Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has narrated the turnaround story of Bihar at the London School of Economics as how the backward state achieved 10 percent annual growth rate in the last seven years.
Speaking at a function last evening, the Chief Minister spoke in detail about the 'Bihar Model of Development' which has been appreciated within the country and outside.
He credited the success to his predecessor Nitish Kumar, according to a copy of the speech made available to media here by the Chief Minister's office here.
"This turnaround would have been impossible without the visionary leadership of ex-chief minister Nitish Kumar. As a chief minister, I am trying my best to take forward his legacy of Bihar's development to the next stage," he told the function organised by the International Growth Centre.
Manjhi attributed Bihar degeneration from the days of historical glory to tyranical permanent settlement regime under British rule and "unhelpful" policies of the central government since Independence besides lack of vision and commitment shown by successive state governments.
The Chief Minister also talked about the challenges and priority areas of the government in improving power situation, developing food processing industries and the need to generate more resources internally.
The audiences and panelists appreciated the positive work done in last eight years in Bihar, according to a statement from the Chief Minister's office.
They emphasised on urban reforms as key to the next stage of growth, it said.
Manjhi spoke about how his father as a bonded labour worked for an upper caste landlord. "My father wanted me to go to school but when he suggested this idea to the landlord, he was beaten up," he said.
After Independence, instead of helping the state to come up, the "unjust" policies formulated and followed by the Union government further widened the gap between poor state like Bihar and rich states like Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, he said.
To drive home the point, he mentioned the Freight Equalisation Policy under which basic raw materials like steel and coal, abundantly available in state (prior to bifurcation) were made available at a constant price across all states.
Listing achievements, he said the state had witnessed 20 per cent reduction in poverty from 2005 to 2011-12.
He referred to measures to improve the law and order situation and speedy trials, strengthening jail administration and confiscation of ill-gotten assets of economic offenders.
He said due to good governance the state achieved 11 per cent average annual growth rate in the eleventh five year plan (2007-2012).
Manjhi said Bihar was the first state in the country to enable bureaucracy and ministers along with Chief Minister to declare their assets every year and put the same on website.
The Chief Minister also talked about agricultural roadmap and steps for women empowerment through 50 per cent reservation in panchayats and urban local bodies.