Global Summit: Modi reviews preparations
PATNA: The second Global Summit on Bihar would be held here for three days, beginning February 17. The first Global Summit had dwelt on poverty and its measurement in which the relative poverty of Bihar, then christened as one of the five Bimaru states, also figured.
Since the first Global Summit held in early 2006, a lot of water has flown down the Ganga, when the face and profile of Bihar has also changed. In keeping with the available forward-looking scenario and outlook in the state, the theme of the second Global Summit to be held here is ‘Changing Bihar.’
Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi on Thursday reviewed the preparations being made for the second summit. The meeting also decided the themes for three general sessions and 11 parallel sessions to be held during the three-day global meet.
Among those who participated in the review meeting were industries development commissioner (IDC) C K Mishra, Patna divisional commissioner K P Ramaiah, art, culture and youth affairs department principal secretary C Lalsota, Institute of Human Development (IHD) senior representative A N Sharma, Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) member-secretary Shaibal Gupta and officials of the Bihar Foundation.
The review meeting decided to have the inauguration and closing session of Global Summit to be chaired by Nepal prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, while efforts would be made to have the august presence of Bhutanese king Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk at the summit.
Significantly, participants at the review meeting carried positive stance. Not only the state had registered average growth rate of 10.5 per cent in its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in the last five fiscals with effective crime control that propelled the utilization of the Centre’s money for infrastructure development (mainly roads), the state’s literacy rate also increased and the enrolment of girls in schools, backed by CM’s Uniform Scheme and scholarship programme for them, also increased substantially. Besides, the state’s rate of immunization crossed national average, and infant mortality rate decreased.
Obviously, the state had something to cheer about, even as its record on Human Development Index (HDI) devised by the UNDP and elimination of poverty did not offer much. The drive to lure the flow of investments and industrial capital for the revival of the industrial outlook of the state, except in the food processing sector, also did not yield results beyond a limit.
For, the state government had thought and planned to go for independent production of ethanol in its closed sugar and proposed new sugar mills, and accordingly, amended the Bihar Sugar Act, but the Centre’s Union agriculture ministry did not approve it. The Centre brought in Cane Control Order, 2007, fearing that largescale independent ethanol production would adversely affect the production of food crops, when the country’s eastern region, including Bihar, was being touted to witness new green revolution.
The state government, accordingly, changed its tune, and decided to concentrate on strengthening agriculture sector whose share in the GSDP has declined to around 19 percent from the high of 38 percent in 2005-06. This year, however, the state has registered record production of paddy — 70 lakh metric tonnes.