Principal Secretary, Education, Government of Bihar
At a time when Bihar is growing at more than 10 percent, the real challenge is to combine financial inclusion with social development. “Inclusion doesn’t mean only financial inclusion; it should also lead to social development. You can’t have financial inclusion or any other form of economic inclusion, if you have not addressed fundamental issue of social inclusion and social development,” said Amarjit Sinha, principal secretary, education, government of Bihar.
Sinha said, while the private sector is getting praise for the country’s economic growth post-1991, it has not led the path of social development in the country. “The private players may be engineers of economic growth in the last two decades, but they cannot be engineers of social development. Social development requires public system. Let’s us not forget the public system. In social development, you cannot get away from the public system. Therefore, the challenge before us is how we revisit the public system,” he said.
According to Sinha, “Merely looking at cash transfer, conditional cash transfer and public private partnership is not where the focus is required as far as social development is concerned. We have to find schools, hospitals and development in such a manner that they should provide services. This is how 90 percent of the world has moved on.”
He said that the CM’s initiative has also led to a growth model where aspirations of poor are arising. “At a place where a plumber’s son becomes a plumber or a carpenter’s son becomes a carpenter, this can only be challenged with progressive institutions which allow dreams to be chased.”
In several human development indicators, Sinha pointed out like in infant mortality and death rates, Bihar has caught up with the national average. “This shows that healthcare has improved. But in the tertiary care, it has a long way to go. For one major surgery, we all take the train to Delhi. We need to develop such infrastructure in the state,” said the principal secretary. He has earlier served as joint secretary in the health ministry.
The state has set up mission Manav Vikas which is a cabinet sub-committee on human development where the CM and 15 ministers monitor the progress on 15 key indicators – education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation etc. “The answer to inclusion not only lies in economic growth but very firmly in social development, crafting credible public system which can deliver quality services,” he added.
(Sinha’s book on inclusive development, ‘Revisiting India and looking at Public Systems’ will be launched in October)