Vol. XLIII No. 28 July 14, 2019

Bihar Continues to Plague in Social Development

Arun Kumar Mishra

“KERALA healthiest state, Bihar worst’, this is how TOI has reported the NITI Aayog’s latest health index released on of June 25. The report covers the period of 2015 to 2016 and 2017 to 2018. According to the news’ the report prepared by the NITI Aayog in collaboration with the health ministry and the technical assistance from the World Bank, it has studied the comparative performances of different categories of states, larger, smaller and union territories.

The report is an indictment of the present Nitish Kumar led NDA government in the aftermath of large number of deaths of children in Muzaffarpur and adjoining districts.

Health report card of the present government, which is ruling the state for the last 15 years, makes mockery of the boastful assertion of all-round development based on so called two digits GDP growth.

The report of Niti Aayog and deaths of large number of children along with the report of malnutrition and socio-economic condition of large number of people raises serious questions about the development trajectory pursued in the last 15 years.

What is the priority of the present government? Has it provided the basic need of housing, food, education, health, service and employment to the teeming millions of the state? The so-called housing for all has turned out a big hoax. Actually, those who are living for decades on government ‘bhoodan and surplus ceiling lands’ are being evicted by the land mafias patronised and protected by the parties running the government. Slums in urban areas are being demolished under one pretext or another. The soaring prices of land keep it beyond the reach of the common man. The government has totally failed to generate employment as most of the able bodied young and even minors migrate to different states in search of employment braving all the insults and inhuman conditions of work and send remittances which in turn run the economy of Bihar. Their stories are reported only when they get killed while working or being driven out from those states.

The agrarian economy is stagnant and cannot absorb the ever-growing rural workers. These workers swarm the local towns and do all sorts of odd jobs without any social security and other safeguards. The only industry that provides some employment is the construction industry. But it is also losing steam.

The socio-economic conditions of the parents of the dead children in Muzaffarpur and all over Bihar proves that the government of the day has totally failed to provide food security, nutritional food to the anganwadi going children and to the school going children covered under Mid-day-meal. What is the rationale of politics of maha-dalits and dalits as they are deprived of basic needs and lead a sub-human life in unhygienic surroundings? Public education and public health are in the ICU and have been left to die their natural death. The mushroom growth of private educational institutions and so called English medium schools; the coaching and tuition centers have already displaced the public education system in Bihar.

Children of the marginalized sections of the state have no option but to go to the government schools which generally get the publicity for all the wrong reasons. There are few exceptions which still impart quality education to the students.

As the health indicator shows the public health system has simply collapsed and the private clinics are thriving is every nook and corner of the state. Some premium health centers at Patna are overcrowded and not in a position to serve the patients properly.

So, the government has withdrawn itself to provide basic needs of the common people. It is the market that will provide everything. If you survive it is your heroic deed and if you die, it is your fate.

The social justice of Nitish brand has finally merged with corporate driven saffron brand and we must throw out this rogue government lock-stock and barrel by mobilising the people for house, education, health, employment to lead a life of dignity