Bihar - Good Governance or 'Goberganesh'

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For quite sometimes, it is seen that the Bihar police picketing along the major roads in Bihar have only two agenda at hand - one is to chase and catch the liquor to earn both quick bucks and also save their skin from administrative wrath and the other, to catch the two-wheeler rider for their missing helmets.

For quite sometimes, it is seen that the Bihar police picketing along the major roads in Bihar have only two agenda at hand - one is to chase and catch the liquor to earn both quick bucks and also save their skin from administrative wrath and the other, to catch the two-wheeler rider for their missing helmets.

Both these enterprises are now the new sources of income for police personnel because there is no audit of these cases whether (like the social audit from TATA group in the affairs of Muzaffarpur Home for Destitute) such cases get properly adjudicated or how much of fines are being collected or what happens to these moneys.

Shameless as the Bihar government is, cries before the Supreme Court for scarcity of financial resources to pay the teachers but seldom tries to raise its revenue.

There is hardly any cash receipt given by the shop keepers to their customers for any commodities purchased from them in Bihar. Such transactions, even a common man on the square, can guess the reasons for denial of such receipts. Besides, the larger commercial concerns have more sophisticated ways of using software technology to issue computerized receipt without any authentication on its body. It is not beyond doubt to perceive that the government does not have any mechanism to regulate such transaction at the small-town level like Pusa or Samastipur and not even in its capital city, Patna.

Asking for cash receipt in Bihar is striking a hornet’s nest. Some shop keepers are smart enough to give you a receipt but look closely and you’ll find anything else in the caption but seldom the ‘Cash Memo’. After all, why they resist in giving cash memo, the reason is obvious that they intend to hide the transaction to avoid taxes. The black money is circulating in the market unchecked. People are purchasing lands and the Registrars seldom ask for PAN from them. Once their palms are greased they get blind. Often the land is undervalued and the government machineries are fast asleep. The banks may cry for cash crunch but there is no dearth of money in the hands of the people.

Once it was inquired of a soft drink seller in Pusa, Samastipur, as to why there was no expiry date on the label of grapes juice and without any hesitation the shop keeper offered his defense that it is not he who had made that juice. In the course of further discussion, when he calmed down, he revealed that although he had pursued many times for ‘health license’ from the administration yet he was not given one. Rather, a wise man whispered into his ears there that such licenses wouldn’t make him immune from the regular or casual payments to health departments in lieu thereof.

Out of curiosity when enquired from the sweet shops along the Kalyanpur-Pusa state highway whether they needed any health license for the edibles they sell in their shops and their replies was such that one had to run away from there else a fierce altercation would follow.

A sugarcane juice vendor in Patna.A sugarcane juice vendor in Patna.

There are multiple areas for which the laws of governments - central or state - have prescribed licenses and fees and fines but the government keeps its eyes shut on collecting them.

The encroachment along the roads all over Bihar are creating havocs for both pedestrians and motorists but nobody bothers because the law keepers are busy collecting liquor bottles.

In a nutshell, there is hardly any implementation of laws in Bihar whether it is commercial activities or traffic rules. A new system is often encountered on roads created by two-wheeler riders. They are free to overtake you from either your right side or from your left. A chill may run up your spine when a speedy bike overtakes you from your left when you are busy watching the traffic coming from your right.

In all, people are being encouraged to fling their fig to the laws and that is culminating into major law-breaking scenarios, such as murder of Panchayat head in Jandaha or the Under Secretary in his home in Patna. The involvement of government machinery and the political leaders are coming to light day by day.

The opposition in Bihar has only one agenda and that is to make Nitsh Kumar resign and Nitish Kumar appears to be so exhausted in holding the volley of arrows as he seems to be unable to find a way out. His colleagues in the ministry are so incompetent and naïve that they are also shooting at him from unknown angles. In a caste-ridden politics in Bihar, caste balancing is more important and Nitish Kumar is hellbent in consolidating his position at the cost of throwing Bihar into total collapse.

A new trend has emerged among the government officers particularly the police officers to take along the media whenever they plan to go in action to add to few highlights in their career and in case of media not available the social media is vouched upon. The way is very simple. Ask someone to make videos and flash then on YouTube etc. The central focus in these highlights are the officers themselves leading their men and not the cause of action and it is difficult to understand as to what purpose it serves. No doubt, the people have right to know what is going on in their society and the media, particularly the electronic media, is the best source of information these days. However, the people also want their officers to come close to them and share their woos on the spot. Is there any evidence adduced by the government officers on social media or national media about a village meeting with common public of these media loving officers for their day-to-day problems relating to governance? Hardly any.

Ill got ill spent follows the liquor ban. Pay high and live high for all 365 days - ban or no ban. The black money plays its important part in it.

Here, there is no ban on liquor – just the price has shot up. But so what? Prices of other commodities have also risen. No dearth of money is seen anywhere. Houses are being constructed, rather more vigorously whether with permission or without, whether the ‘land use’ has been changed or not, as per the provisions made in 2012 by the Bihar government. The number of visitors to pilgrims are also increasing annually. The election expenses are defeating the previous benchmarks. Lakhs and crores are flowing in the drains but the people are still defecating in open. Are they the standard hallmarks to adjudge the development of a state?

Bootleggers arrested in Bihar where there is a ban on liquor sale or consumption.Bootleggers arrested in Bihar where there is a ban on liquor sale or consumption.

The irony is that these developments are missing on human development index-education, health, justice, law and order, governance and so on and so forth. Bihar was the last in Public Affairs Index (PAO) in 2017 where Kerala was at the top. (courtesy The Hindu dt. May 12, 2017).

The spiraling down the level of morality and the character in Bihar gets its reflection in Brajesh Thakur and Manisha Dayal and many more skeletons yet to come out the cupboard.

The bribes are in the open and more vocal in offices.

However, except the common people, everybody is happy in this good governance or 'Goberganesh' in Bihar.

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