Finance minister P Chidambaram's olive branch to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar of more funds before next elections through revamped Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) would not translate much for the backward state in the next financial year.
Data available with the Planning Commission on the fund shows that already 36 of the 37 districts of the state are covered under the national programme launched in 2008. The only beneficiary from Chidambaram's announcement could be the district of Siwan, if it gets covered under new parameters to measure backwardness.
The planning commission officials said that Bihar may get Rs. 1,500 crore from the revamped fund, slightly higher than the money in the current financial year.
The reason for Bihar not getting much despite the finance minister naming the state in his speech is widening the ambit of BRGF without substantial increase in allocations.
From next financial year, existing independent government programmes for ---- Bundelkhand, 82 naxal affected districts and Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) region (Orissa) --- would be merged with the fund. But, the money allocated for scheme already covering 250 districts in the country has been increased by just Rs. 1,500 crore.
All of the additional funds would not go to Bihar, planning commission officials assured.
IF the officials are to be believed many existing beneficiary pockets in Bihar may be left out of the scheme as the government intends to provide from district level to block level approach. Around 1,500 backward blocks identified on basis of 2011 Census data would be covered.
The officials, however, said that most of the blocks of Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and in KBK region in Orissa would get covered under the rejigged scheme to be launched from next financial year.