The state Assembly on Tuesday passed the Bihar Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2017 to clear decks for withdrawal of the state’s annual budgetary provision of Rs 1.60 lakh crore for 2017-18 from the consolidated fund. The bill was passed by voice vote amid a walk out by NDA legislators expressing dissatisfaction over state Finance minister Abdul Bari Siddique’s reply to a debate on the bill.
Earlier Siddique said the state government’s financial condition was healthy and under control.
“Under the able leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the Grand Alliance government has identified development, poverty alleviation and fiscal stability as core agendas of the state government,” the minister said.
He said the fact that the annual budget size has been increased by 10.03 per cent this year from last fiscal’s plan size, spoke volumes about the good financial condition of Bihar.
The state government was committed to implement the Chief Minister’s ‘Saat Nischay’ (seven resolves), besides achieving its target on road construction and electricity supply, the minister said.
He said keeping in view the financial condition, the norms for borrowing by the states under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 has been relaxed, allowing Bihar to borrow up to 3.5 per cent of the state GDP and a proposal was under consideration for allowing borrowing up to another 0.25 per cent.
As on the date, the state’s borrowing stood at 23.92 per cent of the state GDP, which may go up to 25 per cent, Siddique said.
The debate witnessed noisy scenes with BJP MLA Vinod Kumar Singh holding RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi for presiding over ‘jungle raj’ in Bihar, to which RJD members led by Bhola Yadav and Lalit Yadav protested.
The ruling JD(U) and Congress MLAs too joined their RJD colleagues in slamming the BJP lawmaker’s remarks and demanded an apology from him.
With both sides hardening stand, Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary expunged portions of Singh’s comments and urged members to allow the House to carry on with normal business.
The Speaker also said that he would seek a clarification from the BJP MLA for his comments against the RJD leaders and warned the members against indulging in undignified conduct.