Acknowledging the change in the governance atmosphere of Bihar, Stanford University has decided to hold a 'Mirror Conference' in Patna for the first time.
The two-day conference, beginning on Thursday, would not only reflect the format and intellectual debate at Stanford itself but also engage the Government in generating a meaningful dialogue on new-generation policy reforms. It would also suggest further action for taking the development thrust to the next level.
Addressing newsmen, NK Singh, vice chairman, State Planning Board, said that Stanford, which has been fostering a policy dialogue with Union Government over the years, realised the role of state governments in the pursuance and implementation of new-generation policy reforms and had started the practice of ‘Mirror Conferences’ at state levels four years ago.
These state-level dialogues have since been held with West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala and Rajasthan.
Now, at the invitation of the State Government, Stanford Centre for International Development would be holding the ‘Mirror Conference’ in Bihar, which would also serve as a prelude to the Eighth Annual Conference of Indian Economic Reforms at Stanford slated in June, informed Singh.
“The conference, to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, would re-establish Patna on the intellectual map of the world, as leading academics such as Prof TN Srinivasan, Dr Nicholas Hope, Ms Anjini Kochar, Dr Ward Hanson, Prof Jessica Wallack would be presenting specialised papers on Bihar’s economic strategy,” Singh said.
To a question on whether the dialogue would be able to address Bihar-specific problems, Singh said that Stanford University was aware of the aspirations of the State as reflected in the Approach Paper to the Eleventh Five Year Plan and would deal with issues like employment, poverty and public – private partnership, lessons from Chinese economic growth and also the challenges to the federal model of growth.
The Chief Minister, said Singh, would hold personal interaction with the participants while senior ministers and department officials concerned would also be present.
Chief Secretary A K Chaudhary said, "The conference should be looked upon as an effort towards further accelerating growth."
S Vijayaraghvan, IDC, said that since June 2006, when the State showcased various opportunities available and highlighted the changed investment climate sustained by enabling legislations, as many as 85 proposals worth Rs 36,000 crore have been cleared by the State Investment Promotion Board. "The state hopes to generate 75,000 direct and nearly 3 lakh indirect employment through these investments," he added.