Friday, November 22, 2013

आइये, इस शर्म को हमेशा के लिए समाप्त करे||



मेरा हमेशा से ये मानना रहा है, कि खुले में शौच जाना मानव की गरिमा पर अभिशाप है| लोगों ने आदर और सम्मान दे कर मुझे यह पद दिया है तो यह मेरा कर्तव्य बनता है कि मैं उन्हें एक गरिमामयी जीवन दूँ, जिसमें घरेलु शौचालय सबसे महत्वपूर्ण स्थान रखता है

हाल ही मैंने एक घोषणा की है कि जिनके घर में घरेलू शौचालय नहीं होगा, वे नगर निकाय एवं पंचायत चुनाव नहीं लड़ पायेंगे| इस घोषणा के बाद मेरी उम्मीद है की लोगों एवं सरकारी संस्थओं के अन्दर इस समस्या के प्रति जागरूकता आयेगी| मैं हमेशा से इस मुद्दे पर काम करना चाहता था| मुख्यमंत्री पद की शपथ लेने के बाद ही मैंने इस समस्या के प्रति जागरूकता लाने का काम शुरू किया|

मैं हमेशा से राम मनोहर लोहिया से प्रेरित रहा| 1950 के दशक में जब कोई शौचालय के बारे में सोचता भी नहीं था, उन्होंने शौचालय एवं नदियों की सफाई की बात कही थी | लोहिया जी प्रधानमंत्री पंडित जवाहर लाल नेहरु के धुर विरोधी थे| इसके बावजूद उन्होंने एक बार कहा था कि “अगर पंडित नेहरु भारत में सभी महिलाओं के लिए शौचालय बना दे तो मैं उनका विरोध करना छोड़ दूंगा” | उनका यह कथन इस मुद्दे पर उनकी सोच,गम्भीरता तथा उनकी दूरदर्शिता का प्रमाण है|

2008 में लोहिया जी से प्रेरणा ले कर मैंने बिहार में 'लोहिया स्वच्छता योजना' की शुरुआत की| इस अभियान के अंतर्गत हमारा उद्देश्य सब के लिए शौचालय की सुविधा उपलब्ध कराना है| यह बात बताते हुए मुझे गर्व का अहसास हो रहा हैं कि पुरे भारत में सिर्फ महाराष्ट्र को छोड़ केवल बिहार ही ऐसा राज्य हैं जिसने खुला शौचालय खत्म करने की दिशा में ऐसी पहल की |

लोहिया स्वच्छता योजना के तहत हमारा लक्ष्य 2015 तक बिहार में शौचालय विहीन घरों को शौचालय सुविधा से युक्त बनाने का है| इससे पहले बिहार में शौचालय की व्यवस्था सुनिश्चित करने के लिए केंद्र सरकार द्वारा निर्मल भारत अभियान चलाया जा रहा था, लेकिन शुरुआत में इसका लक्ष्य केवल बी.पी.एल. परिवारों तक ही सिमित था | हमलोगों ने बिहार में इस कार्यक्रम का विस्तार किया जिससे इस योजना का लाभ अधिक से अधिक परिवार उठा सके| इस योजना के विस्तार के लिए राज्य सरकार की तरफ से इसमें अंशदान बढाया गया तथा बी.पी.एल परिवारों के साथ ए.पी.एल. परिवारों भी शामिल किया गया| इन योजनाओं को शुरू करने के पीछे मुख्य उद्देश्य, लोगों को घरेलू शौचालय बनवाने के लिए प्रेरित और जागरूक करना है| मुझे यह देख कर आश्चर्य होता है की गाँव में कुछ परिवार जिनके के पास पैसे होते है, परन्तु वे अपने घर में शौचालय नहीं बनवाते है| इसलिए हमनें ए.पी.एल. परिवारों को भी इस योजना में शामिल किया जिसके अंतर्गत घरेलु शौचालय बनवाने के लिए  सरकार की तरफ से उन्हें भी रकम मुहैया कराइ जाएगी|

शौचालय निर्माण को प्रोत्साहन देने के लिए मैंने यह घोषणा की है कि जिस ग्राम पंचायत में शत प्रतिशत शौचालय का निर्माण होगा, उस ग्राम पंचायत को निर्मल ग्राम पंचायत का पुरस्कार दिया जायेगा| निर्मल ग्राम पंचायत को 5 लाख की नकद राशी प्रदान की जाएगी | इसी प्रकार जिस प्रखंड के संपूर्ण पंचायतों में शत-प्रतिशत शौचालय का निर्माण होगा, उस प्रखंड को निर्मल प्रखंड का पुरस्कार दिया जायेगा जिसमें उस प्रखंड को 25 लाख की नकद राशी प्रदान की जाएगी जिसका उपयोग उन्हें  स्वच्छता कार्यक्रमों में करना होगा

मेरे इस शौचालय युक्त घरों के अभियान से मैं लोगों के मौलिक अधिकारों को बचाना चाहता हूँ| घर में शौचालय होना हर इन्सान का मौलिक अधिकार है| इसी मौलिक अधिकार के लिए राष्ट पिता महात्मा गाँधी ने बहुत काम किया | जब मैं यह सुनता हूँ कि भारत में 600 करोड़ लोग तथा 53% भारतीय परिवार को खुले में शौचालय करने के अपमान से गुजरना पड़ता है, तो मेरा सर शर्म से नीचे हो जाता है | विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन  की रिपोर्ट कहती है कि प्रतिदिन करीब 2 बिलियन टन मल, जिनमें बैक्टीरिया, वायरस होते हैं, हमारी पृथ्वी पर छूने, खाने और पानी में मिल जाने को तैयार रहता है जो कि काफी दुखद है

खुले शौचालय के परिणाम स्वरुप डायरिया होता है जिससे प्रतिदिन 1,600 से ज्यादा बच्चों की मौत होती है| डायरिया जैसी बीमारियाँ समुचित सफाई व्ययवस्था से आसानी से रोकी जा सकती है| यह काफी आश्चर्यजनक है कि मिलेनियम डेवलपमेंट गोल, 2000 के अन्दर समुचित सफाई व्यवस्था अंकित भी नहीं थी|

जन साधारण में शौचालय के प्रति जागरूकता लाने के लिए पंचायती राज अधिनियम में संशोधन किया जायेगा| केंद्र सरकार ने जनगणना के आधार पर बिहार में 1 करोड़ 11 लाख ग्रामीण परिवारों में शौचालय बनाने का लक्ष्य रखा है| जबकि हमारे पारिवारिक सर्वेक्षण में 2 करोड़ 19 लाख शौचालय विहीन परिवार मिले है|

मेरा यह मानना है कि प्रत्येक राज्य सरकार का यह कर्तव्य है कि राज्य के लोगों को मुलभुत सुविधाए उपलब्ध करा के उनके लिए एक प्रतिष्ठित जीवन सुनिश्चित करे| अगर मेरी सरकार लोगों की गरिमा को कायम रखने में सफल होती है तो यह मेरे लिए एक बहुत बड़ी उपलब्धि होगी|


Thursday, November 21, 2013

END THIS GLARING AND ENDURING SHAME

For many years now, I have believed, and said that open defecation is an affront to human dignity, a curse to humanity. As someone bestowed with people’s affection to serve them, I feel it is my utmost duty to ensure them a life of dignity. Access to toilets are at the core of this.  

I recently made an announcement that those not having a toilet in their homes will not be allowed to contest panchayat or urban local body elections in Bihar. With this I sincerely hope there will be greater urgency among people and government agencies to work on this issue. You would know this concern has been at the core of my heart, and soon after I assumed charge as Chief Minister, I have been working on creating awareness on access to toilets.

 I have always been inspired by our great leader Shri Ram Manohar Lohia – way back in 1950 Shri Lohia had advocated cleanliness of toilets and rivers. Shri Lohia who was a staunch critic of Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru had once said that “I would stop my opposition to Nehru if he built toilets for all the women in the country.” Such was Lohia’s conviction towards ensuring this dignified existence for people.  

Inspired by Lohia’s vision and my personal conviction, we had designed and launched the unique Lohia Swachhata Yojana in 2008 with an aim to ensure Toilets for All. I am proud to note that, other than Maharashtra, Bihar was the only state to have launched a unique scheme to address the problem of open defecation.

The Lohia Swachhata Yojana was designed to achieve the objective of providing sustainable toilets to all households by 2015. While the BPL families were covered under the Central Scheme of Total Sanitation Campaign, we also made provisions for incentives to APL families. This was unique in many ways. The incentives / subsidies was a tool to encourage people to think on the significance of toilets. I was aghast to note that many people had toilets yet they did not use it – and my endevour was to create a compelling attentiveness among people on the need for the same.   

I have announced this year that panchayats that achieve the 100% target of constructing toilets will be given the Nirmal Gram Panchayat prize of Rs 5 lakh each. The Nirmal Prakhand award will carry Rs 25 lakh in prize for blocks for conducting a cleanliness drive.

My effort is aimed at addressing a fundamental woe of human civilization, a cause for which Mahatma Gandhi spent considerable efforts. My head sinks with shame when I am told that over 600 million people in India or 53% of Indian households today have to suffer the humiliation of defecating in the open. It is sad, as WHO has noted, that "Every day, nearly two billion tons of human faeces, with a dizzying number of potential viruses, bacteria and worm eggs, are lying around our planet ready to be trodden on, touched or ingested in water and food."

The consequences are not difficult to calculate: Diarrhoea, caused by that contaminated food, water and environment, is still the second deadliest killer of children in the world, killing 1,600 children every day. Yet, as the WHO has rightly noted, the attention and funding given to sanitation and diarrhoea - which is easily preventable with adequate sanitation, safe water and good hygiene – have for decades been dwarfed by that given to other causes and challenges such as HIV/AIDS. When the Millennium Development Goals – a set of targets to reduce poverty and better maternal health and education amongst other things – were signed in 2000, sanitation wasn’t even mentioned.

We are committed to bring the necessary amendments to the Bihar Panchayati Raj Act and other statutes governing the elections of urban bodies to raise public awareness about the benefits of toilets in houses. The central government had aimed to construct 1.11 crore toilets in the state, our records show that 2.19 crore families do not have a toilet in their home.

I am of the firm belief that ensuring a dignified life – and providing basic facilities to its people – is a fundamental duty of the state. If my government can ensure this existential decorum for the people of Bihar, this will be one of my biggest achievements. This has been an enduring dream, and close to my heart – and seeing it happening in my lifetime shall give me immense solace.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Annual Lecture at the National Commission for Minorities, September 20, 2013, New Delhi


Janab Wajahat Habibullah, Chairman National Commission of Minorities, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

I am deeply honoured by the invitation extended to me to deliver the Annual Lecture of the National Commission for Minorities.   I have deep respect for the National Commission for Minorities.  I believe that this institution has done valuable work towards ensuring the welfare of those of our citizens who are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists or Zoroastrians. Since the Commission was established in 1992, it has worked with vigilance and sensitivity to safeguard the constitutional and legal rights of these minorities. 

There is a fundamental question before all of us today.  It is a question which is critical for our young Republic and Nation. It is a question which will determine our future.  And, it is a question which must necessarily invoke our past.  It is a question about who we are, about our identity, how we see ourselves, and how we want the world to see us.  It is a question, in short, about our survival, and our ability to flourish and prosper.  Simply put, the question is: WHAT IS THE IDEA OF INDIA which we cherish?  Or, what is the thinking that animates the Indian ethos, and how can we preserve and strengthen it?  


This is not a theoretical question.  It is not a question confined to text books, or to the cloistered world of academics.  It is a question which affects our lives directly, and will influence the kind of world we bequeath to succeeding generations.  This question must be answered, and answered definitively.  If we choose not to answer it, or provide the wrong answer, our future as a nation and as a civilization will be in peril.  It is a peril all Indians must work jointly to avoid.  Otherwise history will never forgive us. 

My personal conviction is that the idea of India has inherent in it the idea of love, respect and inclusiveness.  Our history and civilization stand on the strong roots of peaceful co-existence.  On a foundational basis India has always been a land where people of different faiths and ethnicities have found a home, and an opportunity to mould their future.  There is hardly any area of national endeavour—language, art, architecture, music, scholarship, cuisine, dress, and so many more areas—where they are not an intrinsic part.

Our culture has evolved to become a ganga-jamuni synthesis of Hinduism and Islam, and, indeed, of all the faiths that India is home to.  The remarkable Sufi and Bhakti movements, once again reinforced the message of India’s essential profile as a nation that refuses to build narrow religious hatreds, and values the essential message of co-existence and respect for people of all faiths.

My state of Bihar provides a graphic illustration of this reality of India.  Within a radius of a roughly a hundred kilometres from Patna, you will find some of the most revered religious sites of Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism.  In Patna, we have Patna Sahib, which was visited by first guru of Sikhs Guru Nanak Dev ji, and where Guru Gobind Singh ji was born; a little out of Patna, we have Bihar Sharif, which, like Ajmer Sharif, is one of the most revered sites for Sufism and Islam; not too far away from here we have Pawa Puri, where the founder of the Jain faith, Bhagwan Mahavira, was cremated; adjacent to it is the most holy pilgrimage site for Buddhists—Bodhgaya, where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment; and right next to it is Gaya, where Hindus congregate in huge numbers for the pind daan of their ancestors. Here, in Bihar, then you have visibly, dramatically, the reality of our country, a country of many faiths co-existing with each other, and collectively contributing to the vibrant plurality that is India. 

In my view the foundation of a progressive India is communal harmony, social harmony and inclusive growth.  Until we do not strengthen the tapestry of communal harmony and social harmony we cannot have economic development on an enduring basis. We will need to adopt an inclusive approach to all sections of our people.  Along with development, good governance and progress, we will also have to strengthen a culture wherein India’s plurality and diversity are vibrantly represented.  We will have to accept that people of all creeds and faiths are an indivisible part of India, in accordance with the vision of the founding fathers of our Constitution. 

We will definitely have to adopt an inclusive approach in our governance and administration. This is directly contrary to that narrow and elitist thinking where development is interpreted to mean only the further strengthening of those already privileged.  India is a country of many internal contradictions.  As against a few very affluent and privileged people, there are the huge numbers of the poor and the deprived.  Even after six decades and more after Independence, our country is burdened with abject poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition and hunger.  Some parts of our nation have moved further towards well being and prosperity, while other parts, in spite of their best efforts, have been left quite far behind in the race towards development.  There are some historical and cultural reasons for this.  The development of any country must be seen holistically, not in water tight compartments.  It is this thinking which has motivated my government to adopt the ideological premise of development with justice. 

We need to work with harmony and dedication to end inequality.  Such a commitment should definitely be reflected also in our approach towards our minorities.  All Indians are citizens of our Republic, but, within this framework, if a minority community needs any special assistance then it is in accord with our civilizational values and philosophical vision, to accord it. Such an approach, stemming from genuine concern, of helping those who are in need, is also a sign of a mature democracy and a socially sensitive society.  According full faith and respect to all religions is, of course, a sign of our secularism; but it is also a fulfilment of what is enshrined in our Constitution and the tenets on which our Republic is founded.

If a society functions on the basis of justice, love and harmony then the doors to good governance and development automatically open. But there is a school of thought which has popularized the theory that good governance and inclusive growth are two separate and mutually opposed goals. Our country needs good governance, but there can be no good governance if it is divisive or non-inclusive. Good governance and an inclusive vision are two sides of the same coin. Of what good is the slogan of good governance if it works only to make the rich richer and ignores the plight of the deprived and the marginalized? Of what use is the claim to good governance if in its wake it creates communal barriers and divides society? Of what use is a manifesto of good governance if it ignores the regional diversity of India and the special needs of those who are less developed? 

Our belief is in inclusive progress which embraces all people, regions and classes. It is on this idea that Bihar’s claim for Special Category status rests.  Our demand is an expression of the desire of the ten crore people of Bihar to fully participate in the fruits of development. We shall continue to strongly voice our view that injustice has been done in the matter of the development of Bihar, and that the current criterion for according special category status are not  capable of delivering justice to backward States like Bihar. The fact that we are a landlocked backward State lagging far behind in the indices of development gives strength to our demand. Bihar, and other backward States, require special treatment, so that we too can become partners in the journey of the country’s economic development and contribute to the further growth in the nation’s GDP. This will only happen when Bihar gets what is legitimate due.  We are fighting for our right to development. 

The truth is that any government that is not inclusive is a danger to India.  India can never progress if the vast majority who are at the lowest rung of society do not also progress. If the fruits of progress do not reach those at the very bottom of our society—the dalits and mahadalits, the backward and the extremely backward classes, and the minority communities—then India cannot progress. Any other approach will unleash social unrest, generate endemic communal strife, instigate instability, nurture suspicion and hostility, and, in general, create an atmosphere of endemic national tension that will jeopardize the project of governance itself.

Whenever there is communal violence we see, more often than not, the involvement of anti-social elements which draw their strength in collusion with the political class. We have seen what happened at Muzaffarnagar. This is a matter of deep concern. We cannot allow this violence to spread all over the country. Some forces fan the fire of communal tensions in order to polarize the situation in their favour. This kind of political thinking completely stuns me.  We must fight such forces with all the strength at our command and not allow their nefarious plans to succeed. 

Bihar has been witness to such developments in the last few weeks when every attempt has been made to foment and spread communal tension.  This is in stark contrast to the last eight years when there was the fullest communal harmony.  We need to ask ourselves who is responsible for this, and why does this happen?  We shall face these challenges with the fullest dedication and all the power at our command, and remain firm in our resolve to achieve the goal of development with justice.

In the last eight years, we have used the tools of good governance to convert a State reeling under the curse of poverty, backwardness and administrative anarchy into the fastest growing State of the country.  For five continuous years Bihar notched the highest GDP growth rates in the nation, averaging around 11 per cent.Starting almost from scratch, and in very difficult circumstances, we restored law and order, built roads, upgraded basic infrastructure, introduced new initiatives in education and health, revolutionized many aspects of agriculture, brought in financial stability and restored the administrative framework. 

I am particularly happy about our efforts to curb corruption.  We enacted the far reaching Right to Public Services Act, which brings many services for which an ordinary citizen has to interface with the State, under a systematically monitored, time-bound system, with penalties for every day that the pre-identified official earmarked to render the service delays its delivery.  We were the first States in India to enact the Special Courts Act which allows the government to confiscate the properties of public servants if they face corruption charges and if their assets are disproportionate to their known sources of income.  Several of these properties have already been confiscated, and have made into public schools so that they are available for the benefit of the public. 

But we did not achieve high economic growth rates and other achievements at the cost of inclusive goals.  We began such programmes that would reach out to the poorest of the poor and the marginalized.  Special welfare programmes are being implemented for the mahadalits, the dalits, the extremely backward and backward classes, the minorities and women. For the scheduled castes, schedule tribes and extremely backward castes we are giving scholarship for children at a three times higher revised rate. At the same time, we have decided to give scholarship at higher revised rate to children of backward castesas well, whose family’s annual income is less than Rs one lakh. This year we have taken a decision to give scholarship to all girls from class I to X in government schools.  We want to strengthen the voice of the deprived.  Our mechanical GDP rates could have been even higher if we had ignored this aim.  But we realized that good governance, if it is to yield lasting dividends, must take into account the needs of the people from all sections of society. 

It was the same approach that made us to take up a host of programmes for the minorities.  From the very beginning the State government has given emphasis on the educational development of the students of the minority communities.  That is why today only a meagre 1.68 per cent of the children of the minority community between the ages of 6 to 14 are out of school. The State government gives grants to 1128 madarsa, 108 non-government minority primary schools and 76 minority middle schools.  In continuation of this effort, the government has made rules to enlist 205 more madarsa for assistance through grant. Work to fill up 29,000 vacant positions for Urdu teachers is ongoing.  Districts where the population density of minorities is greater have been prioritizedfor establishment of higher secondary schools.  In order to incentivize students of the minority community to go to school, a scholarship scheme was begun from 2007 under which Rs 10,000 is given to any minority student who gets first division in the matriculation exam.  In 2007 the number of such students who passed with first division was 2600; today, the number has gone up to 29,000.  Through the efforts of the State government a branch of the Aligarh Muslim University is to open in Kishangarh district, and land for this has already been earmarked and handed over. 

In order to increase the literacy rate for women in the minority community the State government has,through Talimi Markaz volunteers, organized the setting up of educational centres for informal learning. Our aim is to have Talimi Markaz volunteers for all minority settlements so that in the coming years more and more women become literate. The State government also commenced in 2008 a ‘Hunar’ programme for the vocational skill training of minority girl children.Training for such children is provided in identified vocational training centres. Thousands of girl children have so far received vocational training at such centres. Our aim this year is to impart training to 50,000 girl children from the minority community.

For the benefit of the minorities, institutions such as the Bihar Urdu Academy, the State Sunni Wakf Board, State Shia Wakf Board, the State Haj Committee, the Minority Finance Corporation, and the State Minority Commission are working independently, and financial assistance is being given to facilitate their optimal functioning.  A Directorate for the welfare of minorities has also been set up, and posts have been created for the appointment of minority welfare officer in each district. 

Among the measures to maintain communal harmony, the fencing of graveyardshas been undertaken.  Until now some 3600 graveyards have been provided appropriate fencing. For the welfare of the minorities the Chief Minister’s Shram Shakti Scheme, the scheme for constructing hostels for minority students, the Chief Minister’s Minority Educational Loan Scheme and the Chief Minister’s Minority Employment Loan Scheme are being implemented, and are being gainfully availed by the minority youth with great enthusiasm. 

Buildings in the name of iconic figures from among the minorities, such as the late Maulana Mazrul Haq, the late Abdul Qayum Ansari and the late Ghulam Sarwar, have been inaugurated, and these have become important trusts for the minority community. 
For us it is also a matter of great satisfaction that an atmosphere of communal good will and social harmony is evident in every corner of the State. The administration is under strict orders to take effective measures to immediately stop any attempt to disrupt this atmosphere.The truth is that among my one of the first official act after assuming office was to ensure reinvestigation of the cases against the politically influential perpetrators of the Bhagalpur incident. Furthermore we also ensured payment of pension for life to the destitutes of the riot affected families from state government’s exchequer. This sent the right message across the State. 

In short, our aim throughout was to reinforce the avowed goal of our Republic to provide equal opportunity to all our citizens.  Muslims are a valuable part of our citizenry. As part of our strategy to empower all our citizens who are relatively deprived or marginalized, we must provide to Muslims also equal opportunity and equip them to avail of it, so that they become a part of the mainstream of development. I consider this an inclusive approach to development. 

The basic truth is that the people of India want to live in peace and harmony.  They want to see greater economic development in our country.  They want to avail of new economic opportunities.  They do not want to be entangled in old slogans of division and hatred.  They want good governance, but not at the cost of societal instability and violence. 

In India, co-existence and harmony are a part of our culture.  They can never be compromised and must be allowed to flourish. But we will have to be vigilant against those seeking to unravel this national consensus.  In my idea of India, India will prevail.  Our centuries old legacy of assimilation, diversity and tolerance, will prevail. The unity of India will prevail. The vibrant plurality of India which gives us our identity will prevail.

My goal is to work to create the India of our dreams, an India of inclusive progress, communal harmony, and prosperity for all.  In Bihar, I am working to make this dream come true. Transient political gains have never been my aim.  I am confident that with the principles of harmony and inclusiveness as our guide, we will be partners in the creation of a glorious India tomorrow. 

Jai Hind  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Women’s education ushering in a silent social revolution in Bihar


My dear friends,

I am glad to be back here again. It feels great to share my thoughts with people living in different parts of the world. I am happy to share that an important decision has been taken to further boost the girls’ education in Bihar and I find it most appropriate to share this distinctive development with you.

During my Independence Day speech at Gandhi Maidan in Patna this year, I was happy to announce scholarships across the board for all girls, from Class I to Class X, studying in different government schools across Bihar.

What is significant about this decision is that schoolgirls from all sections of society regardless of caste, creed, community and economic background will benefit from it. The only criterion is that the beneficiary should be a student of a government school. That’s all.

This, in my opinion, is a revolutionary step which will give a tremendous boost to women’s education in the state. A few years ago, for incentivising enrolment especially for girl child in schools, the Mukhya Mantri Balika Poshak Yojna was started with cash support for school uniform to every enrolled girl child of Class VI to VII. Later it was extended all students from Class I to VIII and girl students of classes IX and XII. Another innovative landmark scheme Mukhya Mantri Balika Cycle Yojna was introduced in 2007-08 in which cash was given to girl students of class IX for purchase of cycles. This scheme not only saw a drastic increase in enrolment of girls but brought a new found confidence in them leading to a social transformation. The scheme has now been extended to cover all students of class IX.  Prior to implementation of the scheme, a large number of girls used to drop out of their schools after Class VIII. But these schemes reversed the trend. 


That undoubtedly turned out to be a milestone in the field of girls’ education in Bihar. That
cycle scheme brought about a social revolution and made the cycle-riding schoolgirls a veritable mascot of Bihar, especially in the rural areas. The success of that scheme could be gauged from the fact that altogether 9,61,109, including 4,92,899 girls, availed of the scheme in 2012-13.

When the scheme was launched in 2007-08, only 1,56,092 girls had benefited from it. The scheme was later extended for the boys as well. I am happy to see that the total number of the beneficiaries bicycle scheme has risen to 47,44,966, including 24,57,539 girls, towards the end of last fiscal.

The bicycle project has indeed heralded a silent revolution in the hinterland of Bihar as far as woman empowerment is concerned. It has instilled a sense of confidence in the girls. The sight of the groups of girls going to their schools from their villages on their bicycles bears an ample testimony to that. It is a kind of social revolution which has altered the way girls education has been looked at in Bihar, historically. I am certain the impact of this revolution will be felt in the long run when women would be truly empowered. An empowered woman makes a vibrant society.

It is in keeping with my government’s thrust on women’s education that I resolved to give women’s education a further boost through scholarship scheme. This scheme may well turn out to be an equally significant decision not only because it will encourage families to send their daughters to school but also because it will act as a catalyst for social change in the long run. I have always believed that educating a girl means educating an entire family.

A recent study has revealed that the population of Bihar has gone up by 25 per cent in the past decade. This is an alarming rate. All development work and GDP growth rate will come to a naught if we are not able to stabilise population. I think education plays a vital role in helping stabilise the population as well.

Bihar has the fertility rate of 3.6 but it is only 2 among the Matric-pass girls. This is on par with the national rate but it gets further reduced to 1.6 among the Intermediate-pass girls which is less than the national average (1.7). This clearly indicates that education creates awareness about such things.

I have, therefore, decided to establish a high school in each panchayat. At present, there is shortage of about 4,500 high schools across Bihar. The Cabinet has already approved of setting up of 1,000 high schools in the current financial year.

There are other burning social issues such as child marriage and gender inequality which are reasons for several social problems. These too can be tackled through girls’ education.

It is a matter of concern that the number of female population is going down because of rampant female foeticide. At present, the male-female ratio is 1,000:916 in Bihar which needs to be improved. I am of the view that proper and holistic education of girls will definitely help reverse this unhealthy trend as well. In my opinion an educated girl will never allow female foeticide.

The new scholarship scheme will give a tremendous fillip to their education. Its impact may not be understood immediately but it will usher in the social change in the coming years. Women’s education can be the most effective tool to usher in social revolution.

I hope more and more girls will avail of this new scheme and join schools to study. As I told you, an educated girl means an educated family. 

Thank you very much.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

महिला शिक्षा से बिहार में हो रही है क्रांति की शुरुआत


मेरे प्रिय मित्रो]

आप सब से एक बार फिर मुखातिब होते हुए मुझे बहुत खुशी महसूस हो रही है। दुनिया के विभिन्न हिस्सों में रहने वाले लोगों के साथ अपने विचार साझा करना मुझे बहुत अच्छा लगता है। मुझे आपसे यह जानकारी बांटते हुए बहुत हर्ष हो रहा है कि बिहार में बालिका शिक्षा को और अधिक प्रोत्साहन देने के लिए एक महत्वपूर्ण निर्णय किया गया है। और मुझे लगता है कि इस नए कदम के बारे में आपसे साझा करना सबसे सही रहेगा।

इस साल पटना में गांधी मैदान में स्वतंत्रता दिवस के अपने भाषण में बड़ी प्रसन्नता के साथ मैंने पूरे बिहार के विभिन्न सरकारी स्कूलों में पढ़ने वाली पहली से दसवीं कक्षा की सभी बालिकाओं के लिए छात्रवृत्ति की घोषणा की थी।

इस निर्णय के बारे में जो बात सबसे अहम है वह यह है कि जाति] पंथ] समुदाय और आर्थिक पृष्ठभूमि से परे समाज के सभी वर्गों की छात्राओं को इससे लाभ मिलेगा। इसके लिए केवल एक ही शर्त है और वह यह कि लाभार्थी सरकारी स्कूल से होनी चाहिए] बस।

मेरी राय में यह एक क्रांतिकारी कदम है जो प्रदेश में महिला शिक्षा को जबरदस्त बढ़ावा देगा। कुछ वर्ष पहले स्कूलों में विशेष तौर पर लड़कियों के प्रवेश को प्रोत्साहन देने के लिए मुख्य मंत्री बालिका पोशाक योजना आरंभ की गई थी जिसके तहत कक्षा 67 में प्रवेश लेने वाली प्रत्येक बालिका को स्कूल यूनिफॉर्म के लिए नकद सहयोग दिया गया। बाद में इस योजना को पहली से 8वीं कक्षा के सभी विद्यार्थियों तथा कक्षा 9वीं से 12वीं की छात्राओं के लिए विस्तार दिया गया। एक अन्य अभिनव योजना मुख्य मंत्री बालिका साइकिल योजना 2007&08 में प्रारंभ की गई जिसमें कक्षा 9वीं की छात्राओं को साइकिल खरीदने के लिए धनराशि प्रदान की गई। इस योजना से न केवल लड़कियों की स्कूल भर्ती में प्रबल वृद्धि हुई बल्कि इससे उनमें एक नया आत्मविश्वास भी आया कि वे भी सामाजिक परिवर्तन का कारक बन सकती हैं। अब यह योजना विस्तारित करके 9वीं कक्षा के सभी विद्यार्थियों तक पहुंचा दी गई है। इस योजना के अमल से पहले बड़ी तादाद में लड़कियां 8वीं कक्षा के बाद स्कूल छोड़ दिया करती थीं] किंतु इन योजनाओं ने हालात बदल दिए हैं।

बिहार में बालिका शिक्षा के क्षेत्र में यह कदम मील का पत्थर साबित हुआ है। साइकिल स्कीम सामाजिक क्रांति लेकर आई और साइकिल पर स्कूल जाती हुई छात्राओं को बदलते बिहार का सच्चा शुभंकर बना दिया, विशेषकर ग्रामीण इलाकों में। इस स्कीम की सफलता इस तथ्य से मापी जा सकती है कि वर्ष 2012-13 में 4,92,899 बालिकाओं समेत कुल 9,61,109 विद्यार्थियों को इस से फायदा हुआ।

2007-08 में जब यह स्कीम लांच हुई थी तो केवल 1,56,092 लड़कियां इससे लाभान्वित हुई थी। बाद में इस स्कीम को लड़कों के लिए भी लागू किया गया। मुझे यह देख कर बहुत खुशी हुई की साइकिल स्कीम के लाभार्थियों की संख्या, पिछले वित्त वर्ष के अंत तक 47,44,966 पर पहुंच गई, जिनमें 24,57,539 लड़कियां हैं।

जहां तक महिला सशक्तिकरण का संबंध है- साइकिल परियोजना ने वास्तव में बिहार प्रदेश के आंतरिक भागों में एक क्रांति का सूत्रपात किया है। इसने बालिकाओं में विश्वास की भावना जगाई है। गांवों में साइकिल पर अपने स्कूल जाती हुई लड़कियों का दृश्य इस बात का पर्याप्त साक्ष्य है। यह एक किस्म की सामाजिक क्रांति है जिसने बिहार की बालिकाओं की शिक्षा में ऐतिहासिक परिवर्तन किया है। मुझे यकीन है कि इस क्रांति का प्रभाव दीर्घकाल में महसूस किया जा सकेगा जब महिलाएं सही मायनों में सशक्त होंगी। सशक्त महिलाएं ही प्रखर समाज बनाती हैं।

हमारी सरकार का जोर स्त्री शिक्षा पर है और इसी के अनुसार मैंने महिलाओं की पढ़ाई-लिखाई को छात्रवृत्ति योजनाओं के जरिए बढ़ावा देने का प्रण किया। यह योजना भी उतना ही अहम फैसला साबित हो सकती है, सिर्फ इसलिए नहीं क्योंकि यह परिवारों को अपनी बच्चियों को स्कूल भेजने के लिए प्रोत्साहित करेगी बल्कि इसलिए भी की यह दीर्घकाल में सामाजिक परिवर्तन के उत्प्रेरक के तौर पर काम करेगी। मेरा शुरु से यह मानना रहा है कि बालिका को शिक्षित करने का मतलब है पूरे परिवार को शिक्षित करना।

हाल ही में हुए एक अध्ययन से पता लगा है कि बीते दशक में बिहार की जनसंख्या 25 प्रतिशत बढ़ी है। यह चिंताजनक बढ़त है। अगर हम आबादी को काबू न कर पाए तो विकास की सभी योजनाएं और सकल घरेलू उत्पाद की वृद्धि दर शून्य हो जाएगी । मेरा मानना है कि जनसंख्या को स्थिर रखने में शिक्षा अहम भूमिका निभाती है।

बिहार में प्रजनन दर 3.6 है, किंतु दसवीं पास महिलाओं के मामले में यह दर 2 है। यह राष्ट्रीय दर के लगभग है किंतु 12वीं पास महिलाओं के मामले में यह और भी कम यानी 1.6 है, जो कि 1.7 की राष्ट्रीय औसत से कम है। इससे स्पष्ट जाहिर होता है कि शिक्षा से इन बातों की समझ पैदा होती है।

इसलिए मैंने फैसला किया है कि प्रत्येक पंचायत में एक हाई स्कूल स्थापित किया जाए। इस समय बिहार में 4500 हाई स्कूलों की कमी है। कैबिनेट ने वर्तमान वित्त वर्ष में 1,000 हाई स्कूल स्थापित करने की योजना को अनुमति दे दी है।

हमारे सामने अन्य ज्वलंत सामाजिक मुद्दे भी खड़े हैं जैसे- बाल विवाह और स्त्री-पुरुष असमानता, जो कि कई सामाजिक समस्याओं की वजहें हैं। बालिका शिक्षा के जरिए इनसे निपटा जा सकता है।

यह चिंता की बात है कि कन्या भ्रूण हत्या के कारण लड़कियों की संख्या घट रही है। बिहार में पुरुष व स्त्री का अनुपात 1000:916 है जिसमें सुधार की आवश्यकता है। मेरा विचार यह है कि लड़कियों की सही और संपूर्ण शिक्षा से निश्चित तौर पर इस गलत प्रवृत्ति को पलटाया जा सकेगा। मेरी राय में कोई भी शिक्षित युवती कन्या भ्रूण हत्या नहीं होने देगी।

नई छात्रवृत्ति योजना से बालिका शिक्षा को जबरदस्त प्रोत्साहन मिलेगा। भले ही इसका असर तुरंत समझा न जा सके किंतु आने वाले वर्षों में यह कदम सामाजिक परिवर्तन का कारक बनेगा। सामाजिक क्रांति लाने में स्त्री शिक्षा सबसे प्रभावी साधन साबित हो सकती है।

मुझे आशा है कि अधिक से अधिक लड़कियां इस नई योजना का लाभ उठाएंगी और स्कूल में प्रवेश लेकर शिक्षा प्राप्त करेंगी। जैसा कि मैंने आपसे कहा था- एक शिक्षित लड़की का अर्थ है एक शिक्षित परिवार।

बहुत बहुत धन्यवाद।