Special status for Bihar set to get renewed focus
The Centre is hoping that Bihar will now focus on the implementation of Modi govt’s priority programmes such as the PM Awas Yojana and Swachh Bharat.
The Centre, on the other hand, is hoping that Bihar will now focus on the implementation of Modi government’s priority programmes such as the PM Awas Yojana, PM Crop Insurance Scheme and Swachh Bharat in which the state’s progress is lagging, senior officials told ET. It is after a gap of nearly two decades that the same parties are in power in the state and at the Centre.
Officials cited the example of Uttar Pradesh, which is implementing the Centre’s priority programmes with far more vigour since the BJP government took over in the state in March.
BJP’s Sushil Modi, sworn in as deputy CM in the state on Thursday, told ET that “Bihar will benefit” from same parties being in power in Patna and Delhi after a long time. “It is good that same parties are in power or tussle keeps on ensuing. We will strive now to make Bihar the most developed state in India,” he said.
With Modi expected to get his old portfolio of finance and his key knowledge of Goods and Services Tax given he is a former head of the GST council, there is expected to better coordination with the Union finance ministry and NITI Aayog.
Kumar’s request to the Centre, including the latest one in a letter on May 27 when he met Modi in Delhi, is based on the recommendations of Raghuram Rajan Committee which mentioned that ten least developed states, including Bihar, should be provided greater assistance to speed up their pace of development.
Kumar’s case is that Bihar has to pay 40% of the money for key centrally sponsored schemes, putting a big strain on its resources. Kumar wants the Centre to foot 90% of the funding for these schemes while he desires full funding by the Centre of a few schemes such as MGNREGA and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
The CM’s case has been that without this special assistance, Bihar is unable to rise out of its backwardness despite registering double-digit growth. Bihar had complained to the Centre that it had to invest more than Rs 4,500 crore in the centrally sponsored schemes in 2015-16 from its own sources while the estimate for 2016-17 is Rs 12,000 crore.