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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bihar’s development sans Corporatization

Heavy investment in tertiary sector is being made by the by the Bihar government. Construction of roads, bridges, school buildings, government office buildings, hospital building, sewerage etc. is in full swing. Trade & commerce is gradually picking up. There is good growth in service & Telecomm sector, Hotel & infrastructure for tourism are being constructed in many tourist spots [All these combined together has taken growth rate to 6 percent (at constant price) since 2005. The number of mobile users has increased. Construction of apartments at all almost every corner of the capital is a proof that money is flowing in the market. Shopping mauls and beautiful parks reflect growing economy. Pub culture is becoming part of life.

The vital question is will this model of development sustain the whole society with a population of over 10 crore? This is to be seriously pondered. For millions of Biharis, hunger is routine, malnutrition is part of life, employment insecure, social security non-existent, deprivation, health care expensive and sources of livelihoods are becoming scarce day by day. More than 75% per cent populations living in abject poverty are deprived of basic necessities. 50 percent women and children are malnourished. Unemployment among youth is rising which will inevitability create social unrest in the society.

Economic axiom is that without development of primary & secondary sectors all other developments are illusion, short-lived and unsustainable. Society, as whole, will remain at the bottom of prosperity.

Agriculture, the mainstay of economy is growing very slowly. Its contribution to GDP is not moving beyond 30% Investment in developing irrigation system-canal, local ponds, water harvesting project is abysmally low. Research & production of indigenous high yielding seeds is not getting priority. Land reform has been the base of any economy’s development is a distant dream. Implementation of land reforms measures will transform the agrarian structure increase the productive capacity of toiling peasantry and create more of an egalitarian society.

The government is providing tractors agricultural implements, seed, loan for bore well, diesel pump set will prove futile unless facilities for irrigating crops is not available at farmers’ will. Process of getting subsidy is out of the reach of small and marginal farmers due to rampant corruption. Small and marginal farmers can only raise productivity because they hold 80% of the land. Scientific guidance & proper training combined with their traditional Knowledge of agriculture can make Bihar ‘grains bowl’ of India. Mechanism should be development to make subsidy easily accessible.

Corporatization of agriculture will destroy it in long run and the fabric of village culture of living in community will also be shattered.

Secondary sector which requires heavy investment is lagging for behind in terms of production & employment generation. Heavy industrialization will result into concentration of capital & wealth in few hands while majority of the society will become pauper. Inequality & poverty & unemployment will further go up and thereby raise social unrest.

Small industries in the field of electronics, food-processing, consumer items etc should be promoted to secure jobs and as a consequence migration of worker to other states will halt.
Environmentally & socially hazardous industries banned by the international law should not be allowed on the land of Bihar irrespective of it’s potentially to create wealth and jobs.

Power station which are coming up in some parts of Bihar is lifeline of economy. But the government must ensure adequate compensation to the farmers at local prevailing price rate of land. And job security to the displaced people. In the event of agricultural lands being taken for industrialization, farmers displaced should be duly compensated and jobs secured for their family members for two successive generations. They should be given share in the profit.

Entering of corporate sector in retail business ranging from grocery, vegetable, fruits to cloths and consumer items assumed to be sign of development will hit small business men and vendors so hard that their lives of families will be destroyed.

Bihar should present a model of development which is based and Research and Development. It should create a society where the vast humanity enjoys fruits of developing according to his or her capacity. Consumer vision is not the theme of life but life is lived with the philosophy of ‘live and let their live. This is only possible when the government & civic society work together for prosperity of the community irrespective of the caste, creed, regionalization and religion.
Investment in social sector, education, sport, health & sanitation is waiting since 1947.

Education, particular primary & secondary is progressing in the last seven years but it is very slow. As a matter of food, there has been no separate plan for education after independence higher education which produced world class intellectual has lost shine in the last 20 years. Education creates a more equal society & scientific vision provided it is given top priority in economic development.

Emphasis should be given to primary & secondary education because it lays foundation of development of a child. It requires sensible and sensitive experts in child psychology who can bring out the best in a child.

Bihar has all wherewithalls to produce excellent sport persons who can make the state and the country proud. For this a body composed of enthusiastic sport person starting from the village level to district level of every competitive sport should be created. Talent search programs should be launched at village level youth of peasantry class, who are very hardy & strong should be given a level playing field. This will also help create an equal social order.

Healthcare system & sanitation is Bihar’s is another biggest headache. Wretched & deprived Sections have no accessibility to safe drinking water, clean hygiene & environment. In this respect all programmes under the aegis of UNICEF should be executed properly and effectively. Community awareness approach with the help of NGOs & civic society should be taken up a mass scale. MPs, MLAs, Mukhiyas, ward councilors at people’s respective level and DM, DDC & BDO at administrative level should be made accountable if poor in their respective area do not have facilities for potable water, sewerage, toilet etc.

Research & Development which constitute the fundamental principles of a moving economy and vibrant society should be adopted by the state in all its economic & social activities.
It has been proved worldwide that what is good for corporate sector is not good for the society. People associated with this sector become rich at the cost of the society. Bihar can’t afford to give the free hand to exploit natural resources for making profit. Hence economic equity is indispensable to control social unrest controlling the excesses income of rich & corporate is justice with the poor, while allowing economic progress is necessary for creation of wealth & livelihoods.

The vision should be to fulfill the collective aspiration of the huge population. policies & programmes should centre on the needs of the majority and to eradicate poverty. Such programmers bicycle for girls & boys, school dress for them dole for girls’ marriage and many social security schemes will not help people become self-reliant and Bihar will not achieve development with justice. Universal progress only in all fields result in a stable and secure Bihar.

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