Nitish Kumar, the power hungry chief minister of Bihar has one quality which sustained him in the corridor of power for decades- good governance. After coming to power Nitish Kumar improved the condition of Bihar through strict law enforcement and transparent implementation of central rural welfare schemes. However, in the last few years Mr Kumar is failing to deliver good governance and has been reduced to only a ‘big name’ in politics. In contrast, Yogi Adityanath has emerged as a blessing for the rural population of Uttar Pradesh.
He used the money transferred by central government through grants and assistance in a very efficient manner and delivered public goods. As per a report by Economic Times, the firebrand Hindutva leader and CM of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has implemented ‘Central Rural Schemes’ more efficiently compared Nitish Kumar. In the fiscal year 2018-19, UP has delivered 200 million working days under the rural employment scheme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREA) while Bihar has delivered 108.4 million working days out of the targeted 140 million.
The Nitish Kumar led state lagged behind in PM Awas Yojna-Rural as well as the Bihar government completed only 3.88 lakh houses out of the target of 11.7 lakh houses. The state could not complete the construction of even one third of the number of rural houses targeted under the Modi government’s flagship scheme through which Housing for All by 2022 is envisioned. On the other hand, UP has completed 90 percent of targeted 11.2 lakh rural houses.
On the rural roads front, Yogi government, in the fiscal year 2018-19, constructed 1,522 km of rural roads (80 per cent of the target) and now almost every village in the state is connected through concrete roads. In stark contrast to this, Nitish Kumar led Bihar government has completed only one third of the targeted rural road which leaves 2,095 villages unconnected.
Uttar Pradesh and CM Yogi Adityanath has completed 90 percent projects in Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) villages while Bihar has completed only 33 per cent of the projects of the scheme. Bihar aimed to depart skills training to 148,500 persons by March 2019 but only 33,636 people have completed the formal training under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana. “Bihar needs to pull up its socks on social welfare schemes urgently. UP has greatly improved last year,” said a senior government official.
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the two giant and densely populated states have the highest share of rural population with 78% and 89% of the total population of each state respectively. The efficient implementation of central government’s rural welfare policies is necessary to build a welfare state. The central government could design policies and allocate money for the rural welfare but the ground zero level implementation ultimately falls in the hand of the state administration.
If states like Bihar continue to perform poorly on project implementation then no matter how well designed policies and well-funded the policies are, they will fail. So far Nitish Kumar has used the money given by ‘central government’ and that sent by ‘migrant labourers’ to distribute freebies to poor people. He has been repeatedly reelected for efficient delivery of public welfare and now he is failing on that front too.
If we compare the performance of Nitish Kumar with former UP CM and BJP strongman Yogi Adityanath, we get to see the difference a good administrator brings to the table and how wealth creating policies and effective implementation of rural welfare schemes can change a state’s fortunes.