Bihar VS. Gujarat – who’s winning?


In an article published in a well-known magazine, it was said, that the hallmark of a great leader is not his oratory (which does attract followers temporarily), or his indulgence in rhetoric, or in his wise-cracks. The greatness of a leader lies in his being grounded and in offering a humble self to the people of his country. This same greatness also applies to a leader who performs and gauges his government only on the basis of ‘performance’. He does not waste time in screaming from the rooftops that other states are not doing well, his is the best, and so on and so forth.

Development is not a mythical entity that cannot be measured or cannot be seen with our eyes. When roads are being constructed, power is being supplied to even the remotest village of Gujarat, industries from across the globe are making a beeline to set up office in the state, healthcare is being supplied down to the lowest rung, then this phenomena cannot go unnoticed!

Recently, a very senior telecom executive based in Patna had a very interesting experience to share. His family, consisting of wife and a daughter, stay in the posh Judges’ Bunglow locality of Ahmedabad. The daughter, all of 13, was affected by Dengue. The very next day the young executive’s wife was stunned to see an entire entourage of Municipal Corporation Health wing. They not only inquired about the daughter’s treatment, the medicinal intake, but also fogged the entire building, the daughter’s school, and the surrounding areas. When the young telecom executive narrated this incident to his colleagues back in Patna, it was their turn to be stunned! Each one of them thought that this is not the example of a state in India, but sounds more like the U.S., U.K., or some other European country!

What they did not know is that this is Modi’s Gujarat. Health, power, education, development has reached at the grass root level. Can Mr. Nitish Kumar, find a similar story for our ears from Bihar? AMC officials did not come to the dengue patient’s house because they knew the family; it was simply a part of their duty! An eye for detail, organisational skills, and most significantly the political will to execute development plans results in such growth.

Taking a begging bowl to Delhi and sitting on a dharna does not result in the development of a state; grittiness, determination, and a supreme will to uplift the poorest of the poor makes it happen. It is the easiest job to deride the achievements of someone; but it takes non-stop industriousness, vision, and a desire to better one’s state, that results in the development model that Gujarat is today. The Biharis of the state have witnessed it for themselves, with their own eyes! They haven’t read about it in papers, or formed their opinion from hearsay; when their children talk of the sense of security and the sense of freedom that only Gujarat can give, they refuse to go back to Bihar and settle down there. When their daughters roam freely in the late nights during Navratri, the Biharis realise that this is a phenomenon only possible in Modi’s Gujarat. Can Mr. Nitish Kumar allow girls in his state to go out in the evenings un chaperoned or unattended by a male member of the family?

Like one’s sight cannot reach over a mountain and see what’s happening on the other side, in the same way, Nitish Kumar cannot see what’s happening in the state of Gujarat.

Ask any Bihari who lives in the state of Gujarat. From the senior most bureaucrats to the labour class that come to the state in search of work, whether they are happy to be in this state or no? Not only will their answer be an affirmative one, but they will in fact like to settle down in this state itself.

Nitish Kumar has been projecting Bihar as a state that has registered higher and better development as compared to that of Gujarat. However, figures show a very different picture! We will take a look at a few established indicators to judge the economy of any region. For example, the Per capita income of Gujarat in the financial year 2012 was Rs. 89. 668; that of Tamil Nadu Rs. 84, 496; and that of Bihar was a meagre 22, 691.

As Rahul Sachitanand wrote in The Economic Times on August 1, 2013: “In the five years before Modi took charge, the state’s average growth in GDP was 2.8%. Under him, between 2002-03 and 2011-12, it was 10.3%. Only three small states – Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Delhi – have grown faster. Gujarat is ahead of the national average (7.9%), as well as the two states it is pitted against repeatedly, Bihar (8.4%) and Madhya Pradesh (7.1%). It has leapfrogged Maharashtra to lead in factory output, grown well in agriculture, and been a leader in electricity reform and the spread of irrigation.

Much is written at Gujarat’s poor show in the Human Development Index. However, once again, the figures suggest otherwise: the HDI of Maharashtra in the year 2011 was recorded at .572; that of Tamil Nadu at .570; and Gujarat came third in the list at .527. But it was still miles ahead than Karnataka (at .519), Andhra Pradesh (at .473), and Uttar Pradesh (at .380). Bihar is a dismal .367, and ranks 10th in the country.

A state that makes the Biharis feel welcomed, provides them with an opportunity of livelihood, does not speak of shunting them ‘out’ like a few other states of the country is obviously going to be a second and in some cases a better home for the thousands of Biharis in the state. To seal the matter off, one would like to know if in any state, immigrants from another state have ever done puja for the Chief Minister of the said state and offered laddoos?

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