Poll-bound states largely ignored

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, MUMBAI/CHANDIGARH/PATNA
  • Updated: Jul 10, 2014 21:22 IST

The Narendra Modi government’s first budget has not been generous to three states where assembly elections are expected to be held in October and by the end of 2015.

Though Maharashtra – which goes to the polls in October -- has by and large been ignored by finance minister Arun Jaitley, the Pune region, considered a stronghold of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, has been selected for some development.

Haryana, where assembly elections are likely to be held along with Maharashtra in October, has not received any major boost.

For Bihar, where assembly polls are to be held by November 2015, some developmental measures have been announced but the JD(U) government’s demand for special category status has been ignored.

In Maharashtra, there is a general disappointment in political circles. NDA leaders in the state are particularly unhappy as the saffron alliance sent 43 MPs – the highest number after Uttar Pradesh – to the Lok Sabha in the recent general elections.

Pune, however, has not only got Maharashtra’s first Indian Institute of Management (IIM), it has been selected for the development of a new agri-biotech cluster to boost agri-processing and exports. The city will also house the National Industrial Corridor Authority to coordinate development of corridors like Mumbai-Delhi.

Among the few sops for the rest of the state, an institute along the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Vidarbha and a port SEZ in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, have been promised.

For Haryana, higher education and the biotech sector are among the few benefits in the budget. A horticulture university will be established in Haryana with an initial allocation of R200 crore.

Besides, Jaitley has also proposed to scale up the development of a biotech cluster in Faridabad. This will include global partnerships in accessing model organism resources for disease biology, stem cell biology and for high-end electron microscopy.

The backward state of Bihar will get an IIM, an inland waterway project linking Allahabad with Haldia in West Bengal and a few others but no special package or status.

Describing the budget as disappointing, JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar said, "It seems Bihar is not on the radar of the BJP-led NDA government."

Among the sops for Bihar, Gaya has been included under the R200-crore National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY).

The budget has proposed to set up six more textile mega-clusters, including one in the silk city of Bhagalpur. But though the government expressed its commitment to the reconstruction of Bihar's international project, Nalanda University, which was to start its academic session from September, no specific funds were announced for the project.

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