In what appears to be Congress attempts to woo Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ahead of Lok Sabha polls,Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has conceded to several of Kumars demands for funds. The Planning Commission too has hiked its annual allocation for the state by 21 per cent from Rs 28,000 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 34,000 crore in 2013-14. On Wednesday,Kumar was in Delhi to meet plan panel Dy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Soon after arriving,he had also met Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
Ramesh,who met Kumar at Bihar Niwas,is set to visit Patna June 5. In the meeting,Kumar is learnt to have sought rural development ministry to clear 10,000 km of roads for Bihar under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) and submitted proposals for 5,000 km. He also sought funds under MGNREGA to fill the gap between the minimum wages set by the Centre for the state (Rs 138) and the amount paid by the state (Rs 168).
Ramesh has agreed to most of Kumars demands. The ministry had approved 6,000 km of roads at Rs 3,200 crore for Bihar. We hope to clear proposals for 6,000 km of roads under PMGSY by mid-June, Ramesh said.
As per Kumars demand proposals for 4,000 km would be received by December end and then cleared,taking the road length under the PMGSY to 10,000 km. Meanwhile,in the plan panel meeting,officials lauded the state as one of the best performers in terms of growth during 2002-03 to 2008-09,second only to Gujarat.
With inputs from Priyadarshi Siddhanta