Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his ally Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Wednesday termed the Union budget a “big disappointment” with no roadmap for the state’s development.
Kumar, who backed Centre’s move to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as part of a broader plan to curb black money, said finance minister Arun Jaitley did not announce anything new in his budget proposals for 2017-18.
He said the budget was silent on how to take forward the second green revolution in Bihar and other eastern Indian states.
“Bihar has already launched its roadmap for development of agriculture sector, but nothing was offer to the state in the budget,” he said.
Kumar said BJP-led government at the Centre was only doing “sloganeering” without paying heed to ground realities.
Lalu Prasad said the budget lacked any “concrete scheme” for the poor and slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him of retarding the country’s growth by undertaking “faulty policies” such as demonetisation of high-value currency.
JD (U) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadav said the government’s move to clean up political system by restricting cash- donation limit to the political parties to Rs 2000 from a single source would not yield result unless people elect clean leaders.
The government must first bring back tax and loan defaulters, who fled to foreign countries, he said.
Bihar finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui flayed the Centre for going back on its promise of giving a special financial package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore to Bihar for the development of core sectors.
“The union budget reflected how the Centre is meting out step-motherly treatment to Bihar with the finance minister not even mentioning anything about the region in his budget speech,” he said.
The state’s key demands include a special package to tide over its economic backwardness, release of remaining Rs 5483 crore, out of Rs 11000 crore, under the backward region grant fund (BRGF) in 2017-18 fiscal, and changing the formula for devolutions of central taxes under the 14th finance commission.
Siddiqui said none of these had been addressed in the budget.
“It seems Bihar is now out of the cognitive world of the budget, with no mention of financial package or special category status demands of the state. It did not get even a token project like Jharkhand, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Even the railway component left Bihar completely high and dry for the first time,” pointed out Shaibal Gupta, economist and founder member secretary of the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI).