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Fine growth with per capita strain

The state is doing reasonably well economically with an annual growth rate of 11.95 per cent during the Eleventh Five Year Plan period — the highest among all the states — but its per capita income is still far below the national average.

The economic survey for 2012-13, tabled in the Assembly by deputy chief minister on Tuesday, reflects a contrasting economic picture of the state. Growth-wise, it paints a rosy picture. But Modi, who also holds the finance portfolio, could not hide his concern while comparing the state’s averages with national parameters, especially the per capita income — Rs 25,653 of the state against Rs 60,972 for all India in 2011-12. “Even at this rate, we will require two decades to catch up with the national average parameters,” said Modi.

Economist Saibal Gupta echoed Modi. He said Bihar would have to pump in Rs 40,000 crore for more than two decades to reach the current national average parameters.

Though the state’s per capita income is far below the national average, it increased from Rs 20,078 in 2010-11 to Rs 25,653 in 2011-12.

Individually, the state economy is growing for sure. Modi said the economic survey narrates the impressive trajectory of Bihar’s economy and the impact of development strategies of the present government on the population.

He said the state witnessed impressive growth in all sectors. Going into details, he said the production of cereals in 2011-12 was 17.2 million tonnes compared to 10.4 million tonnes in 2010-11. Production of rice increased to a new high of 8.2 million tonnes in 2011-12 against 3.1 million tonnes in 2010-11. Trashing the Opposition’s criticism of the state government for “cooking up” figures to paint a rosy picture, Modi said two-third figures in the survey had been provided by the central government agencies. Otherwise, also the assessment of economic performance of the state had been done on the parameters set by Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), which are correct and used for all the official purposes, he said.

Modi said micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were doing very well in the state. Bihar has a total of 1.92 lakh registered MSMEs involving a total investment of Rs 1,941 crore and employing 6.3 lakh persons in 2012, he said.

He claimed that banks had disbursed 93 per cent loans to MSMEs in the financial year 2012-13 so far compared to 100 per cent in the last fiscal.

Economist P.P. Ghose said: “Large industries might not be coming in, but around 400 MSMEs coming up every year indicates towards a positive trend.” The survey stressed that footfall of foreign tourists was rising and one out of every six foreign tourists coming to India visits Bihar. The number of foreign tourists increased from 1.77 lakh in 2007 to 7.95 lakh in 2011.

Modi said he would speak on the challenges before the Bihar economy in his budget speech on February 21.