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BW Businessworld

State Of Progress

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The Housing And Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), which has been working towards meeting the United Nation's millennium development goals (MDGs) in India, recently signed a contract with Paramount Financial Solutions to work together in financing human development projects. Poverty in Bihar, the highest among all states in India in terms of consumption measures is intensified by the deficiencies reflected in key human development indicators; most dimensions of human development education, malnutrition and maternal mortality. The state's performance during the 1990s falls well short of what is needed to achieve the goals. The Millenium Project was commissioned by the UN in 2002 wherein MDGs comprise eight  goals  that need to  be  achieved by  2015  and respond  to  the  world's  main development  challenges, particularly poverty alleviation.

The president of Paramount Financial Solutions, S.K. Mittal said, that "there is a lot of potential for cold storage plants in Bihar. HUDCO is playing a vital role in financing the various projects including the cold storage projects and has asked us to restructure the loan requirements of such projects. Banks are also aggressive to finance these projects."

Bihar's low growth is a major constraint in both its ability to generate recourses to finance critical, social and infrastructural services and in the generation of economic opportunities for poor households.

Despite these challenges and the state's physical and financial challenges, these are many pragmatic and affordable policy reforms that can move the development agenda forward. For this, it is critical to place people and human development first and thereby make economic and social development the primary objective of the government policy. Ultimately the development strategy must aim to help lift standards of living, improve human well-being and thereby eliminate poverty.

A two pillar strategy needs to be implemented. Improving  rural infrastructure and strengthening agricultural extension with targeted R&D can help boost the performance of agriculture, agro industry and related services (transport, storage, marketing).

The First Pillar: Improving Bihar's growth performance and investment climate. A critical element of the development strategy devised through the afore mentioned contract concentrates on strengthening Bihar's investment climate to attract productive resources and improve growth.

The Second Pillar: Strengthening delivery of social services. The need for improved access to services is particularly acute in rural communities where the quality and availability of the services are weakest and the development indicators are the worst.

The main challenge facing Bihar today is to build on these successes draw lessons from them and use them to push for further progress.