New Delhi: Post the mid day meal tragedy, Bihar portrays a shame face for many of us. However, it still sets high standards for a chosen few.
Nicholas Stern, Baron of Brentford and president of the British Academy, in a book presentation at Rashtrapati Bhavan, endorsed the special category status for Bihar for its good work.
"Bihar is a remarkable example of turnaround from worrying governance to governance with vision and commitment," Stern said. "Pardon an outsider saying this but the important change in Bihar needs to be backed and giving it special category status would be appropriate," he further added.
While his statement raised a few eyebrows in the audience, he stood by his comment, considering the state's big picture narrative. "Delivery has been quick in Bihar and purposeful, the state has set a strong and clear example from which there are lessons to be learnt."
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen with NK Singh
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen with NK Singh, Nicholas Stern, Montek Singh, Meghnad Dasai, Sharmila Tagore, during the presentation of a copy of the book "The New Bihar - Rekinding Governance & Development" at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Sunday.
The New Bihar - Rekinding Governance & Development
President Pranab Mukherjee receiving a copy of the book "The New Bihar - Rekinding Governance & Development" from Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen. The book has been edited by NK Singh (2nd R) and Nicholas Stern (R).
Pranab Mukherjee with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen
President Pranab Mukherjee with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen before receiving a copy of the book "The New Bihar - Rekinding Governance & Development" at the Rashtrapati Bhavan".
Amartya Sen with actress Sharmila Tagore
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen with actress Sharmila Tagore during the presentation of a copy of the book "The New Bihar - Rekinding Governance & Development" at the Rahtrapati Bhavan", edited by NK Singh and Nicholas Stern in New Delhi on Sunday.
The ceremony, held on July 21, was to present President Pranab Mukherjee with the first copy of a new book of essays titled 'The New Bihar: Rekindling Governance and Development'. The book has been edited by N. K. Singh, a technocrat and Janata Dal (United) member of the Rajya Sabha and Stern himself. Unlike the professed neutral political atmosphere in the highest office of the country, the air here had a temporary shift in its preferences.
On behalf of Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar, NK Singh conveyed his good wishes to the guests and said that "the most important change in Bihar had been the "reversal of expectations and creation of hope".
However, he opined that the state is endwavoring to fight all odds to maintain that hope. He said," Hope needs to be backed by achievement and that is the challenge of our endeavour. What is being tried there is a model of sustainable and inclusive growth. The problem is, even at the highest growth rate it will take a long, long time for Bihar to catch up with the national average."
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen too backed his statement saying ,"Bihar is full of profound lessons for all of India. Bihar was a hard case, probably the worst state in India. And if it could jump to the highest growth rates over a short period of time, I think it is quite remarkable."
"Bihar illustrates the requirement for integrated development," he further said.
"Growth cannot be independent of social change. In Asia, examples abound. The Meiji Restoration ensured that Japan had an educated, healthy labour class and the rest followed. It was an example, followed by Korea and Singapore and later China. Meaningful growth will not come in the absence of good education and good health, and that is one of the things for Bihar as well," Sen said rightfully, probably keeping the present situation of Bihar in mind.
Bihar Chief Minister was not present during the ceremony of presenting President Pranab Mukherjee with the first copy of the book of essays titled 'The New Bihar: Rekindling Governance and Development', probably mending the damange that has already been done to the state's image.