Patna: The state government in Patna on Tuesday launched an ambitious campaign ‘Bihar@2025’ to ensure public participation in policy making and to produce a vision document on development for the next 10 years.
Touted as the brainchild of chief minister Nitish Kumar and world’s largest campaign for participatory agenda through massive engagement of citizens, it aims to reach out to four crore people residing in 40,000 villages in the state, including 10,000 government and civil society members over the next eight to 10 weeks.
Dedicating the campaign to the people at a function in the state capital, Kumar said, “During my governance-related tours across Bihar, the idea came to me that there should be some mechanism to ensure the participation of the people, their thoughts and views in developmental policies. ‘Bihar@2025’ is an outcome of it.”
Kumar added that the campaign will elicit views of the people, encourage them to tell about their issues, and what they want in health, electricity, education, employment and other sectors of development.
Views will also be sought from people hailing from non resident Biharis, as well as from specialists in different fields in this regard, he said.
“Everything will be documented and included to prepare a vision document on the work plan for the next 10 years. Vision documents have been made earlier also, but this is the first time that public participation is being incorporated,” Kumar claimed.
“This is a government initiative in which several organisations will lend their hands. Our purpose is to establish ‘jan-samvad’ (public interaction) for an interactive vision document. I am very enthusiastic about this as the vision document will aid in making development programmes,” he added.
Pointing out that ‘Bihar@2025’ will provide a platform for all-inclusive development, Kumar said it will help prepare the state for a “quantum jump” in socio-economic development.
The Bihar Chief Minister listed the successes of his tenure in ensuring better law and order, along with “rule of law”, raising literacy rate from 47% to 62% in the last 10 years, ensuring an enrolment rate of 98.1% in primary schools.
Included in the list were increasing road length in the state by 50%, constructing 1,151 bridges, three times growth in per capita income, seven times higher paddy production rate than the national average and charting a faster growth rate of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in comparison to all other states.
Flanked by several ministers including state Information and Public Relations Department (IPRD) Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary and its secretary Pratyaya Amrit, Kumar asserted that the vision document will include the views of every section of society in the state.
“Bihar@2025 will be an indisputable document including all sections of the society, and will be an answer to those who say the people of Bihar have casteism in their DNA,” he added hinting at BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who had made the controversial statement a few months ago.
Asked whether he has been influenced by Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal’s emphasis on public interaction and participation in policy making through community dialogues while conceptualising Bihar@2025, Kumar retorted, “What’s wrong in that? It is a good thing if many people have such thoughts.”
When reporters pointed to the approaching state elections and the chances that the vision document may not be implemented, Kumar replied, “This initiative is not for influencing the polls. Public will give the responsibility to govern to someone or the other in the elections. We will also ensure what direction should be chosen after the polls.”
Asked whether the vision document will be included in his election manifesto, he said, “The document will not be just of ornamental value. It will be formulated on the basis of a big consensus. There will not be any partisan spirit in it. It will provide a solid base for work plan to those elected in the polls.”