People First is officially recognised by the Government of Bihar
Donations made in India are tax deductible under section 80G Income Tax Act 1961
Home to a world beating information technology industry and a multitude of cultures, castes and languages, India is the world’s largest democracy. India has accomplished a great deal since its independence, making slow but good progress in reducing the number of people living below the poverty line. More than 60% of the population can now read or write, compared to 20% sixty years ago.
Despite the country’s success and high economic growth rate, mass poverty still persists. Many poor people have been bypassed by India’s strong economic growth. The growth has been inequitable and exclusion based on gender and caste is rife.
Source DFID UK
If Bihar was a country it would be the 12th most populous in the world and the 6th most poor. The district in which most of People First work is based, Gaya is one of the poorest in Bihar
The State of Bihar
Much has been written recently, even in publications like the Economist about the revival of Bihar, citing 12% growth figures and boundless optimism for a new bright future.
There is no doubt that the law and order situation has improved, and there have been advances in health care and education.
NGO’s are often accused of trying to justify their own existence, and unnecessarily duplicating existing services for their own ends. Here at People First we work only in the areas of greatest need, where there is a real need for the services we provide, working closely with local communities.
But it has to be remembered that Bihar as a functioning state had virtually collapsed and the only growth industry was kidnapping.
Bihar has moved forward.
However, at least in our corner of Bihar, the south, so many problems remain. Poverty is still widespread and no real improvement in the lives of most villagers can be seen. Due to the poor monsoon our Health Team is encountering more malnutrition amongst children than ever before.
There has been some progress regarding child welfare or protection and hundreds of children are trafficked every day, and Rescue Junction stands out like a beacon in the district .
The State has virtually no power, take an early evening journey from the State Capital Patna to Bodhgaya, and you will travel though 100km of absolute darkness, through towns where
shops are lit by oil lamps and battery powered emergency lighting.
The anti corruption squad set up by the Chief Minister , Mr Nitish Kumar has been disbanded because of pressure from vested interests because it unearthed widespread
corruption on a huge scale.
The Life expectancy in the State remains at 53 years old.
Even the state government would admit there remains so much to be done, and we at People First welcome any progress. Let us hope things will change, and people can live their
lives with dignity with an effective government that cares for its people.
Bihar has a long way to go, the journey has just begun, and who knows where it may lead. It would indeed be wonderful if there was no need for any of our programs, if children
received a quality education, if there was effective health care in the villages, if the state set up anti trafficking and child protection networks, if corrupt officers were punished and Justice prevailed for children.
Sadly we cannot see this happening anytime soon, and our work is as vital and as needed now more than ever, and we will continue to try and make a real difference in people’s
lives, impacting the very poorest communities, in some of the poorest districts, in the poorest state in all of India.
The state will require 60,000 primary schools, 31,000 middle schools and 19,100 senior secondary schools by 2012-13 to ensure free and compulsory education for children, universalisation of secondary education in eight years by 2015-16, and giving facilities for 70 per cent transition from Class X to Senior Seconday Level by 2016-27, the report said.
It has also been suggested in the report that Bihar needed to increase its present capacity of schools by nearly two and half times, while primary schools would have to be increased by 75 per cent. Similarly, the number of middle schools needs to be doubled up and there has to be a 7.5 fold increase in the number of senior secondary schools, the report added.
It observed that despite the recent recruitment of teachers on a large scale, their number needed to be more than double in primary schools, four and half times more in middle schools and more than 14 times in senior secondary schools.
Source -Bihar government report
A senior lawyer of the high court quoted a court report as saying that 1,344 cases of kidnappings took place in Bihar bween Jan 1 and April 30 this year. In 2006, over 2,000 were kidnapped, according to officials. Bihar's kidnapping industry is clearly thriving. Lawyers, doctors, contractors and businessmen and school students have been the prime targets of abductors for ransom.
A total of 14,276 abduction cases are pending in various courts in the state.
Nearly 5,000 criminals involved in abduction cases had not yet been arrested despite several court orders in the last six months.
The high court had earlier this year directed the government to trace 144 children and 581 women reported missing since 2001. It also took note of reports that 44 of the abducted children had been killed. The government then informed the court that 1,078 children had been kidnapped in the state since 2001
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