Gujarat’s economic growth in 2001-2011 at an annual average rate of 10.2% was 2.5 percentage points higher than the national average. A closer look at the chart shows that Gujarat’s growth in the prior decade—before Modi took charge in 2001—at 7.5% also beat the national average, albeit by a slightly smaller margin of 1.4%.

In stark contrast, Bihar’s economy limped along at an average annual growth rate of 2.7%, 3.4 percentage points slower than the national average, in 1991-2001. Over the next decade though, Bihar’s growth rate trebled to 8.2%, beating the national average for the first time in independent India’s history, even though the improvement over the national average was by a small margin.

Bihar’s turnaround is among the exceptional stories unfolding in India. Kumar can stake claim to this reversal of Bihar’s fortunes because Bihar’s growth during the precise duration of his term has been even higher. Between 2005—when Kumar took charge of Bihar’s government—and 2011, the state grew at an annual pace of 10.9%, beating both the national average and Gujarat’s growth rate of 9.6% during this period. Read More