Nitish Kumar’s Next Poll Pitch: Focus on Social Sector Schemes

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Patna: Setting the stage for the upcoming polls of the assembly, Bihar chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called for a rethinking of the discourse on migration for state-to-state employment and on the development associated with high industrial investment.

“The states have been created purely for administrative purposes, and anyone, as an Indian citizen, can go and look for work anywhere in the country,” said Kumar in Patna at the Network 18 event, Rising Bihar.

“The green revolution would not have been possible without the people of Bihar,” said Kumar, “if the immigrants from the state who now settle in Delhi decide not to work for a day, the national capital will stop.”

His government, he said, had emphasized the creation of a trained and educated human resource, which can look for work in any part of the country.

Kumar would seek a fourth term in 2020, and job creation within the state is one of the biggest challenges he has faced during his term.

He accepted that the “big investment” is a problem in a landlocked state like Bihar and insisted that the state government has explored the generation of jobs in other sectors such as food processing and information and technology.

“Development does not mean that only big industries are established and only a few get benefits from it, development must be for everyone,” he said at the ETV Bihar event.

The Bihar CM, during his inaugural speech, also dwelt in great details about the social sector schemes and reform laws that the JD(U) government in the state has enacted during the current terms.

“The prohibition will not fail, there are some people in society whose actions can lead to some incidents,” Kumar said in reference to deaths caused by the consumption of spurious liquor in a state that has enacted prohibition laws two years ago.

He also defended the strict implementation of laws against dowry and child marriage by his government.

Responding to accusations that some of these statutes were draconian in nature, Kumar insisted that the measures taken by the state government gained overwhelming support from the poor and women, especially in rural areas.

In calling for a debate on reserves in the private sector, he said that the new provisions aimed at positive discrimination can be considered in light of the limited employment opportunities in the public sector. He, however, insisted that the reference point for reservations should be social rather than economic backwardness.

“This is part of our constitution, debated and well thought out by our founding fathers,” he said.