Bihar was once considered and portrayed as a fine example of backwardness and was associated with everything that is wrong with the state. However, it has now been showcasing large scale development not only in the agricultural sector but also in the industrial component - inviting large scale investment in the traditionally 'natural resources and manpower rich' Bihar.
Several factors, like landlocked geographic location, historic neglect of the peripheral regions, political instability and the complex socio-cultural matrix of the State were the reasons for the backwardness. There was a time when every economic and social ranking of the state were at the lowest level when compared to other states of India.
I still remember, former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam once said, India needs a developed Bihar. He complimented the Nitish Kumar government for taking some initiatives in the light of his 10-point Bihar Mission unveiled during his address at the joint session of the state legislature few years ago.
A native of Darbhanga district of Bihar, in the last fifteen years while living in the USA, I visited my village once or twice a year and saw the wave of change that has been sweeping across the State in recent times, inter-mingling facts and figures with anecdotes and personal experiences. I saw the construction of roads across the State as among the top achievements of the present where no roads had existed for decades. I witnessed tremendous changes in administrative sector, ranging from the better functioning of Government offices to the introduction of new technologies. New laws have been passed, making it mandatory for Government employees to declare their assets. I saw the surprise-checks and raids which have brought down the incidence of corruption to some extent.
It is unfortunate that The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ranchi served notice to seven people, including former Chief Secretary of undivided Bihar and later of Jharkhand V.S Dubey, former Director General of Vigilance Department D.P. Ojha and Bihar Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, declaring them as accused in the fodder scam.
It is interesting to note here that The CBI courts in past have convicted several accused on witness statement of Dubey. Any one can imagine the honesty and integrity of V S Dubey who served as Chief Secretary of both the states. If the honest and dedicated officers like Mr Dubey or Mr. Anjani K Singh will be questioned for their integrity and selfless work for taking the state on a developed roadmap, then certainly no officers would come forward to take a lead. People of Bihar know that a clean image IAS officer with his dignity, work efficiency and implementing skills, Anjani Kumar Singh has become the longest serving chief secretary in the recent past.
The education sector, especially girl’s education, is given a lot of importance than ever before. The strict implementation of this scheme by none other than Anjani Kumar Singh and his entire team like providing cycles to girls, uniform to girls, recruitment of Shiksha Mitra, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, providing noon-meal and books have all contributed to an increase in the enrolment of students. Recruitment of teachers have been hailed a good measure to improve academics. A number of new Government hospitals have been built and the existing ones are being modernised at a fast pace by Mr. Singh are clear examples of his working efficiency and style of functioning.
Former President Kalam said that the state will definitely transform into a prosperous, happy and beautiful state with focused development. However, if we do not stop questioning the officers like VS Dubey and AK Singh, no other officers would come forward to take the lead for a prosperous Bihar. It seems to me that because of his popularity and implementing caliber, some people in their vested interest trying to malign his clean image so as he may not be given further extension.
Prior to becoming Chief Secretary, as Principal Secretary of key departments, like education, in the past, Anjani Kumar Singh is considered as one of the most successful IAS officers in the state because of his administrative abilities and is better known for his extraordinary caliber in implementing the various schemes of the Government of Bihar successfully. In the Department of Education, Anjani Kumar Singh was responsible for the education of millions of children. His efforts to improve the status of adult education for the people of Bihar have been recognised by the government of India and were awarded twice successively the UNESCO prize for Literacy by the President of India. He places a special emphasis on bridging the gender and social gap in the domain of education.
Anjani Kumar Singh must be complemented for effective implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutikaran Yojana has seen many areas coming to the map. I cannot even imagine the availability of electricity in my village for about twenty-two hours. A major boost to the policing system and swift action on offending politicians has brought the law back. A fixed time period for service delivery mechanism has seen a major improvement in the efficiency in governmental work. Fifty percent reservations to women, support to widows, and loans for marriage has been some of the popular welfare measures. Tourism has seen a great jump with Bodh Gaya circuit emerging as a major tourist destination. People of Bihar will always remember his contribution in the form of Bihar Museum, Convention centre to name a few.
In the last ten years I saw tremendous growth in every walk of the society and economy. Truly speaking, around the world, the perception about Bihar is changing. A lot of good work has been done in Bihar. Many non-resident Biharis, whom I know, are ready to support all assistance to the government in further promoting developmental schemes in Bihar.
Unless we stop the questioning the officers like Anjani Kumar Singh, we may not expect a prosperous Bihar. A food for thought to the people of Bihar.