Bihar- present status and strategy for faster development

08/05/2013

Bihar state had/has able, efficient and illustrious Chief Ministers like S.K.Sinha, Bhola Paswan Shastri, Dr.Jagannath Mishra, Laloo Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar. Some of them had very successful Cabinet Ministers at the Central Government holding important portfolios. The state also had/has brilliant bureaucrats. Some of the successful bureaucrats at the Central government are from Bihar cadre. But none of them was able to lift the state out of poverty. The state was under President’s rule several times though for short periods. Among the states, Bihar still has the lowest per capita income of just Rs12000/-per year. The production of food grains is only 10 million tonnes in 2010-11, less than the production of 10.6 million tonnes in 1991-92. The yield per hectare of land instead of increasing over the years has come down from 1450 kg/hectare(ha) in 1991-92 to 1090 kg per ha in 2010-11. The national average yield in 2010-11 is 2240kg/ha. The people of Bihar do not produce even 100 kg of food grains per head per year while other states on an average produce more than 200kg per head per year.

One of the major reasons for the backwardness of the state is the very high density of population (1100 per sq.km) and a very high population growth rate(25% during 2001-11) and the inability of the successive governments to launch huge developmental projects which would have increased the per capita income and reduced population growth rate. Among the major states, Bihar has the highest population growth rate.

Law and order situation is also not satisfactory.

Experiments like postponing elections for two-three years, forming non-party government, imposing President’s rule, emergency etc could be debated

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Foreign Tours of Prime Minister of India

13/09/2010

India is a large country. Every 6 th person in the world is an Indian. Every 5 th child is in India. There are a lot of complex issues inside the country which await urgent solution. The Prime Minister (PM) of India handles 5 Ministries (space, atomic energy, planning, culture & Personnel).There about 40 Ministries in the Government. There are 35 States and Union Territories (states, UTs).

• It would be useful if PM could review the working of the central Ministries periodically (once in 3/6 months). While it may take about one full working day to review the working of a small Ministry, it may take about 2 days for review of each of the major ministries like Finance, Home, Agriculture, Defence and External Affairs.

• It is necessary for the PM to review the progress in the states, UTs with the Chief Ministers (CM)/Administrators regularly and also brief them about the activities of the central government. Discussions with each CM may take 1-2 days depending on the size and problems of the state.

• It may be necessary for PM to address the public not only to tell them about the government activities but also talk to them on the duties and obligations of the people, ethics, morality, need for hard work, etc.

 • PM has also to address various Manufacturers’ Associations, Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Think Tanks, NGOs, Farmers’ associations etc not only in New Delhi but through out India

• PM may also have to find time to inspect major projects in the country.

 • Besides the above, PM has to devote time for the Parliament affairs

• discuss matters with visiting foreign VIPs,VVIPs etc.

• In the midst of all the above, PM has also to devote time for the party and political affairs.

While PMs of other countries have frequent foreign tours, PM of India undertakes very few foreign tours. Even then, in view of the heavy workload within this large country, it may be better, if the concerned Ministries of the government schedule  as lesser number of foreign tours for the Prime Minister as possible. It may also be desirable if PM gives up the Ministry’s he is handling directly and concentrate on co-ordination, reviews, monitoring etc of all the ministries


Amendments to the Constitution of India

28/02/2010

During the leadership of the former Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, the constitution was amended to describe India as a “… Socialist, Secular …” country. The word “socialist” remains in the constitution, though the country has not followed socialism for at least the last 20 years. Thus there is no need to retain this word in the constitution.

Amendments to the constitution become frequent, even if not necessary, when the ruling party has two-thirds majority in parliament. This is one of the reasons as to why the central government should preferably be a coalition of many parties. Big majority for a single party could lead to dictatorial tendencies on the part of its party leader.

Of course, the constitution is not sacrosanct and in fact, it needs to be amended for purposes such as the following:

  1. To divide states into smaller ones for administrative efficiencies
  2. To include languages such as Gond, Kurukh and Bhil in the 8th schedule with a view to preserve and promote these languages spoken by substantial numbers of people
  3. To transfer some subjects from the central and concurrent lists to the state list
  4. To prescribe the number of times one can hold the high offices of the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Chief Minister
  5. To restrict the government from putting money in cash or in kind directly into the pockets of individuals, by way of  imposing a ceiling or some other way, in order that the ruling party does not resort to such welfare schemes with a view to win future elections
  6. Opening branch courts of Supreme Court and High Courts to minimize the inconvenience to litigants
  7. Making regional languages as High Court languages
  8. Raising the age for voting to 25 as at the age of 18, one is not in a position to to decide on the merits of different ideologies, or the suitability of different contestants  (the original age was 21)

India – Order of precedence

09/07/2009

At present, the Chief Ministers of Indian states (within their respective states) and Cabinet Ministers of the Union are ranked 7th in the order of precedence. Chief Ministers outside their respective states are ranked 8th, below that of Cabinet Ministers of the Union. Some of the states in India are very large. The state of Uttar Pradesh has a population of nearly 200 million. If it is a separate country, it would be the 5th or 6th largest country in the world. It is unfair to relegate the chief representatives of states, particularly of large states, to 7th or 8th place in the order of precedence. Every year the Chief Ministers of one fifth of the states could by rotation be made the ex-officio Deputy Prime Ministers of the country and placed at 5th position in the order of precedence.  In Czechoslovakia, the Chief Ministers of the two federating states were ex-officio Deputy Prime Ministers. Making the Chief Ministers, ex-officio Deputy Prime Ministers will also strengthen centre-state relations.