There’s always a silver lining!

Bihar, one of the oldest states of India, boasts a rich history that can be traced back to the formation of human civilization. But the caste survey released by the state government in October 2023 reveals a very dismal picture – poverty and a poor job scenario continue to ail the state. The government is mulling the introduction of a caste-based quota. Can it help solve this grave problem? Or should the government bring in more investments to alleviate the masses from their age-old struggles? Protests against alleged irregularities in government exams in the state often make headlines, reflecting the anger of the people and their helplessness about the lack of jobs in the state. 

Underdevelopment has been pushing people to leave and relocate to more industrialised states. Migration for better education and jobs to other states and outside country is not a new phenomenon. If we look back at history, migration from the state began in the 19th century and has continued ever since. Over half households in the state see migration to places that offer a better standard of living, better employment options and more money, states a study by the Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS).

One of the primary reasons for unemployment in Bihar is the lack of industrialisation and economic development. There are a few largescale industries and job opportunities, and the agricultural sector, which employs a significant portion of the population, has limited scope for growth, as per the Economic Survey of the state. 

However, all is not doom and gloom. The economy of Bihar is largely service oriented, with a significant agricultural base. The state also has an industrial sector. Agriculture accounts for 35%, industry 9% and service 55% of the economy. There is virtually no manufacturing sector but its share is increasing.

The Adani Group’s increasing footprint in the state promises to create around 10,000 jobs, a significant number. The Group will make an additional investment of Rs 8,700 crore in sectors like cement, logistics and agriculture, said Mr Pranav Adani, Director, Adani Enterprises, at Bihar Business Connect-2023.

The conglomerate has invested ₹850 crore in Bihar in logistics and gas distribution and has created about 3,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities. With additional investment in multiple sectors, the Adani Group will create 10,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities in the state, which has a dismal unemployment rate – 17.5% in March 2023, the highest in the country. What makes this figure worrisome is that the state has had the highest unemployment rate for the last two years.

The Adani Group is mulling bringing Adani Wilmar to the state. The Ambuja Cements project is aiming for a 10 million metric tonne target and is expected to create about 3,000 jobs.

There’s always a silver lining. With initiatives like these, one can hope for the state to reclaim its lost glory.