Niti Aayog report: Sparks fly over poor ranking; NDA calls it bundle of lies, oppn rubs it in

In nutrition index, 51.88% of the population is deprived. In both the indices, the state’s ranks among the worst compared to other states. In child and adolescent mortality, the state is second worst in the country after Uttar Pradesh, says the report.
The Niti Aayog report has ranked Bihar lowest in various parameters. It says that 51.91% of the state’s 11 crore population is poor . (HT FIle)
The Niti Aayog report has ranked Bihar lowest in various parameters. It says that 51.91% of the state’s 11 crore population is poor . (HT FIle)
Published on Nov 26, 2021 09:35 PM IST
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By, Patna

A war of words has erupted in Bihar over the recent Niti Aayog’s national multidimensional poverty index baseline report in which the state has been ranked poorly in majority of indices, be it education, nutrition, school attendance, electricity, housing, bank accounts, sanitation and drinking water.

While chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday refrained from commenting on the report, state’s energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and Bhartiya Janata Party’s state spokesperson Prem Ranjan Patel called the report a “bundle of lies” and far from ground reality.

On the other hand, the report, released on Wednesday, has offered ammunition to the opposition.

Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD’s) Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who is leader of Opposition in the assembly, said, “Bihar government has no logical explanation as to why the state has got a dud in almost all parameters in the report despite the claim that last 16 years of Nitish Kumar’s dispensation have been glorious.”

The Niti Aayog report has ranked Bihar lowest in various parameters. It says that 51.91% of the state’s 11 crore population is poor whereas in nutrition index, 51.88% of the population is deprived. In both the indices, the state’s ranks among the worst compared to other states.

In child and adolescent mortality, the state is second worst in the country after Uttar Pradesh, says the report.

In other indices like maternal health, years of schooling, school attendance and cooking fuel, the state has scored poorly, and has been ranked among the most laggard states. In maternal health, the report says 45.62% of state’s population is deprived of good medical assistance while in years of schooling, 26.27% of population is deprived.

In sanitation, Bihar again has scored poorly and is only a notch higher than Jharkhand. The report says that 73.61% of the population is deprived of good sanitation facilities.

It says 39.96% of the state’s population are deprived of electricity, putting Bihar on top of the list of states with highest number of households not having power.

However, Bihar’s ranking in indices like drinking water is better than other states. “Only 2.35% of the state’s population is deprived of safe drinking water,” it says.

The report says that 24.32% of the state’s population is deprived of assets (a household is deemed deprived if it does not own more than one of the assets, be it radio, TV, telephone, computer etc). In bank account index, 26% of the state’s population doesn’t have an account.

The report has upset the ruling Janata Dal (United) and the Bhartiya Janata Party. “The entire report has seemingly been made in an arbitrary manner and it is beyond comprehension as what parameters were chosen. How can one accept that 40% of the households in Bihar does not have electricity. Even the centre has praised Bihar for its reforms and initiatives in power sector over the years,” said energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav.

“Niti Aayog team should visit Bihar and see how development has taken place over the last several years as compared to the situation before 2005. This report is totally baseless and false,” BJP’ Patel said.

He said the per capital income in Bihar in 2005 was 7,000, which had risen to 46,000 as of now while the budget size had exponentially increased in last 15 years. “Development is visible all over in the state, be in road sector, education or health,” he said.

However, Tejashwi Yadav, in a tweet, said, “Bihar in a bad shape in 16 years of Nitish’s rule.”

RJD chief Lalu Prasad too has slammed the Nitish Kumar government over the poor score of the state in the Niti Aayog report, saying there has been no worthwhile development in the state last 16 years.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A journalist for 21 years, Anirban covers RJD, legislature and government beats. Has extensive experience in covering elections and writes regularly on finance, land reforms, registration, excise and socio-economic issues.

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