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A Look Back: The Incredible Change in Bihar

Nitish Kumar cracks the whip on corrupt babus

Published: May 24, 2011 06:14:23 AM IST
Updated: May 26, 2011 07:25:04 PM IST
A Look Back: The Incredible Change in Bihar

WHY WE DID THE STORY: Bihar was once considered the most corrupt state in the country. When Nitish Kumar took over as chief minister and made noises about cleaning up the system, not many took him seriously. But during his first term, he locked up more than 55,000 criminals to make Bihar almost crime-free. In his second stint, Kumar is aiming for a systemic overhaul. It’s a remarkable case study of a state, once known to be the worst-governed in the country, showing the way to more advanced states on innovative means to tackle corruption. It’s not easy to crack the whip on Bihar’s bureaucracy as the babus have been masters for several decades now. However, Kumar seems to be relentless in making the government servants accountable. He has also lent his support to Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade. Hazare had praised Kumar for the steps taken to make governance transparent, which has improved the quality of life in rural areas. It’s history in the making and that’s why we did the story.
(You can read the original story here )

WHERE THE STORY STANDS: Nitish Kumar’s attempts at reining in corruption have made a tremendous impact on the state’s administration. In 2009, special courts were set up to try corruption cases. Now, the state has made it compulsory for government servants to declare their assets. In March, the state government warned more than 70,000 officials that their salaries would be withheld till they submitted their declaration forms. More than 85 percent of over 4.5 lakh government officials, including Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service officers in Bihar, have submitted details of their assets. Kumar and his ministers have also put up their declaration forms on the state’s Web site. There is now palpable fear among government officers as they know that the government is in a proactive mode to tackle corruption. “It’s very clear that the administration means business and so the officers know that the pressure on the anti-corruption front would be relentless. One after the other, people are giving details of their assets,” says a government officer.

(This story appears in the 03 June, 2011 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Vikas Lal Rajiv

    Gr8 Job by Our C.M.

    on Jan 13, 2012
  • Manjula Mani

    Pay Bihar industries, not the rest of the states

    on Jun 13, 2011
  • Shambhu Goel

    Mine is a story where no mechanism of anti-corrution drive, good-governance in Bihar is having any visible effect . I am a small-scale industry enterpreneur established since 1981. I survived hard to establish my brand-name in the eyes and mind-set of the farmers by my dilligence and strict adherence to all quality norms which resulted in huge success as far as saleability of my productsis concerned. With time it I became so famous that my product brand-name and my name are taken together by the farmers. It has become a thing of envy by the big multinational companies also. I want to relate a fact about the high-handedness, callous, unlawful attitude and skullduggery of one Sanjay Singh (Deputy Director of Agriculture,statistics /in-charge Fertlilizer Cell, GOB) which has landed us in deepest trouble and the only of its type since these thirty years of our successful operation. He misinterpreted the various sections of Fertilizer Control Order 1985 and got our factory sealed on 18.12.2010 and is continuing in this position till date. He set himself on a spree to disturb all in such business in Bihar. Renewal of manufacturing license had become due and all had applied within the time -frame set by statutes of the government in the Fertilizer manufacturing and marketing law. One frivolous and flimsy grounds he got rejected all these application by the Director of Agriculture, Bihar. All had to go in for appeal to the High Court and some of them like us went to the Office of the Appellate authority ,THE APC,,BIHAR . We got the required releif from both the forums of appeal. Inspite of the directions given by the appellate authorities we were acted upon like a butcher who slaughters tender and helpless animals. On two of us FIR was launched, again the reasons shown were a misinterpreted translation by this person and were quashed in one case earlier, ours is still to be decided as the appeal is pending in the HC . But this persdon inspite of favourable orders got the factories sealed. And in one case he even had to ask for apology from the High Court as his action was challenged by the petitioner industrialist. But he extorted an amount of 7.30 lac from this unit . He is demanding Rs. 10 lac from us and is making high flying speeches that, it will not matter to him even if I approach the Chief Minister, who he says cannot harm him, it does not matter to him about any such steps the State Goverment is taking towards curbing corruption.. Sir I want you to do something about this corrupt pratices adopted by officers in Bihar who are openly challenging the rule of law for their own greedy ends .

    on Jun 11, 2011
  • Ritesh Kumar

    Nitish sir continue ur work lyk this..plz try to open more schools and colleges so student of different states and our states can study and can enjoy in their own environment...bring more company to our states so people can enjoy working here without going anywhere..

    on Jun 1, 2011
  • Pranay Prasoon

    Touch wood..!! bihar is in the process of regaining its glory and the pace with which it is moving is amazing..!! thank you nitish sir..!!

    on May 31, 2011
  • Ravi Gupta (Bihari)

    Nitish ji Bihar ke ley abhi aur work karna hai. India me Bihari world gali hai, ise swabhiman me badalna hai.

    on May 29, 2011
  • Vidya Bhushan Pathak

    If it continues another five years definitely Bihar will be on top of prosperity and happiness.

    on May 29, 2011
  • Shambhu Goel

    I had just posted one detailed story of the notoriety of a government officer in Bihar Agriculture Department which has led to closure of our vibrant industry. There is no lawful cause, it is an invented ploy of this particular person who has squarely misinterpreted the various sections of the principles of Fertilizer Control order1985 of the government. His name is Sanjay Kumar Singh. Amazingly this person enjoys MFP (most favoured person) status not only in the eyes and heart of the senior IAS officers of the department but also the minister in-charge. When I contacted the minister, he was as usual, as his habit is, called us abusive names in place of hearing our genuine grievances. Most surprising and very painful it is to write that even the highest body of the department has adopted completely indifferent attitude towards the problem this man has made us face. We are forced to go to the High Court so many times, the court gives directions to comply within the lawful ranges of the said control order, but the man has got our application for renewal of our licenses rejected by the authorities 3 times and this has taken us atleast 6 months. Again we are in the court and a date in June has been fixed for hearing of the case against the department. One more instance of highest degree cruelty is that this very officer has asked for an unconditional and unqualified apology from the court in one very exactly similar case he had hatched against one another enterprise engaged in exactly the same business as ours. Symmetry of both cases is such that he had charged both of us under same sections of FCO violation. He charged us for resuming production when our application for renewal was pending with the licensing authority. When both of us had applied for our renewal of licences within the time specified. And deliberate and intentional delay was being made at his end. The sections as said to have been violated are sections 12 & 7 of FCO whereas enabling clauses like section 18(4)and 11(4), advantage of which should have been granted to us were wrongly and again with ill-motive were denied. After the case of the other manufacturer was heard at the High Court and the officer was reprimanded for his action, this officer immediately complied and issued the renewed license to this enterprise and asked for apology from the court under fear of charge of contempt against high court order. But by his machinations he was able to keep this factory also closed for 13 month inflicting huge losses to the enterprise. In our case appeal was heard at the level of APC, DOA, Bihar. Our appeal was allowed but it was signed by Sri K.C. Saha IAS when for a very brief period he had taken charge of this post in the absence of Sri A.K. Sinha IAS when he had gone on a leave. Immediately after return of Sri A.K. Sinha, this erring officer sat silent over the orders passed by Sri K.C. Saha defying all the norms of execution of executive orders under the protection of Srfi A.K. Sinha who has remained apathetic to our problems, the story of our woes and sorrows continues unabated. Rather the erring officer is being abetted in carrying out all his ill-motives. We have written at least ten times to the CM , Grievance cell, but till today there is no sign of any visible action. It is a serious matter as lacs of worth of fertilizers have been washed out, 150 laborers have become workless , we are faced with the problem of incurring unnecessary interest payment on loan exposures of the banks and many more unwanted losses we are forced to accept only for the callousness and lack-lustre attitude of the department of Agriculture, Bihar. It seems we are alien to this state and are foreigners and therefore we will be treated like this forever. Where is sushasan? Please help us to find out a remedy before we are finished .

    on May 27, 2011
  • Chandra Prakash

    I have few documents which shows irregularities and misuse of position in recruitment of teachers. A teacher has 6 years age difference with his son. A teacher appeared for Xth from 2 different schools with different name in the same year.

    on May 27, 2011
  • Chandra Prakash


    on May 27, 2011
  • Amardeep

    Good Story! I hope other states of India too follow the steps and contribute in developing India, so that all people live happily and peacefully.

    on May 24, 2011
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