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Good Governance changes the state of affairs from ‘Bimaru’ to ‘fast developing’ states

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The State of Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh

Well it might seem shocking but the Indian states of Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh were once known as “Bimaru” States. Credit goes to the rising population, poor GDP, poor development and infrastructure facilities. In short despite having the resources, the development was a problem thus the name Bimaru. However, recently these Bimaru States have started growing much faster than expected. On the contrary the growth has been much faster than the national average, shocking once again, isn’t it?

States’ Growth Statistics

It’s a mystery how a state previously called Bimaru has suddenly turned into one of the faster growing states. Is it all in papers or it happened in real? Well the statistics depict the real state of the states. In the year 2011-12 the states of Bihar, MP, Jharkhand, UP showed growth of 13.26%, 11.81%, 8.92% and 6.86% which was far better than the national GDP growth of 6.21%. For Odisha the growth was slow at 4.92% which was a onetime departure from its all time average of 8%. The scenario for 2012-13 is no different. The states which were once called as backward states are performing better than the national average of 5%. This is all possible due to the widely divergent path followed for the success.


Hard Work pays it all

If we take a sneak peek into the reasons for such development we see, Mr. Naveen Patnaik won elections for three consecutive years and has served as the Chief Minister of Odisha. The year 2000 was a bad year for the state as it witnessed the highest ever fiscal deficit and debt/GDP ratio among all states. However, the scenario has taken a reverse turn with Odisha becoming a revenue-surplus state. Also the once-backward states have come in the same league. Faster growth at the state level has helped in the revenue bonanza. Over and above, the national growth has also increased the states’ share of central revenue.

Talking of Odisha, we see that the state is rich in minerals but due to the exiting license-permit raj and high corruption, the resources were never put to use. Politicians got re-elected through networks and did minimal for the economic development. Finally, the Patnaik government changed the fate by weeding out corruption and focusing on development. Over 20 ministers were sacked and proper governance structure was implemented. Despite tribal allegations in case of some industries the state has grown at over 8% for a decade.


Say NO to Gangsters

Bihar was once known for crime and gangsterism but the Nitish Kumar led government focused more on restoring public order. The government succeeded in marking an end to the gangsterism that had flourished under his predecessor. Over 50,000 gangsters were tried and jailed under imaginative use of the Arms Act and the move helped the state get back to track with encouraged economic activity. Infrastructure including roads, bridges was built and electricity was made available across the state. This helped the state reach its aimed double-digit growth, which was once reported to be impossible for the state by World Bank.

Focus was also laid on primary education and health. Several projects were undertaken under the state government. As a result, the literacy rate in the state improved 16.8 percentage points and female literacy improved by 20 points in the year 2011-12 (the best growth in the world). Infant mortality rate in Bihar once used to be highest in Highest has fallen significantly to match the national average at 44 per 1,000.

Madhya Pradesh

Agriculture & Infrastructure

Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan inititally struggled to accelerate the growth but subsequently was successful in hitting double digits growth from the past two years. One of the notable achievements of the Chauhan led government has been agriculture. Chauhan initiated the process of building rural infrastructure required for local wheat procurement system. As a result, a spectacular 7.5 million tonnes of wheat was procured in 2012, equivalent to the amount Punjab procured during early Green Revolution years. However, the government lacks in storage facilities leading to rotting of grains.

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Maoists- Not a hindrance to growth?

Dr. Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh has made the above possible. Despite the existence of Maoists in the state, his government was successful to generate double digit GDP growth. His Salwa Judum, an anti-Maoist militia has been widely known and he has been successful in curbing Maoism. Expansion in steel, aluminium and power production helped the state grow as a industrial giant. Public distribution system and public health system have also been a great success.


To sum up, the four states were once known to be the backward states have four very different paths for faster growth. Thus it is undoubtedly true that it’s all about good governance which can help state reach heights. There is much scope of learning from the classic cases and one should look up to them, if not follow them blindly.



Niraj Satnalika

Niraj is an MBA in International Business (Finance). Prior to this he completed B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation. He is currently working with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Kolkata in capacity of Consultant. Satnalika is actively involved with an NGO and works towards promoting education among the underprivileged.

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