Monday, January 4, 2010

Bihar's growth should inspire Bengal

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

Once termed as the king of 'cow belt' and the 'bimru state' of India, Bihar after decades of being in the news for wrong reasons has something to cheer about. What seems more out of a Bollywood script than reality, the state once regarded as the most backward in the country has grown at an average of 11.03% in the five-year period between 2004-05 and 2008-09 against a national average of 8.49%. It is second only to one of India's most developed states Gujarat, which recorded a growth-rate of 11.05%. Now that's what is called resurgence.

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav might not agree but Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who assumed power in 2005 finally has figures to prove his success. Nitish has successfully countered the 'Jungle Raj' which was going on during his predecessor's era. Not only the crime rate in the state has come down during his rule but the state has started taking giant steps towards economic development. What's more remarkable is that the 11.03% growth comes after a negative 5.15 % growth in 2003-04 during the Lalu-Rabri era.

Bihar's story has the potential to inspire other states in its proximity. One such is its eastern neighbour West Bengal. Once the glittering jewel of Indian industrialisation, West Bengal has also had the same sad story to tell which Bihar was telling five years ago. A wind of political change is blowing across Bengal similar to the one in Bihar five years ago. Three decades of the Left Rule has hampered the image of the state in terms of industrialisation. The once flourishing state has been pushed to the dark ages by a bunch of politicians whose policies were too narrow in thought and did not take into account the fast changing global environment.

Although the Left Front government might have done wonderful deeds with their Land Reforms moment in the earlier part of their rule but on most other indicators they have miserably failed. It is quite a shame for the West Bengal government who calls itself pro-poor pro-farmer to have fared miserably when it came to NREGA. Their trade unionism meant that West Bengal did not figure in the investment map of India. Post the LPG (Liberalisation Privatisation Globalisation) era when the country too giant steps in economic reforms, Bengal Government seemed to have only snored.

Even though West Bengal's law and order situation hasn't been as bad as Lalu's Bihar but it is no better either. In the last three decades Left had made sure that in rural Bengal, police and administration was replaced by its party cadres. Nandigram and Singur showed us the ugly face of the Left hooliganism. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee might have tried his best to revive the image of the state but Bengal's grave was dug long back by the Left Front.

The people of the State have to leave the pessimism behind and look forward to growth and development. If Bihar can do it under the leadership of Nitish Kumar why cannot Bengal do the same when change finally comes in 2011? Left has been in the power for too long to be trusted any more. Mamata Banerjee and Pranab Mukherjee might just do the turn around story in Bengal. After all if Nitish had to counter 'Jungle Raj' Mamata and Pranab will have to encounter 'Andhera Raj' that's what the current regime can be defined as.


ankita January 6, 2010 at 12:45 PM  

I absolutely agree to the points made by u... the problem is in west bengal people scream for 'Change' but if u ask them what kind of 'Change' they want I dont think u would get any satisfactory answer. We have seen enough of Left Raaj, we have seen enough side affects of their autocracy but do we have any assurance that if the current opposition party will come into power they will make any difference? Well...I doubt!

chandan January 28, 2010 at 1:57 PM  

the post was nothing less than a single minded approach.u should try to understand that the growth rate is not an indicator of the state domestic product,which in case of bengal exceeds that of bihar by several times.bengal today is the third fastest growing state and reaching this level is a distant dream for far as the social welfare is concerned,the left is battling food inflation much better than congress or bjp.but u can only see this aspects only when get out of the cocon of a pro congress/bjp mentallity

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