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Bihar- looking for a resurgence



Bihar- looking for a resurgence

Tanveer Ahmed। Bihar , a land locked state in the east of our country is today considered one of the poorer states of India . But , for the longest time it remained the nerve centre of India and was its political and cultural capital. Perhaps no other state or for that matter place can boast of being the birth place of two major religions of the world. Inspite of having lost its economic clout in modern times , Bihar remains the nerve centre of Politics even in our times . It is from here that Gandhiji started his famous satyagraha which eventually showed a grateful nation path to its independence . Many a great politicians have shaped the destiny of our nation from Bihar .

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However , we have to live in the present to solve our problems at hand . Why hasn’t the Bihar story moved ahead while many poorer states have performed better over the last 70 years ? Why has being a Bihari become a cuss word that expats try to hide their identities until very recently ? The story of modern Bihar gives us a lot to learn and improve. It starts in pre-independence era. British policy of Zamindari system and permanent settlement made Bihar one of the poorer states even before independence. Per capita income of Bihar(& Odisha) in the year 1927-28 was very low at Rs75 when compared to the figure of Bombay which stood at Rs 400. Zamindari system also gave Bihar the curse of deep caste based hatred among people which collectively pulled the state downwards . Abolition of zamindari itself wasn’t well implemented after independence.

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Another problem that plagued our growth was lack of political stability .Bihar saw 40 change of hands in its governance in 70 years ! Political stability is often directly linked to stability and in turn growth , something that people of Bihar acutely missed. But perhaps one thing that hit Bihar equally if not much more than its political instability was Freight Equilisation policy by Government of India .This meant that prices of essential goods would remain same in whole of the country irrespective of transportation costs. This meant that Bihar didn’t get much favourable benefit from being a mineral rich state while at the same time facing ‘ resource curse ’.

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Bihar , inspite of being a political heavy weight saw massive under investment for perhaps the longest time and unlike several states like Maharastra and Tamil Nadu never saw any emergence of sub-nationalism towards home state by Union ministers of Bihar origin who could have brought big projects to their own state. Basically , we were hit by one tragedy after another!

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Nevertheless , for last few years Bihar has seen a sense of stability and relative order. What it however needs is massive investment in industry and infrastructure and technological improvement for its predominant agricultural society which has one of the lowest productivities in the whole world due to subsistence nature of agriculture. Bihar waits for a leadership which can join hands with its massively outgrown expat community to bring in investment and turn the tide of an eagerly waiting state to reclaim their once glorious standing in the country . The leadership should promise to its investors a transparent and fast moving system where they have a stability in policies to look forward to and where they can work without any fear . A promise to be a facilitator they all need and a perfect guide that the people of Bihar ,rich and poor , urban and rural await . Bihar doesn’t awaits any messiah , it just awaits its leader to reclaim Bihar for the Biharis.

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