The lack of industrialisation shows up in the credit-deposit ratio for banks in Bihar, which is less than 35 percent, compared to the national average of close to 75 per cent. "The challenge for the state is to ensure that there are bankable schemes," said RBI Governor Subbarao. There has been development, but a lot it led by schemes of the Centre. Bihar's own revenues as a percentage of GSDP have actually fallen from seven per cent a decade ago to about five per cent. The state was third from the bottom in UNDP's latest human development index. "Nitish Kumar has done remarkable things to turn around a state everyone thought was a basket case. But it is still so far behind.
Business as usual will take it 20-30 years to catch up with the national averages. To do it sooner, say in 10 to 15 years, the state must grow at 14 to 15 per cent," says Sudipto Mundle, Emeritus Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy in New Delhi.
Kumar is acutely aware of the expectations raised by his early success. He hopes to bridge the gap in two ways: by getting more from the Centre for development schemes and by developing the state's traditional strength of agriculture, for which he has a Rs 150,000-crore plan for the next five years.
"The next green revolution will come from the east of India and it will not be a green revolution but a rainbow revolution. We want that at least one dish on every Indian's plate should be from Bihar."
He also realises that his success will eventually be measured by the tangible changes in people's lives. "GDP growth is not real growth. That is for the economists to worry about," he says. Unless aam aadmi's income grows, unless life at the lowest rung improves, we will not call it development."
And then, maybe a small house in Gopalganj, near Bhagalpur, will have two Boleros parked in the lane outside.
Reproduced From Business Today. © 2012. LMIL. All rights reserved.