Shoumojit Banerjee

“Union Budget ignored Bihar on eight points”

“Central tax devolution to cost us Rs. 4616 cr.”

Demands 14,800 cr. for rehabilitation of Kosi flood victims

Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in a letter to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Thursday has outlined eight key points central to the development of the State, which did not find any mention in the Union Budget presented on the 6th of this month.

While reaffirming his continued dissatisfaction with the Budget and reiterating the demand for the “Special Category Status” to Bihar, Mr. Kumar has requested Mr. Singh for his assistance on the implementation of the proposals.

Mr. Kumar has re-drawn the Centre’s attention to the State’s claim of a package of Rs. 14,800 cr. for rehabilitation of Kosi flood victims while stating that a package of Rs. 1000 cr. had been announced for Aila cyclone victims in West Bengal.

The Chief Minister has also expressed his disappointment over the Centre’s non-grant of even “a single mega cluster to Bihar” while handloom clusters were awarded to West Bengal and Tamil Nadu while a power loom was awarded to Rajasthan.

Mr. Kumar said that it was especially in view of the fact that potential Bhagalpur “was very widely known for its silk and had a large cluster of minority handloom wavers there.”

Mr. Kumar expressed concern that no special support had been promised to agriculture in Bihar by the Centre despite the charting of an ‘Agriculture Road Map’ by the State last year. He said that the special package for the agricultural sector would only “have a marginal impact” as the “Cash Deposit ratio of the State was very low and only 2% of the Rs. 3,25,000 cr. agriculture credit programme would reach Bihar through the priority sector lending route.”

The Chief Minister also pointed out that the proposed project of supplying electricity to villages in three phases under the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutikaran Yojana did not find any mention in the Budget.

He expressed disappointment over the efficacy of the Food Security Scheme at said “it would leave at least half of Bihar’s population untouched.”

Mr. Kumar further said that the Government’s plan to grant tax relief by abolishing the Fringe Benefit Tax and the Commodities Transaction Tax could result in the reduction of a whopping Rs. 4616 cr. from Bihar’s share of Rs. 19742 cr. worth Central Tax Revenue.