Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday strongly defended Nobel laureate Amartya Sen for backing Bihar's growth strategy, saying, every citizen of this country has the fundamental right of speech and opinion on any issue.
"Today, an intensive debate is going on various development models. When Sen endorsed the Bihar's growth model, he became the butt of ridicule and faced vehement criticism by vested interests. I strongly disapprove of the criticism targeting Amartya Sen," he said while releasing a book titled "The New Bihar: Rekindling governance and development" edited jointly by JD (U) MP NK Singh and Nicholas Stern.
Kumar said, a sort of a campaign was started in the social media soon after Sen endorsed the Bihar model of development. "Through social media, people indulge in character assassination of those endorsing opposite views on any issue. This is outrageous," he said.
Maintaining, that Bihar's growth model is best-suited for the country, Kumar said that it is based on inclusive growth.
"Development cannot be an isolated model in any society. It has to be inclusive, considering the aspirations of all sections of the society. Ours is still a humble beginning because we started from a scratch," he said.
The chief minister's reiteration, coming close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's rally in Patna on October 27, did not distract from the intended juxtaposition between the Gujarat and the Bihar models. The BJP's criticism of Sen's micro model for economic growth, which Bihar professes, was also put up in sharp contrast.
Making a strong pitch for according special status to Bihar, Kumar said, the state cannot sustain its double-digit growth rate without private investments.
"Bihar's growth is primarily driven by public investment. Till the time we don't have private investment inflows, it will be difficult to sustain our growth rate after the next five years. If we get special status and subsequent financial assistance, the fund flow will be diverted to Bihar's own schemes," he said.
Kumar said some private investments have definitely come in over the past few years, but those were mostly from local entrepreneurs. He maintained, the state needs large investments, which only big industrial houses can make.
Kumar, who has been credited with pulling Bihar out of the economic mess, identified energy, health infrastructure, education, IT and food processing as the sectors where huge private investments can be made.
Dwelling on Bihar's growth model, N K Singh said, Bihar's transformation has been made possible through optimum utilisation of available resources and a number of socio-economic schemes aimed at empowering the hitherto deprived sections.
"By ensuring that growth is just, the state government has also pushed for gender empowerment, improvement in education, health, infrastructure and law and order. The Bihar model can be replicated, unlike those built on innate advantages over other states," he said.
He said, the Bihar's model carried a lesson that was beyond Bihar and India, as it was based on the principles of good governance and inclusive growth.