Nitish Kumar may have won Bihar assembly elections with a thumping majority but the Planning Commission believes that it has failed to deliver on many areas, especially in providing employment to youth in rural areas.
The Janata Dal (United) leaders will have to reply to several tough questions in this regard on Tuesday when he will meet panel officials to discuss annual plan of the state for next financial year, 2011-12.
The panel has found out that the poverty level in the state is higher than the national average in both urban and rural areas. As compared to the all India average of 28.3%and 25.7% for rural and urban areas respectively, Bihar’s poverty level is 42.1% and 34.6% respectively.
“It implies that the state will have to accord top priority to creating livelihood opportunities,” he said.
With high poverty, Bihar’s crude birth rate and infant mortality rate is also higher than the national average and the state was likely to miss the 11th Plan targets in this connection. “A simple fact can gauge the situation. Of the 1,776 primary health care centers, as many as 1,243 don’t have doctors,” the official said.
Similarly, the state’s performance on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has not been upto the mark. The average work being provided has fallen in the last four years, the commission has said. “The utilization of available funds has been inadequate,” he said. Only 0.02% of works have been completed against 1,88.551 works taken up in the state.
Bihar has also failed to incur any expenditure on monitoring of the mid day meal scheme. On the food front, districts such as Bhojpur, Nalanda, East Champaran, Jamui and Rohtas have huge stock foodgrains lying unutilized and probably rotting, a senior plan panel official said.
The Commission believes that Bihar’s Industrial Policy unveiled in 2006 was skewed towards dependence on providing fiscal incentives in the forms of subsidy and concessions for attracting investments.
Kumar is, however, expected to come fully prepared to reply the commission’s concern and seek around Rs 25,000 crore for the state from the Central government.