Although there was no Bihari symbol in the national integration song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara To Sur Bane Hamara”, Bihar takes pride in registering its golden place in the history with most varied glorious past, which was the center of power, learning, and culture in India for 1000 years. 

Despite adequate human and physical resources with splendid history, Bihar has not been able to come out of the BIMARU club of states. The constant negligence of the Centre coupled with lackadaisical attitude of Bihar leaders, who never had any vision for the state, has faded away the lovely and majestic past of Bihar. During the Congress rulings, Bihar Chief Ministers, except a few, were unable to strongly put across the points and get the much needed help, probably due to fear of losing the throne.

After the independence, caste, corruption and crime gripped the state and they appear major stumbling block in the path of development. The Congress ruled the state for decades, but it failed to remove the bottle necks of development in Bihar. The feudalistic thinking had lopsided the socio-economic set up of the society. Lack of vision and political will power in leaders has spearheaded the state to misery and backwardness and made a popular cliché—Bihar a land with rich resources but inhabited by the poor. The politicians played with the illiteracy and poverty of Bihar for long.   The slackness towards development, playing caste cards and vote bank politics have hamstrung the upward movement of the state and metamorphosed gracious Bihar to abusive Bihari.

After bifurcation of Bihar in November 2000, the state incurred losses as resources- minerals, power plant, organised large industries shifted to Jharkhand. About 90% people of Bihar reside in rural areas, who depend on agriculture for livelihood. Growth rate of population is about 1.9% per annum, highest in the country but per capita income of people the lowest.
Now there is concern for development and intentions are positive to enable Bihar to shade its BIMARU status and ride the wave of development. The people of Bihar are really desperate to see development. They no longer wish to continue as India's internal colony. They can no longer suffer the ignominy of supplying cheap labour to the developed parts of India.

Post Lalu era, there has been a marked improvement in the law and order situation and governance. The people of the state started seeing the ray of development. Entrepreneurs and businessmen have had a field day. Spurt in construction work, growth of hotels and restaurants, improvement in education at primary and secondary levels, improvement in health services, road connectivity, communication facilities etc have instilled the confidence among the people of the state and changed the image of Bihar on the national front.

On economic front Bihar performed well. There has been improvement in the growth rate. As per CSO data, Bihar registered a growth rate of 11.03% per annum over the period 2004-05 to 2008-2009, next to fastest growing Gujarat, 11.05%. Marked increase in the investments made might have exerted positive impact on development. Investment which was very somber, Rs 2,627 crore in 2003-04, went up to Rs 12,511 crore in 2008-09 and further to Rs 16,000 crore in 2008-09. More significantly, the back breaking effort of the people of Bihar contributed immeasurably in changing the scenario.

There has been impressive improvement in governance. Bihar is credited with providing 50% reservation to women in Panchayats which definitely led to empowerment of women. Dress and cycle schemes also played positive role in improving classroom attendance.

No doubt, Bihar deserves patting on back, but still it has to a long way. In spite of this rapid growth, the per capital income of this state remains the lowest in comparison to other states. Per capital GDP of Bihar, as informed by the Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India in Parliament session December 2009, was Rs 12,693, where as for Haryana it was Rs 58,531, for Gujarat Rs 44,923, for Maharashtra Rs 47,051.

Bihar is perennial victim of natural disasters. Some parts of the state face wrath of flood while other parts reeling under scanty rains, which causes huge losses. There is a need of effective flood control and water-management measures. The state has to strife hard in terms of improving literacy level, providing better healthcare, developing infrastructure, developing agriculture and allied activities, encouraging small and cottage industries, animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries, etc. to help improve income levels and boost purchasing power of people.

JPN