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The Social Issues in Bihar before Assembly Elections 2020

May 18, 2020

Although there is uncertainty over the schedule of the upcoming Bihar election, the parties have started preparing themselves for the exercise. Mainly the Mahagathbandhan in the opposition is pointing out the adversities of the NDA coalition. On the other hand, the current crisis of pandemic is forcing many migrants to return home. There is a high possibility that these worn-out migrant laborers could be a potential vote bank. 

The people who are returning to Bihar have already faced a caravan of misery.  The social system in Bihar and the problems associated with it immediately impact the livelihood of them. We list out the key social issues of Bihar that have the power to make or break the elections. 

Social Issues in Bihar

Ramshackle Health Infrastructure 

The current situation is testing the health facilities to their limits. Unfortunately, Bihar has the worst Health Infrastructure. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the health facilities of Bihar are in the ICU. In the year 2019, 143 children had died due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome as there was a shortage of medical oxygen supply. There is a severe lack of ambulances in the state and many women give birth outside the hospitals. In addition to this, there is a shortage of 131 primary health centers and 389 community health centers. 

The leaders of Bihar start sympathizing and talk about reforms only after a bigger tragedy has happened. Under the pressure created by media coverage. The condition bounces back to ‘as it was’ when the coverage subdues. 

Many leaders are pointing Nitish Kumar for the lack of health facilities. Keeping in mind the Upcoming Bihar Election 2020. 

Law and Order in Shambles

There is a heightened influence of the local leaders of Bihar on the law and order. In a massive population like Bihar, many crimes might not get reported. However, the ones coming to the eye of the public are severe in the category. Centre for the Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS) had conducted a public service recently. It has found that the people of Bihar believe the reason behind such law and order is the complicity of the police with the ‘Dabang’ political leaders.

The people of Bihar hold a very low opinion of Bihar’s police force. On the other hand, Bihar police are suffering from a lack of training and various insufficiencies. The CSDS survey reads that 34% of Bihari believe that the police itself is violating the rules and regulations. 77% of people hold an opinion that there is a nexus between political leaders and police leading to a low degree of trust from the public in the police department.   

Unemployment 

The exodus of migrant workers from other states towards Bihar is evidence of joblessness. Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS) has stated that over 40% of Bihar youth are unable to find any source of income. The returned migrant laborers are really not in the mood to head back to states where they were working. Consequently, the unemployment rate of Bihar will hit the new highs. Nitish Kumar needs to find ways to attract the companies moving out of china to Bihar. Even a moderate-income will subdue the plight of Bihar’s people and will help the NDA for the Bihar Assembly Election 2020. 

The unemployment rate of Bihar is higher than the rest of India. IndianSpend analysis of census has found that the equation of Bihar is quite disturbing. The trend is such that, the more educated you are, the more will be the chances of you being unemployed. Around 25% of graduates are unemployed in Bihar. Just for the sake of comparison, Maharashtra is 13% industrialized while Bihar is only 1.5%.

The Bihar assembly election of 2020 is going to have a huge impact of this scenario. Whoever wins the election, will have a tough task of managing unemployment.  

Population Problem

Bihar seriously needs to curb the growing population. The fifth poorest state is the third most populous in India. Also, more poverty and more population are particularly counterproductive for Bihar. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is around 3.4 children per woman in Bihar. Whereas for the overall country, it is 2.18. According to the National Family Health Survey, it is quite likely that educated women are more towards family planning. The root of Bihar’s population problem can also be searched in terms of education. Only 25% of women of Bihar have completed their 10 years of schooling. Half of the women aged between 15-49 had never been to school. Therefore these women are less prone to adopt any family planning methods. 

Casteism is actually the problem of entire India as a whole. However, it is more prominent in the state of Bihar. For many years in the past, the upper castes in Bihar held higher posts in politics and administration. There was public discrimination of people belonging to the lower caste in Bihar. When P. V. Narasimha Rao was the prime minister of India, he secured a reservation for lower castes in politics. This reform paved the way for the undermined castes to get adequate representation in politics and reach higher posts. Since then, caste became an essential component of Bihar. The development has very little importance in this state and parties spend months fitting the caste arithmetic. The same will go for the Bihar Election 2020. 

Now the situation has become such that, the lower caste people always strive to help win the candidates contesting on reserved seats. Lalu Yadav is one such leader who managed to establish a stronghold in Bihar through his caste politics. The favoring of lower caste in Bihar has now only served to magnify the distinction between Dalits and Brahmins. Although low castes have political protection, they undergo astonishing humiliation in terms of school, workplace, etc. The headlines coming out of Bihar are such that, the Brahmin family fired a cook as he was found to be Dalit. Also, a Kidney donor was unable to find a receiver since his organ was considered to be ‘Dalit’. In the attempt to retain the caste dominance, the people of Bihar are turning a blind eye on the development work done by any government during any Bihar Election.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

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Yogesh is fascinated by the colossal world of Microbes around us and is pursuing a career in Microbiology. He is an avid reader and ponders upon the current affairs, the insights of which are reflected through his writing. Just like the microbes he studies, Yogesh is an adaptable cool-headed guy who strives for a better version of himself. He also believes that there is no sincere love than the love of food.