Programme Background

Sustainable and substantive development represents the increasing pace of positive change in the state of Bihar. As per a recent report, the state economy registered an annual growth rate of 11.35% over a five-year period from 2004-05 to 2008-09.

Growth that is demonstrable across a number of indicators - the construction of nearly 2,500 km of roads in 2008-09 compared to 415 km in 2005-06; increase of tele-density in the state from 5.34% in 2006 to 22.18% in 2009 and inflow of 3.46 lakh tourists in 2008 compared to 61,000 in 2003.

Though, these and other indicators stand testimony to the commitment of the State to accelerate development, the historical position suggests the need for continued large scale reforms.

As the third most populous state in India, Bihar has more than 40% of its population living below-the-poverty line. The state has one of the lowest values of the Human Development Index with a low per capita income and Gross Domestic Product. The magnitude and complexity of issues is amplified due to the cumulative impact of inadequate state response over the past few decades.

With less than 10% of state’s population residing in urban areas, Bihar is ranked among the least urbanized states in India. Urban centers present myriad development challenges including the lack of basic urban services, issues in local governance and high incidence of urban poverty. A recent study by the National Sample Survey Organisation reports a lower decrease in poverty ratios in urban Bihar in comparison to rural areas.

Urban development is critical for Bihar to achieve and sustain overall development goals. The current status of urbanization, presents a significant opportunity to develop urban centres as engines of economic growth for a pivotal role in the overall development of the state.

Samvardhan aims to initiate and accelerate urban reforms to address challenges for urban development and contribute significantly to the continuum of sustainable development in Bihar.