With a week of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar making turbulent noises against its alliance partner the BJP, a Cabinet committee delivered an olive branch to him by approving Rs. 12,000 crore as special plan for the state under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF).
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar during the National Executive meeting, in New Delhi. PTI
A cabinet committee chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to continue with special plan covering all districts of Bihar in the 12th five year plan (2012-17) and allocated Rs. 12,000 crore for the period.
The money approved is still less than Rs. 20,000 crore sought by Kumar at a meeting with planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia recently. Kumar had, however, expressed satisfaction on the proposed allocation, which is double the allocation under the same fund in 11th five year plan (2002-12).
The first political reaction to the decision came from Bihar deputy chief minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who said the Centre was not doing any favour to the state by allocating Rs. 12,000 crore to the state.
“Bihar just got Rs. 900 crore of the money allocated in the last financial year under BRGF,” he told HT over telephone.
The planning commission has already allocated Rs. 1,500 crore in the first financial year - 2012-13 – of the 12th plan to Bihar and another Rs. 3,000 crore has been sanctioned for the current fiscal. In the remaining three years of the plan, Bihar would get Rs. 7,500 crore.
The allocation is much higher than what Trinamool Congress ruled West Bengal would be getting in the 12th plan - Rs. 8,500 crore.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs also approved special package of Rs. 4,400 crore for implementing drought mitigation measures in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The three backward districts of Orissa - Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput, called KBK districts - would get Rs. 1,250 crore during 12th plan under BRGF.
The fund to catalyse development in backward areas was approved in August, 2006 and has two components - district covering 272 backward districts in 27 states and state including special plan for Bihar, West Bengal, KBK districts of Odisha and Bundelkhand Package.