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Cool Bihari: October 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Puja Celebrations in Bihar

Biharis around the world are missing the fervour and hungama of Durga puja.The celebrations in Patna makes everyone nostalgic and the loving memories of those golden days keeps coming back.Manish Sinh has posted some great images and video's from the Patna and I'm sure it will be a treat to watch for every Bihari. Wishing you all a very Happy Durga Puja.

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Bihar Goes Glam way..

India today's previous edition has a story on the talent pool of Bihar in the field of Glamour and Entertainment.The article is titled "Bihar goes glam".

Patna Express

As youngsters from Bihar make their mark in the hitherto untouched world of glitz, the state Government is trying to match their global aspirations with better infrastructure.

In the recent past we have seen how Bihari talent is making its mark in the field of fashion,media and entertainment.Unlike the past we are now seeing more and more youngsters from Bihar are open to alternate career and willing to break the typical mindset of naukri and stability of Job.They are confident,passionate and have the talent to make it big at the global level.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

So far so good...

It was a pleasant surprise when I looked at the number of posts on the cool Bihar blog yesterday. I just didn’t realize that the last post actually took the total number of posts to 301.It almost been over three years since I started this blog and I must confess it has been an enriching and proud experience when I look back at the small but significant journey so far.

To me it has also been a process of discovery and learning, an effort to showcase the great land called Bihar which has been the most ignored and denigrated by the ignorant few. I’m neither a reformer nor an activist but this blog intended to sensitize bihari and Non Biharies about what this state has always doing but still getting marginalized and deplored by folks in media and other parts of the country.

Not sure how successful I have been in this effort to change perceptions or sensitize others about Bihar but this blog has lot of self pride and personal emotions attached so I will always look at this with great pride and joy. In this effort if some folks have know something new and unique about Bihar and have also thought differently and optimistically about the issues raised here, I think my efforts have gone in the right direction.

I would think the purpose of creating this virtual space is fulfilled if it has been able to inspire few of us to think about the challenges and need of this state, to make some real time effort to contribute in making a better Bihar.

This was just an introspection journey so far and I’m hoping to have much more support from the Cool Bihari team and other friends who have been taking the ideas forward and collaborating as a team to lead what we call as Bihar 2.0 initiatives.

Thanks a lot for your feedback ,support and contribution.Do keep coming back.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bihar surges ahead

Bihar’s economic growth has picked up tempo and this is evident if one considers the rise in tax collection in the state. This clearly demonstrate that new economic activities and investment in the state has increased as the corporate tax collections figures from Bihar has totted up the highest growth in the first half at 265%.

The collections from Patna, which shows collections from both Bihar and Jharkhand, grew from Rs 123 crore in April-September 2006 to Rs 451 crore in April-September 2007.

Analysts say a better political system and efficient administration could be finally attracting investments in the state, particularly in construction sector. In fact, individuals too seem to be reaping the benefits of changing economic scenario. An indication of this is the rise in tax deducted at source collections. Patna witnessed a growth of 43.09% in personal income tax collections at Rs 559 crore.

World bank report indicates that the initiatives which have taken place over the year has finally started to show some positive returns. The Bank prepared a report titled Bihar: Towards a Development Strategy in June 2005 which formed the basis of the development partnership between the Bank and the state government.
The report also helped the Bank get a comprehensive analysis of the development challenges and opportunities facing Bihar. Since then, the Bank has been engaged in helping the state build its capacity in a range of sectors, from public expenditure management to flood forecasting to reforming the public distribution system.

“While Bihar has a lot of catching up to do, there are signs of hope. If the current momentum for progress can be sustained, the state can hope to bring prosperity to its people. The road to development will now need the combined efforts of the state and the central government, the private sector, civil society, Bihar's migrant population, as well as the international community,” says Ms. Isabel Guerrero, the World Bank Country Director for India.
In another developement the largest idol of Lord Vishnu in North India has been spotted at Samas village in Sheikhpura district.

The idol is made of black granite and measures 7.5 feet in length and 3.5 feet in width. It belongs to the Gupta period and was recovered during the excavation of an old village tank in 1992. Its four arms carry a "sankh (conch)", a "chakra (discus)", a "gada (club)" and a "padma (lotus)".

The idol has been installed in a makeshift temple on a sprawling 15-bigha campus of the tank. Samas village is located five km from Barbigha subdivision town and 25 km from Biharsharif. This village appears to be a great centre of iconography because a large number of idols have been recovered from here and its neighbouring regions in the recent years.

There are two figures — one masculine and another feminine — below the left and right arms of the idol. An idol of Goddess Laxmi was also recovered during the excavation but it was stolen about 40 years back.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Video on Sammaan

A video on the Sammaan project in Bihar which was recently awarded second prize in the first Bihar Innovation Forum.

Previous post on the project.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Another Cool Bihari:Manish Tiwary

Another Bihari lad has made his directorial debut on the celluloid screen. Manish Tiwary who hails from Muzzafarpur directed the Prakash Jha production movie Dil Dosti etc.The movie may not have done great business on box office but this lad has certainly made his mark.

Manish talk about his Bihari background and his journey so far.

Tell us about yourself.

My parents are doctors in Muzaffarpur (Bihar). I studied at Delhi University but completed my PhD from Cambridge University in 2001. From there, I went to Yale University. I have also worked with the UN in Rome. While I was studying and working, I made a couple of documentary films (for the university and the UN). I just couldn't help but direct. This is how I express myself. I was even a part of a film society in Cambridge. I returned to Delhi and wrote a script that resulted in Dil Dosti Etc.

Why did you come to India to make films since you were already doing documentaries? Why didn't you make a feature film there itself?

I am a hardcore Bihari at heart. Plus, my stories are Indian, and not Italian or English. My audience lies here. If I make a film, I would rather make it in my own country.

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E-governance in Rural Bihar

Bihar govt. has taken a laudable initiative to initiate the e-governance project in all its 8,479 panchayats at a cost of INR 252 million.

The proposal that was approved last week at a state cabinet meeting in Patna aims at setting up a panchayat information centres or panchayat portals called Vasudha Kendras that will enable villagers to connect with the outside world and provide affordable and easy access to information about the government and its policies.

These Vasudha Kendras would further be connected to all state departments through the Internet and the government will provide computers and Internet connections at the panchayat level centre. According to the plan, eight government departments, including the chief minister secretariat, will be linked to the State-wide Area Network (SWAN).

The project aims at establishing direct contact with villagers and making the functioning of the government more transparent.

According to reports, the project would be developed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) along with the Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation, a state-owned IT body, while Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) will monitor the implementation.The state had provided top administrative officials and ministers with laptops as part of its e-Governance initiative only recently. Besides, it has also connected all its 38 district headquarters through video-conferencing link.

Initiatives like these definitely give more credibility to the idea of Bihar 2.0 and if executed well it bring about lot of ground level changes at the local level . One of the challenges which Bihar is facing today is that of proper governance at micro levels like panchyats and small districts. Govt funds and other incentives to boost employment opportunities and income levels in these villages have proved to be an execution nightmare due to inefficiencies existing in the current structure. The advent of e-governance will surely improve things at ground level at it will allow govt officials to keep closer watch on the project implementation and execution of ideas at grassroots levels.

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  • I'm Ajit Chouhan
  • From Houston, TX, United States
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