Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has done what his counterparts in other states failed to do.
He convinced the Centre that its policy on disbursement of funds for implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) was flawed and needed correction.
At a meeting with Plan Panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Kumar pointed out the anomaly, which the government acknowledged and was quick to react.
This resulted in higher fund allocation, not only for Bihar, but, for entire country to implement the world's largest employment programme.
Rural development secretary BK Sinha on Thursday issued an order directing his ministry to release money to the states for implementing the scheme as per demand projected in the labour budget. Labour budget is the month-wise demand for work projected by the states to the ministry.
The rural development ministry used to release funds to the states on the basis of expenditure in previous months and not as per projections in the labour budget. It meant that for high work demand months, such as January and February, the money released was as per expenditure in low demand month of December.
This resulted in the states feeling financial crunch to provide work to all. "This anomaly has been corrected," said a Plan panel functionary.
Kumar had told Ahluwalia on Wednesday the state was not able to provide work as per demand because not enough money was being released.
The panel apprised rural development minister Vilasrao Deshmukh about it, who then directed the secretary to act. "Releases for the remaining months of the current financial year will be made on the basis of demand projected in the labour budget," Sinha said.
Also, there would be no other formality in fund releasing except seeking utilisation certificate in the previous months.