Financial inclusion not at cost of social development
At a time when Bihar is growing at more than 10 percent, the real challenge is to combine financial inclusion with social development. “Inclusion doesn’t mean only financial inclusion, it should also lead to social development,” said Amarjit Sinha, principal secretary, education, government of Bihar, at the first panel discussion, on ‘Inclusion: The Progress and Challenges’, at a conference on financial inclusion organised by Governance Now in Patna today.
Sinha said without active participation of the public sector, the state could not meet the objective of social development. The good news, however, was that Bihar was witnessing improvement in several social sectors, like education and health.
The moderator of the session, Alakh N Sharma, director of the New Delhi-based think tank Institute of Human Development, said rapid economic growth often posed inclusive-growth challenges. “Not only Bihar, other states too face similar challenges,” he said.
Sharma said though Bihar had done well in primary and secondary education, higher education left much to be desired. Healthcare was also a big challenge.
Pratyaya Amrit, secretary, roads construction department of Bihar, who is credited with improving road connectivity in the state dramatically, said the state was trying to make sure that Patna could be reached in six hours from anywhere in the country. Connectivity, he said, was the key to inclusive growth.