IGC Bihar Research Interests

On an ongoing basis, the IGC-Bihar Programme invites proposals related to (1) Urbanisation (Infrastructure and Migration); (2) Industrialisation and Land Policy; (3) Human Capital; (4) Governance and Political Economy and (5) Economic Growth and the Environment.

The research focus in Urbanization includes infrastructure and migration. This area is challenging as well as exciting. While there is tremendous opportunity to develop new cities that can become engines of growth, the challenge of low base (11.3%) of urbanization and lack of urban infrastructure and amenities in Bihar remains unbound. Several areas of policy research have opened in the state due to unprecedented government efforts in power supply, roads, and crime control and an ongoing boom in construction sector.

Industrialization and Land Policy is mission-critical to economic growth in Bihar. Industry accounts for merely 9% of the state’s economy. Land acquisition has remained historically difficult due to the high value that people attach to agricultural land and the hurdles that ownership claims create. The Government of India recently implemented a new land acquisition policy which will further complicate the situation. Our focus is to study the bottlenecks and find solutions that will enable better rate of industrialization.

With unchecked population growth, advancing human capital will remain a focus in Bihar. The state has doubled the elementary education budget between 2006-07 and 2010-11. There has been a dramatic decline recorded in the percentage of out-of-school children. Bihar’ health sector has also witnessed unprecedented improvement in delivery and outcomes. Skills development has emerged as new area of aggressive focus for the state government. We focus on policy research that assess and solve the challenges faced in these sectors with respect to raising quality and scale.

Bihar is continuously transforming in areas related to Government and Political Economy. We continue to engage with stakeholders in the state through one-on-one meetings, consultative workshops, conferences, research dissemination workshops and more on topics including institution building, state strengthening and models of governance. These interactions open new areas for policy research such as the recently commissioned study on the impact of improvement in law and order on the economy.

Economic growth and the environment will remain a focus area for Bihar to make the growth process sustainable. The high population density, overdependence on agriculture, exposure to climate change, and Bihar’s complex river system have led to an unbreakable link between the environment and economic growth. The key focus is policies that strengthen this link through good research and institution building.