Other States

Bihar asks Centre to bear State’s share of 66 Centrally sponsored schemes for next one year

Bihar is currently facing a massive reverse migration of its workers and the State government is grappling with the problem of generating employment for them.

Bihar is currently facing a massive reverse migration of its workers and the State government is grappling with the problem of generating employment for them.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Due to extended COVID-19 lockdown, the State’s own revenue collection has dropped drastically and the government is not in a position to generate funds for bearing its share, says Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

Bihar has sent an SOS to the Centre urging that it bear the State’s share of all 66 Centrally sponsored schemes for the next one year owing to the low tax collections because of the extended COVID-19 lockdown.

Bihar has registered a drop in tax collection from own resources by 85% in April this year.

“In the financial year of 2019-20 the State government had spent ₹10,000 crore as its share for 66 Centrally sponsored schemes but, due to extended lockdown the State’s own revenue collection has dropped drastically and the government is not in a position to generate funds for bearing its share,” Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi ,who also holds the Finance portfolio, said on May 30.

The implementation of Centrally sponsored schemes such as the MGNREGA, the PMAY (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna), mid-day meal and others could even be suspended in case the Central government did not bear the “entire cost of these 66 schemes”, Mr. Modi added.

“Most of schemes have 60:40 ratio, however, in some schemes the ratio is even 50:50,” he said.

Deputy CM thanks Nirmala

However, Mr Modi thanked Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, for allocating ₹9,263 crore as the State’s share in Central taxes for the current fiscal year.

Bihar is currently facing a massive reverse migration of its workers and the State government is grappling with the problem of generating employment for them.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has, however, directed officials for skill mapping of returning migrant workers for their “employment generation” in the State itself.

Appeal to workers

Recently, he had also spoken with some migrants through video conference and appealed them to stay put in the State as the government had been mulling over ways for their employment.

Earlier, the Mr. Modi also advocated for change in the Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act 1979.

“The term ‘worker’ needs to be defined afresh…at present only those who are brought by contractors are considered as workers..however, today lakhs of people go to other States on their own…besides, the migrants should also be covered under the Employment Provident Fund, Employees State Insurance Corporation and other welfare schemes”, Mr. Modi said.

“A nationwide database of all migrant workers needs to be prepared and each of them should be allotted a unique identification number,” he said.

“Had the Migrant Workmen Act 1979 provisions been implemented strictly, workers would not have migrated in desperation…the need of the hour is to bring a new Act and its strict implementation,” Mr. Modi said.

25 lakh migrants return

According to government officials, around 25 lakh migrant workers have returned to Bihar till Saturday and nearly 1.5 lakh more are expected to arrive.

As many as 29 lakh migrants are registered with the government’s app to avail the assistance of ₹1,000 each announced by the Chief Minister soon after the lockdown.

The State government has set up 13,684 quarantine centres at village, panchayat, block level to house these migrants where, government officials said, 14 lakh had stayed. “Most of them have now completed their mandatory quarantine period and returned to home,” said an official.

The number of trains carrying migrants to the State everyday too has come down significantly. Earlier, over 100 trains were coming to different destinations but now, only 20-30 trains have been coming for the last few days.

According to the East Central Railway officials, on Saturday only 21 trains came to different station in Bihar from outside, while 11 trains ferried migrants from one place to another within the State.

So far, Bihar has reported 21 deaths due to the pandemic, 3,565 total positive cases and 1,322 recoveries.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 4:25:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bihar-asks-centre-to-bear-states-share-of-66-centrally-sponsored-schemes-for-next-one-year/article31714794.ece

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