(BiharTimes) Roads and bridges that Nitish Kumar built has brought his alliance back to power. They made
his journey safer. The mandate is clear. Caste politics too has a place for the deprived castes
need ‘development’ the most. Bihar voters have rejected the self-serving dynastic politics of Lalu
Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan. The way he reached out to backward Muslims has benefitted the
alliance. The restoration of government services also became quite noticeable.
Notably, prior to this victory the boycott of US President Barack Obama's address to the Indian
Parliament by Shivanand Tiwari, a veteran Socialist leader and Janata Dal (United) Rajya Sabha
member was remarkable. Is it a victory of ‘complete socialism’ as has been observed by Sharad
Yadav, the national President of JDU?
Not many people know that the JDU’s ally BJP was founded in 1980, it chose "Gandhian
socialism" as its official ideology! The same is mentioned in the Form it submitted to the
Election Commission of India at the time its registration as a political party. BJP had discarded
this ideology in favour of the temple agenda in the early 1990s. Is it willing to revert back to it?
If so will Bihar now have Common School System as has been recommended by a Committee
appointed by Nitish Kumar government? In 2006, he had called for the Common School System
to be implemented by the central government in order to ensure quality and non-discriminatory
education to all. Bihar was the first state to have constituted a commission on common school
system. Since then reiterating the recommendations of Kothari Commission, the Bihar’s
Common School System Commission has submitted its 313-page report in June 2007 but
Nitish Kumar did not take any step to act on its recommendation that called “for a legislation
underpinning the Common School System.” If it happens it would be a trendsetter beyond empty
Will he able to get Special Category Status for Bihar now? In 2006, the Bihar Assembly
had passed an unanimous resolution demanding special category status to Bihar. This
decision emerged after a four-hour debate in the assembly on a resolution which was adopted
unanimously. Participating in the debate, Nitish had stressed the need for a heavy doze of Central
assistance. He had listed grounds for making such a demand saying Bihar has international
borders with Nepal and Bangladesh, it is struck by recurring floods, power scenario is critical
and also there is a problem of extremism. In a rare gesture of unity and rising above the political
affiliation, the members sitting on both sides rose in unison and forcefully approved the
resolution calling the Centre to include Bihar in the special category of states. Bihar has been
demanding at least since 1999 when Bihar Chamber of Commerce (BCC) met the then Union
finance minister and the then vice-chairman of Planning Commission seeking special category
state status to Bihar. In 1989, the then PM Rajiv Gandhi had announced a special package for
Bihar of over Rs 5,000 crore for various projects but it was never implemented.
Will there be improvement in Bihar's per capita energy consumption which is currently the
lowest in the country given the failure of rural electrification campaign? Its per capita energy
consumption, at 75 kWh (kilowatt per hour), is the lowest in India and far below the national
average of 613 kWh. Only 30 percent of rural households in the state have been electrified.
The Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), a centrally-sponsored programme
started in 2005 to provide electricity in rural areas is a failure in Bihar. The RGGVY norms are
inadequate in any case because it considered villages electrified if 10 percent households and
some important structures like the panchayat building got electricity. In remote locations, stand-
alone systems can be more cost-effective than extending a power line to the electricity grid (the
cost of which can range from $15,000 to $50,000 per mile).
Will Bihar follow adopt small grids for electricity which have become a compelling logic
because capital intensive thermal and hydro energy based households do not make any sense
when transmission and distribution (T&D) losses of the state electricity boards & distribution
firms are almost 55 %?. The T&D losses for the country as a whole are estimated to be in the
range of 35%–45%, according to Planning Commission's Eleventh Five Year Plan 2007-12
document. Logically, powering houses or small businesses using a small renewable energy
system which is not connected to the electricity grid makes economic sense and demonstrates
Will recommendations of D Bandhopadhaya Committee on land reforms be implemented?
Will drainage congestion led flood crisis in the Kosi river basin be decongested by restoring
natural land scape by dismantling the politician-contractors-engineers nexus that perpetuates
Will proposals for irrational projects like Kosi High Dam and Interlinking of Bihar’s rivers
be given up for it is against the cardinal principles of river basin approach underlined by the
formation of Ganga River Basin Authority? Will Bihar get its share of water from Ganga river?
Will Nitish Kumar undertake a performance evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of existing
embankments and come out with a White Paper on it before proceeding with the current
Will Nitish government realize the disastrous consequences of pushing for biofuels in the face of
food riots in 37 countries?
Will his government have the farsightedness to stop the commencement of hazardous industrial
projects like asbestos cement factory in Muzaffarpur given the fact that asbestos is banned in
more than 52 countries as it causes incurable lung cancer?
Will the NDA alliance have the vision to stop ecologically destructive green revolution type of
intervention in agriculture which has turned Punjab into the cancer capital of the country? This has been proposed by the central agricultural ministry.
As things stand while road construction made his return to power smooth, the construction of
embankments on the flood prone rivers like Kosi and Bagmati which is underway can prove to
be his undoing in future. It was too much to expect a government of 5 years to undo the damage
done by the programme of flood control that started in 1954 comprising of construction of
embankments on both the banks of the Burhigandak , the Bagmati, the Kamla and the Kosi. But
during his second term he should attempt steps to recover and restore the natural flow of rivers in
Bihar. There is an emerging unanimity that structural engineering measures such as high dams,
embankments, inter-basin and intra-basin transfer of water from rivers is inadvisable. What is
required is opening of navigable drainage channels as an alternative to the embankments letting
rivers flow without impediments. The benefits of free flowing river outweigh benefits from their
damming and diversion besides that it ensures intergenerational equity.
These tasks require application of political imagination and one hopes wise ecological sense will
prevail. But the million dollar question is: Isn’t the verdict of the Bihar voters also a call for mid-
term Lok Sabha elections given the non-performance of the Sonia Gandhi led alliance?
The views expressed by the author are personal.
Thanks for agitating the reasoning of a thinking but slumbering student like me. In 2006 Late Shrii MM Jha, Ex-Ps HRD Govt. of Bihar wished to streamline all Govt. run schools in Bihar on the pattern of Netarhat Vidyalaya. As per the CSS Common School System The Bihar Report 2007, three overall goals of CSS are/were, i.e.,
• The goal of free and compulsory education for all children in age group 5-14 in 5 years from April 2008;i.e. by 2012-13
• The goal of universalizing secondary education in 8 years; i.e. by 2015-16
• Assuming 70% children to complete sec schooling: senior sec by 2016-17
The only sustainable undertaking in Bihar is its knowledge process. Its economy can be truly tailored as Knowledge-Economy. Opening of Simultala Avasiya Vidyalaya with support of volunteers from NOBA (including me) in response to the invitation extended by Shri the Hon’ble Shri CM Nitish Kumar should be carried forward at least up to all blocks.
Hope Bihar Times will spread the message and ensure that Quality Schooling takes firm roots in the State.
Bajrang Bihari Singh, Lt. Col (retd.)
With reference to the above I would congratulate you that you could get such a nice and well-drafted article from Mr. Gopal Krishna. I am in total agreement with the views expressed by the writer. It is true that the way ahead for Nitish Kumar will be more challenging and arduous. During the next assembly election he will be judged by his performance during the next five years and yardstick will not be that of the work done by Laloo Prasad during his tenure but his own work during the last five year's tenure. He has certainly raised the expectations of the people of Bihar. Biharis will not stop now by paltry works here and there. Now he will have to face the concrete developmental works like employment generation, investment, industrialisation of the state and through that upliftment of the conditions of "aam Biharis". Going through this he will certainly face the questions as raised by Mr. Krishna, of sustainable development, ecological conservation and many other similar issues. It will be challenge for him to balance these economics with ecology, development with social justice and expectation with execution. Good luck for Nitish and Bihar!!
Mukesh Kumar, Mmumbai
Indeed very nice article and I hope Nitish will definitely have some vision for all of these things you mentioned. Apart from your suggestion I think industrialization should also be the focus. Good news is that now investor will have lot of confidence seeing the stability of government and vanishing of black mailer. Government should be more farmer welfare oriented. Still our agriculture is dependent on rain. If there is scanty rain fall, all their hard work goes in vain. Interlinking of river in Bihar will be a huge gift to farmers. Government should open dairy farm at large scale. Still in my village milk is sold for Rs 14 per kg whereas in the city area or place like Delhi it is much more expansive. Even the landless farmers will have a good living standard if they get the good price for it. It will encourage them to take it as occupation and not to migrate to Delhi or Mumbai. Dairy product should be made in versatile and unique way to export outside India also. Government should take initiative for the solar power in developed area. Any new apartment or building should be encouraged to put solar power which will be future for green energy. In first term government focused on road, second term should focus on electricity. Post independent India had slogan of Roti, Kapda aur Makan, now our slogan should be Bijli, Sadak, Pani.
So far Bihar government’s stand on Naxal issue is soft. Now a clear strategy should be made to bring them to the mainstream of our society. Most deprived area should be developed aggressively and at the same time naxal menance should be tackled by deterrent by modernizing the BMP and STF.
I wish all the good luck to Nitish and his team to bring Bihar to a platform where Bihari should be also looked in the way Panjabi or Guajarati is perceived now a day.