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If the JD(U)-RJD coalition needs to make an impression, it has to shortly give attention to a radical agenda to industrialise the state, modernise its agriculture, and sort out main issues reminiscent of unemployment and poverty

Nitish and Tejashwi
Industrial backwardness is on the root of general backwardness of the state and the Nitish-Tejashwi duo must sort out this downside first.

Yesterday, we mentioned how the formidable emergence of the Yadavs, Kurmis and Koeris, below  the Nitish Kumar- and Tejashwi Yadav-led   Mahagathbandhan alliance,  is being seen as a revolutionary change in Bihar. One other game-changer within the state might be Nitish Kumar’s transfer to nationwide politics, leaving his deputy Tejashwi accountable for Bihar.

n the long term, solely good governance in Bihar can politically maintain each Nitish and Tejashwi, and a sound efficiency on the financial entrance is the important thing for that.

Half I of this text: With distinctive caste dynamics in Bihar, it could be Dilli Chalo for Nitish

A significant agenda of financial transformation, nevertheless, is rarely on the centre of any main political and social realignment hitherto seen in Bihar. There is a chance for Nitish and Tejashwi to vary that legacy and even make a clear break with their very own previous.

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Up to now, political forces of the toiling peasantry had come to energy however they seldom addressed the important thing problem of eliminating middlemen in land relations by way of land reforms, which may have led to a leap in agricultural funding, productiveness, and modernisation, as the event of Bihar is principally depending on agricultural improvement.

Wealth creation

After all, the brand new authorities has made a begin by promising distribution of 3-5 decimals of land for the landless poor for home websites. Events that ascended to energy had an enormous base amongst city poor however they seldom paid consideration to organising new industries to generate wealth and jobs.

Over the previous few a long time, leaders of all hues in Bihar decreased improvement to constructing roads and bridges. Roads at greatest created one-time seasonal casual jobs for day-labourers and never common high quality employment like manufacturing facility jobs. Bridges solely enriched the contractor mafia they usually didn’t assist the poor cross the abyss of poverty. The Nitish-Tejashwi duo can change all that.

Odisha was as soon as extra backward than Bihar. However Kalahandhi is now historical past and Odisha is a occurring place now. Simply because the Nitish-Tejashwi authorities had began functioning, Naveen Patnaik was showcasing earlier than trade leaders and ambassadors from 30 international locations in a Make-in-Odisha meet how his state had emerged as an industrial hub within the nation. Bihar has a lesson to study from Patnaik and Odisha’s transformation.

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In Tamil Nadu, the Dravidian celebration DMK captured energy within the Nineteen Sixties basing itself primarily on the underside rungs of the society. However its principal victory over the elite castes was not simply electoral. Within the subsequent half a century, it demonstrated that it’s second to none in sustaining the progress of the state alongside the commercial curve. With political will and dedication, Nitish-Tejashwi also can show that their model of social justice is just not one with out a trace of radical financial progress for the decrease castes however one which might usher in an actual financial revolution as effectively.

Industrialisation of Bihar is the important thing for that, as industrial backwardness is on the root of the state’s general backwardness.Per Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) 2019-20 knowledge, Bihar had 3,429 factories. In distinction, Tamil Nadu had over 10 instances that at 38,837, whereas Gujarat had 28,479, Maharashtra 25,610, and Odisha 3,079 factories.

The overall invested capital within the manufacturing facility sector in Bihar was an unbelievable low of ₹1,154.63 crore as per ASI knowledge. In distinction, the whole funding in Gujarat factories was ₹9,61,567.60 crore, in Maharashtra ₹6,21,373.03 crore, in Tamil Nadu ₹4,46,748.27 crore, and in Odisha ₹14,618.19 crore.

Industrial funding in Gujarat is 832 instances greater than in Bihar. Regardless of Bihar having extra  factories than Odisha, the funding in trade within the latter is 12 instances extra. However, as a late starter, Bihar has the benefit of entry to the most recent expertise. In a comparatively quick time, it will possibly open up the floodgates for funding into the state with correct consideration to wooing it with stable infrastructure and political stability.

It’s not that Bihar doesn’t have its stratum of the prosperous. However the moneybags who’ve emerged from amongst landed gentry, business elite, the contractors, the corrupt bureaucrats, and even some well-to-do non-resident Biharis by no means dare to spend money on trade. Since Nitish efficiently confirmed previously that his authorities can deliver the crime fee down, making a congenial environment for industrialisation is just not past them.

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Modernising agriculture  

Modernisation of agriculture can be a precondition for an industrial Bihar as it will possibly each gas funding and create a neighborhood market.

The per hectare yield of wheat – which accounts for 70 per cent of the kharif cultivation in Bihar – may be very low at 2,843 kg  in comparison with 4,868 kg  in Punjab. This, regardless of 76 per cent of the cultivated space in Bihar getting some type of irrigation. The paddy yield per hectare in Punjab is 6,775 kg, whereas it’s a pathetic low at 1,948 kg  in Bihar. The per hectare yield of sugarcane in Bihar is about 60 tonnes, whereas it’s 80 tonnes and above in main sugar producing states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Fertiliser consumption per hectare in Bihar at 201 kg  per hectare is far decrease in comparison with 445 kg  in Punjab. Farmers pay extra for this fertiliser as they will buy it solely within the black market.

Farmers in debt

Solely 31.3 per cent of agricultural credit score in Bihar is recovered by the lending establishments and the remainder of the quantity stays excellent. Bihar farmers thus stay extremely indebted. Out of round 104 lakh farmers in Bihar, solely 28 lakh have acquired Kisan Credit score Playing cards as of March 2020 as per PIB knowledge. These playing cards alone can allow them to avail institutional lending at low curiosity whereas the remaining depend upon non-public moneylenders and pay greater charges of curiosity.

The common measurement of an agricultural holding in Bihar in 2016 as per the Tenth Agricultural Census was 0.25 hectare or 0.6 acres. In Bihar, out of 104.32 lakhs of land holdings, 86.46 lakh (82.9 per cent) are marginal farmers, 10.06 lakh (9.6 per cent) small farmers and solely 7.81 lakh (7.5 per cent) farmers maintain land above 2 hectare.

In such a state of affairs, modernisation of agriculture in Bihar means modernisation of small-scale farming. Improve in yield and incomes are attainable provided that farmers spend extra on inputs like fertilisers which is feasible provided that they’ve extra credit score in hand. Likewise, mechanisation is feasible solely by way of shared use of equipment by way of small farmers’ cooperatives collectively proudly owning equipment.

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Based on NABARD’s All-India Rural Monetary Inclusion Survey 2016-17, the typical month-to-month incomes of farming households in Bihar, Kerala and Punjab have been ₹1,652, ₹6,284 and ₹12,481, respectively. With round 96 lakh farmers caught with lower than 1 acre of land, with the bottom productiveness in India, Bihar agriculture has turn out to be a big cesspool of underemployment and gross under-utilisation of human labour. 

A approach out of this morass is feasible if half the workforce, or round 50 lakh folks, are liberated from unproductive agriculture and discover higher-income jobs within the sphere of non-agriculture. Industrialisation is a should for that. It may possibly additionally resolve the large unemployment downside in Bihar.

Unemployment in Bihar

Unemployment in Bihar was double the determine for the entire of India in December 2021, based on CMIE month-to-month unemployment surveys. The extent of unemployment was 7.91 per cent for India as an entire however it was 16 per cent for Bihar, greater than double. No surprise, greater than 1 crore folks have trooped out of Bihar to search out jobs elsewhere and remittances stay one of many principal segments of the family incomes.

Feminine workforce participation in city Bihar at 6.4 per cent stays the bottom within the nation. The Nitish authorities ought to lay extra emphasis on ladies’s employment to the extent of offering 33 per cent reservation in jobs.

Abject poverty  

The incidence of poverty in Bihar in 2011-12 was 33.7 per cent, i.e., one-third of the inhabitants remained poor. However that was primarily based on the extremely controversial Tendulkar poverty line of per capita per day expenditure of ₹14.9 for rural areas and ₹9.3 in city areas mounted in 2004. What sort of life would that be if one have been to outlive on ₹19.30 per day, even whether it is adjusted to inflation and turns into double now in present costs? In Delhi,  a glass of tea now prices ₹8. Can somebody get one sq. meal in an honest joint in Chandigarh at the moment even for ₹40? Can a person survive on one pav bhaji and a cup of tea a day in Mumbai?

The Modi authorities by no means bothered to replace the poverty line by ordering recent consumption expenditure surveys. By utilizing the revenue and expenditure figures of the NSSO Periodic Labour Pressure Survey of 2020-21 as a proxy, the pro-saffron economists Bibek Debroy et al have proven that incidence of poverty in Bihar has come down from 33.7 per cent in 2011-12 to 25.5 per cent in 2020-21.

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At the same time as they pat themselves on the again for this achievement, they inadvertently admit that one-fourth of the Bihar inhabitants continues to be poor. That too abysmally poor as per an outdated poverty line. If we use the brand new World Financial institution standards of $2 per day as the brand new poverty line, then the vast majority of the Bihar inhabitants shall be poor. Such a state of affairs requires very drastic cures. So a significant historic burden is on the shoulders of Nitish and Tejashwi.

Some ray of hope 

It’s not that Bihar has no optimistic developmental achievement to its credit score and has solely a darkish and bleak report in each respect previously. Take Jal Jeevan Mission, the scheme to offer ingesting water. Round 90 per cent of the households in Bihar have been coated by this scheme and the state is nearer to attaining the mission of ‘Har Ghar jal’, supplying potable faucet water to each family. 

That is no imply feat as a result of the protection in UP, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh is lower than 25 per cent.

Likewise, the efficiency on rural roads too has been spectacular. Between 2004 and 2020, 2,59,507 km  of pucca roads have been laid within the Bihar countryside.

With such success tales, Nitish-Tejashwi can now flip their consideration to pending downside areas like training and well being as effectively.

Giant  training wants

Bihar is among the many states with the most important college techniques, with almost 20 million college students in courses 1 to eight. Based on Sarva Siksha Abhiyan knowledge, the state authorities has opened 21,000 new colleges since 2007. That is grossly insufficient. Not solely extra new colleges are wanted, Bihar additionally wants some 575,324 extra school rooms for its present 70,238 colleges. There are simply  276,325 school rooms obtainable throughout the state.

Although Bihar at the moment has 349,871 academics, it wants at the very least 200,000 extra. Of the whole academics in place, 195,237 don’t have “minimal skilled {qualifications}”. In July 2022, Nitish launched a programme to construct 1,000 new colleges a 12 months. Now the brand new authorities ought to enhance it fivefold.

Bihar has proven it will possibly do it

On the brighter aspect, just like the Jal Jeevan Mission, the Swachh Bharat Mission constructed latrines in 1,21,26,567 households in Bihar, the Saubaghya Yojana gave energy connections to all households within the state, Ujjwala Yogana offered gasoline stoves to 16.13 lakh poor ladies, and the vaccination drive has been profitable in Bihar with 88 per cent protection.

Although the funds got here from the Centre, the state authorities executed this. However, below the Ayushman Bharat scheme, which affords well being cowl upto ₹5 lakh for the poor, the variety of beneficiaries didn’t contact the determine of even 10,000 per thirty days in Bihar within the 11 months from March 2020 to January 2021. Such a poor report even in the course of the peak pandemic interval is absolutely inexplicable. The brand new authorities ought to transfer towards common medical insurance protection of the poor.

The Centre resorted to some manipulations in central schemes. For example, for each poor family that was awarded a free home below PM Awas Yojana, at the very least 9 have been solely given wait-list tokens. And, they’re nonetheless ready for the home however the programme has been successfully wound up with out declaring it in so many phrases.

Likewise, Jan Dhan Yojana was useful to poor ladies solely as soon as, as cash-support cash was credited to their accounts in the course of the pandemic however now 80 per cent of the accounts are mendacity idle. They aren’t operative, inflicting solely paperwork burden to the financial institution workers. The state authorities ought to elevate its voice in opposition to such callousness and demand from the Centre some continued money assist to ladies as farmers are getting at current.

The Garib Kalyan Yojana providing free foodgrains to the poor will wind up shortly. This, in a state of affairs when the meals costs out there are hovering and PDS meets solely a fraction of the meals wants. The benefit the folks derive on wheat or rice from the PDS system is misplaced out there when they’re to shell out an enormous worth for edible oils or dal or chicken-mutton.

No passing the buck

The brand new coalition in Bihar can not relaxation content material with passing the blame on Modi. They must show {that a} state authorities also can do one thing efficient to manage worth rise by increasing PDS objects. They’ll provide oil, dal and LPG cylinder at subsidised costs.

Extra importantly, they need to provide you with a really radical agenda for industrialisation of the state and implement it with full zeal. In any other case, this coalition would fall wanting the heightened expectations of individuals and the BJP shall be ready within the wings to stage a comeback within the subsequent polls.

(The creator is a senior journalist primarily based in Allahabad)

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