Development in Bihar: overview, appraisal and approach | Literacy | River

A G A K H A N F O U N DAT I O N ( I N D I A

)

Development in Bihar overview, appraisal anD approach
j u ly

2007

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

“There are those who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both the means and the motivation to improve their circumstances. Unless they can be touched with the spark which ignites the spirit of individual enterprise and determination, they will only sink into apathy, degradation and despair. it is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that spark.”

His Highness the Aga Khan India, 1983

cover picture: Madhubani painting

The stylized peacocks in this painting appear to be fighting over a fish. But mirrored or opposing animals are a frequent theme in this tradition, and the peacock can be a symbol of eternity. These paired birds may recall a passage from the Upanishads that refers to two birds, sitting on a single branch. One of them eats a delicious fig; the other simply watches. That passage is taken to be an affirmation of the complementary nature of action and consciousness (or contemplation) -- “He whose own heart is pure makes no judgment: there is no good or bad in what is done without desire.”

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Acknowledgements
This document has been prepared by senior staff of the aga Khan Foundation, with major support from seyed Faiz hayat – a young consultant hired for the purpose, and under the direct guidance of its ceo – Mr nicholas Mckinlay. The chairman of the national committee of the aga Khan Foundation in india – dr abad ahmad – has taken personal interest in getting clear directives from the Board, exciting members of the National Committee to these new initiatives and guiding the staff with patience. Members of the national committee have always supported the endeavour with suggestions, contacts and comments which were most valuable. Colleagues from other Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) institutions, in particular the Chief Executive Officers of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) and the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, India – Apoorva Oza and Surekha Ghogale respectively – provided enthusiastic leadership in field appraisals. We’ve met a whole range of experts, academics and managers from different institutions who’ve enthusiastically explained the various nuances to the development issues of Bihar. In particular, staff from different NGOs in the region we visited – Kanchan Seva Ashram and Grameen Samaj Kalyan Sansthan – assisted us in every way during the intensive reconnaissance and appraisal visits. Finally, this document would not have been possible without the insights obtained from the communities who volunteered not just their time, but also details from their private lives. we were also treated to their generous hospitality including fruits, snacks and even health-drinks. What makes this contribution even more remarkable is the fact that they were always aware that our programme might not be reaching them in particular. we hope this report is an honest reflection of the realities on the ground which is the best way to pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of the people of Bihar. 

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BIHAR 200 1
PASHCHIM CHAMPARAN

PURBA CHAMPARAN GOPALGANJ

SITAMARHI SHEOHAR MADHUBANI

SIWAN

MUZAFFARPUR

SAUPAL DARBHANGA MADHEPURA

ARARIA

KISHAN GANJ

SARAN VAISHALI SAMASTIPUR

SAHARSA

PURNIA

BUXAR

BHOJPUR

PATNA

KHAGARIA BEGUSARAI

KATIHAR

KAIMUR (BHABUA)

ROHTAS

JEHANABAD

NALANDA

LAKHISARAI MUNGER SHEIKHPURA

BHAGALPUR

AURANGABAD GAYA

NAWADA

JAMUI

BANKA

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

List of Acronyms
AKDN: Aga Khan Development Network AKF: Aga Khan Foundation AKPBS, I: Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, NGO: Non-government organisation NREGS: National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme NRHM: National Rural Health Mission OBC: Other Backward Castes PACS: Poorest Area Civil Society PHC: Primary Health Centre PMGSY: Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana PUCL: People’s Union for Civil Liberties RHS: Rural Health Survey RRB: Regional Rural Bank SC: Scheduled Castes ST: Scheduled Tribes SGSY: Swarnajayanti Gramin Swarojgar Yojana SHG: Self-help group SSI: Small-scale industry UNICEF: United Nations International Children’s Education Fund UP: Uttar Pradesh VC: Vice Chancellor VSS: Vidyalay Shiksha Samiti WNTA: Wada Na Todo Abhiyan WPR: Work Participation Rate

India AKRSP (India): Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) ASHA: Accredited Social Health Activist AWC: Anganwadi centre BCE: Before Common Era/ Before Christian Era BMI: Basal Metabolic Index BRLP: Bihar Rural Livelihoods Programme CABE: CBSE: Central Board for Secondary Education CD ratio: Credit-deposit ration CSO: Civil Society Organisation DCCB: District Credit Co-operative Bank EBC: Extremely Backward Castes GDP: Gross Domestic Product GoB: Government of Bihar GoI: Government of India GSDP: Gross State Domestic Product HIV: Human Immune-deficiency Virus ICDS: Integrated Child Development Scheme ICSE: Indian Council for Secondary Education IMR: Infant Mortality Rate ITI: Industrial Training Institute JP: Jay Prakash Narayan MDG: Millennium Development Goal MP: Member of Parliament NABARD: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development NACDOR: National Confederation of Dalit Organisations NCDHR: National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights NFHS: National Family Health Survey

Weights and measures kg: kilogram km: kilometres ha: hectares sq km: square kilometres 

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Contents
PREFACE OVERVIEW OF BIHAR The land, the people Trends in Bihar ’s economy Overview of the key economic sectors Livelihoods scenario in Bihar Education scenario in Bihar Health scenario in Bihar Muslims in Bihar Caste dynamics in Bihar Governance and civil society Civil society organisations in Bihar AREA SELECTION Broad criteria for area selection Selection of districts Selection of areas within identified districts Planning the appraisal Peri-urban and urban areas APPRAISAL OF SELECTED AREAS Appraisal in select blocks of Muzaffarpur and Samastipur Observations on elementary education Observations on community health: services and status Observations on rural livelihoods Observations on civil society and governance Appraisal of peri-urban areas and poorer areas of Patna FRAMEWORK FOR DEVELOPMENT Key challenges & key opportunities Probable interventions Potential for different programme interventions 65 47 35 9 13

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The strategy framework Programme initiation REFERENCES Annex I Annex II Annex III Annex IV Annex V Terms of reference for the Appraisal Mission Members of the Appraisal Mission Itinerary of the Appraisal Mission Participants of the group discussions Debriefing note 83 

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Preface
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) focuses on health, education, culture, rural development, institution-building and the promotion of economic development. It is dedicated to improving living conditions and opportunities for the poor, without regard to their faith, origin or gender. Different agencies of the AKDN operate in social and economic development as well as in the field of culture. While each agency pursues its own mandate, all of them work together within the overarching framework of the Aga Khan Development Network so that their different pursuits can interact and reinforce one another. Their common goal is to help the poor achieve a level of self-reliance whereby they are able to plan their own livelihoods and help those even more needy than themselves. A central feature of the AKDN’s approach to development is to design and implement strategies in which its different agencies participate in particular settings. Development models require time to demonstrate their effectiveness and to enable local communities to take on full responsibility for their own future development. The AKDN agencies, therefore, make a long-term commitment to the areas in which they work, guided by the philosophy that a humane, sustainable environment must reflect the choices made by people themselves of how they live and wish to improve their prospects in harmony with their environment. Sustainability is, thus, a central consideration from the outset. In India, programmes of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) span the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and address a broad spectrum of development issues in the social, economic and cultural spheres. AKDN is now poised to expand its activities in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (UP) where poverty is entrenched and marginalisation is an accepted way of life. Significant political changes have taken place in both the states over the past few years that have seen a shift in the political power towards those that represent the backward and extremely backward communities. however, this in itself has not resulted in any major social or economic uplift of the poor and other marginalised communities in these states. several indicators even point to a decline, particularly in matters related to women and child health, nutrition, skill-building and availability of jobs. Bihar is the only state in the country where the rate of growth of population is increasing, which adds to the urgency to intervene.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is home to over 250 million people, living along the fertile Gangetic plains where civilisation dates back to over 5000 years. The chequered history of this region has left a deep imprint on society and has influenced the development trajectory in social, political, economic and cultural dimensions. it is imperative, therefore, that a deep and nuanced understanding be developed within aKdn before a detailed action plan is worked out. it is also important that this initiative of AKDN be well-coordinated, in order to establish a very positive and lasting impression in this new terrain of operations. A phased approach was undertaken to study the issues in Bihar first and then Uttar Pradesh, since the latter was about to go to the polls. A quick desk research was commissioned to familiarise with the more important literature on development issues in Bihar (see ‘References’). The process itself led to interaction with a range of eminent experts whose insights were most invaluable. The issues, including specific conditions of Muslim minorities, were summarised and discussed with limited persons. Much of this information has been refined and presented in the ‘Overview’ chapter. aKF also began to engage with the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Programme (BRLP), initiated with support from the World Bank. In addition to attending workshops of the BRLP, exclusive meetings were organised with key persons from the World Bank and its partner agencies in Bihar, such as BASIX.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar is home to over 250 million people, living along the fertile Gangetic plains where civilisation

Census data and the National Sample Survey findings were used to obtain a disaggregated dates back to over understanding of the people, particularly the scheduled castes and Muslim minorities, in different administrative units of Bihar. Again, in consultation with the National Committee of AKF in India, a set 5000 years. of criteria were developed to determine the most suitable area where implementation would begin. While the details are provided in the ‘Area selection’ chapter, the idea was to initiate a programme that was more amenable to successful experimentation and the lessons from which could generally be applied to the long-term target area of operations. The overlay of the different data sets were discussed internally as well as validated through reconnaissance visits. opinion and comments were also sought from intelligent and active workers associated with grassroots agencies in the region. in order to get a better understanding of the situation and to develop an appropriate strategy, it was decided to send a Mission to the State to carry out a ‘Rapid Appraisal’, the key findings from which form the bulk of this report. The Mission worked on the basis of a Terms of Reference (Annex I) and comprised of a mix of persons with diverse expertise, both in terms of the themes as well as perspectives and was supported by senior staff from AKF, AKRSP (India) and AKPBS,I (Annex II). The Mission worked on a very rigorous schedule (Annex III) that saw them interacting with people at different levels and with different perspectives. In order to enhance the quality of interactions, several knowledgeable people in the state were invited to group discussions that were held around livelihoods, health, education and civil society. a list of the participants to the group discussions is provided at Annex IV. De-briefing notes were prepared by all the members of the Appraisal Mission and formed the basis of this report. In order to reflect some of the nuanced understanding from fieldlevel observations, a sample is provided at Annex V. In the first meeting of the appraisal team, two blocks each in two districts in Bihar, viz., Dholi and sakra blocks in Muzaffarpur district and Tajpur and pusa blocks in samastipur district, and the peri-urban area around Patna, were selected as potential locations for study and interventions. An elaborate visit to these areas in different groups was followed by group discussions where many of the questions arising from field observations were examined. The final two days were spent in synthesising the key observations, drawing a few specific conclusions and proposing some concrete action points for each sector. An external economist was engaged in these discussions in order to help think through some of these issues with greater clarity. 

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p r e Fa c e

Debriefing notes from different members of the Appraisal Mission were first compiled by persons specifically engaged to provide sector reports on livelihoods, health, education, civil society and water management. These sector reports were then synthesised by the Mission coordinator to produce the first draft of this report. senior staff from aKF has then reworked this report to provide a broad outline of possible aKdn interventions, available in the ‘Approach’ section. This report will now be reviewed by at least three independent external experts and then discussed in a meeting of different key AKDN agencies in india. The objective is to forge a consensus on an integrated area development programme that could be piloted in the State of Bihar with a degree of confidence and ownership. The same would then be submitted to the Board for approval.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h 

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Overview of Bihar
Bihar, from the Sanskrit word vihara meaning abode, used to be one of the most important places on earth in history. It’s capital, Patna, then called Pataliputra, was the capital of the Mauryan Empire (321 – 184 BCE) “which ruled over much of the Indian subcontinent and extended as far as Iran and Afghanistan to the West. Emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest monarchs in the history of the world, who ruled between 273 BCE and 232 BCE was the most famous ruler of the Mauryan dynasty.” The Buddha’s enlightenment was centered around the realization that the universe is characterized by impermanence (called annicha in Pali) and change, that nothing abides eternally. That event occurred when he was intensely meditating under a tree 2,500 years ago in a grove. Bihar is associated with not just Buddhism. Mahavira, the 24th and the last Tirthankara of Jainism, was born in Bihar. He attained moksha in Bihar as well. Bihar lays claim to being the birthplace of Sita, the wife of Hindu god Ram. She was the daughter of King Janaka of the Mithila kingdom. Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru of the Sikhs, was born in Patna. One cannot refer to learning and scholarship in the ancient world without mentioning Vikramshila and Nalanda universities. Nalanda was the equivalent of today’s Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Berkeley and Stanford, all rolled into one. At its peak, Nalanda used to house 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers. It’s all gone now.1 The aura of its ancient glory makes the present decadence of Bihar stand out in stark relief. Nearly half of its people are poor, less than half can read or write and its per-capita income is a third of the Indian average. It is India’s most lawless state - a murder takes place every two hours, a rape is committed every six and a bank is looted every day, according to police records. Kidnapping for ransom is a flourishing industry - police say someone is abducted every six hours.2 so why do development and law and order not seem to matter to the 86 million people of Bihar? Political scientists say the entrenched caste system is the bane of development and law in Bihar.

1 2

http://www.deeshaa.org/2007/05/31/bihar-part-1 BBC News, 19 February 2005

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

BIHAR’S WOeS
• Bihar’s per capita income is $94 a year against India’s average of $255 • A total of 42.6 percent live below the poverty line against India’s average of 26.1 percent • A total of 47.5 percent are literate against India’s 65.38 percent • There were 32,600 kidnappings from 1992 to September 2004, and more than 1,000 political workers have been murdered since 1990 • An estimated 37 percent of area of the State or 22 out of 38 districts and 5000 villages are under the grip of severe flood every year

L I F E I S A C O N S TA N T S T R U G G L E F O R S U R V I V A L A N D , I F P O S S I B L E , E S C A P E T O S O M E D I S TA N T C I T y.

THe

l A nd

A part of Bihar was separated and formed into a new state Jharkhand on November 15, 2000. Situated in the vast Gangetic plain, Bihar is a land-locked state between West Bengal on the east, Uttar Pradesh on the west, Jharkhand on the south and Nepal (international border) on the north, covering an area of 94,163 sq km. Bihar experiences extreme temperatures, plenty of floods and occasional earthquakes. The Ganga, which acts as the master drain for most of the state, flows in an easterly direction and stretches 

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overview

432 kilometers across Bihar, bisecting the state. Almost a million hectares are permanently waterlogged while another seven million are flood prone affecting the livelihoods of 6-20 million people, mostly in North Bihar. North Bihar is almost entirely a level tract (a mere 76.5 metres over 550 km tract), while the south Lateral is wooded and hilly. it is interspersed with eight major river basins: the Ghaghra, the Gandak, the movements Burhi Gandak, the Bagmati, the Adhwara group of rivers, the Kamala, the Kosi, and the Mahananda of rivers that normally carry 10-20 times more water during the monsoon season (June – September). If the cause erosion rainfall intensity in the catchment area is higher, the discharge could be as high as 100 times. Of the and loss of total volume of water that flows through North Bihar, only 10 percent comes from rainfall within the land. State while for Ganga it is a mere 3 percent. Snow, rainfall and topography of Nepal, therefore, plays a major role in determining the hydrological conditions of North Bihar. Himalayan rivers contain large amounts of sediment during the monsoon. The heavy downpours in the mountains scour the slopes and turn the swift waters into a muddy brew. as they reach the plains and lose momentum, the rivers deposit their loads and begin to meander. rivers like the Kosi have been notorious for changing course. Available records suggest that the river was flowing about 160 kilometers east of its present course some 200 years ago. The lateral movements of rivers cause erosion and loss of land. at the same time new land is also continuously formed. however, these new chaurs are low-lying and remain waterlogged for years before they become productive. South Bihar is drained by the Karmanasa, Sone, Punpun, Harohar, Kiul, Badua and Chandan, all of which are north flowing tributaries of the Ganga, originating from southern plateau and carrying very little water during the non-monsoon months. The right bank of the Ganga rises beyond Patna and acts as a natural embankment to block drainage and create waterlogging. There is a series of water bodies, the more prominent being the Fatuha Tal (lake), Bakhtiyarpur Tal, Barh Tal, More Tal, Mokamma Tal, Barhaiya Tal and Sighaul Tal. The backwaters of the Ganga also find their way into these lakes. About 100,000 hectares of submerged land emerge briefly only for the winter cropping season. such land is prized because it is very fertile. T He pe Ople

The state is the third most populous in the country (after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra) and has the second highest population density (after West Bengal) among the larger states. The birth rate in Bihar is not only higher than the national average (Table 1), but it is the only state in Bihar is the the country where the fertility rate is increasing. This increasing rate of growth of the population has only state in serious implications, not only in terms of urgent systems of care, but also addressing a sense of the country hopelessness. it is not about bridging a gap in the pace of development with respect to other states, where the but about stemming the slide of Bihar into despair. fertility rate is hindi is commonly known by the people throughout the state and is seen to be increasingly dominating other indigenous languages. Bhojpuri, Magahi and Maithili are the major languages spoken by the people of different regions of the state. among these, Maithili is the only language recognized by the national sahitya academy and included in the eighth schedule of the constitution of India. Angika and Bajjika are variants of Maithili which have lately started claiming independent status. Urdu is confined mostly to the towns. Bhojpuri and Maithili are spoken by more than 20 percent of the people in Nepal as well. It is because of this linguistic confusion that the question of mother tongue as the medium of instruction at the primary school level has always been problematic in the state. Bihar shares the major north Indian festivals like Dussehra (also, Vijayadashami), Diwali and Holi. Chhath is observed on the sixth day from Diwali when offerings are made to the sun god during
increasing.

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TA B L E 1 : D E M O G R A P H I C P R O F I L E O F B I H A R , C O M P A R E D W I T H I N D I A
INDIA BIHAR

Total Population (in million) - percent urbanised Crude Birth Rate* Crude Death Rate* Decadal growth rate (percent) Density of population (sq km) Sex ratio (per 1000 males) (Source: Census of India, 2001); *SRS, 2005

1027.3 27.78 23.4 8.1 21.34 324 933

82.9 10.47 30.4 7.6 28.43 880 921

sunset (and the following sunrise), usually in the Ganga. Most of the festivals are clustered after the monsoon season, when the harvest is brought in. The chief Muslim festivals in Bihar are the Muharram, the two Ids and shah-i-barat. The social structure of Bihar is deeply fractured around caste3 considerations. Brahman, Bhumihar, rajput and Kayastha constitute the “forward” castes. Kayasthas are the two important caste groups in the cities and towns, the former being prominent in all modern professional occupations and the latter dominating trade and commerce. Members of all these caste groups have occupied prominent positions in the educational and political life of the state. Ahirs (yadavas), Kurmis and Koiris in the plains of Bihar are prominent “backward” caste groups who are either settled cultivators or cattle-herders or both. Many Koiris are prosperous cultivators, particularly of cash crops and vegetables in the neighbourhood of large towns. The most notable among the “scheduled” castes are Bhumij, Chamar (Mochi), Dhobi, Dom, Dusadh, Musahar, Nat and pasi, most of them still surviving through hard manual, and often menial, labour.
The social structure of Bihar is deeply fractured around caste considerations. ...Only around 10 percent of the population is Urban...

TR end S

In

BIHAR ’S

ecOn O m y

Trend in the growth rate of Bihar’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) during the Tenth Plan ...yet, the (2002-2006) has been volatile, mainly because of the dominance of the agricultural sector. During density is a this period, against an average growth rate of 7 percent for the Indian economy, Bihar’s average whopping annual growth rate was 4.01 percent. During the Tenth Plan, Bihar’s economy grew at a rate 880 persons/ that was marginally higher than its growth rate in the ninth plan period and even its per capita sq km... income just crept up (Table 2). However, the state’s growth rates have been low compared to the following national average. Agriculture and allied sector has grown at around 5 percent since 2001, as compared to less than 2 percent at the national level, indicating that agricultural growth is sustaining the economy. The contribution of the manufacturing sector to the state GDP is low and the benefits from any growth in this sector has been largely offset by the bifurcation of Bihar, since Jharkhand is more rich in minerals and has a much greater advantage in this sector. Moreover, registered manufacturing has shown a negative trend in the recent past. In Bihar, growth in the secondary sector has been primarily triggered by the burgeoning construction sector limited to urban and semi-urban areas.

West Bengal.

3

Caste systems are traditional, hereditary systems of social restriction and social stratification, enforced by law or common practice. 

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TA B L E 2 : T R E N D S I N B I H A R ’ S G R O S S S TAT E D O M E S T I C P R O D U C T
yEAR S TAT E D O M E S T I C P R O D U C T (LAKH RS.) CHANGE OVER PREVIOUS yEAR (%) A N N U A L A V E R A G E G R O W T H R AT E ( C O N S TA N T 1 9 9 3 - 9 4 ) PRICES (%)

1997-1998 1998-1999 1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 (P) 2004-2005 (Q) 2005-2006 (A)

25,92,076 27,88,792 28,91,397 34,50,098 31,25,936 36,15,961 32,90,950 36,88,196 36,19,819

(-) 3.85 7.59 3.68 19.32 (-) 9.40 15.68 (-) 8.98 12.07 (-) 1.85

3.25 4.10 4.03 6.09 4.02 5.25 3.73 4.46 3.92

(Note: P : Provisional, Q : Quick Estimate, A : Advanced Estimate)

The services sector has grown consistently, chiefly through communication, banking and insurance. This growth is perhaps facilitated by urban economy rather than the rural economy where such services are available at a much lower scale. it is interesting to analyse the relative contribution of the different sectors in the overall economic growth of the state. The share of primary sector has fallen from 48.8 percent to 42.0 percent while the secondary sector has remained nearly stagnant at 9.0 percent. The share of tertiary sector has increased from 41.3 to 49.0 percent. Thus, the economy is witnessing a shift towards services, much before industrialisation, mostly driven by the urban economy.

The economy is witnessing a shift towards services, much before

Since the agricultural sector still significantly contributes to the state economy, the livelihood industrialisapatterns and Work Participation Rates (WPR) in Bihar are different from the normal national picture. tion, mostly Both male and female WPR is lower in Bihar as compared to national average, as the traditional driven by economy offers less opportunity. Moreover, the wpr for both males and females is lower for urban the urban areas in comparison to rural areas, indicating less opportunity in the urban areas. The sectoral economy. distribution of main workers is again very different in Bihar. Although the proportion of cultivators in Bihar and India stands at 29.3 and 31.7 percent respectively, the corresponding percentage of main workers engaged as agricultural labourers is 48.0 and 25.6 percent.

TA B L E 3 : G R O W T H I N I N C O M E A N D G S D P : B I H A R V S I N D I A
ninTh plan TenTh plan accordinG To planninG coMMission CAGR 3 yEARS (2001-02 TO 2004-05) INDIA BIHAR

INDIA

BIHAR

INDIA

BIHAR

Per capita GDP growth rate Growth in GDP of which (a) Agriculture (b) Industry (c) Services

4.00 5.50 2.00 4.60 8.10

1.00 2.90 (-) 1.14 7.53 6.37

5.50 7.00 1.80 8.00 8.90

2.00 4.01 0.96 9.80 5.08

NA 6.45 1.03 6.96 8.64

NA 5.67 5.01 10.58 5.12

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

This signifies high dependence on agriculture and no real movement of workers into secondary and tertiary sectors. The critical factor to the development of Bihar is creation of opportunities in secondary and tertiary sectors resulting in shift from agriculture.

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agriculture continues to be the mainstay of the population and the cropping intensity is high. although very fertile, the productivity of its main crops is among the lowest in the country. one of the major reasons cited for low productivity is non-availability of good quality seeds and low seed replacement rate. Inequitable land distribution and perverse land tenure relations – hallmarks of semi-feudal agrarian structure – remain intractable problems. among all indian states, land reforms have been the worst failure in Bihar, even though it took the first initiative in this direction by abolishing the zamindari system in 1953. The flood prone area in the State is over 73 percent of its total geographical area, being more severe in the northern plains of Bihar. This affects the livelihoods of the people in the rural areas considerably. Irrigated area of the state is around 57 percent of the gross cropped area. This is mainly supplied through tube-well irrigation (63 percent) followed by canal (30 percent). Because of drastic shortage of electricity, most tube-wells are operated by diesel engines, leading to high costs. Fertiliser consumption in the state has steadily increased over the years. The consumption of fertilisers has increased from 85 kg/ha to 110 kg/ha in 2005-06. However, even this is lower than the national average. Without increasing productivity in the agricultural sector, development in Bihar cannot pick up required momentum. But there is scope of increase in productivity and shift to more remunerative crops, such as vegetables.
Bihar has the potential

industries

The size of industrial sector in Bihar in terms of income is only 3.2 percent of GSDP as against to produce about the national average of 20.1 percent. Infrastructural bottlenecks, especially roads and electricity continue to plague the industrial sector and investments in the same are required at the state level 5-6 percent of the total to boost the secondary sector. The overall industrial sector in the state is dominated by the unregistered units, which account for more than half of its total income. As per the third all-India Census of SSI units (2001-02), there are only 72632 permanently registered small-scale units in Bihar, out of which 52107 units are working. The percentage of tiny units among SSI was 99.95 percent, in which output and employment potential are much lower. Bihar has the potential to produce about 5-6 percent of the total agro-based industrial products in india, and this will enable the industrial sector in the state to become one and a half times of its present size. Tea and dairy have been two recent successes in the industrial sector of the state. other potential industries are sugar, makhana, leather, textile and handloom, which have not been explored to its full potential.
agro-based industrial products in India. 

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overview

infrastructure

The state is serviced by 2,318 km of national highways, 4,192 km of state highways, 12,579 km of district roads and over 69,000 km of other roads. Nearly half the road network is unpaved, while floods pose a continuous challenge to the expansion of high quality roads in the state. attempts to modernize roads include the national Golden Quadrilateral as well as the East West Corridor Project. The World Bank has provided supplementary funds for the PMGSy roads in 4-5 districts. The Naxals in Bihar have often halted the developmental work in rural areas of the State by serving extortion notices to petty construction workers engaged in building roads and bridges. Farakka to Buxar in the river Ganges has been declared as national water ways no.1. it is presently operative from haldia to patna. This provides access to calcutta Seaport (417 km) and Haldia (517 km). a mere 6 percent of the households in the state have been provided with electric connection compared to 35 percent at the national level. Only 40 percent villages are electrified as opposed to 80 percent at the national level and, given the fact that Bihar accounts for one-twelfth of the country’s villages, affects the national average. The installed capacity is under 600 MW, compared to nearly 8000 MW for Maharashtra. As expected, the per capita energy consumption is less than half the national average.
financial sector

Floods pose a conTinUoUs challenGe To The E X PA N S I O N & M A I N T E N C E O F I N F R A S T R U C T U R E .

The market size in Bihar is estimated to be Rs. 1,036,000 million, or 4.8 percent of the market size of all india. This is more than that of Madhya pradesh, punjab, haryana or delhi and little less than that of rajasthan, Karnataka or Gujarat. however, the performance of the commercial banking systems in Bihar is far from encouraging. Priority sector target by the commercial banks is being met but the stipulated 10 percent of the same to weaker sections is not being fulfilled. Banks have not been able to provide necessary credit to the weaker sections and people seeking small loans. The cd ratio of Bihar is pegged at 32 percent in 2005-06 but has started improving over the last few years (up from 21 percent in 2001-02). Still, the CD ratio is among the lowest in the country. Recovery is quite low at 47 percent in March 2006. According to the Annual Focus Paper of NABARD, the commercial banks accounts for 68 percent of the formal sector loan and is also the largest lender of agricultural loan followed by RRBs (20.7 percent) and Cooperative banks (10.8 percent). The new generation private commercial banks are to yet to penetrate the rural financial sector in Bihar. The cooperative banking systems is almost defunct in the state. Although there are 37 districts in the state, the number of DCCBs functioning in the state is 26. The number of PACS in the state is 7057, out of which about 50 percent make profits.

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK 

D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

micro-finance in bihar

In comparison to other states, the micro-finance activity is in a rudimentary stage in Bihar. The cumulative SHGs linked to the banking systems is 46,221, lower than states like Assam (56,449) and Orissa (180,896) and lagging way behind leaders such as Andhra Pradesh (587,238). However, there has been a thrust on micro-finance in the state with the SHG bank linkage growing consistently over 50 percent in the last three years. This growth is also skewed, the highest (9,361) being in West Champaran, followed by Gaya (6,720). Out of 37 districts, 15 districts have less than 500 SHGs Most farmers linked with banks. among the institutions and programs, the women’s development corporation have small, skewed and has been instrumental in promoting good quality SHGs in the state. Thus the overall picture of Bihar is quite dismal, with slow development of the secondary and tertiary land holdings. sectors and high dependence on agriculture. The disconcerting situation is the poor infrastructure inhibiting development in the state, especially in the manufacturing sector. Moreover, the financial sector’s performance is also far from satisfactory and is one of the main factors limiting growth and development.
dispersed

l I vel IHOO dS

ScenARIO

I n

BI H A R

Bihar is characterised by a very low rate of urbanisation (only 10.5 percent of the population is urban), and a high degree of dependence on agriculture as a means of livelihood. however, agriculture suffers from a fundamental constraint – small, skewed and dispersed land holdings (at least a third of the population is landless – up to 70 percent in some districts – and yet the average size of landholding in Bihar is about 0.75 hectares, second lowest in the country after Kerala). This implies that there is a high degree of expropriation in the form of rents, collected at different levels, leaving little incentive for the actual tiller to improve productivity. The productivity of rice and wheat – the two most widely cultivated crops – are 20-25 percent below the India average and less than half of that obtained in punjab, which is otherwise comparable in terms of natural endowment of land, water and labour resources. scattered land holding is also a big constraint Fruits and for modernisation. vegetables, This has led to grossly inadequate investments in infrastructure, services (extension, credit etc.) which occupy only 10 and human development (health care, education, sanitation etc.). Chronic floods, and improper measures undertaken on the basis of inadequate understanding, add to the problem in the form of percent of the total cropping water-logging and poor drainage. There has been little diversification from cereal crops, reflecting the subsistence nature of farming for nearly in the state. Interestingly, fruits and vegetables, which occupy only 10 percent of the total cropping 50 percent area, account for nearly 50 percent of the total value of the agricultural output. Bihar ranks third in of the total vegetable (potato, okra, tomato, brinjal) production and sixth in fruit (mangoes, litchis, bananas, value of the guavas and pineapples) production in the country. agricultural At 2.7 percent per annum, the growth in agriculture is amongst the highest in the country, although highly unstable and with significant year to year variations. The most rapid growth occurred in the fisheries sub-sector (8 percent), albeit from a smaller base. This is significant because nearly 4.6 million rural households (about 40 percent of rural households in north Bihar) are engaged in fishing, which is one of the highest proportions in india. Milk production is growing at 5.5 percent, again from a lower base (following the recent bifurcation of the State), providing supplementary income, employment and nutrition to thousands of small
output. area, account 

0

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

overview

rural households. About 35 percent of rural households in Bihar reported owning cattle, 20 percent buffaloes and 15 percent sheep and goat (concentrated more among landless and marginal rural households). The non-farm sector accounts for about 40 percent of the total household incomes in Bihar, across all income levels but more so for the poorer households. however, while agriculture wage labour accounts for half of this income in the poorest brackets, regular employment accounts for two-thirds of this income in the highest bracket. The rest is accounted through selfAt 48 percent employment.
literacy in

Cane sugar is the chief agro-based industry in Bihar, engaging an estimated 500,000 farmers Bihar is the in cultivation and another 50,000 skilled and unskilled workers in the factories. From producing lowest in the country a quarter of the country’s sugar during independence (1947), Bihar today barely accounts for 3 percent. Denial of gate prices has been chiefly responsible for this. The government of Bihar has taken some steps to revive the sugar industry through a package of incentives to both the industries as well as the cultivators.

e duc ATIOn

Scen ARIO

In

BI H A R

At 48 percent (Table 4), literacy in Bihar is the lowest in the country and significantly less than the national average of 65 percent. Women are considerably worse with a literacy gap of 26 percent and enrolment gap of 14 percent. There is also a wide disparity in the literacy levels in Bihar. More than three-fourth of urban males are literate whereas literate men are in a minority in rural Bihar (despite the fact that only 18 percent of women are literate there). Literacy levels are particularly low among various communities of scheduled castes and scheduled Tribes, such as Musahars and Bhuinyas.
TA B L E 4 : L I T E R A C y I N B I H A R ( P E R C E N T )
yEAR PERSONS MALES FEMALES

1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001

13.49 21.95 23.17 32.32 37.49 47.53

22.68 35.85 35.86 47.11 51.37 60.32

4.22 8.11 9.86 16.61 21.99 33.57

e l e m e n ta ry e d u c at i o n

According to Seventh All India Education Survey in 2002 the population of children of school going The growth in age (between 6 years and 14 years) was about 20.5 million (10.8 million boys and 9.6 million girls). the number Given the high fertility rate in Bihar, the number of younger people is higher, and growing. According of children to the same survey, there were 13.1 million children between 6 and 11 years (of which 6.2 million is in sharp were girls). It should also be noted that, of this total, the population of rural children was about contrast ninety percent.
to the

The growth in the number of children is in sharp contrast to the availability of schools (Tables 5, 6 availability of & 7) and teachers. Between 1993 and 2002, Bihar showed a 10.4 percent increase in the number schools. of primary schools, as against the national increase of 12.9 percent. In the case of upper primary schools, however, the increase was a meagre 1.1 percent, in sharp contrast to the 50.6 percent increase at the national level. Most schools lack basic infrastructure in terms of adequate classrooms, toilet facilities, equipment etc., causing difficulties in accommodating the required number of children, as well as in ensuring retention, especially of girls, in the absence of appropriate toilet facilities.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

TA B L E 5 : C O M P A R AT I V E P R O F I L E O F N U M B E R O F P R I M A R y & U P P E R P R I M A R y S C H O O L S
MANAGEMENT PRIMARy PR + UPPER PR PR + U P. P R + SEC/ H SEC UPPER PRIMARy O N Ly UPPER PRIMARy + SEC/H. SEC NO RESPONSE ALL SCHOOLS

Dept of Education Tribal Welfare Dept Local body Private aided Private Unaided Others No response State Total DISE Report 2003-04

40332 66 78 105 21 6 48 40656

8959 37 37 131 4 5 11 9184

403 9 12 79 3 5 2 513

361 0 1 14 0 2 1 379

1015 5 6 25 4 5 3 1063

64 1 3 0 0 1 338 407

51134 118 137 354 32 24 403 52202

TA B L E 6 : T H E N U M B E R O F G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N D A R y SCHOOLS IS 2969 WITH THE FOLLOWING BREAK UP:

TA B L E 7: THE NUMBER OF GOVERNMENT SECONDARy SCHOOLS/COLLEGES IS AS BELOW:

SENIOR

Government schools Nationalised schools Minority schools Sanskrit schools Madrasa schools Total

63 2534 73 206 93 2969

+ 2 schools Recognised Inter colleges Constituent colleges Degree affiliated Madrasa schools CBSE schools I.C.S.E. schools Total

89 350 231 96 55 200 35 969

it is not just that the total number of primary and middle schools in the state remained constant at around 59,000 over the past quarter century, but the teacher student ratio of 1:122 has been appalling (reduced from 1:90 a decade ago). Teacher absenteeism – estimated to be as high as 26 percent – has been an endemic problem. Bihar has Factors such as lack of monitoring of teachers’ performance and involvement of teachers in a the highest different government duties account for their poor attendance. according to a UniceF estimate, if number of official work and holidays are taken together, a teacher gets to spend only about two months of the out of school children in year in a classroom. Delayed supply of text books is another problem compounding the difficulties faced by the students. Although the academic session begins in March, textbooks often do not reach the schools before august, sometimes it is november. According to the Social and Rural Research Institute, Bihar has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of out of school children in india, surpassing even Uttar pradesh. of the total estimated 13.5 million out of school children in India, Bihar alone accounts for nearly a quarter (23.4 percent), i.e. over 3 million.
India. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

overview

Importantly, 82.6 percent of these are never enrolled in school (as against 68.3 percent at the national level). Strikingly, Bihar is the only state in India where primary enrolment has fallen by 2 percent during the late ‘90s. The quality of school education is also indicated by the high drop-out rate of over 65 percent (as against the national average of about 50 percent) which means that for every 100 pupils enrolled in Class I in Bihar, only 13 manage to reach Class VIII.
e d u c at i o n o f d i s a d va n ta g e d a n d m a r g i n a l i s e d c o m m u n i t i e s

For every 100 pupils enrolled in Class I in Bihar, only 13 manage to reach Class VIII.

40 percent of out of school children belong to the backward castes, while the scheduled castes and Muslims account for 35 and 20 percent respectively. Children from poor households do get enrolled in schools but the drop-out rate is high, primarily because they get drawn into some form of work, either at home (for girls) or outside (for both boys and girls). The curriculum, clearly, has an urban middle-class orientation and is largely irrelevant to the lives of these people. Working children and street children, both in Bihar and as migrants elsewhere, have little opportunity to attend any school. Use of legal instruments and transfer of such children to juvenile homes is hardly a solution, given the lack of capacity in such institutions. release of child labour is never linked with much needed provision of special care. Among the school going children in Bihar a substantial proportion are first generation learners who are unlikely to have any family support for their academic enterprise. Many such children are not able to attend regular schools, and hence are covered by alternative and innovative education programmes, under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Vidyalaya Chalo Kendras, Prayas Kendras or Utkarsh Kendras etc. Again, different types of schools are run by the Welfare department (residential schools for children from dalit families) or the Labour department (schools for freed child labour). While there is a need for some kind of transitional educational arrangement, with distinctive curricula, many such children are placed under the charge of less experienced and less qualified teachers. The situation in madrasas is more complex. Education in madrasas combines general education with religious instruction, with general education subjects introduced at a different stage, or missing altogether, as compared to regular schools. in many cases, students transiting from a madrasa to a regular school face difficulties in language and in certain specific subjects such as social science, general science, etc. again, if children are educated solely in madrasas, the process runs contrary to the principle of an inclusive, common education system.

A S U B S TA N T I A L P R O P O R T I O N O F S C H O O L - G O I N G C H I L D R E N A R E F I R S T G E N E R AT I O N L E A R N E R S .

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

v o c at i o n a l e d u c at i o n

with regard to vocational education even the national scenario is not promising, but the state scenario is even more dismal. Few Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) that exist in different districts are short of staff and run courses designed decades back, with little relevance now. new institutions have not been created in the state sector, while private sector institutions often lack standardization or credibility. at the senior secondary level only a handful of vocational subjects have been introduced, but there are hardly any arrangements made for the teaching of even these limited numbers of subjects. The earlier “Basic School” education system used to provide some training in crafts including spinning, weaving, carpentry etc., but these schools are also not functioning at present, for want of adequate staff or resources or environment. While some of the trades taught in these schools might not be still relevant, this system was a significant innovation pioneered in Bihar, and it is unfortunate that little thought is spared to redesign and revitalize these institutions.

c i v i l s o c i e t y a n d s c h o o l e d u c at i o n

While there are notable examples of civil society engaging with the state on different policy issues, their involvement in elementary education is either low or problematic. at the state level there were several critiques of the proposed version of the bill on right to education in terms article 21A of the constitution, in seminars and meetings organized by various groups. in addition an alternative bill was also drafted as a civil society initiative which was discussed at the CABE meetings and at other centres in the country. However there are very few NGOs working consistently in the field with élan and effectiveness. if panchayats are viewed as civil society organizations, rather than mere implementing agency of the government, their involvement is very low. pris even generally are not working in a satisfactory manner for want of clear guidelines or real devolution of authority, absence of proper training, bureaucratic apathy etc. Vidyalaya Shiksha Samitis (VSSs) are involved to a degree but their functioning depends much on the choice of members, especially adhyaksha and sachiva. They can be both asset and liability, but their potential contribution remains unrealized. in many places the power structure, domination, conflicts and problems of the villages are transmitted into the VSS. In the last one year panchayats have been given the authority to appoint additional teachers to government schools, but again there has been little effort at building capacity of the panchayats in assessing the quality of the candidates and in reviewing the quality of education.
Bihar has the highest population of

H e AlTH

S cenARIO

In

BIHAR

The information on health statistics is week but indicates that the MdG targets for infant mortality, malnourished child malnutrition and access to safe drinking water will be reached. however, the state attainments children in will fall short of target against two key indicators of attended birth and sanitation. even as per the the country. official data, the infant mortality and maternal mortality rates are worse than the national levels. Bihar has the highest population of malnourished children in the country and the prevalence of marriage of minor girls (median age of marriage is 15.1 years) is very high. Although intensity of immunisation has improved (still 20 percent as against 42 percent at the national level), cases of polio are still reported. There is also a large-scale prevalence of tuberculosis in the State. With acute shortage of health-care facilities and attendants, it can be said that the system of State delivery of health care has collapsed. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

overview

Though the land can produce wide varieties of cereals, pulses, oils, fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, medicinal plants and that too in plenty, the nutritional status of people are far from satisfactory. Unequal distribution of land, high levels of poverty, loss of faith in time-tested traditional varieties and changing food & cropping pattern, as well as poor sanitation practices, have contributed to the burden of disease through its vicious poverty-malnutrition-disease-poverty cycle. social and economic factors, especially competitive pressures on livelihoods have led to development of disrupted and nuclear families, and loss of community togetherness, further leading to a loss of a There has social safety net that existed in earlier times. The poor economic development, migration and social also been a upheavals and conflict have also led to deterioration in health-oriented behaviour and approaches corresponding to health as a whole. increase
in the

He A lTH

STAT uS

percentage of “underweight”

The health status of the population continues to be poor. Though there have been improvements on children some of the many health indicators between NFHS 2 to 3, however the overall status compared to below other states in the country is not very encouraging. The state has actually regressed with regard to three years. certain key indicators for maternal and child health (Table 8).

TA B L E 8 : K E y H E A LT H I N D I C AT O R S I N B I H A R
BIHAR NFHS -2 (1998-99) NFHS-3 (2005-06)

Total Fertility Rate (children per woman) Infant Mortality Rate (per thousand) Use of any modern family planning method ( percent) Total unmet need for Family Planning ( percent) Mothers who had at least 3 Ante-Natal Care visits ( percent) Institutional deliveries ( percent) Children in 12-23 months Received complete immunization ( percent) Children under 3 years breastfed within one hour of birth ( percent) Children under age 3 stunted ( percent) Children under age 3 underweight ( percent) Women whose body mass index is below normal ( percent) Children age 6-35 months who are anaemic ( percent) Ever married women age 15-49 years who are anaemic ( percent) Pregnant women aged 15-49 years who are anaemic ( percent) Women who had heard about HIV ( percent)

3.7 78 21.6 25.7 15.9 14.8 11.6 5.4 55 54.3 39.1 81.1 60.4 46.4 10.5

4.0 62 28.8 23.1 16.9 22 32.8 4.0 42 58.4 43 87.6 68.3 60.2 35.2

According to the National Family Health Survey 2005-06 (NFHS 3), Bihar has shown an increase in the fertility rate (from 3.7 in 1998-99 to 4 in 2005-06) even though the rates are decreasing in the rest of the country. While the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has decreased, neonatal deaths still contribute about 60 percent deaths among infants. There has also been a corresponding increase in the percentage of “underweight” children below three years.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

Maternal health care has made no improvements, with only 17 percent pregnant women having received ante-natal care and 22 percent deliveries reported at health facilities. Breastfeeding within the first hour of birth continues to be abysmally low due to prevailing cultural practices and myths among the community, with children being given honey and water at birth, and waiting for information from the family priest on the auspicious time for beginning breast-feeding. The problem of anaemia has become more severe impacting both children and adults, particularly women. The drop in IMR in Bihar is also being linked to increased vaccination rates. Till 1999, with Bihar’s There is a health system completely out of gear, only 12 per cent of children were being fully vaccinated. NFHS huge shortfall 3 has seen a three-fold increase in vaccinations. Now almost 33 per cent infants (as compared to 44 of health percent at the national level) between two to 23 months receive all recommended vaccinations. infrastructure The gender divide in health status and awareness is also revealing. As per NHFS-3, 28.7 percent of care level... men have BMI below normal, compared to 43 percent for women. Similarly, 70 percent of men have also existing heard about HIV, against 35.2 percent for women. With regard to use of condoms to reduce risk of health HIV, 58.4 percent men are aware of the fact, as against 22.4 percent for the women. 32.6 percent of facilities ever-married men are anaemic as compared to 68.3 percent among ever-married women.
are substandard..
h e a lt h i n f r a s t r u c t u r e a n d g o v e r n m e n t p r o g r a m m e s

at the primary

The government system of health service delivery is at three levels: (1) primary care, in the form of out-reach services at village level, sub-centre at cluster level and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) till sub-block levels; (2) secondary care, in the form of referrals at Community Health Centre, First Referral Units and District Hospitals; and (3) tertiary care, in the form of Medical Colleges and Super Speciality Centres. The primary and secondary care is the responsibility of the state health department. The tertiary care is delivered by autonomous bodies having state/central support. The various health systems being practised are primarily allopathic, homoeopathic, ayurvedic and unani, though at the primary and secondary levels the most common one is allopathy. However, according to the Government of India estimates provided in Table 9, there is a huge shortfall of health infrastructure at the primary care level. There is also growing evidence to suggest that existing health facilities are sub-standard. The buildings are dilapidated or damaged and there is an acute shortage of beds. Thirteen referral hospitals constructed between 1991 and 2000 were not operational due to non-availability of medical and paramedical staff and equipment. The situation has become worse with limited capacity of the state to turn out graduates to fill vacant posts.

TA B L E 9 : G A P I N H E A LT H C A R E I N F R A S T R U C T U R E
H E A LT H I N S T I T U T I O N REQUIRED IN POSITION S H O R T FA L L

Sub-centre Primary Health Centre Community Health Centre RHS Bulletin, March 2006, M/O Health & F.W., GOI

14959 2489 622

8858 1641 70

6101 848 522

The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), a community-based child development programme, which aims at holistic development of children (0-6 years) and expectant & nursing mothers from disadvantaged sections has not been able to fulfil its mandate. There is a serious 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

overview

shortfall in the number of ICDS centres. The network consists of 393 projects, covering nearly 72 percent of the state and the services are being provided through 60,587 Anganwadi Centres. Wherever the AWCs exist, the performance is far from satisfactory. However, the state is in the process of opening of more ICDS centres in areas not reached by this programme. A mid-day meal programme is also being run in all government managed primary schools of the state to address nutritional needs of the children. poor sanitation infrastructure and hygiene practices contribute to increasing disease burden. only Only about about 19 percent of the households in rural Bihar have access to a sanitary toilet, while the rest 19 percent defecate in the open. While this poses significant health risks, the issues of dignity, convenience of the and safety affect women and girls. while drinking water is accessible through hand pumps and dug/ households open wells, in places contamination of iron or arsenic is reported.
the social dimensions

in rural Bihar have access to a sanitary toilet.

Traditionally women are responsible for the health of all family members, but limited education and ignorance drive them to many traditional beliefs and superstitions that are often detrimental to health. The old are socially disadvantaged and are mainly dependent on the mercy of their offspring. General awareness levels regarding health and health seeking behaviour also are at a low level. in many parts of the state, communities still depend on priests and local “vaids” for advice on food and medicine, and the overall nutritional status, especially of women and children, is poor. The food pattern which earlier had a wide variety of cereals and pulses has now become more restricted, with mono-cropping being practised in most areas, and food crops grown keeping in mind economic returns rather than food security and nutrition. Because increased yields focus on high dosage of fertiliser and pesticide, quality of food is also often compromised. The needs of adolescents are rarely addressed and queries on sex are not encouraged. Myths and misconceptions thrive, affecting their sexual behaviour. Pre-marital and extra-marital sexual relations tend to be on the rise, though not acceptable in public, where girls and women tend to be the ones punished the most. lack of education and livelihood opportunities has a strong bearing on the youth, who are often misled and take refuge in drugs and others addictions. Migration has affected the family units, leading, in many cases, to abandonment of women and children in the villages and marrying and settling down with new partners in the urban areas. even otherwise, migration means that women have a disproportionately higher work load in looking after the family – doing all house-hold chores and bringing up the children. a major task is to collect fire wood and cow-dung for fuel – itself a tiring exercise – and then burning it under unhygienic and smoky conditions that lead to respiratory diseases and other health effects. m uS lI mS In BIHAR

Muslims in Bihar constitute nearly 16.5 percent of the population or 13.7 million, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the total Muslim population of the country (2001). It is mostly rural (87 percent) and largely to the north of the river Ganges. The impact

M O D E R N I S AT I O N O F M A D R A S A S W I L L B E I M P O R TA N T.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

of overall stagnant rural economy has been particularly severe for Muslims, since over three-fourth depend largely on farm-based labour for their livelihood. Migration, both to small towns in the State and cities outside the state, is largely as unskilled labourers employed in informal small household enterprises, petty trade and small industries. Low-wage agriculture labour provides about 40 percent of the household income of rural Muslim families in Bihar, while remittances (nearly 25 percent) and self-employment (nearly 20 percent) are also important.

Migration in and from

While about 36 percent of Muslim households in rural Bihar own any land (over 92 percent of this Bihar is landholding is less than 2 acres, much below the economically viable unit of 5 acres), less than 29 widespread percent are actual tillers, the rest leasing out their land to tillers with comparatively larger holding. and There is also a slow trend in land alienation, revealed in the comparatively higher selling of land continuous. during the past decade, as compared to buying. About 56 percent of Muslim households in rural Bihar own some form of livestock, poultry, goat and cattle in that order. In the non-farm sector, barely 2 percent of the Muslim households in rural Bihar are artisans (weavers, potters etc.), compared to over 4 percent in urban areas. It appears that a large number of workers are being forced out of skill-based activities in the face of competition from the modern manufacturing sector, leading to de-skilling and conversion of this workforce into wage labourers. The death of the Bhagalpur silk industry, once employing 25-30,000 boon-kers (weavers), mostly comprising of Muslim ansaris, is a case in point. in terms of employment opportunities, however, urban Muslim artisan households appear to be better off than their rural counterparts, simply because of access to markets. less than 1 percent of the Muslim households in urban areas were engaged in manufacturing activities. Over 23 percent of Muslim households in rural Bihar are engaged in other self-employed activities such as retail trade, bidi (local tobacco roll) making, tailoring, rickshaw-pulling and mechanics for various machineries, the last two being undertaken mostly in nearby towns. The average annual income from such self-employment activities is substantially higher than those earned by artisans and also generally higher than those earned by small/ marginal cultivators. Nearly 35 percent of the male working population is in the age group of 15-29 years. Also, relatively high worker participation is seen in the age group above 60 years, which indicate economic stress on the community and lack of social security. overall participation of Muslim women is on the lower side, contributing largely to home-based livestock related activities. 31 percent of women workers are engaged in the tobacco industry (bidi making) in rural areas (15 percent in urban areas) and nearly 25 percent are engaged as domestic help in urban areas.

Over 41

percent Migration in and from Bihar is widespread and continuous since 1971. The high population density of Muslim in the State implies very low land-man ratios in rural areas while the urbanisation levels are also very low implying very limited non-farm employment. Over 20 percent of Muslims among the households households in rural migrating within the state choose the urban centres of patna, Gopalgunj and hajipur. Two out of Bihar are every three Muslim households in rural Bihar send at least one each of their working members outside Bihar to earn. A quarter of the Muslim households migrate outside Bihar from the urban indebted. centres of the State. Gulf countries are a favoured destination outside Bihar and 8-12 percent of the migrant workers make it. Over 70 percent of the migrant workers send remittances, which is a significant source of income to the households.

Over 41 percent of Muslim households in rural Bihar are indebted, and the amount exceeds 57 percent of their average annual income. The average amount of outstanding loan per indebted household is Rs 16.38 thousand, less than a fifth of which is from institutional sources. The village 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

overview

money-lenders provide about 40 percent of the consumption loans, the rest being made available by family and friends. In urban areas, the proportion of indebted households is lower (about 25 percent) but the average amount of outstanding loan is higher at about Rs 20.00 thousand. The pattern of credit sources is similar to the rural areas. About 30 percent of Muslim households have a bank account, which might be to facilitate remittances rather than hold savings. About 9 percent of rural Muslim households and around 16 percent of urban Muslim households have any insurance, which again might be an indication of insecure livelihoods. In rural Bihar, the housing conditions of Muslim households are comparatively better with more pucca dwellings (25 percent as against 10 percent in general), separate kitchen (nearly 50 percent), drinking water facility from tube-wells (nearly 93 percent as against 74 percent in general) and toilet facilities (33 percent as against 10 percent in general). In urban areas, however, the municipal services like drinking water, electricity and sewerage are comparatively poorer for Muslim households. however, Muslim households continue to fare much better in terms of toilet facilities within households (82 percent as against 66 percent in general). Muslims in India suffer from double disadvantage of low level of education and lower quality of education. In Bihar poor economic conditions aggravate the situation by forcing children to enter the work force early. With a literacy rate of only 42 percent, Muslims are below the general literacy levels in Bihar (47 percent) and considerably so compared to the nation as a whole (nearly 65 percent). The mean duration of schooling for Muslim children in Bihar aged 2-16 years is the second lowest in India at 2.07 years. Nearly a third of Muslim children never go to school in Bihar and only two out of five children in the State are able to complete primary education. Only 16 percent are able to complete secondary (matriculation) education and, among these, only a little over 5 percent are girls. Access to higher and good quality education, particularly for girls, is a major challenge. It is estimated that there is a dearth of nearly 1100 schools in Muslim dominated villages in Bihar and establishing these will involve an estimated investment of nearly Rs 700 crores. Madrasas in Bihar cater to over 2.5 lakh students, including 1.1 lakh girls, which is the second highest in india after Up. There are 1118 government Madrasas, including 32 which are exclusively for girls. contrary to popular perceptions, most Madrasas impart modern education and, due to community ownership, are often better managed and more affordable than the local government schools. however, modernisation of Madrasas will be important for enhancing the quality of education imparted to Muslims students in Bihar. Muslims in Bihar share the general problem of chronic poverty and absence of a health service infrastructure. yet, the medium and larger villages with over 40 percent Muslim population are seen to be worse off in terms of access to health infrastructure. The total fertility rate among Muslims in Bihar is 4.4, higher than the general population in Bihar (3.5) and much higher than the national average (2.9). The child sex ratio is better than the general population but an overwhelming majority (90 percent) of the births occur at home. This is reflected in the birth rate and death rate among Muslims, which is higher than other socio-religious groups. cAST e dyn AmI cS In BIH A R
Schooling for Muslim children in Bihar aged 2-16 years is the second lowest in India at 2.07 years.

The social scenario in Bihar is complex, with a legacy of caste ridden social hierarchy, coupled with the power struggles between the earlier dominant castes and the emerging ‘other backward castes’ (OBCs), and lately the ‘extremely backward castes’ (EBCs) and dalits as well. Bihar has traditionally had a feudal social structure, with caste as the basis for division of

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

work and status. While existing earlier, the system of zamindari became stronger during the British rule, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. Under this system, the upper castes (Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and Kayasthas) continued as dominant groups and their monopoly over landed property and economic power created a large gap between the upper and lower castes. This gap continued even after independence, in spite of efforts at social reform. The struggle between the upper castes and others initiated by Lohia in the sixties gained momentum in the 1980s, with the emergence of OBCs as power centres, leading to violent conflicts between the upper castes and others causing even more oppression of the EBCs and dalits. however, in the recent past, the EBCs and dalits also have become involved in the struggle for power, as can be seen from the recent clashes. According to reports by Government of Bihar, 30 out of 38 districts of Bihar are under the grip of the violent Naxalite movement. The worst affected area is the region known as Central Bihar. This period of struggle also saw the law and order situation deteriorate, though not to the same degree in all parts of the state. it is interesting to note that communal relations between Muslims and Hindus remained largely unaffected by this polarisation and conflict, and has been characterised by harmony more than conflict. However, Muslims themselves have not been a homogeneous group, but are divided along caste lines, with sheikhs being generally more advanced and richer, and many other groups – bakhos, rayins, nats etc. being backward termed the “pasmanda” Muslims. The pasmanda Muslims generally have poorer access to Government services as compared to the more advanced groups, have lower education levels and are economically more backward.
caste and politics

30 out of 38 districts of Bihar are under the grip of the violent Naxalite movement.

No caste census has been done since 1931 and only estimates, based on statistical interpolation, of the relative composition can be made. Muslims constitute 16.5 percent of the population while yadavs account for another 12 percent, a combination that was successfully exploited by Lalu Prasad yadav to remain in power for a decade and half. The “backward castes” make up 35 percent of the population but consist of two major groups – the backward and extremely backward. The present chief Minister is from the Kurmi caste that forms nearly 8 percent of the population (along with Koeris). Brahmins constitute less than 5 percent of the population. Analysts agree that Mr yadav’s rise to power ended years of political dominance by upper-caste leaders and parties. But this has happened at the expense of development - Bihar is backward in roads, schools and hospitals and there has been a breakdown in law and order. voting along caste lines has given rise to a violent political culture where most political parties field candidates with criminal records, and mercenary private caste gangs intimidate and kill rivals. More than 1,000 political workers and leaders have been killed in the state since 1990, according to police records.

Caste plays

“Caste plays a central role in Bihar elections,” says social scientist Shaibal Gupta of the Patna-based a central asian development research institute. “people might talk about crime, corruption, development or role in Bihar other local issues but ultimately they vote on caste lines.”4 elections. Nitish Kumar is the current Chief Minister of Bihar after his alliance of Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party was elected in November 2005. He is aware that his predecessor’s focus on political empowerment of the backward communities was not sufficiently backed with good governance and development. His first attention is on law and order while his second priority is to
4

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4276379.stm 

0

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

overview

replace social confrontation with social harmony. The third priority of his government is development, both of basic infrastructure as well as implementation of existing schemes.5

GO ve RnA nce

And

cIv Il

S Oc I e T y

Among all institutions operating in the lives of the people of Bihar, the government assumes the most pervasive and critical role, particularly for the socially and economically disadvantaged sections. it The occupies a substantial space in the sphere of service-delivery and remains the principal guarantor government of social justice, affirmative action and fundamental rights. As of today, the government has its assumes presence across a large number of sectors and interventions, and has the deepest penetration the most amongst all institutions in the lives of the marginalized communities in particular. Administratively, the state is divided in 9 divisions, 38 districts, 534 blocks, 8,471 Panchayats, 45,103 revenue villages, and 130 towns6. The number of towns actually decreased from the 1991 census – 8 towns of 1991 census were declassified in 2001 as they did not fulfil the criteria any longer.
local governance in bihar

pervasive role.

and critical

In Bihar, the degree of decentralization in the sphere of governance is relatively limited. Bihar is one of the very few states in the country where no recommendations of successive state Finance Commissions have come into effect (contrary to the provision of Article 243-i of the constitution) relating to devolution of finances to Panchayati Raj institutions. The administrative bureaucracy has acquired a dominant influence over development processes and the role of Panchayati Raj institutions is grossly marginalized. There are also examples of co-option of Panchayats by the dominant communities. Bihar has witnessed two terms of Panchayati Raj since promulgation of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the constitution of india, and a substantial number of women representatives (backed by reservations to the tune of 50 percent) were elected to PRIs in 2006. Panchayati Raj institutions have been a significant axle of social mobilization, and the most prominent expressions of dissent and social activism in the recent past revolved exclusively around issues of governance.

The panchayat functioning is

after the panchayat elections last year, some effort is being made to delegate responsibilities to the still unclear. panchayat, but in the absence of adequate financial power and flexibility, the effectiveness of the panchayat functioning is still unclear. while there is role overload among the panchayat functionaries, there is little effort to build their capacities to handle various subjects devolved on them for their implementation. Bihar has devolved 25 functions to the panchayats whereas functionaries have been provided only for 8. Interestingly, there is no financial devolution for any of the functions. encouragingly, the state has constituted district plan committees. This offers an interesting opportunity to make the panchayats more functional with adequate capacity and financial powers. The potential for involvement of civil society organizations in improving the access and governance of vital development needs of marginalized communities stems mainly from deficiencies in the reach, quality and sustainability of government-provided entitlements, services and opportunities. while csos cannot replace the state, they have a role in holding the state accountable for lapses in performance of vital roles, and in plugging gaps in service-delivery in effective and sustainable ways.

5 6

http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/nov/23bpoll1.htm Bihar Government website, http://gov.bih.nic.in

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cI vI l

S O c I eTy

ORGA nIz AT I On S

I n

BI H A R

The universe of civil society organizations in Bihar includes a wide variety of organizations, ranging from service-delivering NGOs and community based organizations to networks and alliances of organizations.
n o n - g o v e r n m e n ta l o r g a n i z at i o n s

The genesis of NGOs in Bihar can be traced to three distinct phases: the earliest dates back to the neo-democratic phase of the 1950s and 1960s, when several organizations and movements came into being with the intent of contributing to nation-building and in revival of rural economies. One of the earliest organizations – ‘Shramabharati’ (founded in Jamui district in 1952 by Dhirendra Mazumdar) came into being with the objective of building a self-reliant violence-free social order in india, by facilitating local action towards enhancement of agricultural productivity, health care and rural development. This formative phase of genesis of NGOs in Bihar also coincided with the Sarvodaya and Bhoodan movements of Acharya Vinoba Bhave, and large-scale emergence of Khadi Gramodyog Kendras. Leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), who were greatly inspired by the concept of Sarvodaya gave leadership to many local initiatives for change. Jp himself set up an Ashram in 1954 in Bihar, and dedicated himself to upliftment of rural societies. The second distinct phase of emergence of NGOs in Bihar dates back to the late seventies and early eighties, when many protagonists of the JP-led ‘Sampoorna Kranti (total revolution)’ and Sangharsh Vahinis in Bihar initiated their own platforms for responding to developmental issues. however, the growth of nGos in the state reached a peak in the late nineties and the new millennium (phase 3), when the emergence of several donor organizations and integrated development programmes brought about the genesis of a new crop of nGos delivering a range of sectoral services.
activist groups

The genesis of activist organizations in Bihar, bearing an influence of the leftist upheavals in neighbouring West Bengal in the late sixties and early seventies, dates back to the early seventies when leaders like Jayaprakash narayan were at the pivot of several social movements envisioning to bring about a ‘Samatamoolak Samaj (an equitable society). A large number of activist groups came into being around that time, and have been active in Bihar in protest against acute disparities in distribution of critical resources and instances of injustice and exploitation. Activist organizations believing in non-violent mode of assertion and include agencies like Ekta Parishad, Lok Samiti, Sangharsh Vahini and Deshkaal Society; many of which, like Ekta Parishad, have district-specific units operating across chosen clusters of panchayats. The relative level of the inclusion of the socially disadvantaged sections is relatively higher in such groups, and the choice of interventions revolve around issues relating to denial of critical entitlements like land, employment and basic

NON-VIOLENT ACTIVIST GROUPS FIGHT FOR BASIC RIGHTS AND enTiTleMenTs oF The poor. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

overview

services. Led and managed mostly by people having a history of struggles and mass-movements, such groups have actively endeavoured to take up issues of the poor, have staged demonstrations and have achieved occasional successes in their pursuits. however, the initiatives of such groups have been sporadic in nature and the inability of form synergistic associations with other agencies sharing similar interests have in many cases undermined the potential of success. some of the groups have also endeavoured to address issues relating to the relative status of women, through campaigns to highlight the productive role of women. Many activist groups have confronted the state through overt, community-led processes, and have included socially disadvantaged sections at the forefront.

They do not have continuing interventions

v o l u n ta ry b o d i e s

amongst poor rural

Several organizations operate in Bihar with the charitable orientation of helping the needy in times of communities. distress. prominent organizations in this category include the rotary club, the Marwari Yuva Manch and the lion’s club. Such organizations typically look at the destitute communities as ‘beneficiaries of relief or assistance’, often from a caste-neutral perspective. With negligible inclusion of socially disadvantaged communities within their organizational structures, such bodies do reach out to a wide variety of disadvantaged communities in times of crises, with the aid of interventions that are mostly ‘safe’, ‘non-confrontationist’ and contributing to enhancement of their identity. Key strengths of such organizations include their promptness in responding to crises and strongnetworks. While they dexterously respond to crises stemming from disasters, they do not have continuing interventions amongst poor rural communities of Bihar. During the floods of 2004, a large number of such organizations were involved in distributing relief supplies, independently as well as in collaboration with government agencies.

community/caste-specific groups

Musahars, one of the most disadvantaged social groups amongst scheduled castes, have an exclusive, community-led forum called ‘Musahar Vikas Manch’ working for securing critical entitlements like land and employment. The Manch, coordinated at the district level by Shri Basudev Das, has a strong presence in select villages (e.g. Teetra, Bakhri, Dholi, Nenapur and Kumhra in Muraul block) of Muzaffarpur district and operates through point persons identified in each Musahar habitation. The Forum is networked well with several cadre-based organizations (e.g. Ekta Parishad) The raison and bodies like Akhil Bharatiya Bhuiyan Musahar Seva Sangh. originally part of a state level d’être of forum of Musahar (Musahar Vikas Mandal) headed by Shri Jeetan Ram Manjhi (Minister in Govt. of most of such Bihar), the Musahar Vikas Manch came into being about a year back after an internal conflict within alliances is vote-bank the Mandal.
consolidation.

In addition, several active caste-alliances exist in Bihar, including a good number of them belonging to other backward castes, e.g. Koeris, Kurmis, Nais and Telis. however, the raison d’être of most of such alliances is vote-bank consolidation and rarely have they addressed the pressing development needs of respective communities. amongst the Muslims, the Pasmandas form a disadvantaged community, which is organized in the form of a mahaj headed by shri ali anwar, a rajya sabha Mp. The mahaj has been spearheading active advocacy work to press for inclusion of the Pasmandas as beneficiaries of affirmative action policies of the government.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

c o m m u n i t y - b a s e d o r g a n i z at i o n s

Self-help groups have emerged on a substantial scale in most areas of Bihar, thanks to the provision of subsidies and the availability of grant assistance from agencies like NABARD to promoting NGOs for each group formed and linked with banks. SHGs promoted to get the benefits of SGSy (Swarnajayanthi Gramin Swarojgar Yojana) have generally tended to be focused only on getting the subsidy, and not on empowerment of people. as such, most of these have either disbanded or remain dormant once the subsidy has been received and distributed. on the other hand, shGs SHGs have generally promoted by many nGos have been focusing on empowerment as a whole, including links to financial institutions, but not limited to them alone. These SHGs have been more dynamic and have tended to be focused only shown signs of progress. The existence of community-based organizations in rural Bihar, other than self-help groups formed the subsidy, by various nGos, is limited mostly to community institutions promoted under various government and not on programmes. These include forums like Vidyalaya Shiksha Samitis, Mata Samitis and Prabandh empowerment Samitis formed under the provision of education services, or Rogi Kalyan Samitis formed under the of people. provision of national rural health Mission. While cooperative societies have a long history in Bihar, a large number of societies have become defunct during the last decade due to non-availability of continuous support in the form of agricultural support services. Most of the cooperative have been co-opted by dominant groups, and have been used mainly as a medium to retain political influence.
gram sabhas/nigrani samitis

on getting

while Panchayati Raj institutions are substantially inclusive of socially disadvantaged sections in terms of numerical representation (due to reservations in particular), Gram Sabhas haven’t been allowed to emerge as effective forums of accountability and governance in line with the mandate provided for in the constitution. Meetings are convened on a minimal basis, only on the statutorily required dates, and are mostly manipulated by the dominant sections of a village with limited participation of the disadvantaged groups. Gram Sabhas in Bihar are rarely consulted in critical decisions like selection of the beneficiaries of government schemes or formulation of Below Poverty Most of the line list. in the current state, Gram Sabhas have been reduced merely to compliance-oriented cooperative forums, and similar is the state of Nigrani Samitis (citizen’s vigilance committee) provided for in the have been co-opted by Bihar Panchayati Raj Act; which in most cases hasn’t been formed.
dominant
networks and alliances

groups, and have been used mainly

several networks and alliances of civil society organizations have active presence in the state, including confederations like NACDOR (National Confederation of Dalit Organizations), NCDHR as a medium to retain (National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights), Jal Biradari, people’s Union for civil liberties, and political Wada na Todo Abhiyan. Most of these formulations work primarily on advocacy of key issues of influence. specific themes/ constituencies (e.g. NACDOR and NCDHR on issues of dalit communities, wnTa on holding the state accountable to deliver vis-à-vis its promises, Jal Biradari on issues relating to water management, pUcl on issues relating to denial of rights of the marginalized communities etc. and have a strong base of constituent organizations in the state. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

Area selection
Where should one initiate a development programme in Bihar? It is indeed challenging to select an area where a programme could initially be implemented with reasonable chances of creating a successful model. In order to address this issue, we needed to understand the overall objectives, view it through the prism of our institutional mandate and filter it through the core competencies available and then scan the area to find the best fit. The exercise helped us to (i) lay down a set of criteria for selection of area, and (ii) apply this to the information already available to us about the state in general. The criteria were discussed intensively with senior staff in the organisation and then commented upon by members in the governing system. Each and every criterion was discussed in terms of its rationale, relative weight and assessment method. The outcome of a desk research on Bihar was already compiled as a report – ‘Development Status in Bihar with special reference to Muslim minorities’. This report, along with some primary data, was used to map out the state on the basis of the criteria laid down. The result was an amazing mosaic, the patterns of which shifted somewhat with the level of administrative unit we chose to work with – the districts, blocks or even cluster of villages. Nevertheless, some broad conclusions could be drawn. The broad criteria for area selection can be summarized as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. areas with substantial population of Muslim minorities, preferably living with people from other communities; Regions with high incidence of poverty and general economic backwardness; Regions with poor social outcome indicators; Accessibility from the state capital (Patna); Areas with relatively stable socio-political environment; potential for success.

It is important to mention that while the first three criteria form the basis of our long-term interventions, the rest of the criteria is set to explicitly ensure success at the initial stages. Criteria 1: Areas with substantial muslim population Since the focus of programme is primarily on Muslim minorities, the first level of elimination was on the basis of the population data available for the different districts. districts were ranked on the

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

basis of the absolute population of Muslims and considered along with the data on Muslims as a proportion of the total population (Table 10). The district of Katihar has the highest number of Muslims (over 1 million), followed by Purnia, Araria and Kishanganj (all over 850,000). Even in terms of the proportion of the total population, these districts are distinctly way above the rest with over double the state average for Muslim population. In fact, nearly 70 percent of the total population in the district Kishanganj happen to be Muslims. There are six other districts with a Muslim population of over 500,000 and eleven districts where the proportion of Muslims to the total population is over 15 percent. An attempt has been made to cluster these districts on the basis of prevalence of Muslim population (Table 10).
TA B L E 1 0 : D I S T R I C T S I N B I H A R W I T H O V E R 1 0 P E R C E N T M U S L I M P O P U L AT I O N
s TaT e / d i s T r i c T T o Ta l p o p U l aT i o n M U s l i M p o p U l aT i o n p e r c e n Ta G e disTricT ranK

Bihar Kishanganj Katihar Araria Purnia Darbhanga Pashchim Champaran Sitamarhi Purba Champaran Siwan Madhubani Bhagalpur Supaul * Gopalganj Sheohar * Muzaffarpur Saharsa Begusarai Jamui * Banka * Gaya Madhepura Nawada Samastipur Saran Khagaria Rohtas Source: Census 2001

82998509 1296348 2392638 2158608 2543942 3295789 3043466 2682720 3939773 2714349 3575281 2423172 1732578 2152638 515961 3746714 1508182 2349366 1398796 1608773 3473428 1526646 1809696 3394793 3248701 1280354 2450748

13722048 876105 1017495 887972 935239 748971 646597 568992 755005 494176 641579 423246 302120 367219 80076 573951 217922 313713 170334 190051 403439 173605 204457 355897 337767 131441 246760

16.5 67.6 42.5 41.1 36.8 22.7 21.2 21.2 19.2 18.2 17.9 17.5 17.4 17.1 15.5 15.3 14.4 13.4 12.2 11.8 11.6 11.4 11.3 10.5 10.4 10.3 10.1 4 1 3 2 6 7 10 5 11 8 12 19 14 33 9 22 18 27 25 13 26 23 16 17 30 21 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

area selecTion

It is interesting to note that except for the district of Bhagalpur, all the districts with appreciable concentration of Muslims are on the northern side of the state (Map 1). If we use this map, along with the data available in Table 8, it is possible to delineate a cluster of districts and analyse these accordingly (Map 2). The picture that emerges is as follows: i) north-eastern region of Bihar bordering West Bengal and comprising the districts of Kishanganj, araria, purnia and Katihar has the highest concentration of Muslims in the State. Together this region has over 27 percent Muslim population of entire Bihar. northern region bordering nepal and comprising of districts of paschim champaran, purba champaran, Sitamarhi and Madhubani has over 19 percent of the total Muslim population.
Map:: Popul ation & Mus lim s) Map Popul ation (to tal (to tal & Mus lim s)

ii)

(iii) north-central region comprising the districts of Muzaffarpur, samastipur and darbhanga, along with Patna, account for nearly 15 percent of Muslims in Bihar. Although in terms of the proportion, Muslims in patna constitute less than 8 percent of the population, in absolute numbers, the absolute numbers are over 350,000 and growing. (iv) north-western region comprising the districts of siwan, Gopalganj and Saran account for nearly 9 percent of the Muslim population of the state. it is interesting to note that in terms of the urban concentration, Muslims are more in the towns of south Bihar. Criteria 2: Regions with high incidence of poverty
Ma p : Re gion al concent ration of Mu slim s

Poverty and economic backwardness in Bihar is more or less uniform. Within the state, the Muslims in general suffer from extreme socio-economic backwardness and chronic poverty, lagging behind other socio-religious groups (with the possible exception of SCs and STs) in terms of their development status. however, it would be interesting to apply the different poverty estimates and information on productive assets – particularly agricultural land – to the different regions delineated above. An estimated 59.6 percent of rural Muslim household in Bihar is below the poverty line and for urban areas this figure is 54.8 percent. Of these, 19.2 percent of rural and 16.1 percent of urban Muslim households are acutely poor. The average annual household income for rural and urban areas was found to be Rs. 31.55 thousand (US $ 730) and 43.64 thousand (US$ 1,000 approx) respectively or just a few cents per person per day! The condition of Muslims in rural Bihar is relatively better in the north-western region (Siwan and Gopalganj) due to remittances from migrant family members. The district of West Champaran in the northern region is also relatively prosperous, thanks to its agriculture. The rest of the districts in the northern region are very poor. however, the districts with severe rural poverty are Kishanganj and Katihar in the north-eastern region.

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in urban areas, Muslims are relatively better off in the district of Gopalganj and worst off in darbhanga. An overwhelming majority of Muslims in Bihar (87 percent) live in rural areas where land and land related endowments are crucial to employment and income generation. However, only about 36 percent of Muslim households have cultivable land, while less than 29 percent actually work on this. Therefore, nearly three-fourth of the Muslim population in rural Bihar is dependent on wage labour in the agriculture sector or small employment outside the farm sector.

Nearly three-

Average land-holding per household is relatively better in the district of West Champran but it is fourth of very low in Samastipur. Muslims in Bihar generally have better access to irrigation facilities, with the the Muslim exception of the north-eastern districts of Kishanganj and Katihar. population in An estimated 60.9 percent of Muslim households in rural Bihar own some livestock. In the districts rural Bihar is of Katihar and Kishanganj, nearly 70 percent Muslim households have livestock resources and are dependent on wage engaged mainly in poultry and goat rearing. in siwan and Gopalganj districts, selling of milk and milk labour in the products is an important source of income.
agriculture sector or small

Criteria 3: Regions with poor social outcome indicators

On major social outcome indicators like literacy, health and gender, Muslims in Bihar fare very badly. employment The literacy level for Muslims (42 percent) is lower than State average (47 percent). The north- outside the eastern region has the lowest literacy rates with less than 30 percent for all the districts. The districts farm sector. of Sitamarhi and Madhubani in the northern region has a literacy rate of just above 30 percent, while paschim champaran, along with the districts of Muzaffarpur and darbhanga have a relatively better literacy rate with figures above 40 percent. Though Muslims score higher on some health indicators, they lag behind other socio-religious groups in terms of access to health facilities. Villages with over 40 percent Muslim concentration have less availability of medical facilities in Bihar. Among these, only about 28 percent of the large villages, 12 percent of the medium villages and 8 percent of small villages have medical facility. in comparison the corresponding figures are 35 percent, 18 percent and 8 percent for the general population. An overwhelming majority (90 percent) of births in rural Muslims and nearly 80 percent in urban Muslims occur at home indicating lack of access to hospital facility. Acute gender disparity in Muslim community in Bihar is mirrored in wide gap in the literacy level of Muslim female, which is lowest in the districts of the north-eastern region with all figures below 20 percent. literacy rate for darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and pashchim champaran are relatively higher where the corresponding figures all are above 30 percent. Criteria 4: Accessibility from the state capital Accessibility is a key issue for successful management and implementation of field based programmes. Patna is not only the state capital but also perhaps the only functional urban centre in the Bihar. Effective coordination and management of the programme means that the field implementation sites, at least in the initial stages, are conveniently located and easily accessible. The districts in the north-eastern region are not only far from Patna but also very poorly connected by both rail and road transport. Travelling to these areas can often be quite tortuous even if one is willing to spare the time. Air link does not exist. Similarly the districts in the northern region are also relatively less accessible by both rail and road. The north-central region is closer to the state capital and is connected by both road and rail, particularly road. The town of Muzaffarpur in the same district is perhaps only next to the state capital in terms of the available infrastructure and services. It is also widely seen as the gateway to north Bihar.

Muslims lag behind other socioreligious groups in terms of access to health facilities. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

area selecTion

Criteria 5: Stable socio-political environment The districts in the north-eastern region, though the most backward and with high Muslim concentration, are known to be politically highly sensitive and volatile. it may not, therefore, be advisable for an external agency to immediately jump into this area. There is a major problem of human trafficking across the two international borders (Nepal and Bangladesh), which has kept the social harmony of the region on the brink. The region is also sharply polarised along religious identities, which manifests in the local political arena as well. initiating work in such environment can be fraught with long-term uncertainties and risk. Also, the extremely poor status of social and economic standards will ensure that any visible gain would come only in the long run, which may not be desirable for a new agency entering the state. The districts in the northern region also face the same problems related to political stability and trans-border human trafficking. This region also shares the international border with Nepal and is known for cross border smuggling. in relative terms, the law and order situation in the region is not satisfactory for safe operation of programme activities, at least in the initial stages. In sharp contrast, the districts of the north-central region are relatively safe and politically stable. Many local agencies are based in Muzaffarpur who have indicated an overall conducive environment for launching developmental programmes. The presence of a large international agency would give a major boost to the on-going efforts towards an active cooperation between civil society and the government. Criteria 6: potential for success In order to earn a lasting credibility in a society, an external agency will need to show immediate and quick results. Once the reputation is established, the agency could deal with more complicated and long-term issues. The potential for success, therefore, is a key consideration at this stage. The districts of the north-central region are not only better connected with roads and telecommunication network, but also have a certain threshold level of human development and intervention of civil society organisations. It is perhaps possible to convert this initial threshold level into a ‘critical mass’ for initiating collective actions in the region. Selec T IOn Of dISTRI cTS

The discussions in the preceding section are summarized in Table 11 below.

TA B L E 1 1 : S U M M A R y R E P R E S E N TAT I O N O F T H E C R I T E R I A A N D I T S A P P L I C AT I O N I N D I F F E R E N T R E G I O N *
CRITERIA/ REGION NORTH-EASTERN NORTHERN NORTH-CENTRAL NORTH-WESTERN

proportion of Muslims Poverty (relative) social outcome accessibility Socio-political environment potential for success

very high very high very weak very poor absent very low

high moderately high weak poor satisfactory moderate

moderately high high weak good good high

high low stronger satisfactory satisfactory low

* Assessment is relative between the regions and is based on current information available from secondary sources

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK 

D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

By all counts, it is evident that our ultimate aim would be to intervene in the north-eastern region of the state and the northern region in general. high proportion of Muslims in the total population in these regions, coupled with chronic and endemic poverty, provides the raison-de-etre for the presence of the aga Khan development network in the state. However, it is important for a new, and outside, agency to establish its credibility quickly among the local communities, learn its lessons fast and develop a few successful models. Therefore, in balance, it is proposed to bias our initial interventions towards the potential opportunities, before It is proposed we move on to addressing the ultimate challenges in development. to bias The districts in the north-central region – Muzaffarpur and Samastipur (along with Patna) – appear to our initial be the most suited for initiating the programme. it may be noted that all these three districts were interventions covered under the pilot phase of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) of the towards the potential Government of india. although the overall concentration of Muslims is relatively lower, there would opportunities, invariably be pockets of higher Muslim concentration. Moreover, in keeping with the pluralistic outlook and inclusive approach of aKdn, it might be more appropriate to select areas within these before we move on to districts where Muslims live in populations of mixed communities.
addressing

S elec TIO n Of AR eAS In SAm ASTI p uR dISTRIc TS

mu zA f fA Rp u R

An d

the ultimate challenges in development.

while the basic premise of the area selection criteria hold true even at the lower levels, three important considerations were employed after discussions among colleagues. These included identification of (1) regions with significant Muslim concentration among mixed populations; (2) areas chronically affected by severe floods; and (3) contiguous blocks for creating an implementation cluster with a visible impact. information of local criminal activities is also important, particularly for the district of patna. For the purpose of the present analysis, 10-20 percent Muslim concentration at the block level can be considered as blocks with significant Muslim concentration among mixed populations. Table 12 below also considers blocks that are particularly flood-prone. accessibility in the districts of Muzaffarpur and samastipur is good along the national highways. even the state highways are reasonably usable and are likely to improve. accessibility decreases rapidly as one moves away from the road networks and relative poverty tends to increase in these regions. however, the gross scenario in both the districts seems to be manageable. The flood-prone zone in both the districts of Muzaffarpur and Samastipur have been identified and excluded from the initial set of blocks that are being considered (see also Map ). However, it is important to deal with the floods in the long-term and therefore a peripheral presence may provide better insights into this deep and critical problem. If mixed populations with significant proportion of Muslims are considered along with contiguity of blocks, the following regions emerge as potential areas: In Muzaffarpur (a) Kurhani and Dholi in the south-east; and 

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AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

area selecTion

TA B L E 1 2 : B L O C K - L E V E L A N A Ly S I S O F T H R E AT F R O M F L O O D S A N D C O N C E N T R AT I O N O F M U S L I M S
B L O C K S I N D I S T R I C T M U z A F FA R P U R T H R E AT O F F L O O D S M U S L I M C O N C E N T R AT I O N L O C AT I O N

Kurhani Sakra Musahari Dholi (Moraul) Bandra Gaighat Katra Aurai Bochaha Minapur Sahebganj Baruraj (Motipur) Paroo Saraiya Marwan Kanti Kalyanpur Warisnagar Shivaji Nagar Khanpur Samastipur Pusa Tajpur Morwa Patori Mohanpur Mohiuddinagar Sarairanjan Vidyapati Nagar Dalsinghsarai Ujiarpur Bhibutpur Rosera Singhia Hasanpur Bithan

low Significant High Low High High High High High High Low Low Low Low Low Low High High High High Low Significant Low Low Low Low high Low Low Low Low Significant Significant High High High

16.3 20.8 16.5 10.0 13.2 7.9 23.3 14.6 15 10.6 12.2 14.9 13.5 11.4 19.3 21.0 10.7 19.9 2.3 9.0 13.9 12.0 26.8 6.4 4.6 1.2 8.1 10.4 8.7 11.7 8.5 5.2 9.5 14.2 10.6 15.0

South South-east Central South-east South-east East North-east North North-central North North-west North-west South-west South Central Central North North North-east Central Central North-west West West South-west South south Central South-east South-east Central South-east East East East East

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK 

D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

(b) Sahebganj, Baruraj (Motipur), Paroo, Saraiya, Marwana and Kanti in the west and central regions of the district. In Samastipur (a) Samastipur, Tajpur, Sarairanjan and Dalsinghsarai in the west and southwest region of the district. It should be noted that the rivers Gandak and Baghmati are responsible for recurrent floods in most other parts of Samastipur district.

The blocks

If a single contiguous area is to be identified that span the districts of Muzaffarpur and Samastipur, of dholi and the blocks of Dholi and Sakra in Muzaffarpur and Pusa and Tajpur in Samastipur appear to be Sakra in suitable for programmatic interventions. Muzaffarpur
and pusa and Tajpur in Samastipur

p lA nnI n G

THe

App RAISA l

For identification of village clusters that a Mission could appraise, extensive consultations were held appear to be with key nGos, local government, and representatives of the local community, along with a review suitable for of important publications at the local level1. Based on the information generated from these visits, programmatic following clusters have emerged as potential for further exploration by Appraisal Mission. The idea interventions. here is to provide viable options to the Mission in terms of area selection without restricting the choice available.
dholi and sakra blocks, muzaffarpur district

Dholi and Sakra Blocks are in the south-eastern part of Muzaffarpur district, adjoining the district of samastipur. This region is rich in agriculture, particularly cash crops like tobacco, vegetables and maize. land holdings in general are very small and fragmented. land endowment with Muslims and SCs is very low and a majority of them are engaged as agriculture labourers. Threat of floods in this region is relatively low though the entire region was devastated by floods in the year 2004. These blocks have a mixed population, with overall Muslim concentration above 10 percent (Table 13). The region is socio-politically stable with record of social harmony between different communities. Muslims in these blocks migrate to different parts of india like Kolkata, punjab, delhi and haryana and few also migrate to the countries in the middle-east. Muslims in some clusters are significantly engaged in household industries such as lac bangles. sc communities mainly comprise of paswan, Kushwaha, and Kumhar. yadavs are significant in number. This region has significantly less coverage of NGOs compared to the northern regions of Muzaffarpur. Many villages were observed to have benefited from Government housing scheme of Indira Awaas yojana. Literacy attainment, particularly with Muslims, is very low with only about 25 percent boys and 15 percent girls enrolled in school.

1

discussion with shri anil sharma and team of center direct, working on rural development programs in samastipur discussion with Mr. vinod and team of nirdesh, working in rural development programs in Muzarffarpur district Discussion with Mr. Ravi Ranjan Bhardwaj, Secretary, Gramin Samaj Kalyan Sansthan, Samastipur discussion with Mr. r. r. Kalyan, regional coordinator, rashtriya Grameen vikas nidhi, patna Jha, Sanjay (2005) Naxalite Movement in Bihar and Jharkhand. Website: http://www.asthabharati.org/ Dia_Apr05/Sanjay.htm#_ftn1 Chandran, S and Gupta, A. K. (2002). India: Caste Violence and Class in Bihar: The Ranvir Sena. Searching for Peace in central and south asia Bhatia, B (2005). The Naxalite Movement in Central Bihar. Economic and Political Weekly. April 2005. 

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area selecTion

TA B L E 1 3 : M U S L I M S A N D O T H E R C O M M U N I T I E S I N S E L E C T V I L L A G E S I N D H O L I A N D S A K R A B L O C K S *
VILLAGE MUSLIMS (%) OTHERS (%)

Dholi Block Harsinghpur Leotan Chandanpatti Majhaulia Muraul Janghipur Sarmaspur Machhi 10 50 50 30 low 20 30 Sakra Block Sakara itaha Mohaddipur Maniari Murliachak Satpura *Based on information provided by local community 50 low low 25 25 40 Paswan (30); Kushwaha (20); yadav (20) Kushwaha/ yadav/ Chamar (40) Kushwaha/ yadav/ Chamar (40) Kushwaha (20); yadav (50)

p u s a a n d ta j p u r b l o c k s , s a m a s t i p u r d i s t r i c t

These blocks share their boundaries with sakra block of Muzaffarpur district. pusa is famous for its rajendra agriculture University, a premier national institution for agriculture education and research. The demographic and economic feature of this region is much similar to dholi and Sakra Blocks. This region is again rich in cash crops and significant trade linkages exist with eastern Indian cities like Kolkata. However the Human Development Index (HDI) of this area is among the lowest in Bihar. The presence of NGOs is also not very significant in this region. Unlike the rest of samastipur district, this region does not fall under severe flood zone.

D E S P I T E R E L AT I V E Ly D E S C E N T I N F R A S T R U C T U R E , T H E Q U A L I T y O F S C H O O L E D U C AT I O N R E M A I N S F A R F R O M D E S I R A B L E .

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK 

D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

TA B L E 1 4 : M U S L I M S A N D O T H E R C O M M U N I T I E S I N S E L E C T V I L L A G E S I N P U S A A N D TA J P U R B L O C K S *
P A N C H A y AT VILLAGES HOUSEHOLDS MUSLIMS (%) SCS (%) OBC (%)

pusa Block Harpur Dighra Koari Waini Gangapur Thahra Narayanpur, Harpur, Bhuskoul Dighra, Kalyanpur, Gaura, Birauli, Nawachak Koari, Rajwa Waini, Kaji, Repura Rampur, Ayodhya, Gangapur, Khairiram Thahra, Gopalpur 100 110 1340 125 70 125 Tajpur Block Tajpur Fatehpur Shahpur Baghouni Rajwa Tajpur, Motipur Murgiachak, Fatehpur Shahpur, Baghouni, Fazilpur Mohiuddinpur Rajwa, Baso Kubouli, Chak Bangari, chak Mansoor, chaksultan Sirsia, Sabaudpur Dighra, Kalyanpur, Gaura, Birauli, Nawachak Murgiachak, Bahelia, Bela 278 133 1202 352 14 6 74 28 49 19 16 25 35 75 10 47 6 9 70 9 7 9 10 40 25 38 40 20 38 33 56 80 20

Harishankarpur Baghouni Dighra Rahimabad

403 33 898

33 9 64

26 41 15

34 20 22

*Based on information provided by local community

p e r i - u r b a n a n d u r b a n a r e a s i n pat n a d i s t r i c t

patna is not only the state capital, but the only worthwhile urban centre in the state today. although the overall proportion of Muslims in the district of patna is less than 8 percent, there are pockets of concentration both in the city as well as in the peri-urban areas. If urban linkages are vital for rural development, the peri-urban areas of Patna city will provide for possibilities of experimentation in this regard. The poorer areas of Patna city itself will provide for at least an understanding of the problem of rural to urban migration, if not some experiments. The threat from floods is minimal in the district of Patna. However, the general law and order condition is a critical issue in this district. There seems to be significant influence of Naxalites in a number of blocks of rural patna, which makes it undesirable for programmatic intervention of civil society agency, at least at the initial stages. a preliminary assessment of different blocks of the district is provided in Table 15. Most of the blocks in patna district have Muslim concentration below ten percent. however, it was evident that sizeable Muslim population existed even in low Muslim concentration areas like Bakhtiarpur, Khusrupur and Fatwah. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

area selecTion

TA B L E 1 5 : B L O C K L E V E L A N A Ly S I S O F T H R E AT S A N D P R O P O R T I O N O F M U S L I M P O P U L AT I O N
BLOCKS T H R E AT F R O M N A X A L I T E S MUSLIMS (%) L O C AT I O N

Maner Dinapur-cum-Khagaul Patna Rural (a & b) Sampatchak Phulwari Bihta Naubatpur Bikram Dulhin Bazar Paliganj Masaurhi dhanarua Punpun Fatwah Daniawan Khusrupur Bakhtiarpur Athmalgola Belchhi Barh Pandarak Ghoswari Mokameh *Information not available

High High (From very high crime rate) Low (But significant crime rate) Significant Low High High Low Significant n/a* High high High Low Low Low Low Significant High High n/a n/a High

3.7 7.3 12.3 0.5 21.8 7.0 5.2 4.2 9.1 8.4 6.5 1.8 1.7 2.5 0.5 4.8 3.5 2.4 0.5 5.1 1.7 0.1 4.2

North North North Central Central West West West South-west South South south Central East East East East East East East East East East

a proper appreciation of the different criteria suggests Rural Patna and Phulwari as potential blocks. The Appraisal Mission may explore these blocks for their suitability as program areas. phulwari block is about 18 km from patna and situated in the northern side of the city. The rapid expansion of the Patna city has resulted in the urbanization of southern parts of phulwari block. overall the block is part rural, due to the predominance of land based occupations, and part peri-urban due to significant percentage of population engaged in occupations providing services to patna city. phulwari block has both rural and urban centers, where the proportion of Muslims is 8 percent and 57 percent respectively. Phulwari Rural can be considered as high potential for further exploration by the Mission Team. interaction with local community, pri members and nGos working in the area indicate that rural Phulwari is socially-politically stable with a long history of social harmony. Ekta Parishad and Prayas are two main NGOs working in the area. Being close to Patna it is highly accessible both by rail and road.

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK 

D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

TA B L E 1 6 : M U S L I M S A N D O T H E R C O M M U N I T I E S I N S E L E C T V I L L A G E S I N R U R A L P H U L W A R I *
VILLAGE P A N C H A y AT MUSLIMS (%) SC (%)

Naharpura Janipur Adhpa Sohrampur Murgiachak Nehura Naharpura Gondpura Bhusaula Nizampur

Koriawan Sohrampur and Koriawan Sohrampur and Koriawan Sohrampur Sohrampur Koriawan Koriawan Koriawan

10 40 (Mahtar, Nat) 10 (Chudihara) Very less 50 50 10 20 30 10 (Chudihara) 33 (Mushar, Paswan, Chamar, Pasi) 80 (Mushahar, Pasi, Chamar) 80 (Koeri, Kahar and Musahar) 40 30 40 Mushahar, Dusadh, Kurmi

*Based on information provided by local community

M U S L I M S L I V E I N P O P U L AT I O N S O F M I X E D C O M M U N I T I E S S H A R I N G , A N D C O N T R I B U T I N G T O T H E B A C K W A R D N E S S O F T H E reGion. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

Appraisal of the selected areas
…vegetable cultivation was felt to have high potential (particularly for the Muslims), but the farmers were exploited by the traders at the mandi (local market)… Most (Tatis) do not cultivate their land because the incomes are so low that it is not worthwhile, and costs for watching are too high for such small landholdings… the Chamars are fully dependent on agricultural labour, living on land owned by the landlord, causing even more uncertainty and limiting migration – people do not want to risk losing their houses… collectivisation for any joint occupation was difficult as people tended to disagree when money was involved… Ram Bhat (Coordinator, Appraisal Mission) …there are five languages – Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Hindi and English – right from the primary stage… science is introduced at grade VI, while social science is missing in the curriculum (in the Madrasa)… medium of instruction becomes a serious problem particularly in transition from Madrasa to government school… Vinay K Kantha (Expert, Education, Appraisal Mission) …(Mohammed Hasim) mentioned that education was a priority for all… his grandson Zahir was being coached by a private tutor (along with 5-6 other Muslim children). The private tutor normally charges Rs.60-70/month/child and is usually an unemployed graduate from the village. Zahir also studied in the new Ideal School, a private school which had higher fees but a better reputation. …to compensate for the poor power (supply), private enterprise had stepped in… there was a supplier who, with a common generator, provided single phase power supply to about 400 households in the village at Rs.1/hour/bulb from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Apoorva Oza (CEO, AKRSP – India) Health is at the mercy of God! People do not feel that they are responsible for their health. They do not talk about health, and neither has the state discussed the same with them. Poor health seeking behaviour cuts across caste and classes, however the situation gets worse for those at the bottom... There is a silence on issues related to sex. Autonomy of women relating to sexual rights is negligible. Personal hygiene is not a concern. Habits for hand washing, nail cleaning, bathing, examination of the body (most have not seen their complete body in a mirror) are poor and there is a comfort in using hands all the time. Dr Dinesh Singh (Expert, Health, Appraisal Mission)

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK 

D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

…discrimination to girl child is very much prevalent here due to dowry (usually Rs 10-25,000). Women are forced to go for ultrasound for termination of their pregnancy of female foetus due to pressure from family members. Alka Mehta (AKRSP – India) …poor and marginal households manage a portfolio of activities, not by choice but as a survival mechanism. The households do not have enough incentive or wherewithal to carry out activities at an optimal level due to want of resources or even access to the same. The present coping mechanisms at the household level is aimed towards managing food and shelter but is not geared towards managing individual or household risk. …the overall picture is quite dismal with slow development of the secondary and tertiary sectors and high dependence on agriculture. The disconcerting situation is the poor infrastructure inhibiting development in the state, especially in the manufacturing sector. Moreover, the financial sector’s performance is also far from satisfactory and is one of the main factors limiting growth and development. Sourindra Bhattacharyya (Expert, Livelihoods, Appraisal Mission) …migration of people from Bihar in search of seasonal work is not a recent phenomenon. Bihar has provided nearly every state in India with an inexpensive work force. But the increased level of migration, growing competition for limited jobs, and political tensions in many parts of the country often combine to make them easy targets in these host states. Recent incidents in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Assam are markers that show that the market for manual workers outside Bihar is shrinking. If this safety valve is shut, it will have very serious implications for Bihar. Dinesh Mishra (Expert, Water management, Appraisal Mission) …livelihoods opportunity for the SC and Muslim poor and women are limited and constricted. All the asset base including natural, physical and financial are cornered by the dominant communities and the state’s affirmative actions have offered little to ensure that they are available to the poor. The institutions are either co-opted or difficult to accommodate the interest of the poor… Rajeshwar Mishra (Expert, Appraisal Mission) …dependence on the state has become a habit… everyone wants to be in the BPL (below poverty line) list. Naga and Vahora (AKRSP – India) …a small agency like Grameen Samaj Kalyan Sansthan (Samastipur) has demonstrated exemplary courage in the recent past to use the Right to Information Act to hold the district administration to account for the delays and the arbitrariness in identifying NGOs for a particular SGSY initiative. The same NGO also has people from socially marginalized sections in its Governing Board, and has chosen to self-finance its interventions out of proceeds from various professional services delivered by it, including a personality development course, an NGO-facilitation centre and computer-literacy courses for youth. Anindo Banerjee (Expert, Civil Society, Appraisal Mission) One thing was very evident that people have nearly lost their hope in the system. Every one complained about the system rather (than) coming out with any suggestions. There are opportunities for villages to grow, but they hardly think of it. They have pre-conceived notions that it can not happen. I believe this is a terrible condition which has made people to only complain about each other. R R Kalyan (Expert, Microfinance, Appraisal Mission) 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

appraisal

The permanent construction in all three villages seemed to have been constructed about two decades ago by the parents of the present adult occupants as per their account. They all seem to be enjoying the benefits of the efforts made by the previous generation and display a sense of despondency as far as their efforts for bettering their lot is concerned, be it their living environment or general progress in life. Surekha Ghogale (CEO, AKPBS,I) In this situation, first agenda for the poor of Bihar is improvement in production and productivity, not distribution... The poor people of Bihar have exhibited their industriousness in the tedious tasks of constructing the Narmada dam… Although looking listless due to poverty and absence of welfare programmes, the people have the will to sustain... I consider this region the most appropriate area for establishing a network of cottage industrial units for food processing... The method of developing any region by keeping the women in the centre will make development sustainable. C A Priyadarshi (Expert, community dynamics, Appraisal Mission) A sample de-briefing report is provided at Annex V to provide a flavour of the observations made during the Appraisal Mission.

App RAISA l In S AmASTI pu R

Selec T

BlO c K S

Of

mu z Af fA Rp u R

An d

o b s e r vat i o n s o n e l e m e n ta ry e d u c at i o n

The Government schooling system consists of primary schools in most villages, and high schools in only a few of the larger villages – in the whole Pusa block, for instance, there are six high schools, including a Kasturba Balika Vidyalaya (residential) and a Central school within the Agricultural University. In other blocks the situation was worse, with Muraul (Dholi) block having only one high school. primary schools are present in almost every village.

COMMUNITy MEMBERS ARE INTERESTED IN SENDING THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL, INCLUDING HIGH SCHOOL.

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK 

D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

In some villages, there are “Basic schools” – traditional schools providing a combination of academic, vocational and value-based education, a system pioneered in Bihar, based on Gandhian principles. However, these schools are not classified under the formal schooling system in the state, and do not qualify for assistance in providing either teachers or infrastructure. But the community itself appears to be interested in such schools, as seen by the fact that in dighra village the community has contributed to building of six extra classrooms, with some help from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) for two more rooms, and helping appoint temporary teachers. in the past one year there has been an attempt at increasing the number of teachers, by having the conduct panchayats appoint them (panchayat shiksha mitras), so that (a) they are not on the government private payroll, and (b) they can be (technically) answerable to the panchayat. a large number of such coaching appointments have been made, but many have been ad hoc, based on their proximity to the classes in the panchayat members. The new teachers (and a number of the earlier ones) have had no pedagogical evening. training, with teaching mainly by rote. at the panchayat level, quality of education is supposed to be monitored by the Vidyalaya Shiksha Samiti (VSS). However, in most cases the VSS members are drawn from people close to the sarpanch, who choose its key members – the adhyaksha and sachiva. Not surprisingly, the power structure, domination, conflicts and problems of the villages are transmitted into the vss in most cases. in most of the schools visited, there was a shortage of rooms, and lack of toilets. Girls’ toilets, in particular, were not available/ functional in any of the schools visited. in some schools, there are toilets but these are either not used properly for lack of water or kept locked and used only by the teachers. A major problem expressed by the teachers was that textbooks, supplied by the Government alone, are not usually available till november, and in some cases till February, though the academic session starts in august. This handicaps the teacher as well as the student. according to some teachers, they are often given additional work and responsibilities not related to teaching – such as verification of the BPL list, surveys under SSA, etc., which take them away from school for days on end. Many schools are grossly under-staffed, and this combined with the additional work means that teachers are more often absent at schools than present and teaching. This in turn affects the morale of the children and the parents, who see the system as worthless. however, in the last year there has been a specific Government order that teachers are not to be used for any non-teaching work, except in case of disasters, and even then with the specific consent of the state Government. it was also observed that some teachers conduct private coaching classes in the evening, and tended to give greater importance to these classes than the formal school classes. Attendance at high school levels is much lower, partly because the schools are distant (socially girls are not encouraged to travel far outside their own village) or because children at that age get drawn into regular work to augment family income (this is more applicable for boys). While community members are interested in sending children to high school as well, they do not perceive commensurate benefits. It was seen that most of the children attending high school were from the upper castes and OBCs, with few Muslims and SCs. Among these, interestingly, there were more SC girls attending high school than Muslim girls, mainly due to social factors. The mid-day meal scheme was said to be operational in most schools, though in the current financial year, off-take of grains was delayed as allotments from the state had not been completed. Usually at the beginning of the financial year, there is a delay in allotting grain to schools, and as such they receive grain for cooking food two months late. This lag continues throughout the year, with the result that at the end of the year about two months of grain go unconsumed, and this cannot be carried forward to the next year. The scheme provides a nutrition supplement to the children,
Teachers 

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AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

appraisal

and this has been one of the factors influencing greater enrolment in schools. The scheme is to be managed by the Mother-Teacher Association (MTA), but there are some complaints that the attention to the quality and quantity of food in the scheme is not fully satisfactory. However, in some cases shGs have been entrusted with preparation of meals as an entrepreneurial venture, and this is said to be working satisfactorily. while overtly there is no discrimination against the scs or Muslims, the fact that most of the educated people eligible for appointment as teachers are from the upper castes or OBCs has meant that, in Transition practice some form of subtle discrimination persists, at least in the form of stereotyped perceptions from about the backward groups among scs and Muslims. For instance, while the state has a provision madrasa to of stipends for every child from the sc/sT community attending school, very few of the sc children government in school were getting any stipend, and many were not even aware of it. in some cases, the child school is had received a stipend for a period of one year, after which it was stopped, but the family does not difficult know why the stipend was discontinued. Given the fact that most children from poorer communities because get drawn into some work or the other, attendance at school becomes the first casualty for these of the communities.
differences in the in all the blocks visited, almost all Muslim children at primary school age, including girls, are going to madrasas. while some of them later join government schools at higher level, a handful stay on for curriculum. memorizing and mastering Quran. A few children go to private schools, while many drop at different stages. it was seen that girls tended to drop out far more than boys, especially if the high school was some distance away. in the makhtabs, focus is first on religious teaching, but attention is also given to teaching of Urdu, arithmetic etc. in the larger madrasas, the curriculum, choice of subjects The timings and quality are generally different from that of regular schools. There are five languages, namely, of the Urdu, arabic, persian, hindi and english right from primary stage, while science is introduced rather madrasa or late at grade vi, and social science is missing in the curriculum. This difference, and the fact that makhtab was the medium of instruction also is different, often results in a difficult transition from madrasa to adjusted to government school is difficult because of the differences in the curriculum. allow children

There are also a number of private schools that have been set up, whose sole advantage is that the teachers are present all the time during school hours who pay attention to students. These schools are perceived to be able to coach students better, especially for high school examinations, and are therefore able to attract students. However, the quality of these schools is no better than that of the Government schools, with many having buildings and classrooms worse than the Government schools. some schools have in fact been changing addresses year to year, as they have had to shift to different premises. in a few cases, the school closes down and the same promoters open a school nearby in another name, with the same teachers, but with new recognition. often schools are started by local unemployed youth as a means of livelihood, because they see an opportunity in running a private school, and as such, the quality of education is a concern only to the extent of attracting sufficient students. As the Government schooling system is not satisfactory, most get students anyway, and so pay less attention to the finer aspects of pedagogy and quality education. Most families in the villages visited were aware of the need for education, and were interested in sending children to school, provided the education was useful later in life. in recent years, children from both Muslim and sc communities have been attending primary schools in increased numbers. attendance at primary schools has increased, according to the people themselves, thanks largely due to the mid-day meal scheme, which, though not without complaints, is working satisfactorily to a fair degree. a pointer to the importance given to regular school education was the fact that, in all villages, the timings of the madrasa or makhtab was adjusted to allow children to attend regular schools.

to attend regular schools.

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One concern expressed by many was that regular school did not offer any advantage as far as finding employment was concerned – no vocational skills were taught, and children who completed their secondary education were reluctant to do “manual work”, and only looked for desk jobs. The general perception was that most educated youth hankered for government jobs. it was also seen that civil society involvement in the schools is either low or problematic. Though there were a number of NGOs (Gramin Samaj Kalyan Sansthan in samastipur or Kanchan Seva Ashram or Nirdesh in Muzaffarpur) working with communities in the villages, and some with SCs Most and Muslims, in the blocks visited, none of them were involved in any aspect of education, whether educated it be actual running of schools, or in influencing the panchayat for better monitoring of schools, or youth in policy advocacy. hankered for
government
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jobs.

Primary education was provided a boost through several central government projects – the Bihar education project, district primary education project, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the Mid-day Meal scheme –largely through the introduction of village education committees and Mahila Samakhyas. however, the state government has not been able to ensure proper utilisation of these central grants, tied as they were to performance and local co-finance. while the general scenario is gloomy, a number of initiatives in the state recently include recruitment of about 100,000 teachers in one go (likely to exceed 200,000 soon), drafting a State Curriculum Framework and in-principle decision to introduce the Common School System (CSS). The state has also has constituted an Expert Committee on Education, which has submitted four reports, three of which were on school education. Further, new syllabi for schools have been drafted after a gap of sixteen year. The state has also launched a massive programme for bringing out of school children to the schools, and is planning to increase the number of schools, both at elementary and secondary levels. it is a matter of concern, however, that the institutional framework is weak in terms of availability or capacity.
o b s e r vat i o n s o n c o m m u n i t y h e a lt h : s e r v i c e s a n d s tat u s

The situation in the selected blocks is depressing with poor availability and quality of government health services. An example of the poor functioning is the situation at Pusa, where, for administrative reasons, the pusa and Tajpur blocks have been combined and have one main primary health centre (PHC) at Pusa. As this is very close to the civil hospital, the PHC has become just an administrative The gap office, with two rooms allotted in the block office complex, and these also are used mainly as store between the rooms for stationery. Most of the additional primary health centres and many of sub-centres are in rented buildings. In the blocks visited, it was also seen that the rent itself was also not paid for a long time at some centres, with the risk of having to move out and find alternate locations if a conflict arose. While some essential equipment and instruments are being procured under the NRHM programme, there is no system for maintenance. The essential supplies of medicines and other consumables are inconsistent and there are frequent stock outs. These centres rely on services from private entrepreneurs for electricity (through generators), ambulance services, x-ray and lab facilities, cleanliness including maintenance of bed and pillow covers, and provision of food to inpatients. With grossly inadequate facilities, over-crowding at OPD and pharmacy is a norm. The disadvantaged groups, for whom these are the only options, suffer the most. while some new structures are being constructed, the gap between the demand and the supply is just too large to be bridged.
the supply is just too large to be bridged.

demand and 

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The mindset of providers is not oriented towards safety or informed choice of health seekers. The community-provider interactions are not satisfactory and especially privacy and confidentiality along with expression of opinion is not honoured. Though a cadre of health managers has been created at state and district levels under the nrhM, it is beset with weak management systems and processes. human resources, logistics, procurement and inventory, finances, data, etc. are very weak both at the state and district levels. The health personnel themselves are treated with apathy and disregard by the state administration. policies and systems for people management do not exist, with salaries not being provided on time, and promotions hardly forthcoming. T H E T I M I N G S O F T H E M A D R A S A O R M A K H TA B W A S A D J U S T E D T O c h i l d r e n T o aT T e n d r e G U l a r s c h o o l s . all this has led to severe loss of morale for most of the doctors and auxiliary staff in the hospitals visited. Astonishingly, a person joining as a medical doctor retires in the same cadre, assuming higher responsibilities and designation over time, without commensurate compensation. There is no system to redress any grievances. A majority of the people tend to go to private practitioners for all types of problems (OPD/IPD), even though high poverty levels result in low affordability for health services utilisation. a high proportion of these private health providers are non-qualified practitioners, but have good rapport and acceptability among the community. Most registered allopathic private practitioners are located in the nearby kasba, town or district head quarters. While the demand for private health services is quite high, private nursing homes and hospitals tend to be exploitative and have no regulations. Maternity services, the most common demand, are being provided mainly by trained mid wives. The paramedics are often hands-on trained. The other category are registered and (mostly) non-registered medical practitioners who have obtained degrees/certificates from unauthorised institutions or have experience of working with a qualified practitioner in their clinics or nursing homes. These providers practice mixed streams of medicine, and are usually the first contact for health services of the rural masses, especially the poor. They are easily accessible and often do the follow ups at home. such providers are available in almost all villages, and tend to charge for the medicines and not for consultations. often they accept delayed payments as part of their rapport building with the community. while they carry out the first treatment, they do send patients to registered facilities if the case becomes serious, though no formal system of referral exists. information and preventive services at the hscs and the phcs are practically absent. in terms of programmes, government outreach is restricted to pulse polio campaign, routine immunisation and distribution of TB drugs. As a result, the other outreach services are suffering compromising maternal health and child health, and prevention and management of vector borne diseases. with high migration, incidence of hiv/aids is a threat, and while the government has a testing and counselling programme at the block level, there is no awareness programme conducted by the government in this regard.

ALLOW

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The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) – meant to provide nutritional and health services in reproductive and child health – is also in bad shape, with icds centres either being used as private store rooms by the panchayat members, or, where actually in use, for children to come and play, in some centres, the nutritional supplement has been converted into a single chocolate or toffee. supplementary nutrition in the form of “khichdi” was reported to be distributed on irregular intervals. The existing centres are beset by endemic quality problems and the programme is being run by workers without effective supervision by seniors in the department. weighing machine, growth monitoring charts, teaching learning material were not found/ used in the ICDS centres visited. Household visits by ICDS workers are practically non existent. The power of recruitment of icds workers has been delegated to panchayats. what has happened as a result is that the anganwadi workers chosen are relatives of the sarpanches or other powerful groups/ individuals in the village. as a result, community members support her rather than complain about lack of services, as they neither have the requisite awareness of their rights for the services and their importance, nor are they willing to risk the wrath of the powerful members of the village. The icds centres were also affected by the caste relations in the village. where the awc is from a lower caste such as sc, the higher community children do not attend such centres. In fact, a senior official in Muzaffarpur admitted that the ICDS programme was a colossal waste and was being run only because the supreme court has made it mandatory for the district administration to continue the programme.

As expected from these conditions, the general health status, especially of the vulnerable sections (women and children) is poor. Pregnancy registration and complete ante-natal care is very low, though there is now an emphasis on institutional deliveries at block level health facilities, as a part of meeting relevant MdGs. The increase in women coming for institutional deliveries is mainly due to the incentives provided under the Janani scheme – Rs 1,400 to the mother. The health workers – called asha – who motivate and support this process also receive an incentive of rs. 600 (Rs. 200 for transportation, Rs. 300 as honorarium, Rs. 100 for BCG vaccination). Even with this emphasis on institutional deliveries, most births are at home, and deliveries are conducted by untrained birth attendants. Post natal care is almost non existent. Neonatal mortality is reported to be high, contributing to infant mortality. child health problems reported are acute respiratory Infection (ARI), diarrhoea, skin infections, and worm infestation. Anaemia and malnutrition are high, given the poverty situation, poor availability of food and poor hygiene practices. Adolescents and young people do not have any authentic source of reproductive and sexual health information and services. Given the high migration (within the state and outside) for livelihoods, HIV/ aids incidence and its prevalence have been continuously increasing. rTi/ sTi prevalence among women is reported to be very high, which however is considered a normal phenomenon. as a result, health seeking for such problems is very poor. Men however access services and prevalence of sTi is said to be much lower. however, the treatment of partner is not a norm.

Culturally having a toilet near the house, let

There is a high prevalence of TB and kala azar in the blocks in Muzaffarpur and samastipur, where alone inside, prevalence of filaria and malaria was also reported. Frequent drop-outs were reported for both is considered TB and kala azar cases leading to many cases of TB becoming drug resistant, due to incomplete bad practice. treatment. Irregular availability of DOTS providers (i.e., ICDS workers and ANMs) and feeling of improvement of health status among patients were the main reasons cited for such drop-outs. health education and preventive measures were reported to be weak. Hygiene is poor, partly due to poor awareness and partly due to non-availability of adequate sanitation facilities. Most houses are so small that there is no place for toilets, and culturally having a toilet near the house, let alone inside, is considered bad practice. Seasonal diseases such as gastro-intestinal infections are common. women are especially prone to reproductive tract infections, again mainly 

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due to inadequate personal hygiene, and this usually is neither discussed nor treated. The personal hygiene is not a concern. Habits for hand washing, nail cleaning, bathing, examination of the body (most have not seen their complete body in mirror) are poor and there is a comfort in using hands all the time. There has been steady erosion in the traditional knowledge on health, nutrition and remedies. nutrition and balanced food awareness is lacking. The food habits have changed for the worse. Quality of food produced is compromised for want of financial gains. The earlier practised and Women successful home remedies are being lost. People are looking for quick fix solutions. They are not and child satisfied till they pay. deaths are as it was also observed that general awareness on health and hygiene was low, with much more reliance on superstitious beliefs and practices that lead to poor health behaviours and lifestyles. a woman who has given birth is not allowed to meet other members of the house and the community for the first seven days. Practice of not feeding the colostrum to the newborn child, giving pre-lacteal feed, belief in bad spirits for the occurrence of illness in the family, and witchcraft are common. poor awareness also leads to various traditional treatments, based on superstitions or other beliefs, often leading to complications, at times even resulting in death. poor health seeking behaviour cuts across caste and class divides, but the situation is worse for those at the bottom of the pyramid. health is at the mercy of God! people do not feel that they are responsible for their health, and do not normally talk about it. There is a clear communication gap amongst men and women. Autonomy of women relating to sexual rights is negligible. Even in families there is a silence on issues related to sex. Men are not aware of women’s problems. Women keep suffering and access services only when situation worsens. Men have relatively easy access. Adolescent boys and young men with no financial access also suffer. preventive health and adoption of a healthy life style does not seem to be important. physical illness – wherein it becomes difficult to perform routine functions and is coupled by suffering and pain – is considered a condition of ill health. in most circumstances, people postpone or delay care seeking until the problem aggravates or becomes a health emergency. People go to their first contact for health problems, who invariably advises for an allopathic solution. women and child deaths are as acceptable as death after old age. in terms of civil society involvement at the block level, some nGos are providing outreach services such as awareness generation, mobilisation for camps and counselling services. The geographical coverage is limited and often last till the period of the project. Many organisations are also providing services for a cost especially related to family planning and contraception. They also market ors and iron Folic acid Tablets.
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acceptable as death after old age.

in the past one year, the state seems to be committed to programmes that meet the millennium development goals. The national rural health Mission is being implemented in the state since 2006. Political commitment is visible in public messages of provision of healthcare and drugs through the public system to the masses. Providing access to institutional delivery through 24x7 facilities at each block (0.2-0.3 million populations) is a key initiative. The state is also responding to legal obligations and has strengthened surveillance for prenatal sex determination. Under the Total Sanitation Campaign, the state is promoting construction of sanitary latrines for BPL families providing an incentive of Rs1200 upon receiving Rs 300 contribution from the family in the form of labour or material for construction.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

There are plans to upgrade facilities at hospitals and phcs under the nrhM. The recently formed ‘Health Societies’ at the state and district level under the same central government scheme is to oversee the implementation and management of all health programmes except HIV/AIDS. These societies are to interface with the community at the village level through the village health and sanitation committee and at the health facility level through the Rogi Kalyan Samitis. capacity, however, remains a serious issue. However, despite considerable financial aid, many programmes are non-starters, and in other cases, the utilisation of budget itself is incomplete. at the same time, poor resources in the public system have led to re-allocation of the limited resources up to the block levels, and the concept of publicprivate partnership is being proposed as the only viable alternative to improve health services at the primary level. Services like pathology and maintenance are being outsourced, but the quality remains poor and little effort is being made to improve these. committees set up for the purpose remain inactive and ineffective. Further, instead of focusing on all-round improvement in primary health services, the emphasis has been on vertical programmes focusing on few diseases. For instance, the reproductive and child health programme, as planned by the international conference on population and development, was a programme to ensure quality services and reproductive and sexual rights, in a frame work of a health seeking community, having rights of information, access, dignity, comfort, privacy and confidentiality, safety, informed choice and, most importantly, participation in decision making. During implementation, the whole programme was reduced to immunisation and antenatal activities. a matter of concern is the division of various services impacting health, among different departments. Thus the safe drinking water and sanitation programme come under the rural development, the food and drug safety comes under the domain of public health department, while the women and child department is responsible for the icds – it has further delegated the recruitment of anganwadi workers and sewikas to the panchayats. The disaster programme on the other hand is run by relief department and takes care of the human, livestock and crops damage and losses. such division often leads to non-coordinated functioning, and awareness creation among the community becomes piecemeal or fractured. in such situations, there generally is a lack of communication of various programmes of the health department, both within the department and with other departments. Further, the planning of various programmes is mainly done at the state level, with no participation of the community. Though a bottom-up approach has been adopted in principle, in reality there is little interaction with the community. The community is never involved in monitoring or review of the programmes. Similarly, field level providers and managers are also not consulted. since the programme is target oriented, supervision and review tends to focus only on quantitative aspects. The fact that health service providers themselves need additional awareness and information, as well as desires for career growth, has not been taken into account. at the same time, some action by civil society is noticed, in terms of forming forums and alliances at state level and district level, comprising of nGo representatives, activists and individuals, who are deliberating and advocating on health issues. some nGos are also involved in outreach services, especially at the district and block levels. however, these programmes are usually time-bound, and depend on the funding provided.
o b s e r vat i o n s o n r u r a l l i v e l i h o o d s

overall, it can be said that the poor in the concerned blocks face high risks in livelihoods. one factor is the possibility of loss of crop, due to untimely rains, delayed rains, etc. high costs of irrigation 

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make the situation more difficult. Poor health is another area of risk, because illness reduces the number of wage days, and for the poor, already faced with malnutrition, poor awareness about hygiene and health practices, the risk is all the higher. Given the prevalence of TB, kala azar and the rise of HIV (almost unnoticed, but present), these risks are significant in terms of impoverishment. debts for treatment add to the problem. agriculture is the mainstay of the economy in these areas. Most families are either landless or own very little land (most own less than 0.5 bigha, or 0.2 acre). There are a small number of large land holders, but in many cases these are absentee landlords, giving their land on lease or on sharecropping. among those who own land, multiple cropping is the norm, with at least two crops being raised. The cropping pattern is mainly paddy in the kharif season, wheat, tobacco and potato in the rabi season, and moong, maize and vegetables in the summer season. some farmers are producing vegetables throughout the year in small plots. of the three seasons, the output from the kharif season is uncertain due to prevalence of floods (although this was not observed in the last two years). Moreover, the low lying lands are often submerged and farmers are unable to cultivate during the kharif season. Farmers try to reap maximum benefit from the rabi and summer season. agricultural productivity, in terms of yield per acre, is generally lower than the national average, except for maize, where it is said to be higher. a number of problems are seen to be present in agriculture. prominent among them are: • • • • • • poor quality of seeds, especially for vegetables, potato and paddy due to low seed replacement irrigation is limited to large farmers and cost of water as an input is high new crops or alternate technology in existing crops has not been disseminated from either the University or the state agricultural department poor infrastructure facilities in form of cold storage facilities and supply of electricity for irrigation is another major bottleneck investment in agriculture is low due to low surplus generation no processing facility for most of the agricultural produce in the district.

Pusa has a well established Agricultural University, aimed at providing support to farmers in North Bihar as a whole. While there are a number of (conceptually) well thought out programmes for upgrading agriculture in the area, its link with the local communities was seen to be poor or ineffective. seeds developed by pusa are not available in the market, and farmers depend on private seed traders, where the quality has been suspect from time to time. Other initiatives, such as recommendations on multiple or inter-cropping, bee-keeping, “zero-tillage” farming, development of fishery, promotion of organic farming, etc., also have not reached the local population, especially the poor. however, the potential for the use of these programmes is substantial, if appropriate outreach efforts can be coordinated. it is also to be kept in mind that efforts at outreach are not the responsibility of the University alone, which has a limited budget and staff for the purpose. horticulture is another occupation, more as an added one, for most farmers. The major horticultural crops include mangoes and litchis (especially in Muzaffarpur). Both mangoes and litchis are grown on orchards (average size 1.8 ha) as well as homestead crops by small land holders. Most farmers tend to auction the trees to contractors, who take the risk in yields, make arrangements for picking and transport, and in the process take away the major proportion of the price of the fruit. while Muzaffarpur has one processing unit for litchis, no facilities for processing mango or other products was observed.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

Dairy is a significant occupation, with about 60,000 farmers in 800 villages, in Muzaffarpur and Samastipur districts engaged in supplying milk to TIMUL dairy. The milk co-operatives have been able to provide limited support to the dairy farmers through supply of fodder, insurance and feed as well as technical advice. among scs and Muslims, however, dairy is hardly seen as an occupation, because many cannot get adequate fodder, and often owning a single milch animal is not economic, as yields are seasonal and costs need to be borne the year round. households cannot afford to maintain larger number of cattle because of lack of capital and space. For farmers who do own cattle, it is seen that low milk yields are common, because local breeds are used – introduction of Given the high yielding cattle from other pats of the country has failed, and the cross breeding programme is fairly rigid not really functional. poor availability of fodder, poor road connectivity to the dairy, and lack of credit caste system, were mentioned as other problems. it is also seen that veterinary services are not easily available. occupation Because of the combination of these factors, animal husbandry is not considered as a livelihood is still largely by caste. option by the poor. Poultry and goat keeping are next best alternative activities observed but not seen on a commercial scale. The reasons for the same are primarily lack of space of a household, absence of grazing lands, leading to possible conflicts if goats grazed on others’ land. Fishing is an alternative for some of the people, but again none among the scs and Muslims seem to be involved. For water bodies controlled by the government (stretches of rivers, ponds in common land, etc.), the government auctions rights for fishing, and the poor usually are not able to afford these amounts. shGs in the area also have not so far looked at this as an option, possibly because fishing is not their traditional occupation. Given the fairly rigid caste system, occupation is still largely by caste, and other castes usually do not take on fishing. Exceptions can be seen in parts of Madhubani, where Sakhi has been involved in getting women to take up fishing through SHGs and federations. Because a majority of the poor (including among the target groups of Muslims and SCs) are landless, and land holdings are small in the case of most others, labour and especially agricultural labour, are the mainstay of most people. however, the wage rate for both men and women is much lower than in other parts of the country, with men getting Rs. 40 (with food) to Rs. 50 (without food), and women getting Rs. 25-30 per day (the working hours are usually from 6 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon). This is not due to just the large labour force available, but also to the uneconomical land holdings, which do not allow the farmers to pay any higher wages. Thus even if some of the surplus labour is provided opportunities in other trades or occupations, wage rates for agricultural labour would not show any appreciable increase. Thus there is clearly a need to improve farming practices, and reduce costs for farming, though only a small minority would benefit directly from this in terms of increased farm income. There is practically no non-farm economic activity in the villages in the four blocks. In the block headquarters one can see some tea stalls, grocery store etc., but at the village level the purchasing power and the demand is not enough to justify these activities. in the towns one can also see some service sector units, such as pump repair, motor mechanic etc., but again, in small numbers. The poor infrastructure – roads, electricity, etc. – has also meant that there is little by way of industry in the area. Though there is scope for food processing, especially potatoes and maize, no food processing is seen, except at small household levels in production of sattu, but mainly for home consumption. while sattu is available in shops, most of it comes from outside the districts. As the villages in these blocks, especially Pusa, are significant producers of vegetables and grains, there are a number of small and medium sized “mandis”, i.e., local markets where foodgrains and vegetables are sold and transported to other locations, both in the state and outside. however, the mandis are generally controlled by the local leaders/ merchants, (and at times by larger traders 

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from outside the state as well) so people in general get lower prices for their produce. sales at mandis need to be completed the same day, as no facility for preservation is available – especially for vegetables and other perishables, and hence sales in the latter half of the day tend to become distress sales, and this fact is exploited by many traders. Small examples of self-employment or micro-enterprise are seen among some SHGs in the two blocks, it is worth noting that all these examples relate to women from OBCs than from the scs or Muslims. in one case, women were taking loans as working capital for carpentry work being done by their respective husbands, and in a solitary instance, credit was being used for farming inputs (water, seeds, fertiliser etc.). In the SHGs as well, some women had taken loans individually to engage in such work, but marketing was left to either the men in the household, or to contractors who provided the raw materials and paid a piece rate for production. Though the Government implements the Swarnajayanthi Gramin Swarozgar Yojana (SGSy) for SHGs, in terms of providing credit plus grant, very few shGs have availed of money under this scheme in these two districts (50 SHGs have availed of funds in the entire Pusa block from 1999 to 2007, according to the BDO). It was also seen that there were very few SHGs among the SC community, and a few more among Muslims, though logically these communities are the ones who need this type of support most. Traditionally some cluster based activities have been practised in the area. in Muzaffarpur district, clusters are involved in zari work, lac bangle making etc., but in small numbers. handlooms used to be an important economic activity of the area earlier, but with the advent of power-looms the handlooms became uncompetitive and were driven out of business. Most weavers, generally from the Muslims community, have either migrated or are finding it difficult to eke out a livelihood. Most of the power-looms have died down because of frequent power shut down and chronic power shortage. A key factor affecting both non-farm livelihoods and migration is the lack of good quality vocational skills among the concerned people. Most people who have learnt any skill have done it as apprentices in informal trade, on the job. They neither have any formal qualifications, nor have they any recognition for their skills, even though at times it might be of a high order. In both districts, the availability of vocational training is very low, with the one government ITI in Muzaffarpur and a few private ones either providing out of date training, or incomplete. In terms of credit support from scheduled banks or other financial institutions, there is hardly any People interaction between the institutions and the beneficiaries. While there are some Gramin Banks, meant see the specifically for the rural community and the poor, most do not respond positively to the credit needs moneylenders of the people. The poor are mainly dependent on local moneylenders for consumption, production as an and emergency needs, the interest rate varied between 5-10 % per month. Though the interest rates essential are very high, people see the moneylenders as an essential support system for their life. support Micro-finance as an alternative is growing, though slowly, in the area. A number of self-help groups have been formed, primarily as the channel for credit and linkage to other institutions to draw in more capital. Most of the shGs formed have received additional loans either from the nGos or local banks, with the help of the nGos. where the nGo itself has provided loans, it has in turn taken loans from rGvn, rMK, or has received grants from donors for setting up revolving funds. however, most SHGs are formed among the upper castes and OBCs, and while there are a few SHGs among Muslims, hardly any SHG was seen in the SC communities in all the blocks. at the same time, there are a few nGos who have shown better capability, such as nidan in Muzaffarpur district.
system for their life.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) has been in operation in the two districts, but employment has not been provided in most villages. where work has been provided, payment has been delayed in many a cases, causing difficulties for those who have asked for work. While names have been registered in almost all villages and job cards have been given, there have been irregularities in the registration process, with the names of many families not in the BPL list also getting registered. On the other hand, many families who are poor have not been included, and this is more prevalent in the sc hamlets, especially Dusadhs and Musahars. Though the job cards have brief description of the process on the back cover, most people who have cards are not aware that they must apply to the panchayat for work. instead, they wait for the “mukhiya” to inform them that work is available, and then fill up forms given by him or her. As such, a majority of the card holders do not avail of the guarantee process. (The Act specifies that the card holders must apply for work to be allotted, and the panchayat is obliged to provide work within 15 days of such application, else pay compensation as per norms prescribed.) Among those who have got work, there are complaints that the quantum of work specified to qualify for the wage, is too unreasonable, and most people have not been able to complete the quantity of earth work specified. This point has been taken into account by the state administration, and some limits have been changed recently, but most panchayats are not aware of the changes made, nor that there are different quantities prescribed for men and women, and for different types of soil.

Traditionally in other parts of the country co-operatives have also been an alternative source of credit. However, in the two districts, no co-operatives were found to be present. as incomes from agriculture are low for both landholders and the landless, migration for work is seen in almost every family. In discussions, it was mentioned that 1-3 persons from almost every household has been migrating to nearby, i.e., district headquarters and Patna, or to distant places Migration for – Kolkata, delhi, haryana and punjab, Mumbai etc. The average monthly remittance from migration work is seen ranges between Rs. 500-1000 but in some cases, the remittances are as high as Rs. 2,500 every in almost month. among the scs, migrants are engaged mainly as agricultural labour in punjab, haryana every family. etc., or as unskilled labourers in towns and cities, as porters / hamals, construction labourers etc., while among Muslims a larger number is engaged in semi-skilled or skilled trades and small selfemployment ventures, such as carpentry, steel work (both construction and fabrication), tyre retreading, tailoring, small shops etc. among the Muslims the sheikhs, the more advanced group, tends to be somewhat better educated and engaged in more skilled ventures, bringing in higher incomes, as compared to the other groups. in many cases, migration is more or less permanent, with the migrant returning only for holidays or festivals. It was observed that in most villages, remittances were the main income for over 50% of the Muslim households. in some of the villages one could see instances of deserted or destitute women, either because the husband had died, or had formed a liaison elsewhere (where he had migrated). From the discussions it appeared that such cases were present in small numbers in many villages. The women concerned Remittances were the usually had no occupation, depending initially on relatives in the village, but later being abandoned main income by them as well, and dependant on begging. In recent years there has been a trend of reverse migration, because of either political pressure (as of the Muslim in Mumbai for Maharashtrians), falling yields in Punjab and Haryana, and increased competition from households. other migrants (as in Kolkata from Bangladeshi and N-E migrants), banning of rickshaws in Kolkata and Delhi, etc. As a consequence, not only is there additional surplus labour in the villages, but there is also a much greater feeling of uncertainty and risk, leading to many of the poor feeling that their very existence is threatened. This is contributing to an atmosphere of despair and hopelessness, and much greater mistrust. Though the process is not yet affecting a significant proportion of the population, the trend is increasing, and can assume alarming proportions if left unattended. The need to intervene in this sector is therefore of paramount importance. on the positive side, some migrants
for over 50% 

0

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

appraisal

have returned with better awareness and knowledge about good practices and technologies in agriculture, and have put it into use in the villages, such as carpentry. This provides an opportunity to look at similar possibilities for the villages in question.
o b s e r vat i o n s o n c i v i l s o c i e t y a n d g o v e r n a n c e

The presence of civil society organizations amongst communities of scheduled castes and Muslims (referred to as the ‘reference group’ hereafter) in rural areas of Muzaffarpur and Samastipur seems relatively limited in terms of concentration of interventions seeking to address their critical needs, e.g. relating to access to basic services, livelihoods and other long term strategic interests. however, a good number of organizations have sought to deliver services like micro-finance, including those targeted at communities from the reference group to a relatively limited extent. nGos do have a substantial presence in Muzaffarpur and a good number of them operate in Muraul and sakra blocks as well. Key organizations that operate in these blocks include Kanchan Sewa Ashram, The Leprosy Mission (in Muraul), CENCORED (implements the Param Shakti programme of UNDP across all blocks) and Mahila Samakhya (has a presence in Sakra). In addition, these blocks also have the presence of Musahar Vikas Manch, an eleven-month old forum of the Musahar community, which has active relations with cadre-based activist organizations like Ekta Parishad. in addition, the district of Muzaffarpur happens to be the operational base of organizations like Nirdesh, Nidan, Mahila development centre, Sewayatan, idF, indian people’s Theatre association (IPTA) and Usha Silai Bunai Kendra. pusa and Tajpur blocks of samastipur have relatively fewer nGos. however, several organizations, even without having operational bases in these blocks operate from samastipur and implement their interventions in these blocks. some of the prominent nGos in samastipur include Grameen Samaj Kalyan Sansthan (based in Kashipur, Samastipur), Grameen Vikas Sanstha (based in Kuvauli, Tajpur), JP Saraisa Sevashram (based in Manora), Millat Education Society (based in Samastipur, focuses on issues of education and health), Sunvai (based in Supaul, has operations in Samastipur), Samuday (based in Rosera, led by Shri Shubh Murti, associated with Sarvodaya movement), Vanchit Manav Utthan Samiti (based in Kashipur, Samastipur), Lohia Jayprakash Khadi Gramodyog Sanstha (based in Baghra Rasauli), Lok Samiti (operates in Patori, Manoharpur, Vidyapatinagar) and Nari Shishu Jagruti Kendra (associated with Ekta Parishad, operates in Varisnagar, and Sarairanjan blocks). nGos in samastipur can be divided into three broad categories: agencies involved in direct service delivery, agencies involved in facilitating self-help groups and promotion of micro-finance activities, and agencies inspired by Gandhian beliefs and focused in promoting local enterprise. Most nGos assessed during the rapid appraisal implement a range of interventions on a variety Micro-finance appears of themes (e.g. micro-finance, micro-enterprises, women’s empowerment, strengthening of PRIs, to be the issues related to HIV and trafficking etc.). Micro-finance appears to be the predominant intervention of nGos in the state. while the intervention focused on women from the lower and middle classes predominant of the rural communities, the inclusion of poor households from scheduled castes and Muslim intervention communities was found to be relatively limited and not purposively planned for. There did not of NGOs in appear to be any strategic effort to help the poor with their entitlements from various government the state. programmes, though there are a few instances of nGos working on the right to information act, on capacity building of pris etc. several of the agencies visited during the appraisal mission were found promising in terms of their orientation and capacities. For instance, a small agency like Grameen Samaj Kalyan Sansthan (Samastipur) has demonstrated exemplary courage in the recent past to use the Right to Information act to hold the district administration to account for the delays and the arbitrariness in identifying

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

NGOs for a particular SGSy initiative. The same NGO also has people from socially marginalized sections in its Governing Board, and has chosen to self-finance its interventions out of proceeds from various professional services delivered by it, including a personality development course, an NGOfacilitation centre and computer-literacy courses for the youth. Similarly, an agency like Kanchan Seva Ashram (Muzaffarpur) has been successfully managing a diverse portfolio of interventions (ref. Box 3) and offers the potential for partnering in multi-sectoral interventions.

Kanchan Seva Ashram in muzaffarpur Key organizational Features • Works across five blocks of Muzaffarpur: Bochahi, Minapur, Sakra, Muraul and Kurhani, with support from HDFC, SIDBI, RGVN, RMK and the local RRB. • Also works in Sadar block of Darbhanga on a ‘Childline’ project with SDC; in three panchayats of sakra block with support from AIF; in 6 panchayats of Muraul (youth Information Centre on HIV related issues, with support from DFIDChallenge Fund), and in 8 panchayats (4 blocks) of Muzaffarpur with support from PACS. • Has promoted livelihood enterprises (broom making in Bakhri panchayat, carpentry and lac-bangle making – with NABARD support under REDP programme) in Muzaffarpur. • Supports Flood Preparedness activities in 2 panchayats of Minapur panchayat; the activities have included formation of tola committees, formulation of a resource directory, construction of shelters with support from agencies like sdTT and construction of folding sheds where many people could together take refuge in a wake of a flood. • women’s empowerment is a priority area of work, integrated with its work on shG promotion. • Part of ‘Mamata-Srijan’ network, officiating as zonal coordinator • Has 72 employees, including ex-Bank employees, MSWs, Rural Development graduates and alumni of universities like shanti niketan in key responsibilities.

choice of interventions, in case of nGos in particular, isn’t determined solely on the basis of the criticality of the needs of the reference group, but is often based on the availability of financial support from donor agencies. Most NGOs, except some prominent ones, have a dearth of technical and managerial competencies, and the propensity to assert against governance-issues seems very limited, with most NGOs implementing government-supported interventions.

Mahila Samakhya in muzaffarpur ‘Mahila Samakhya’ was initiated as an integral component of the Bihar Education Project in 1992, and the district of Muzaffarpur was included in its operations in the year 1993. The programme has a women-centred and process oriented approach and purposively organizes poor marginalized women from SCs, OBCs and Muslims communities into Samoohs (groups), bringing about awareness and undertaking local actions relating to issues of education, health, hygiene and sanitation. issues related to gender discrimination and violence against women are also raised at the community level, and women organized in Mahila Samakhya Samoohs are oriented to address social issues like caste /class discrimination, child labour, dowry, child marriage, alcoholism etc., at family, village and community level, using their collective strength as a pressure group. in some communities, Mahila Samakhya has contributed significantly to empowerment of women. 

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appraisal

according to sudhanshu pandey, the chairperson of Muraul Panchayat Samiti, only about 5 SHGs can be found to be functioning properly, out of about a thousand groups formed in Maraol block. Most groups that are formed due to the efforts of NGOs lack a clear vision of growth as an institution and the necessary capacity for self-management. while the level of inclusion of the most marginalized groups, e.g. Muslims and scheduled castes is very low, few groups that do include members from disadvantaged communities have very little ideas about the end-uses of their savings. In Rajwa village of Tajpur block of Samastipur, SC women found it difficult to even identify the promoting Only about 5 agency that had initiated a savings project in their community. attempts at developing shGs as vibrant civil society organisations have, as mentioned above, found to be focused only on savings and credit activities, and in many cases, even after three to four years of functioning existence, the members of the SHGs do not have the confidence to manage the affairs of the group properly, out on their own. in one case the nGo which promoted the shG was giving loans directly to individual of about a members from its revolving fund, at interest rates fixed by the NGO itself, thus negating the primary thousand concept of facilitating the group to make decisions on their own. in other cases, where the group groups had actually availed of a bank loan, women in the group did not have a clear picture of the total formed in money available with them, and the money outstanding – these are the basic levels of capacity Maraol block. building, which have not happened, even though the group is over 4 years old. In this sense, women have remained choice-takers, rather than become choice-makers. However, self-help groups that include members from the socially disadvantaged sections do provide an important platform for the people to assemble together and can be tapped as an entry platform to reach out to such communities. Members of a good number of self-help groups in Bihar were elected to the panchayat elections in 2006, particularly when supported by good NGOs. The experiences of agencies like CENCORED in Muzaffarpur and Mahila Vikas Samiti in nawada are good pointers to this effect, who extended significant support to competent SHG leaders to contest and win panchayat seats. Another example is that of Mahila Samakhya, which has had significant successes. In most such institutions, the dominant sections of the society are found to have a stronger influence and the inclusion of disadvantaged sections is largely tokenism. while such groups are mainly oriented to ensure compliance with government norms and often get co-opted due to rigid procedures, these are visible community-based institutions that can be tapped for development activities. The degeneration of a cooperative society for the last seven years was strongly lamented by farmers of rajwa village. such societies have very limited or tokenistic representation of marginalized communities and couldn’t acquire necessary capacities to sustain over time. While the existence of most societies has been oriented to the key purpose of availing subsidies and other forms of support, their direct engagement with issues of governance, including the governance of cooperative bodies in the state, has been minimal.
SHGs can be

App RAISA l Of peRI -uRB An ARe AS Of pATnA

A Re A S

An d

pO O Re R

The peri-urban area around Patna was also considered as a potential location for intervention by AKF. Accordingly, some villages around Patna (in the Phulwari block) were appraised, as well as some poorer localities within the patna urban limits. Most families in the peri-urban areas had settled here more than a hundred years ago, and were permanent residents. in the slums, one could see a progression from older slums to newer ones, with migration and settlement at different times.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

T H E R E I S A F E E L I N G O F U N C E R TA I N Ly A N D R I S K , L E A D I N G T H E P O O R T O B E L I E V E T H AT T H E I R V E R y E X I S T E N C E i s T h r e aT e n e d

In the peri-urban area, multiple activities were seen in most households, combining agriculture/ floriculture with non-farm employment in the city. Agriculture was practised by most households, but with land taken on lease. one community, the malis (gardeners) were engaged in growing flowers for sale in the city. however, in most cases, marketing of the produce was in the hands of bigger traders in the city. Thus the malis were compelled to sell to the traders at prices fixed by the latter. If a mali tried to find a place in the flower bazaar, he tended to be chased out by the existing traders, who have formed a strong cartel. Thus returns of floriculture are low, but as this is a traditional occupation, the community continues practising it. costs for agriculture are also rising, mainly because land is becoming more and more scarce (being used for construction or being held vacant in the expectation of being used for residential or business construction later). The proximity to the city meant that higher opportunities for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled work were available. in all houses, work in the city was a major contributor to the overall income. at least 15 days of work was available per month for all categories of people, whether unskilled, semi-skilled or skilled, with average wages of Rs. 60-70 per day for semi-skilled labour. Better skilled people could get more days of employment. There is a surge in construction in patna, and as such jobs in the construction sector were available in good number. Usually jobs were found with the help of community networks, but with a commission (Rs. 10 per day of work) given to the one who provided the reference or helped get the job. A number of secondary occupations - vending, repair shops and services were common in the villages. however, competition was also high, with the result that prices for services were quite low. Women generally were seen to be occupied only in agricultural activity. in the slums, a variety of activities could be seen. wage labour was the predominant source of income, but others included tempo or auto driving, auto repairs, electrical repairs, small trading, The daily etc., were also prevalent in fairly large numbers. Muslims are seen to work as autorickshaw/ tempo rental took drivers, in auto repair shops, and in various constructions related trades – mason, barber, electrician, away a good plumber etc. scs are more often seen in unskilled construction work, haulage in mandis etc. women part of the in some areas were engaged in occupations like beedi rolling, bangle making etc., employed on piece total earning. rate basis by contractors. actual incomes from these activities were lower than the wages for men. in newer settlements, with larger proportion of temporary migrants, occupations were on a slightly lower scale of income – rickshaw driving, luggage-cart pulling, working as porters etc. In most cases, rickshaws or luggage carts were hired and the daily rental took away a good part of the total earning. access to credit was again from moneylenders only, with no links to formal credit institutions. shGs were also not so much in evidence. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

Framework for development
Poverty in North Bihar is related to the management, and transformation, of its production systems. The deep social stratification meant that the production systems (read, vast tracts of highly productive lands) were traditionally controlled by a few, typically belonging to the higher castes. Members of other castes survived on the diversified opportunities provided by an agrarian economy that supplied bumper harvests, but was also unstable, thanks to the seasonal floods and changes of river courses. Before Independence, layers of entrenched zamindars demanded usurious taxes from the peasants – ensuring their deep poverty – while the expropriated amounts were used to maintain the hold of the zamindars on the land and satisfy their whims. The exploits of the Darbhanga Maharaja had reached folklore proportions. After Independence, the process of industrial development was spurred by the central government (which focused on the mineral rich areas to the south that is presently Jharkhand), while the state governments dealt with land and irrigation. The meagre resources of the state government were invested in embankments of the rivers – nearly 3000 km of embankments were built till 1990, attempting to stabilise the production systems. In fact, temporary stabilisation did take place during the ‘60s and the ‘70s when the promise of a booming agriculture actually sucked in labour from different vocations, (arguably) leading to rapid loss of diverse traditional skills. According to the assessment of the Second Irrigation Commission of Bihar in 1994, the floodprone area had increased to 6.88 million hectares in 1993 from 2.5 million hectares in 1952. If the Ganga Stem is excluded, 3.75 million hectares of North Bihar, which is nearly 83 percent of the total drainage area of different tributaries of the Ganga in the state from the north, is now flood-prone. Clearly, embankments failed to ensure steady growth of agriculture. Agriculture had become an even more ‘high gain – high risk’ phenomenon, since the frequency of flooding had reduced and its intensity had increased. Uncertain productivity, and unclear ownership of land, ensured that rents collected from share-cropping were invested elsewhere – transport buses, or even higher education. Reducing productivity was, therefore, harming the tiller/ share-cropper more than the landlord (who spread his risk through large landholdings and diversified investments). In fact, the process of impoverishment of the tiller reduced his capacities to claim his rights on the asset that he worked on, which helped the landlord to focus elsewhere while retaining control over land.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

At the community level, peasants were thus dealing with economic exclusion from landed assets, social discrimination on the basis of caste (which identified him with his occupation), and political marginalisation through non-representation. At the individual level, they were dealing with an overwhelming dependence on labour (an asset that is prone to excessive risks), loss of other assets (houses were often washed away during the floods), and loss of any other opportunity to invest. Moreover, in the past few decades, they were coping with an altered scenario where the floods were more devastating, governance was weak and they themselves were more impoverished and marginalised. Where survival is the only issue, confidence and self-esteem invariably take a backseat. Governance in the state of Bihar shifted gears during the ‘80s, when the democratic processes finally shattered the entrenched social stratification in the political arena and representatives of the backward castes came to power. The new dispensation worked to dismantle the existing systems and structures that were perceived to be in favour of the forward castes, particularly the bureaucracy (and even the judiciary to some extent). Provision of assets (chiefly land, but also some houses) to the hitherto dispossessed backward and scheduled castes was attempted but soon became ad hoc and unsustainable due to the lack of credible and efficient systems of delivery. Somehow, it didn’t seem to matter. Empowerment, rather than development, was the official credo. It was time for the backward and scheduled castes to assert their rights, protest against social discrimination and aspire for a share of the political power. Creating opportunities for industrial and urban growth was perceived to be ceding control of the new production systems to the same upper castes that have just been dislodged from political power. In effect, governance and infrastructure, the drivers of growth and development, were precisely the two areas that were allowed to decay during this period. The process of empowerment of the backward communities, thus, was happening at a time when the markets were rapidly shrinking and economic opportunities were eroding. Agriculture – the mainstay of the masses – was becoming less remunerative, while any attempt towards mechanisation and external linkage was thwarted by lack of infrastructure. The decay of infrastructure was hastened by the floods in north Bihar, while lack of governance was abetted by an upsurge of naxals in many parts (Naxalism had emerged during the early ‘70s as a backlash on partisan governance). The limited empowerment of a section of the backward communities has, therefore, come at a cost – shrinking of opportunities for all sections of society. Viewed in the context of a rapid economic growth in the country, the development gap in Bihar is truly astounding. The per capita income in the state is Rs 1,010 per month (compared to the richest state Maharashtra with Rs 4,853 per month) – almost only a fifth. What is even more disconcerting is the fact that while the country has consistently grown at 6-8 per cent for over a decade now, Bihar has recorded a much slower rate, even negative in some years. Bihar is also the only state in the country with a rising fertility rate and declining health for mothers and children. Migration, therefore, is a foregone conclusion for all sections of society. Bihar provides the rest of the country with inexpensive labour – be it the agriculture fields of Punjab or Assam, the construction zones of the National Capital Region or the rickshaw-pullers and coolies in Kolkata. Those who can afford, send their children to Delhi and other cities for education and employment. Some people have estimated that there are at least a million students studying outside Bihar and spending about Rs 2,400 crores each year (over US$ 500 million). Even if the estimates seem inflated, it is a pointer to the fact that increasingly, education is being seen as a passport to migration with dignity but, more importantly, is a major drain on any capital formation in the state. The chief aspirations are to enter government service for its perceived powers and income stability. In case it does not materialise, 

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approach

education enables survival in a distant city through some other forms of employment. Enterprise is seldom seen. While it is very unlikely that Bihar will regress into the earlier power equations, the task of development is gargantuan given the low base of human development, absence of an enabling environment in the form of a credible and effective governance and basic infrastructure.

Key 1.

c HA llen G eS

Agriculture is the mainstay of Bihar’s economy, but is in the grip of a vicious cycle in which there is little incentive, and even less capacity, to raise production. To add to the woes, the cost of inputs to agriculture is generally high while the quality of supplies is suspect. Therefore, although the land is inherently fertile (and is able to produce a lot if due care is taken, such as with many cash crops), the productivity of major crops (such as cereals) is low. Low production and high demand for food ensure low marketable surplus, leading to low monetisation. North Bihar, including the areas appraised, is characterised by a subsistence economy, with little capital formation.

2.

T H E C O S T O F I N P U T S T O A G R I C U LT U R E I S G E N E R A L Ly H I G H W H I L E T H E Q U A L I T y O F S U P P L I E S I S S U S P E C T.

3.

The very low surplus economy leads to lack of demand for various services, shrinking markets and deterring the development of entrepreneurs, forcing people to either migrate to different cities or seek wage employment, preferably with the government. it is amazing to note that even with high population densities, urbanisation in Bihar has not just lagged but receded. The government, from a welfare perspective, seeks to fill the gap by providing a range of public services and facilitating private exchanges and transactions. In the process, it becomes the only entity that is able to reach out to different sections at the same time. This entrenchment of government reduces consumer choice, quality of services and induces continuous formulation of retrogressive rules to entrench dependence, eliminate competition and allow favouritism. Civil society is deeply fractured along caste lines and rules governing social organisation are extremely partisan in nature. A vast section of the people are not just marginalised and subdued but they also seem to accept their fate, which is linked to their birth, as a cultural trait. deprivation, hopelessness, mistrust and cynicism are well entrenched in the collective psyche of the vast majority of the disadvantaged communities, particularly the extremely backward castes. Being part of the government structure puts a person in a vantage position in terms of access. political power and government jobs are therefore highly sought after, which is where the creative efforts of the people are focused. lack of entrepreneurship, tendency for elite capture in all positions of power and attempts to perpetuate it on the basis of social discrimination ensures an entrenchment of a deeply fractured and hierarchical society with little scope for mobility. Law and order is a key concern at all level and is the present government’s top priority. In a state where kidnapping for ransom is an organised industry, prisons are stormed by armed insurgents

4.

5.

6.

7.

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

and under-trials are blinded by the police, this is indeed a key challenge. A number of criminals have been apprehended, but they seem to operate from inside their cells and the justice system is far too inadequate. 8. Severe infrastructure bottlenecks exist in the entire state. And it is not just a question of money. There are construction mafias that provide bad goods and services at high costs; there are the floods that need special design and quality inputs that are seldom considered; and there are the naxal areas where infrastructure is akin to interference of government and strongly opposed. Worse, there appears to be a well-entrenched nexus that perpetuates the scenario. Malnutrition, vector-borne and communicable diseases seem to be on the rise. The resurgence of kala azar, rapid spread of hiv/ aids, and entrenchment of tuberculosis has huge implications, particularly when seen in the light of complete dependence on labour and migration for livelihoods and the prevalence of human trafficking.

9.

10. In particular, the plight of women seems to be worsening in general. Female foeticide, malnutrition, lack of education, hygiene, sexual awareness, anaemia and repeated child births are common. Hard labour, both in the fields as well as at home is the norm but the wage rates are about half those of men. Mental agony of separation from a migrated husband, and even rejection at times, lead to considerable stress and even destitution. women are also the prime victims of human trafficking. 11. The number of children is steadily increasing, but they are born with the handicap of malnutrition (physical under-development) and generally grow up with a set of rote learning that do not equip them for real-life problem-solving. Worse, the huge efforts being made by the parents to educate their children is being frustrated by a complete lack of opportunities for quality education at all levels.

K ey 1.

O pp O RT unITI eS

Recently, Bihar seems to have turned a corner. The new government seems to be more purposive, and is beefing up the law and order situation. Development is high on the agenda and several bold decisions are being taken to improve infrastructure and develop markets. different agencies are being invited to invest, both in terms of money as well as knowledge, and the initial response is extremely encouraging. The World Bank is piloting the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Programme in six districts of the state. ADB, Ford Foundation and several Indian Trusts are interested in improving conditions in the state. The Aga Khan Development Network is new to the state of Bihar. Of the many implications, it offers aKdn the freedom to choose its intervention approach since there would be no preconceived expectation. In other words, it is also an opportunity for AKDN to define its own approach of an integrated area development plan. The most important opportunity seems to lie with the people themselves. People are politically aware, willing to go to any length to get their children a decent education and realise the importance of working together. They are also aware that only a neutral external facilitation can possibly help bridge the deep fissures in their society and help them move ahead. Migration has not only helped with remittances, but also provided a much-needed link of the people with the outside world. people who return after a period of working in Kolkata or Mumbai sometimes set up small skill-based enterprises within the village – carpentry, electrical fittings, repairs of consumer durables, etc. – which help in developing new skills in these areas.

2.

3.

4. 

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approach

5.

Labourers who migrate from the state usually opt for tough jobs that pay well. Families mostly choose to stay behind. The availability of male labour force in the local farms is limited and women are able to enter, albeit at a lower wage rate. cheap labour, lack of mechanisation and round-the-year farming ensure a relatively free market for the labour force. While the infrastructure in the state is almost in shambles, it is heartening to note that telecommunications have penetrated quite deep and wireless telephony is rapidly expanding. This needs to be taken advantage of while any service delivery system is being worked out.

6.

pROBAB le InTe Rven TIOn S T O A S S I S T T He m ARGI n Al ISed In pRO p O Se d pR Oj e cT A Re A S The development issues faced by the marginalised and other extremely backward communities are both numerous and linked to the larger societal context in complex ways. Based on an understanding of the key development challenges as well as taking into account the key opportunities, a set of issues have been identified and some probable interventions considered. However, the choice of interventions will have implications as well, and needs to be considered in designing the programme strategy. an overview is provided in the table below:

BROAD ISSUES

PROBABLE INTERVENTIONS

i M p l i c aT i o n s

limited ownership of/ access to ‘productive assets’

• • • •

provision of productive assets, e.g. land, cattle, house etc provision of irrigation devices, other tools/ machines to increase productivity build grassroots institutions to manage common facilities provided advocacy for reforms in distribution of vital assets, like land, irrigation systems etc create awareness create opportunities for skill enhancement/ vocational training create accessible services build database & facilitate employment improve yields through better agronomic practices, introduction of high-yielding varieties, irrigation facilities, integrated pest management diversify, to include cash crops, horticulture, vermiculture, dairy, goat rearing, fishery, makhana etc provide opportunities for value-addition through storage, processing & other post-harvest technologies aggregate input supplies and marketing of produce train local NGOs to provide different financial services link institution building efforts of the programme with a Bank of choice village-banking through a revolving fund

• • • • • •

individual asset creation effective only through loan subsidies and bundling of services scope of providing community assets limited, but needs to be explored in the interest of stronger CBOs politically volatile and socially divisive; may be explored at a later stage need a comprehensive programme for skill development & service provision tie-up with corporate entities/ service providers and collect user charges tie-ups needed for testing and certification need to tie-up with Agriculture University and/ or corporate entities in agriculture will impact the local economy and help create cash-surplus over the medium term will only indirectly impact wage rates, that too uncertain

low skills; poor services; few opportunities

• • • •

low wages from agricultural employment

• limited access to institutional financial services • • •

every choice has a different implication for the long term and needs to be assessed carefully

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poor delivery of health services

• • • • •

improve quality through training of all available local service providers improve accountability through institutional linkages create models of alternative systems for service delivery seek financial entitlement for basic health needs as a right create database to track key indicators create awareness, institutional mechanisms and capacity provide opportunities (and incentives) for individual households to improve create models of education service delivery through civil society, including bridge schools, ‘internet-in-a-box’, working with government schools etc provide special care for early childhood development help parents believe in their ability to educate their children seek financial entitlement as a basic right of a child create role models in society create database to track individual development empower issue-focused common interest groups to benchmark service quality and demand the same create federations of different common interest groups at the village level to participate in local governance (e.g. sub-committees of the village panchayat) strengthen gram sabhas as platforms to demand accountability of local governance empower marginalised communities through exclusive group formation and sustained development inputs simultaneously work with other community groups to sensitise them to the needs of the marginalised train panchayats and other important institutions to honour constitutional values of inclusiveness provide assets (e.g. houses) provide choice (e.g. education vouchers) provide opportunities (e.g. conditional cash transfers) provide dignity (e.g. toilets) provide icons (e.g. restore culture heritage)

• • •

there is a need to do all, in different crosscutting combinations tele-medicine seem desirable and feasible opportunities in improving the existing financial incentive schemes

hygiene and environmental sanitation poor quality of elementary education

• • •

• •

usually low-cost, high-impact effectively bundled during programme initiation need to link up with vocational education need to dovetail health and nutrition in early stages of growth of child opportunities in improving the existing non-financial (mid-day meal) schemes as well as introduce financial incentive schemes

• • •

• • • • • poor local governance of basic services • •

• •

need to be done in tandem with improved capacity of service providers simultaneous training of panchayat members and advocacy for greater autonomy and resource mobilisation for panchayats

• inclusion of marginalised groups in key institutions •

the model has been successfully tested by AKRSP (India) with the Siddi community in Gujarat

• low self-esteem and lack of hope among the marginalised • • • • •

• • •

very important needs to be integrated carefully into the overall programme plan restoration of cultural heritage has widespread benefits and there are ample opportunities in Bihar

p OT en TIA l f OR dIffe R enT I nT e Rven TIOnS

pR O G R Am m e

The different probable programme interventions listed in the table above is intended to provide a broad overview only. A number of questions would, nevertheless, be thrown up in each of the major areas. There have been some thoughts and discussions on these, which are presented here. 

0

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v o c at i o n a l t r a i n i n g

as migration and remittances will still be the mainstay for some time to come, a key opportunity is in upgrading skills of migrant workers so that their incomes at their present locations also can increase. In this, opportunities are significant in the following sectors: • The construction industry – masonry, steel work, carpentry, machine operation (tippers, dozers, pneumatic hammers, and others) etc., both outside the state as well as in Bihar itself. carpenters, steel workers, masons are in high demand in the metros and smaller towns, with T R A D I T I O N A L E A R T H E N T I L E S A R E B A C K I N D E M A N D A S C H E A P R O O F companies are providing crèches, makeshift C O N S T R U C T I O N M AT E R I A L F O R T H E I M P O V E R I S H E D C O M M U N I T y. schools, basic medical care etc. to lure workers. employment in the construction and infrastructure sector (roads, airports, etc. also), is expected to provide 9 crore new jobs by 2012 – 6 crores unskilled and 2.5 crores skilled/ semi-skilled, according to a report by ASSOCHAM. Wages for semi-skilled work – gardening, packing, loading etc. has gone up to 200 per day in these areas, and in fact some migrants from Bihar are already shifting to these occupations instead of the traditional agricultural ones in punjab, haryana etc. Mechanics for automobile repairs is yet another emerging vocation where interests and opportunities lie. Many young men are presently learning on the job and working in various cities across india. The growth of automobiles in india – even in the rural areas thanks to the rapidly expanding road networks, higher disposable incomes and improved financing options – will see an increased demand for mechanics. as major automobile companies seek to provide after-sales services, the need for trained manpower would increase. It is possible, therefore, to tie up with a major automobile manufacturer to facilitate appropriate training programmes. Retail – across the country the demand for people in retail is rising rapidly. youth trained in retail do not necessarily need proficiency in English, which can be learnt later. Here again, opportunities are present both in Bihar (mainly Patna initially) and outside, in the urban areas. The recently announced Bihar Green initiative of the Bihar Government to set up marts in Patna for women to sell vegetables also can work better if the sellers are well trained in retail, and the Government itself has planned to provide training in communication, hygiene and shop arrangement. overall, the world today is moving towards a knowledge based economy, going beyond the industrial one. While traditional efforts in Bihar are to move from an agricultural economy to an industrial one, this still leaves the state behind others in the knowledge sector. as such, some effort, at least as a pilot, and in the longer term, is essential in helping the poor leapfrog from the first Age (agriculture) to the third Age (Knowledge). To this end, an initiative to train young boys and girls in not just computer operation, but also in using the internet as a knowledge source, and in English, would be worth looking at. A typical set-up would include a number of computers, a broadband connection using a VSAT terminal (connected to VSNL or other provider), a printer, all powered with a solar panel bank with batteries (say for 5 KW). All these facilities already exist today, and at a cost comparable to that of other interventions. such an intervention would also open up job opportunities in the tertiary sector – banking, communications, iT etc.

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at the community level, training programmes can be organised in the blocks concerned, especially in the case of training for construction and retail. For more advanced courses, a smaller number of candidates could be provided sponsorship to get trained at recognised premier institutions. in the long term, AKDN might think of promoting a self-employment training institute on the lines of RUDSETI (Rural Development & Self-Employment Training Institutes) set up by Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank, and having 22 branches in the country. NABARD proposes to support setting up of such institutes in every district in India, through any bank, and some banks – Vijaya Bank, Bank of Maharashtra – have initiated processes to set up such institutes in other parts. such an institute can also be opened by an organisation other than banks as well, but they would need to explore other sources of funding. For training in construction and retail, many of the major industries in the sector are looking to train people, and some have set up / plan to set up training institutes themselves. efforts could be made to draw in reliance for training on retail businesses, and many developers (Sobha Developers, Gera Constructions etc.) for construction related training. NICMAR (www.nicmar.ac.in) at a national level has organised courses, developed curricula for construction training. Similarly, Lafarge India (www.lafarge.com) has been training rural youth as masons in its plants in india. at the state level, there is a strong need for revitalising the state iTis. The central Government is developing 500 ITIs as Centres of Excellence, and has announced a scheme for upgradation of the balance 1,396 ITIs across the country, under a public-private partnership initiative. Along with this, there is a move to develop appropriate mechanisms for training in the informal sector, also under a similar public-private partnership. Though the announcement has been made, actual progress on these aspects will need considerable advocacy, identifying appropriate partners, etc. while the Bihar Government has proposed setting up of various educational institutions under PPP, vocational training has not been included, and this also needs to be taken up at an early stage.
i n c o m e g e n e r at i o n a n d a s s e t b u i l d i n g

it is felt that some programme of employment generation within the village, either in collaboration with Government or other donors, needs to be taken up. one area that has potential in the short term is building houses for the poor – this provides a fair degree of employment locally, and the savings can help increase capital. in addition, ownership of a house creates a far greater feeling of security among the poor, which in turn is necessary for any effort at group building. hUdco in india, and ADER, a French INGO, are possible agencies who can collaborate in this regard (both provide soft loans on long term basis, and can be repaid over 20 years. This is in addition to the Indira Awas Yojana, which calls for some contribution from the beneficiaries). Again, by use of appropriate building materials, e.g., bamboo etc., there can be some savings in the total cost of the house, providing some relief to the owner in terms of his / her own investment. As in IAy, the house title could be in the name of the woman or jointly in the name of the couple, to initiate a sense of gender equity. It must be emphasised that while some contribution in the form of labour can be expected, the family must get some wages in the process, both to survive and to help develop savings. housing and habitat could also be used to provide appropriate work spaces within the home or providing adequate storage space for raw materials, food grains or other items of utility. Appropriate options would be considered, such as those which are not power intensive due to the acute shortage of electricity. This could be combined with training on masonry and construction, so that at the end of the process the individual has an additional skill to be used for livelihoods. house building, along with other aids for the house, such as a solar lantern/ light, smokeless chulha, can also act as entry point activities for social mobilisation and formation of CBOs. 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

approach

a key issue of immediate interest is better access to various entitlements, for the poor, such as NREGS, PDS, etc., which will require working with the PRIs. However, for this to work effectively, there will need to be an additional effort at the state Government level, in terms of ensuring that panchayats get appropriate devolution of finances etc. While this is really the domain of existing nGo networks, such networking can be supported by providing an administrative platform, which provides secretariat support, support for newsletters and communication, and trains nGos in collaborative rather than confrontationist approaches. In the long term, excavation of tanks, i.e., desilting of ponds filled up in the last flood provides a good opportunity. This again calls for a large amount of labour, and can be taken up as part of nreGs by many panchayats. The ponds so developed can become sources for fishery development in the next stage. The issue needs to be looked in the context of the dominant community taking over the asset, and hence needs to be addressed at the panchayat level as well. as such, this approach should best be taken up once the SHGs/ CIGs are strong enough to influence the larger community.
a g r i c u lt u r e

The support can be divided into three sub-categories – diversification, appropriate practices, and inputs. in the short run, the focus needs to be more on providing individual farmers with support in terms of: • Better seeds – a stronger collaboration with Pusa University is possible, but other options also can be explored. Many private sector seed companies would be interested in the seed village concept. Better access to irrigation – at present, cost for irrigation is high because of diesel use. An alternative is to install solar pumps at the well head. however, as most wells are with the richer people, this will only benefit such people, unless additional bore wells are also provided in suitable places. an alternate is to look at a “mobile” pump, with the solar panel, the battery and the pump mounted on a trailer with anti-vibrator mounts. Efforts at providing recharging of bore-wells can help reverse the trend of lowering of the water table in the summer season. improved practices are a need, as most farmers use traditional practices, based on experience alone. While many such practices are very good, it is necessary to explore the use of other practices to improve productivity, reduce pest infestation etc. crop diversification or introduction of different crop combinations can also be tried to increase overall income. as cost reduction is a key concern, possibilities of leisa (Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture), which tends to reduce costs for fertiliser, pesticide, etc., and to some extent increases the wage component of total cost, can be envisaged. This will help not only the farmers who cultivate their own land, but also the sharecroppers/ those farming on land taken on lease. Potential for different cash crops can also be explored, since the surplus generated could also meet the nutritional requirements of the community. As a much later intervention, the question of rationalisation of land holdings can be considered. Given the existing land ownership and the caste structure, this would be a difficult task, to be approached with great caution. in all these initiatives, the support of the rajendra agricultural University at pusa will be important and useful, as a means of bridging the gap between the institution and the community. another organisation which has had some success in outreach in Bihar is TIFAC (www.tifac.org.in), which has worked to improve productivity of rice in Paliganj by a factor of 2.5, and has carried out

• •

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

similar projects in different parts of the country. TiFac has also worked with women on pickle production, with fishing communities for fish processing etc.
off-farm and non-farm activities

The possibility of improving dairy, goat rearing and poultry look attractive at first sight. However, this needs to be studied in greater depth, with regard to fodder availability, veterinary services, improving the breed etc. in the short run, given the lack of space and land for grazing or fodder, this might not be beneficial. With development of SHGs, a few women tend to start some small ventures, in trading, small services, and this can be encouraged. however, as local purchasing power is limited, any larger venture will need to tackle external markets, which imply larger scale, and consequently focus on collective ventures. Given the perception of collectives as not being possible, development of such collectives will take more time. larger collective activities can be taken up only after the groups attain sufficient maturity and cohesion. If that is achieved, there are some options possible: • Joint ownership of cattle to form a larger dairy (similar to a co-operative, but not necessarily with the same legal structure), with land on lease for fodder. The exact modalities need to be worked out in depth, and the initiative can be quite complex Development of fisheries in the chaurs / low lying land seasonally. as the land belongs to many people, this process is not possible without collectivisation. The situation for leasing out ponds and water bodies owned by the Government/ panchayat also requires similar group formation and development. But the potential for fishery is high, as even today most of the fish consumed in Bihar comes from Andhra, and this is an area where there is a replacement market available, without worrying about lack of purchasing power. This again entails support from the panchayat, which in itself can be a complex and difficult process. Development of vegetable growing groups among women, as an extension of SHG development. women are already engaged in all aspects of vegetable growing and selling, but are restricted to the local mandis, where they have poor control over prices. an integrated approach helping improve cultivation and lowering costs, reaching out to the next link in the market directly (buyers in Kolkata, other cities, where produce is even now being transported daily by train, but by the traders), will help women considerably. An even better option would be to link up with a major retail chain emerging in the region, such as pepsi. processing of vegetables, in the form of cleaning, packing, and even further into conversion into other products (chips, slices for potato, cornmeal and sattu from maize / rice/ pulses, pickles from mango, ginger, etc.) are additional possibilities to be explored at the next stage, once the collectivisation has started working on basic trade. In the absence of electricity, many possible ventures become non-starters. However, this situation can be looked at as an opportunity to focus on renewable energy power generation units, which can be developed from micro (up to 100KW) to larger medium size units, using biomass gasifiers (Sri Lanka has set up plants of 8MW each with this technology). In India TERI has been working on biomass gasifiers for electricity production, and the technology is therefore available in the country. energy plantations, using Pongamia or Glyceridia, can grow quite fast in the climate and soil conditions of Bihar, and can offer an alternative means of livelihood. Power generation in turn can be used for a variety of other enterprises, and the leaves from these trees, which do not get used in the gasifier, can be used for fodder in animal husbandry. It might be interesting to try out a small micro unit at first, and then look at upscaling. Biomass-based briquettes that burn in special smoke-less stoves is another opportunity. A SHG-based retail model is being developed in Tamil nadu by the rural innovations network in chennai.

• 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

approach

financial services

The outreach through the formal banking system, as well as through microfinance activities, is poor in Bihar as compared to other states. The situation is further compounded by high level of indebtedness among the poor who do not have access to formal financial institutions such as Commercial Banks, RRBs or the Financial Co-operatives. In addition, MFIs are new to the state and do not have widespread presence in the state. In lieu of the above, financial services required by the poor could be enhanced through increased in micro-finance activity. The strategy could be multi-fold. Institutional innovation such as SHG Bank Branch, often seen in South India could be started as a pilot in collaboration with Lead Bank in the district. aKF can provide some of the capacity building costs in promotion of shGs and linkage by such specialized branches. One of the new circular approved by Reserve Bank of India is ‘Business Correspondent Model’ wherein an NGO/Society/Trust could be a taken as an agent to do business for the parent financial institution, say a bank. The objective of such approach is greater financial inclusion. This would help in greater outreach of the banks, especially in less developed and inaccessible areas, where such institutions operate. Moreover, these institutions could also leverage the grassroots organizations developed by them. aKdn could promote such models with such institutions they would be collaborating in the state. Instead of retail lending, the Approach to Wholesale Lending through NGO-MFIs could be promoted. The NGOs have outreach but do not the required skills to manage MF program. Support for capacity building of these nGos to manage MF operations, especially for system design and product development could be supported through grant fund along with some seed capital for initiation of the MF business. The idea is build revolving fund through such support and leverage the same for linkage with formal financial institutions in period of three-five years. The other significant approach is direct Capacity Building of the SHGs and the Promoting Organization. The lessons from program such as wdc could be taken to upscale shG program in the state and this would perhaps help in increased access of the poor to financial services. Networking with financial institutions and programs would be helpful. AKF could also liaison with formal financial institutions, especially new generation private financial institutions and establish linkage with grass root institutions supported by them. The objective is to provide multiple but need based financial services through product and process innovations. a risk Fund could be apportioned to undertake such new activities and streamlining operations under such support.

h e a lt h s e r v i c e s

The initial focus should be on social mobilisation, developing appropriate community-based organisations (CBOs), and building linkages with

C R E D I B L E , R E L I A B L E A N D A F F O R D A B L E H E A LT H S E R V I C E S I S A M A J O R N E E D , PA R T I C U L A R Ly F O R P O O R W O M E N .

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

the service delivery system. The next level of strategies focus upon capacity building of providers/ staff, strengthening public and private systems/ processes, to improve service quality and system performance; enhancing inter-sector collaboration and interface with communities and PRIs, and strengthening resource/ information centres. research, information sharing, documentation and advocacy at various levels cut across all sectors and all stages of the programme. The specific elements of the strategy are: • Orient/ sensitize CBOs on issues of personal hygiene, nutrition, women and child health, disease management and environmental health gradually over time. showcase opportunities and build linkages of these groups with ongoing government programmes/schemes such as the icds, anMs, schools, rural banks etc., so that they promote, advocate, implement and support activities for self, group and community development Build awareness on health and hygiene aspects, to bring about behaviour change in the community, with the help of service providers on health. The process would involve prioritising health problem/issues, generating awareness and following up to monitor actual change in behaviour/ practices. special attention would be needed to develop home based care component for children. integrate health, hygiene and nutrition education for children/ adolescents through peers in formal and non formal schools. Adolescents life skills development including health (RSH), hygiene and nutrition - mobilisation, information sharing, and facilitate service provision through schools and in community settings. in addition, facilitate selection of community workers/ volunteers to promote, implement and monitor programmes/ activities for early childhood development, adolescent/ youth reproductive health, and other community health activities. This includes regular visit of government anMs, enabling pregnant women and children to access services in maternal and child health care, improving quality of ICDS programme, etc. Strengthen PRIs (broad-basing) at all levels, starting at the village level, to enable them plan, coordinate and monitor development activities. To enable representation of the poorest, women and minorities, the Gram sabha would need to be activated and strengthened. with this, one can focus on developing the health and sanitation committees under constitution in the nrhM. on a larger plane, health societies and committees at the district and state levels can also be strengthened, using a network approach. capacity building of panchayat would also enable them to define criteria and make better selection of ICDS workers, ASHA and others community workers.

at the macro level, there is a need for overall coordination, especially in terms of facilitating development of decentralised integrated health plans from village level upwards through community participatory approaches. integrated plans need to be developed at village, block and district level, and as this is in contrast to the present approach, considerable advocacy is needed in this regard. second, there is a need to strengthen state level resource institutions, so that they can support and strengthen on-going initiatives. Tele-medicine approaches need to be explored seriously. Third, there is a need conduct an assessment, with the aim of improving systems, of public and private systems in areas such as capacity building of providers, developing and instituting management sub-systems such as MIS, inventory management, quality assurance, accreditation, public-private partnership, and others. any advocacy can be effective only if it is backed by evidence based research. hence it is essential to advocate and promote evidence based practices/ models for replication at scale by government 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

approach

and nGos. research on contemporary issues is needed to feed into the on-going multi-sector programming, test and promote new approaches and models such as social franchising, public/ private-private partnership, document and advocate widely for policy changes. This would include development of relevant linkages and networking for information exchange, experience sharing and advocacy among the different stakeholder organisations at the state level.
e d u c at i o n s e r v i c e s

Given the history of feudalism and discrimination, education for the disadvantaged is a fundamental T h e r e i s n e e d T o M e a s U r e T h e e d U c aT i o n a l aT Ta i n M e n T o F need for ensuring long-term development. However, S C H O O L - G O I N G C H I L D R E N S I N C E B O T H T H E D E M A N D S A S W E L L the Government school system has not been A S T H E I N V E S T M E N T S A R E Q U I T E H I G H . effective both in providing access to education and ensuring quality of education, while the private schooling system caters mainly to the economically better classes, which in Bihar is often synonymous with the upper castes. education is yet another mode of empowering civil society, along with support for health, incomes and housing. Organising communities to demand quality education is something that has been done both by the government as well as by other agencies. however, in order to be really effective, there is need to provide more tangible opportunities to the communities to measure the levels of educational attainments of their wards as well as provide platforms for interaction with teachers. Finally, institutional systems to integrate the role of civil society in education will happen through appropriate mechanisms within the PRIs, backed with financial entitlements. The biggest challenge would be to create a model school improvement programme that uses an appropriate pedagogy, a flexible curriculum and optimises the use of human and technological resources. Options such as the “internet-in-a-box” (www.widernet.org) could be tested in remote locations where reliable telecommunications connectivity is possible. Teacher training modules such as those developed by Bodh Shiksha Samity (a partner of AKF in the earlier PESLE programme) could be introduced. The professional development centres created through earlier programmes could provide institutional support to such endeavours. individual skill building and enterprise development would be a key area of intervention. however, this needs to be delivered on demand, through customised services and at full cost recovery in order to be sustainable. Services such as career counselling, access to information (both general as well as focused such as scholarships and opportunities) and access to a variety of training programmes would form some of the key components. Over time, more complex modules such as Business Development Services linked to specific vocational courses could be introduced, maybe even with financial services. Human resource databases, linked to job opportunities, are some other possibilities. in fact, the very mode of open, customised services open up a range of opportunities that are difficult to predict from the very outset.
r e s t o r at i o n o f c u lt u r a l h e r i ta g e

Bihar offers a veritable goldmine in terms of cultural heritage sites. The ones that might be of

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D e v e l o p m e n t i n B i h a r o v e r v i e w, a p p r a i s a l a n d a p p r o a c h

interest in the current context include the tomb of Sher Shah Suri at Sasaram and his fort complex in rohtas. THe S TRATeG y fRA meWORK

it is important to conceptualise a framework for a strategy that takes into cognisance the enormous challenges in development, prioritises the long list of options on a rational basis and sequences the actions for maximum impact. The broad framework includes an Integrated Area Development Programme that is implemented in an identified field area to create a model along with a Civil Society Programme that is aimed towards creation of an enabling environment with a stronger civil society. The implementation of an integrated area development programme would focus on activities that lead to development of target communities in different villages through the formation of different groups – community based organisations (CBOs) – while at the same time provide opportunities to individuals to access information and develop skills through institutional resource centres located strategically to cater to a cluster of villages and managed as social enterprises. in addition, there Focusing on would be a set of targeted public programmes that would be integrated with either the community women, at development programme or the individual development programme or both. least in the
initial period
community development through cbos

will have considerable payoffs in different fronts.

From all the observations, one clear theme that emerges is that any initiative at the micro-level must begin with social mobilisation and creating hope. people need to believe that they have a chance to improve their lives. The process of promoting shGs and various common interest groups (farmers’ group, masons’ group, weavers’ group etc.) as the medium of empowerment has been tested elsewhere in Bihar and has been successful, and this again would probably be the central theme here as well. Development of strong and cohesive SHGs and CIGs (together called CBOs) will, with the help of the programme intervention, plan and implement activities – such as savings, income enhancement, personal hygiene, local sanitation or development of their children – that have a direct impact on their own families. Focusing on women, at least in the initial period will have considerable payoffs in different fronts. First, women need the support most, particularly to cope with a situation where women and children tend to stay behind (and often fend for themselves) while male members struggle for jobs elsewhere. second, working with women will help to address intimate issues related to health and development during early childhood. linked to this is also the fact that household and neighbourhood cleanliness could be managed best through women which would provide rich pay-offs, Third, it has been established that savings programmes work best through women who can,

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (VILLAGE LEVEL)

E N V I R O N M E N TA L S A N I TAT I O N ; H Y G I E N E & H E A LT H - S E E K I N G ; ( AT H O M E ; I N T H E NEIGHBOURHOOD; IN SCHOOL) SAVINGS AND CREDITS

C H I L D R E N ’ S E D U C AT I O N : AT H O M E ; I N S C H O O L

WOMEN SHGS
EXPLORE LIVLIHOOD ENHANCEMENT OPTIONS, P A R T I C U L A R LY I N V E G E T A B L E S : S K I L - B A S E D GROUP ENTERPRISES (LAC BANGLES, FOOD PROCESSING,FISHERIES ETC.) 

AGA KHAN DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

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over a period of time, even become more entrepreneurial and use credit. Fourth, the vicious caste divide is expected to reveal its presence less aggressively and hence, more manageably. Development of strong CBOs is possible only when they are able to bring about a tangible improvement in the quality of services – be it in health, livelihoods or education – that they depend upon and monitor as a group. It is necessary, therefore, to simultaneously influence the capacity and perspective of key service providers, while clearly defining their accountability to the CBOs. While any women’s CBO should be able to hold any of the health service providers (ANMs, ASHA, Anganwadi workers) accountable, CBOs such as the Mothers’ Committees should be able to hold the education service providers (primary school teachers) accountable. SHGs and other CBOs with a common interest in savings, credits or income enhancement activities could, likewise, hold microfinance service providers and any other suppliers or traders accountable for their quality of products and services. The next step would be to engage with the panchayats. In the institutional mechanisms that provide for accountability, the local panchayats and its various sub-committees would also play a key role. The process, however, must begin with sensitising and strengthening the panchayat raj institutions (PRIs) to work with the poor. While PRI representatives in the selected villages of operation could be trained to understand their powers, rights and responsibilities in ensuring quality and equity in the delivery of key services, they could also be oriented to remain accountable through forums like the gram sabha. The shGs and other common interest groups would be federated appropriately to enable them to deal with issues that offer different opportunities at higher orders, such as secondary levels of services as well as larger and more organised market options. These federations would also be appropriately empowered to deal with, and hold accountable, service providers at this level. simultaneously, institutional methods for redressing grievances and other governance systems would also be strengthened at higher levels of the pris.

skill development through institutional resource centres

The greatest potential resource in Bihar is human resource, which needs a concerted and focused attention from all different quarters. Without specific skills and abilities, the same human resource can quickly degenerate into a massive liability (population is still considered to be a problem by many in India). Skill development, however, tends to be a highly individualised effort that need to match the varied aptitudes and interests of different people. The gains from higher skills also tend to accrue at an individual level. The proposed institutional resource centre, therefore, will function on the following principles: • It will be set up in a prominent location where people from 5-10 target villages could access easily. A distance of 10-15 km, with the quality of roads in the proposed project areas could qualify as a commutable distance, even on a bicycle; it will provide information and training on a variety of subjects, particularly those that are deemed to be most relevant to the livelihoods of the disadvantaged and marginalised communities. In a way, the services offered would be a process of self-selecting the target communities; all services will be priced, but the idea is only to meet the operations and maintenance costs rather than book profits. The model, therefore, would be of a social enterprise where there was an incentive to remain flexible, improve quality of services and scale up;

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• •

each of the services would be sourced from the best provider, which means that the core task of the resource centre would be facilitation, rather than direct service provision; Each service would be explained fully and regular feedback would be obtained to monitor and improve the services. Efforts will be made to have an independent testing and certification mechanism for each of the programmes conducted.

LIVLIHOOD SKILLS: T H R O U G H C O R P O R AT E T I E - U P S ; C E RT I F I C AT I O N , T H R O U G H A F F I L I AT I O N ; CAREER COUNSELLING OPTIONS

TECNOLOGY INFUSION: SOLAR PUMPS; SOLAR LIGHTS

ACCESS HIGHER ORDERS OF SERVICES

NETWORKED RESOURCE CENTRE TRAINING: COMPUTERS; ENGLISH; BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

E N T E R P R I S E I N C U B AT I O N : FOOD/ AGRO-PROCESSING ( S AT T U , C H I P S , P I C K L E S , M A I Z E )

ta r g e t e d p u b l i c p r o g r a m m e s

a set of targeted programmes would be designed to utilise the established community organisations in the villages or the institutional resource centre at the cluster to deliver results in different domains. some of these are as follows: hygiene and village sanitation programme Maternal and child health care programme early childhood development programme school improvement programme agriculture enhancement programme vocational training programme enterprise development programmes restoration of cultural heritage programme 

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approach

pROGRA mme

InITIATIO n

The initial set of interventions (and our selection of beneficiaries) will define the image of AKDN in a substantive way and is therefore best done through a unified command structure on the ground. These activities will, therefore, strive to demonstrate the key principles of AKDN such as communitycentricity, inclusiveness, compassion, commitment and quality of services. These initial interventions also need to be successful within a reasonable time to establish credibility. it implies that change should be visible and appreciable, both by the direct beneficiaries as well as others. The people of Bihar have seen enough foundation stones to become sceptical of promised development efforts. it is plausible that this cynicism could either drive aKdn to assume the role of yet another “provider” or be clubbed with agencies whose delivery is not perceived to be adequate. It is important that the approach of self-help, participation and community approaches are not just articulated properly but also demonstrated adequately in a time-bound fashion. There would also be pressures to conform – to set ideas and notions – both from the government as well as from other agencies, till AKDN is established in the region, which will stifle innovation. It is important that openness be actively promoted, through different programmatic and partnership measures. The entrenched caste system pervades every aspect of life in Bihar and there is a strong correlation between poverty and caste. There are several organisations that specifically work for scheduled castes, such as the Musahars. it is important that aKdn refrains from any public reference to any caste in its programmes, which will help establish its inclusive approach. partnerships – both with civil society organisations as well as corporate entities – would be inevitable in dealing with the entrenched problems of the state. however, a very careful selection on the basis of strategic partnerships would be required by AKDN. The suggested approach for programme initiation will strive to establish the vehicles for development – CBOs at the hamlet/ village levels and resource centres at cluster/ block levels. A detailed profiling of the community, local infrastructure, institutional base and demands would be surveyed in the field to understand, inter alia: • • • • • • demographic composition distribution of key resources and amenities existing livelihood choices of marginalized sections and related issues state of delivery of basic services and related issues existing institutions, their interventions and related issues issues relating to social and gender relations

This would provide for both a mechanism to choose the right mix of the public services, calibrate the actual delivery as well as monitor and measure the impact of programme activities.

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References
Ahmad, A. (1993): muslims in India- Bihar. inter india publication, new delhi. Asian Development Research Institute (2006): Socio-economic and educational Status of muslims in Bihar. Study sponsored by: Bihar State Minority Commission, Patna (Unpublished). compact data discs of census of India (1991 & 2001): Office of Registrar General of India. New Delhi. Economic Intelligence Unit (2000): Profiles of Districts. cMie, Mumbai. Government of Bihar (2007): Bihar: vision 2020. Department of Planning, Government of Bihar (Unpublished). Government of Bihar (2006): White paper on finance and development of Bihar. department of Finance, Government of Bihar, Patna. Government of India (2006): Socio, economic and educational Status of the muslim community of India. report by prime Minister’s high level committee, cabinet secretariat, Government of india, new delhi. National Council of Applied Economic Research (2004): east India Human development Report. Oxford University press, Mumbai. PRAXIS (2006): An Alternate White paper on Status of development and Governance. PRAXIS, Patna. Website of Government of Bihar: www.bihar.nic.in World Bank (2005): Bihar: Towards a development Strategy: A World Bank Report. World Bank, washington d.c. World Bank (2006): Bihar Agriculture: Building on emerging models of Success. World Bank Report (Unpublished).

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