Bihar kept the focus on social development intact while pursuing its economic goals
A large bazaar market in Patna; Photo by Santosh Kumar / Getty Images
It is not very often that a state traditionally known as economically backward appears at the top of three categories. Considered to be the most improved state of the economy, inclusive development and education reflects Bihar’s rapid progress towards comprehensive development.
A key piece of data that will be music to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s ears is the state’s gender parity index of 1.05, which means more girls are enrolled in school than boys. It indicates progress not only in education, but also in inclusive development. Girls outnumber boys in grades 6 to 10. To cite an example, in 2019, 3.33 million girls were enrolled in grades 6 to 8 of public schools, compared to 3.21 million boys.
The number of girls taking the Class 10 council exams increased from 180,000 in 2005 to 822,000 in 2019. The state has also seen a substantial increase in allocations for the education sector. Total spending on education increased 58.3% between 2014-15 (Rs 17,833 crore) and 2019-20 (Rs 28,234 crore).
One of the parameters of inclusive development in the India Today State of the States (SoS) survey was the “PDS levy”. In the case of Bihar, this was a peak of 93.84% in 2020-2021. This is all the more commendable as the Nitish government distributed over 2.3 million ration cards to the poor during the pandemic and lockdowns in 2020. It added more than 10 million people to the free rationing program of the country. government.
Bihar, with just 2.9% of the country’s land area, is home to around 9% of India’s population, which means increased pressure on resources. While facing many economic challenges, the state has consistently remained in revenue surplus – Rs 6,897 crore in 2018-19, according to the Bihar Economic Survey 2020-21. What matters most is that Bihar has recorded double-digit growth despite the challenges of the pandemic over the past two years. According to the Bihar Economic Survey 2020-21, the state’s growth rate for fiscal year 2019-20 was 10.5%, well above that of the national economy.
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