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The New Bihar: rekindling governance and development


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Speaker(s): Daniel Alexander MP, Lord Bilimoria, Ranjan Mathai, Suhel Seth, NK Singh
Chair: Professor Lord Stern

Recorded on 20 January 2014 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

During the 1990s, the state of Bihar in India failed to benefit from the acceleration in India’s economic growth and in fact, slowed compared to the 1980s, principally because of a steep decline in the already low standards of governance. Bihar governance and economic performance changed dramatically after November 2005, when the Nitish Kumar government came to power. Within a short time, major initiatives were launched in improving governance, infrastructure, education especially primary and for girl children, health and agriculture. Significant improvements in law and order presumably induced and allowed a resurgence of economic activity in construction, trade and hotels/restaurants, and this has boosted the prospects for growth and development in this state. In The New Bihar, N.K. Singh and Nicholas Stern have put together a collection of perspective essays by eminent scholars on the emerging Bihar model of development – its achievements, shortcomings and challenges. Eminent economists analyse the remarkable turnaround witnessed by Bihar – Amartya Sen provides a historical background of Bihar’s distinguished past, Kaushik Basu discusses the decline of Bihar in recent history and the turnaround since 2005. Meghnad Desai, Shankar Acharya and Arvind Virmani document how the state reversed its fortunes toward growth. Isher Judge Ahluwalia argues for a high rate of urbanisation to take the development story forward. The panel will discuss the economic developments in recent years and future prospects for growth in Bihar.

Daniel Alexander is chief secretary to the Treasury and member of parliament for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey.

Karan Bilimoria is a crossbench peer within the House of Lords and the founder and chairman of Cobra Beer.

Ranjan Mathai is the high commissioner of India to the United Kingdom.

Suhel Seth is the managing partner of Counselage India.

NK Singh is a member of parliament, Rajya Sabha of the government of India.

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