Patna: Members of the 14th Finance Commission (FC) said here on Wednesday that remittance economy should be a major factor in working out a model of development for Bihar as a large section of workforce migrates to other states and countries.
Emphasizing on the benefits of migrants-based economy for the state, panel member Abhijit Sen, who is also a member of the Planning Commission, said it should be accepted that people were going to leave Bihar and the government should accordingly sketch its growth plan.
After receiving memorandums from the state government and key stakeholders on Monday and Tuesday, three members of the commission – Abhijit Sen, M Govind Rao and Sudipto Mundle – and secretary Ajay Narayan Jha visited the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Patna, on Wednesday and discussed the socio-economic outlook of the state.
ADRI member-secretary Shaibal Gupta told TOI, “While specific data about the remittance money received by the state was not available, the amount was ever increasing.”
The finance panel members said Biharis not only migrate for better job prospects but a number of students also go outside for higher education. “The state suffers not only from infrastructure deficit but also from entrepreneurial deficit,” Mundle said as Rao chipped in, saying, “Economic activity is not being generated in the state and a bigger base is required to institutionalize things. A strong system of education and health care should be put in place.”
Talking about the state of investment in Bihar, the panel members questioned the presence of local investors in the state. “Where is the Bihari capital even in the service sector? All major contracts in infrastructure development are being bagged by people from outside the state,” Jha said. The commission members chorused that local venture was required to draw investors from outside.
Appreciating the political consensus engineered by ADRI to draft a joint memorandum for the 14th Finance Commission, the members also inquired about the political situation in the state and what policy changes would be made if government at the Centre or state changes. The commission members were also of the opinion that things would have been better in the state if all regimes had done some development work.
Also present on the occasion was ADRI director Prabhat P Ghosh, who answered several queries made by the panel members on the socio-economic and political dynamics of the state. Armed with memos of different stakeholders and taking into account the resources and expenditure of the state, the commission members left Bihar on Wednesday.