NITI Praises Nitish Kumar on his 'Progressive' Policies

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Patna: National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Commission Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya, speaking at the first interanational conference on the 'Development and Growth: Experience and Theories' in Patna on Wednesday, praised Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his policies to put Bihar on the path of development.

Speaking on the occasion to mark the 25th anniversary of Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Panagariya said that despite being ignored by the Center for the last several decades, Bihar, under the leadership of Nitish Kumar, had made major strides in economic growth and development and his efforts were laudable.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and the current Bihar Finance Minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui, while purposely avoiding to talk about the Bihar of the '90s under his leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Prasad Yadav and later under Yadav's wife Rabri Devi due to the obvious connotation of the infamous 'Jungle Raj', however, blamed the past and current central governments for ignoring the needs of Bihar.

"I am not trying to blame the previous or current government in New Delhi but the fact remains that while the Central government has always shown sympathy for Bihar, it has failed to do make any positive difference in the state," Siddiqui said without mentioning any names.

He, however, quickly past the blame on the media and certain vested interests for creating a negative image of Bihar as a result of which big industrial houses were reluctant to set up their businesses in the state.

Despite ten year of Nitish rule in Bihar that included his famous sales pitch of 'at least one item from Bihar in everyone's dinner plate' that failed to gain national traction after the initial euphoria died out, the Finance Minister still talked in uncertainties saying the state could brand its mangoes, litchis, and bananas to spur growth in Bihar.

Resorting to the popular political cliché of 'India couldn't develop without the development of Bihar', Siddiqui said that the state simply could not keep up with other developed states like Maharashtra and Gujarat due to the perennial problem of flooding in Bihar rivers.

"How can you expect Bihar to be like Gujarat, Maharashtra, or Tamil Nadu when each year our crops are destroyed by 'imported floods' caused due to Nepal releasing its water in Bihar rivers?" Siddiqui asked.

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