ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bihar after Bifurcation

The bifurcation of Bihar has understandably added to the already widespread concern and anxiety over the future of the state. Bifurcation may provide a convenient news peg on which one can hang the whole question of Bihar's future, but an informed discussion on the challenges and prospects of Bihar's development need not be unduly predicated on the reality of Jharkhand's separation from Bihar.

Undivided Bihar had already fallen way behind most other Indian states in terms of almost all relevant indicators of economic development and social progress. The separation of Jharkhand of course means an apparent loss of a major source of minerals and some industrial islands. But one finds this loss apparent or largely notional because the mines and heavy industries in Jharkhand have hardly been generating wider gains for the region, let alone for the rest of Bihar, in terms of secondary industrialisation or other progressive socio-economic or cultural linkages. All these mines and heavy industries have rather emerged as mafia-infested islands in an ocean of economic backwardness, social displacement and environmental degradation.

Bihar will of course suffer a certain loss of revenue, or an addition to the burgeoning revenue deficit. But that has little developmental connotation in public perception. To be sure, the corrupt bureaucrat-politician-contractor-criminal nexus is bound to regret the loss of a celebrated ‘scam route’. Many of Bihar’s infamous scams used to originate and flourish in remote Jharkhand’s favourable administrative ambience. If the infamous fodder scam route can be sealed with the separation of Jharkhand, the loss of revenue from the mines and industries could perhaps be more than compensated in terms of a decline in the incidence of systemic corruption.

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