’s road network has doubled over the past decade. The state has achieved enrollment ratios of 99% in schools and immunisation rates of up to 60%.

We have brought down infant mortality at a rate faster than the national average.

I feel the time is now opportune to trigger new interventions that will usher in the next level of development in Bihar. ‘Nitish Nishchay – Viksit Bihar ke 7 Sutra’ will create better opportunities for youth of the state and secure their future, further empower our women, and build social infrastructure to provide universal access to basic amenities for each and every citizen of the state.

The following is a brief summary.

By creating more opportunities and improving employability of our youth, Aarthik Hal, Yuvaon ko Bal will secure the futures of the crores of youth of Bihar and make them self-sufficient. The scheme will provide unemployment allowance for all between the ages of 20 and 25 to the tune of Rs 1,000 per month which can be availed twice, for a period of nine months. The state will guarantee student loans for anyone who has passed class 12 by way of Student Credit Cards. It will also include a Rs 500 crore venture capital fund for entrepreneurs, free Wi-Fi and internet service for all colleges and universities and a hi-tech employment exchange in each district where 1.5 crore youth would also be trained in languages, communication skills and computer literacy.

To further the objective of women empowerment and to make them more self-reliant, 35% of all state government jobs would be reserved for women under Aarakshit Rozgar, Mahilaon ko Adhikar.

And with Har Ghar Bijli, Lagatar no one will live in darkness any more as remaining villages and habitations will be electrified in two years. To secure clean drinking water for every citizen of Bihar, Har Ghar Nal ka Jal will make piped water available to all homes. All weather roads will reach each and every doorstep under Ghar Tak Pakki Gali-Naaliyan.

To make Bihar healthy, hygienic and free from open defecation, Shauchalay Nirmaan, Ghar ka Sammaan will ensure that each household will be equipped with a toilet and afford dignity to women and their families. Avsar Badhe, Aage Padhein will expand opportunities for technical and higher education within Bihar.

From current estimates and future projection Bihar will have more than Rs 4 lakh crore in internal resources for planned expenditure, out of which Rs 2.7 lakh crore will be earmarked for these initiatives should the public bless me with the mandate. It is my belief that Nitish Nishchay will afford people the basic facilities important for a good quality of life and create conditions that would truly result in sustainable and inclusive growth.

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