The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Monday approved a Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 billion) special development plan for the poverty-hit Bundelkhand region of central India, covering parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
But the PMO failed to decide on the Bundelkhand Authority, proposed by Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Gandhi had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month and sought a package of Rs 8,000 crore (Rs 80 billion) and a development authority for the region that, for decades, has been known for dacoities, drought and starvation deaths.
A large barren, hilly region, Bundelkhand has become the latest political battlefield for the Congress and the Bhaujan Samaj Party (BSP).
What it has got now from the Centre is much more than what Gandhi demanded, with a clear indication that all proposals will be directly implemented by the central government.
State-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will build a 4,000 MW power plant at Lalitpur in Madhya Pradesh and the Ken-Betwa river-linking project between two states will get central funding, an official said, after a meeting called by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair on Monday.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
NTPC has been asked to do the feasibility study of the project, which will cost Rs 20,000 crore, and the water resources ministry is expected to draw up a financial plan for the Ken-Betwa project, the official said.
The PMO issued instructions to the agriculture and water resources ministries to bring proposals on agriculture and agri-education.
The agriculture ministry has been asked to submit a proposal for a central agriculture university to cater for needs of the drought-hit region. "The university will provide research inputs to farmers on alternative crops for the region, requiring small quantities of water," the official said.