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Bihar Leads from the front

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Cool Bihari: Bihar Leads from the front

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Bihar Leads from the front

It’s hearting to see the mainstream media doing some fact finding to bring out the positives which have been happening in Bihar but most of our friends conveniently choose to ignore.Good to see the prominence which is being given to the some of the areas where Bihar has taken lead and can give a lesson or two to others.

Amarnathy Tiwari talks about some of the areas where Bihar has taken a lead and has set an example for others to follow.

Bihar is the only state in India to have 50% of places in local municipal bodies reserved for women. The present government in Bihar, run by the Janata Dal (United) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), began the policy of reserving half of local municipal body seats for women. Today half of the 262,000 elected councillors to local municipalities in the state are women.

Fast track courts in Bihar have convicted and sentenced more criminals than courts in any other Indian state in the past 18 months. Between January 2006 and May 2007, a total of 11,665 criminals were convicted through speedy trials and sent to prison.More than 2,500 were sentenced to life, and 21 others given the death penalty. Critics of the speedy trials express concerns about the quality of evidence and justice being dispensed in such a short time in a country where court cases typically drag on for years. The fastest judgement in Bihar was delivered by a court in 13 days flat from the date of the incident.

Bihar is the only state in India where retired soldiers are being hired as policemen to stem the crime wave.They mostly comprise the "special auxiliary police" force - about 5,000 retired soldiers were hired last year and sent to help police various districts.Since then this special force has earned plaudits for controlling crime and taking on Maoist rebels. The government is planning to hire another 11,500 ex-soldiers soon to bolster the force. On average about 100 of these soldiers-turned-policemen have been deployed in each district.

Sudha, a dairy co-operative, is a shining exception and one of the most successful exercises of its kind in India. Launched in 1993, the co-operative's revenues from a range of milk and milk products has risen from $73.5m in 2001-2002 to $136m today. The co-operative has 6,000 outlets covering 84 towns in the state.More than 260,000 milk farmers in the state are members of the co-operative, and a private bank has even launched a pension scheme for them.

Did you know that a simplified tax system conceived and launched in Bihar is now being emulated by Sri Lanka and various African countries and has been lauded by the United Nations? Introduced by the municipality of Patna, the state capital, in 1993, the tax system, locally known as the "Patna model of taxation" simplifies property tax rates on the basis of the local area and use of property.

Property is classified according to its location, construction, use (residential or commercial), and rates fixed accordingly. States like Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh have adopted the same property tax model. The UN was so impressed by the taxation model that it gave a $30,000 award to Bihar for introducing this method.

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