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Bihar growing at 16%, claim govt figures

February 27, 2008 17:57 IST
Can you imagine that Bihar is on a high growth track? Well, if Economic Survey of Bihar for 2006-07 is to believed, the impoverished state of Bihar has recorded a GDP of 16 per cent!

This is a huge leap from India's GDP growth of 9 per cent during the fiscal 2006-07.The Economic Survey is an official document of the state government prepared by a Patna-based NGO.  Experts as well as people on the streets are questioning the veracity of the Economic Survey.

Interestingly, in the same period the Economic Survey of Bihar recorded a drastic fall of 26.04 per cent in food grains output, an agrarian state, with almost negligible power generation and industrial growth rate of just 5.4 per cent against the national rate of 20.1 per cent.

According to the Survey, "While rice production has fallen by 24.4 percent in comparison to the previous year, production of wheat has fallen by about 19 percent. It is maize which has suffered the most significant fall, with its production falling by almost 47 percent over the previous year." The sugarcane production has also fallen by over seven per cent and there is 7.90 per cent fall in acreage.

The credit-deposit ratio ratio of Bihar continues to remain at the bottom. Currently, it stands at 31.1 percent, far below the national average of 75 per cent, and way behind the CD ratio of states like Maharastra (98 per cent), Rajasthan (82.5 per cent), West Bengal (62.6 per cent) or even Madhya Pradesh (62.2 per cent).

The credit-deposit ratio across districts show wide variations, from 18.8 per cent in Siwan to 57.7 per cent in neighbouring West Champaran.  The credit-deposit ratio of regional rural banks (RRBs) also show similar variations across different districts with an even wider range, the highest being 63.3 percent for Katihar and the lowest being 19.9 percent for Jehanabad, the Survey said.

The Self Help Groups (SHGs) and the SHG-Bank Linkage Programme, implemented by commercial banks, RRBs and cooperative banks, have emerged as the major micro-finance programme in the country.

As on March 31, 2007, a cumulative number of 72,638 SHGs were credit-linked to banks and the total credit flow to these SHGs was Rs 202.98 crore (Rs 2.02 million).

Bihar's top brass including chief minister Nitish Kumar is likely to face embarrassment over the Economic Survey of Bihar claim of 16 percent growth of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

Earlier this week Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio, proudly claimed that state had striven for ''unprecedented economic growth'' for the first time in the post-independence era, after quoting the Economic Survey of Bihar.

If a record growth of 16 per cent Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Bihar is to believed, Bihar has also left behind developed states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu . This is surely a big official blunder.

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna