What went wrong then? Where did it yake the wrong turn? There were many turning points, all of which were in the reverse direction.
As I mentioned earlier, there was the fact that Bihar was subjected to most oppressive forms of exploitation and did not seem to get the benefits which came to some other parts of the country during the British period. However, worse was to come and this was neglect from our own national leaders. A comparison of Bihar and Punjab and government spending through five year plans during the period 1950-2001 would illustrate this:
- In 1955, the total national outlay for irrigation
was Rs.29,106.30 lakhs. Of this Punjab got Rs.10,952.10 lakhs or
37.62%. Bihar, on the other hand, got only Rs.1,323.30 lakhs, which is
only 4.54% of the irrigation outlay. Even if we were to take the expenditure on Bhakra Nangal Dam as a national venture, Punjab's outlay was still about 2.5 times that of Bihar.
- Punjab has 5.036 million hectare of land out of which 4.288 million hectare is arable. Further, about 89.72% or 3.847 million hectare of this arable land is irrigated. Therefore, we can say that 76.38% of all land in Punjab is irrigated. In contrast, only 40.86% or 7.1 million hectare of Bihar’s total area of 17.38 million hectare is under cultivation. Of this, only 3.642 ,illion hectare or 51.30% is irrigated. Despite being almost 3.5 times larger than Punjab, it has less irrigated land than Punjab.
- The per capita outlay of the five year plans administered by the Government of India have been consistently much higher for Punjab as against for Bihar. For example, in the 10th Five Year Plan, Bihar had a per capita outlay of Rs.2,536.23 while Punjab had a per capita outlay of Rs.7,681.10, more than thrice that of Bihar.
- There were other benefits that came to Punjab and not in commensurate amounts to Bihar. With more than 50% of food procurement of GOI coming from Punjab, most of the government expenditure on food subsidy benefitted Punjab. Similarly, with highest consumption of fertiliser in the country the huge subsidies on fertiliser prices also benefitted Punjab more.
More later ............