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Cool Bihari: February 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Amartya Sen on Bihar:past, present and future


Nobel laureate Amartya Sen while delivering a lecture, “Bihar: past, present and future”, said that Bihar played a great role by unifying India during the rule of Ashoka. The state set a new trend in world democracy by organising the first “Buddhist global council” at Rajgir after Gautam Buddha’s death, initiating the process of opening doors for “government by discussion”.

“The state,” said Sen, “had a trail-blazing tradition of free medical service for all in Pataliputra which impressed the Chinese traveller, Fa-Hsien, to record in his accounts.”

He also made a special mention of Sher Shah whose large empire in early 16th century was centred in Bihar and which constructed the infrastructure of roads and bridges across India. Sen said he still remembered how a bridge built by Sher Shah in Bengal survived when a devastating flood washed away all the others.

But why was Bihar being referred to as a “backward state”? Sen said: “It is because the state lagged behind in the areas in which it had set up examples: rule of law, building infrastructure, literacy, education and healthcare.”

He also urged industrialists from the Jain community to take initiative to develop Pawapuri in Bihar's Nalanda distrit where Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, is believed to have attained enlightenment.”

The renowned economist, who visited Pawapuri Friday, said there was a need to set up three-star hotels, an engineering college and other infrastructure for the area's development. Sen recalled that last time he visited Pawapuri in 2003 when he was part of the delegation of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Pawapuri is nearly 90 km from Patna.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Bihar wins National Award for e-governance

Bihar govt effort to improve its administrative operations and empower people was duly recognized recently. 'Jankari', a Bihar government project to empower people with information under RTI over telephone, has bagged the National award for e-governance.

"The award will be given to the state government's unique project, Jankari Call Centre under Right to Information Act (RTI), on February 12 this year at the national conference on e-governance in Goa," Bihar is the first state to start the Jankari project, a brain child of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which enables people living in remote corners of the state to make applications under RTI through a telephone call, Subhani said.

The operators receiving the calls in call centres draft the applications under RTI and send it to the public authorities for providing requisite information to applicants.

During the two years of its existence, the call centre received 22,600 calls of which 7,070 were to submit applications under RTI, 3016 calls for filing first appeal and 1,400 calls for filing second appeals before the state information commission.

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