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Progress with Nitish, but Bihar still on lowest rungs

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 Aug 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, August 18: Bihar has the lowest enrolment in secondary schools among poor states. Bihar’s crime rate is second highest among poor states. Bihar has cut its infant mortality rate and now does better than some richer states. Bihar’s materl mortality is the lowest among poor states. Bihar - India’s third-most populous state with as many people as the Philippines - is the focus of attention, as IndiaSpend reported in the first part of this series as its legislative assembly prepares for re-election soon. We have seen how Bihar lags in terms of economic and infrastructure development. Here we look at data on socio-economic indicators of the state and compare it with the Empowered Action Group (EAG) states, eight poor, backward provinces - Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh. Bihar has India’s lowest literacy rate Bihar has India’s lowest literacy rate, according to the 2011 census: 64 percent of Bihar’s 104 million people are literate, a rate lower than several, poor African countries, including Malawi, the two Congos and Sudan.

The Indian literacy rate is 74 percent. Bihar’s gross enrolment ratio at the primary level (age 6-14; grade 1 to 8) is lower than 100, although education is now compulsory for all children aged six to 14. (Gross Enrolment Ratio or GER is the enrolment in a specific level of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the eligible official school-age population, corresponding to the same level of education in a given school-year. If there is late or early enrolment, or repetition of a grade, total enrolment can exceed the population of the age group that officially corresponds to the level of education, leading to ratios greater than 100.) The GER for secondary-level schooling (age 15-16; grade nine and 10) in Bihar was 60 in 2013-14. This means that beyond the compulsory age of education (six-14 years), not many children are going to schools in Bihar. Only 58 percent schools in Bihar had separate toilets for girls in 2013-14. Drinking water was available only in 88 percent schools, the lowest among EAG states. Poor infrastructure is reportedly a major reason for low enrolment in schools.

Bihar reported only 31.7 percent project completion of the Swachh Vidyalaya (Clean Schools) programme till March 31, 2015. Bihar’s infant mortality better than MP, UP, Odisha, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh Madhya Pradesh had the worst infant mortality rate (IMR) in the country with 54 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2013. With an IMR of 42, Bihar is doing well, compared to other EAG states. The state has improved its IMR from 48 in 2010 to 42 in 2013, better now than Bangladesh, mibia, Myanmar and Pakistan. IANS

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