Nitish Kumar was elected chief minister of Bihar, India’s poorest state, in December 2005, when the state’s government was weighed down by two decades of institutional decline, widespread lawlessness and a society deeply divided by caste and religion. Improving law and order was a major priority of his new government. The main challenges were rampant criminal activity that curtailed social and economic life, a short-staffed and under-motivated police force, widespread corruption in the ranks, and the poor image of the Bihar police. Using innovative measures, Kumar and his top police officers set out to rid Bihar of its so-called jungle raj, or law of the jungle.
Rohan Mukherjee drafted this policy note on the basis of interviews conducted in Patna, Bihar, in July 2009. Two separate memos, “Coalition Building in a Divided Society” and “Reviving the Administration,” describe Kumar’s efforts to build a coalition for reform and improve administration, respectively.
Associated Interview: Abhayanand
Integration and amalgamation
Dispute resolution (compliance)
Country of Reform