The Perplexing Case of Bihar's Underdevelopment

Bihar, a state in eastern India, has consistently ranked among the least developed states in the country. This situation is perplexing, given that Bihar has a rich history, cultural heritage, and abundant natural resources. Despite these advantages, the state continues to struggle with poverty, illiteracy, and a lack of infrastructure. This article delves into the complex factors that contribute to Bihar's underdevelopment, shedding light on the challenges it faces and the potential solutions that could lead to progress.

Historical Factors

Bihar's historical trajectory has played a significant role in its current state of underdevelopment. The region has long been plagued by political instability, social unrest, and natural disasters. These factors have hindered economic growth and social development, leaving Bihar with a legacy of poverty and inequality.

Colonial Legacy

During the British colonial period, Bihar was exploited for its agricultural resources, while its industries were neglected. This lopsided development created an economy heavily dependent on agriculture, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in crop prices and weather conditions. The lack of industrialization also resulted in a shortage of jobs and a lack of skilled labor.

Post-Independence Challenges

After India gained independence in 1947, Bihar faced numerous challenges. The state's political instability and poor governance led to a lack of investment in infrastructure, education, and healthcare. The Green Revolution, which brought about agricultural prosperity in other parts of India, largely bypassed Bihar due to its poor irrigation facilities and lack of access to technology.

Socio-Economic Factors

Poverty and Inequality

Bihar is one of the poorest states in India, with a high proportion of its population living below the poverty line. This poverty is compounded by high levels of inequality, with a small wealthy elite controlling a large share of the state's resources. The lack of economic opportunities and social mobility perpetuates poverty and makes it difficult for people to improve their lives.

Illiteracy and Lack of Education

Bihar has one of the lowest literacy rates in India, with a significant gender gap. The lack of education and skills among the population hinders economic growth and social development. This situation limits people's ability to access better jobs, participate in decision-making, and contribute to the state's progress.

Infrastructure and Connectivity

Poor Infrastructure

Bihar's infrastructure is inadequate and underdeveloped. The state lacks good-quality roads, bridges, and railways, making it difficult for people and goods to move around. This poor connectivity hampers economic activity, limits access to markets, and discourages investment.

Lack of Electricity

Many parts of Bihar still lack access to reliable electricity. This situation not only affects households but also businesses, hindering their productivity and growth potential. The lack of electricity also hampers the development of education and healthcare facilities, further exacerbating Bihar's challenges.

Governance and Corruption

Weak Governance

Bihar has a history of weak and ineffective governance. Corruption, bureaucratic hurdles, and lack of transparency have hindered development efforts and discouraged investment. This situation creates an environment where businesses struggle to operate, and public services are often inefficient and inaccessible.


Corruption is a significant problem in Bihar, affecting all levels of government and society. This situation erodes public trust, undermines the rule of law, and diverts resources away from development priorities. Corruption also creates an unfair playing field for businesses, stifling economic growth and innovation.


Bihar's underdevelopment is a multifaceted issue resulting from a combination of historical, socio-economic, infrastructural, and governance factors. The state's legacy of poverty, illiteracy, and poor governance has created a vicious cycle that is difficult to break. However, there is hope for Bihar. By addressing the root causes of underdevelopment, investing in infrastructure, education, and healthcare, and combating corruption, the state can embark on a path of sustainable progress.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What are the main factors contributing to Bihar’s underdevelopment?
  2. How has Bihar’s historical trajectory impacted its current state?
  3. What are the socio-economic challenges faced by Bihar?
  4. How does Bihar’s infrastructure deficit hinder its development?
  5. What are the governance-related issues affecting Bihar’s progress?



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