Saturday, May 05, 2007

Brand Bihar in action

There’s a steady but significance change in the investment pattern in Bihar. The state and its citizens have always been a subject of ridicule and apathy over the years for the tardy growth rate and dwindling investment over the years. The history of neglect and step motherly treatment by planning commission and financial institutions has seen the growth of the state plummeting over the years. Bihar’s annual growth rate was 5.2% compared to all-India’s 5.6 % in the 1980s, declined to 3.46% in contrast to the national growth rate of over 6% in the 1990s, and has recently increased. Central Statistical Organization (CSO) figures place its average growth rate from 1993-94 to 2003-04 at 5.8% per annum, just under India’s 5.9% per annum.Much has been said about the unfair treatment meted to Bihar but these figures do not present the real picture of the immense market potential and untapped resources of the state. However times are changing fast and more and more organizations are realizing the immense potential which Bihar has.

The recent meet of Industrialist in Bihar is one such significant step in the direction to change the investment climate in Bihar. In the recently held first-ever meeting of Bihar Development and Investment Promotion Council (BDIPC) meet at Patna it was decided that Chairman of Aditya Birla Group Kumarmangalam Birla will look after harnessing the private sector in Bihar, vice-chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra Anand Mahindra will be involved in harnessing agriculture. Similarly, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel will extend his cooperation in mainstreaming the rural economy. A dozen sectoral groups to be known as 'Abiding Initiatives', each headed by a top CEO, have been formed to help formulate and fine-tune policies. The easing credit flow initiative will be headed by ICICI MD K V Kamath, while noted architect Hafeez Contractor will draw the blueprint for urban design.

Priya Paul, chairperson of Apeejay Surrendra Group, who showed keen interest in tourism development will head the group on tourism, travel and employment potential and RPG Enterprise V-C Sanjeev Goenka will oversee the energy concern. Chairman Max India Analjit Singh has been involved in new health paradigm. With a stress on popularising Brand Bihar, an initiative has been shaped for state's image building.

The think-tank unanimously resolved that there was a major improvement in the crime-control situation under the Nitish Kumar administration and this was a giant leap for putting the state on the threshold of development.

“The state requires a consistent 8.5 per cent growth rate and the key lies in developing basic infrastructure. Stress on education and leveraging the state’s travel and tourism advantage should form the key,” said ICICI Bank chief K.V. Kamath, whose organisation has been doing brisk business in the state.Mahindra and Mahindra Group head Anand Mahindra promised that actual announcement of projects would begin soon.

The govt. has been swift to react to the changing times and has amended the Bihar Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1981, in March-end which mean now sugarcane juice can be directly used for producing ethanol or rectified spirit and for cogeneration.Prakash Jha recently laid foundation of his sugar factory at Gurwalia in West Champaran district.he also announced his intentions of setting up 10 more sugar mills in the state.

In another development a World Bank aided project for boosting rural economy through self-employment will be launched in 4,000 villages spread across six districts of Bihar in September this year. The Rs 306.5 crore project, christened 'Jivika' (employment), will be executed under Bihar Rural Livelihood Project. According to a five-year action plan prepared for 'Jivika', the project will be implemented in 4,000 villages under 42 development blocks across Nalanda, Gaya, Khagaria, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani and Purnia districts. Altogether 5.9 lakh poor families would benefit from the project, the burden of which will be shared by the World Bank, Bihar government and the beneficiaries.

The revival of Bihar has also seen the revival of the Bhojpuri film Industry which is witnessing a phenomenal resurgence after a lean patch. With 76 films produced in 2006, Bhojpuri films have recorded the fastest growth rate — a 100 per cent increase over 2005. They also account for 7 per cent of the total number of films produced, only marginally behind Malayalam and Kannada films, according to figures released by the Central Board of Film Certification.

This summern and even Spiderman is going to make its debut in Bhojpuri version. But a Bhojpuri Spiderman doesn't come cheap. A whopping Rs 3 crore is being spent to dub it; an amount that can fund two Bhojpuri films. And as many as 50 to 60 prints of this Bhojpuri Spiderman will be released.

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