What were the factors behind the dramatic transformation of Bihar from a state with a dismal record in education, health, and law and order to a model of growth and governance? Professor Rajesh Chakrabarti traces the story of Bihar’s astonishing turnaround. This article is based on his forthcoming book, tentatively titled, “The Bihar Breakthrough: How a Troubled State Turned the Corner.”
The latest Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) estimates portray India’s GDP growing at 6.88% in 2011-12, a bit less than the 8.39% clocked in the previous year. But this growth ﬁgure hides considerable interstate variation. In 2010-11, the growth rates in state GDP ranged from a low of less than 4% in Nagaland to a high of almost 15% in Bihar. The range is almost as wide this year - from a low of 3.65% in Arunachal to a high of 13.13%, once again in Bihar. States increasingly matter more in the Indian polity and growth stor y, and it is in this varied landscape that the story of Bihar’s turnaround from a basket case to a case of almost model growth deserves a close look.