Bihar Economic Survey (Ch-8)

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Rural development is one of the key components of an overall inclusive development, and it is more so in the context of Bihar where nearly nine-tenths of the people live in rural areas. For Bihar, rural development is also vital because agricultural sector accounts for the second highest contribution to the state’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), after the services sector.

Various rural development programmes in Bihar that directly influence the life of the rural people:

  • Bihar Rural Livelihood Project (BRLP) (JEEVIKA)
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

The state government is supplementing Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural) with Lohia Swachh Bharat Mission with its own funds.


In India, poverty is usually measured as per the methodology developed by the erstwhile Planning Commission.

  • In 2011- 12, the poverty ratio in Bihar was 33.7 percent, decreasing from 54.4 percent in 2004-05.
  • In the rural areas, this drop was even more noticeable (21.6 percentage points), from 55.7 percent in 2004-05 to 31.4 percent in 2011-12.

To measure multidimensional poverty, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly constructed a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in 2010.

  • For Bihar, the MPI stands at 0.246.
  • Proportion of poor population in India is 27.5 percent and that of severely poor population is 8.6 percent.
  • The corresponding figures for Bihar are 52.2 percent and 22.1 percent respectively.
  • Three districts with the highest MPI are — Araria (0.346), Madhepura (0.337) and Kishanganj (0.325).
  • At the other end, three districts with least MPI are — Patna (0.125), Siwan (0.172) and Bhojpur (0.171).

Rural Development Programmes

At present, a number of rural development programmes are being implemented in Bihar, as elsewhere in India. Some of these programmes are sponsored by the Central Government and others by the State Government; however, the central government programmes are also being implemented by the State Government. The rural development programmes in Bihar collectively cover — employment, housing, sanitation and food security.

Bihar Rural Livelihood Project (JEEVIKA)

  • To improve the economic and social conditions of the rural people, the State Government has been running Bihar Rural Livelihood Project since 2007.
  • This programme is aided by the World Bank and is popularly known as Jeevika.
  • The programme aims at reducing in poverty through skill development and gainful self-employment.
  • Jeevika has also contributed substantially towards reduction of Open Defecation (OD) in the state.
  • Along with sanitation, Jeevika has also been designated as the nodal agency for the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBM) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) to provide life insurance coverage to all SHG members in Bihar.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)

  • The productive absorption of under-employed and unemployed labour force in the rural areas is the main focus of MNREGS.
  • The programme assures a minimum of 100 days of employment in every year to the adults of every rural household when they volunteer for manual or unskilled labour.
  • This central government scheme was initiated in 2005.
  • This programme is very important in the context of Bihar, because only 11 percent of the people in the state live in urban areas.
  • Till 2017-18, a total of 147.5 lakh job cards were issued in Bihar.

Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) / Indira Aawas Yojana (IAY)

  • The Rural Housing Scheme called the Indira Aawas Yojana (IAY) was being implemented till financial Year 2015-16. From Financial Year 2016-17, the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana- Gramin (PMAY-G) was introduced to provide affordable housing to the identified houseless poor in the rural areas.
  • The new Scheme PMAY-G was launched from Financial Year 2016-17 onwards and it started in November 2016.
  • In financial Year 2018-19, while the annual target is still to be communicated, 4.05 lakh houses have already been completed, of which 3.05 lakh were sanctioned under the PMAY-G while 1.00 lakh were sanctioned under the IAY.

Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)

  • Towards sanitation facilities in rural areas, the centrally sponsored programme of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) is supported by state led Lohiya Swachhata Yojana (LSY) in the State.
  • Both these programmes are implemented in Bihar under banner of Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan (LSBA) since Oct. 2014, and target was set to declare Bihar- a ODF state by 2, October 2019.
  • Rural Development Department was entrusted with the responsibility of Implementing Swachh Bharat Mission – (Gramin) in June 2016 and prior to that it was being implemented by PHED, Government of Bihar.
  • Rural Development Department, Govt. of Bihar decided to implement Swachh Bharat Mission – (Gramin) through Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (JEEViKA) by creating a Separate vertical (Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan) within JEEViKA as Health Nutrition & Sanitation is also one of the core components of JEEViKA.

Public Distribution System (PDS)

  • The Public Distribution System (PDS) aims at providing rationed amount of basic food and non- food items at subsidised prices to consumers.
  • It is the most important programme of the state government that can ensure the successful implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.
  • Under PDS, eligible households are divided into two categories — Antyodaya and Priority Households (PHH). The Antyodaya households receive 35 kgs of foodgrains (21 kgs of rice and 14 kgs of wheat) per month.
  • On the other hand, PHH beneficiaries receive 5 kgs of foodgrains (3 kgs of rice and 2 kgs of wheat) per month for each member of the household.


Panchayati Raj Institutions

  • Bihar was one of the leading states to introduce Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) and the earliest PRI elections were held as early as in 1948.
  • The last PRI elections were held in May 2016 in Bihar.

Disaster Management

  • Out of 38 districts in the state, no less than 28 are flood-prone, most of them in north Bihar.
  • In addition, there are 8 districts (Gaya, Nawada, Jamui, Jehanabad, Arwal, Aurangabad, Kaimur and Banka) which are drought-prone, and they are all in south Bihar.
  • Further, 33 out of 38 districts of Bihar are in Seismic Zones III, IV and V.


Environment and Climate Change

  • The geographical area of Bihar is 94163 sq. kms. and it lies in the sub-tropical region.
  • It has a humid sub-tropical climate.
  • In the context of climate change, 2018-19 was the year of mainstreaming climate change in Bihar.
  • First, the name of the Department of Environment and Forest was changed to Department of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • Second, the Bihar State Action Plan for Climate Change (BAPCC) is also being revised and the current state of finances for climate change is concerned with the line department which are prioritised in the Financial Framework for State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPFIN).
  • India is home to 14 most populated cities in the world, as per a report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) published in 2018. Out of those 14 cities, 3 are in Bihar (Patna, Gaya and Muzaffarpur).
  • In response to National Clean Air Programme NCAP, clean air action plans are being prepared for Patna, Gaya and Muzaffarpur by the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB).
  • To generate adequate data on air pollution, the BSPCB is about to install 8 real-time Air Quality Monitoring Stations (AQMS) at different locations in Bihar.

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