Nitish Kumar accused the Centre and the Planning Commission for neglecting Bihar for over half a century, and declared that agriculture was his “topmost priority” to pursue growth with justice.
“I do not wholly subscribe to the idea of the GDP and GSDP as the realistic indicators of growth. My concept of development means ensuring better living condition — socially, educationally and economically — to the people on the last rung of the ladder.
“We do not want jahan tahan vikas ke tapu (oases here and there in the desert) as has happened in some southern and western states,” Nitish said.
“We have drawn out a roadmap for 10 years for agricultural development and have decided to invest Rs 1.58 lakh crore in the sector. Bihar is the first and the only state to have agriculture cabinet comprising 17 departments. We are marching on the path of ushering in rainbow revolution.
He said: “Bihar accounted for 25 per cent of the total sugar production during Independence. Abhijit Sen sahib, tell us why did the Centre introduce freight equalisation, leading to the flight of the industries from the eastern region to the places not as conducive to sugarcane production as Bihar was in 1950s and 60s?”
“Be a bit generous to the poor people of Bihar. Poor people are relatively less corrupt for your information. We are making another maha-setu (mega bridge) from Bakhtiyarpur to Tajpur on the Ganga, for which the investors have already landed. But the Planning Commission made us virtually beg for the four-lane road between Gaya and Patna. Why?”
He said: “Fertile land and good weather are our strength. Our people and heritage are our capital. We will play on our strength to ensure better living condition to the people. Our concept of inclusive growth means providing better living condition to the people of all sections and all strata of the society.”
“To me, the meaning of inclusive growth is equitable growth of all the states and growth in the income of people at all the strata of society. The growth and opulence have no meaning if poor remained poor or get even poorer in the hinterlands.”
Nitish also described the Nepal Prime Minister, Baburam Bhattarai, inaugurating the global summit as a “new chapter” in the ties between India and Nepal. He suggested the country to work for bettering the ties with Nepal, which held the key to ward off many troubles besetting Bihar.