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Jaitley refutes Nitish, says Bihar package will spur growth

Rubbishing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s claims that Bihar will get <g data-gr-id="26">less</g> funds from the Centre as “misconceived”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said total transfer to the state during the next five years will actually increase to Rs 4.08 lakh crore. He also said the Rs 1.25-lakh crore package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Bihar will translate into more concrete outcomes at grassroots levels when it comes to the central government’s expenditure in the state.

In a point-by-point reply to a letter written by the Bihar Chief Minister to him earlier this month, Jaitley said the package for Bihar “is an expression of unwavering commitment of the Union government towards overall development of the state and betterment of its people”.

Sources said Jaitley in his letter to Kumar termed as “misleading” the contention that reduction in budgetary assistance in the 2015-16 Budget has led to <g data-gr-id="27">insignificant</g> overall increase in the share of central taxes. According to him, it is a “misconceived” assertion that the 14th Finance Commission recommendations and its consequent devolution of funds to the states have not resulted in additional fund flows to Bihar.

“The total transfers to the state for 2015-20, estimated by the 14th Finance commission as per recommendations, are Rs 4,08,166 crore against Rs 1,72,944.05 crore worked out by the 13th Finance commission for 2010-15 as per its recommendations, which shows an increase of 136.01 per cent in aggregate,” Jaitley said.

Ahead of the polls, Modi last month announced a Rs 1.25-lakh crore package for Bihar that covers various sectors including roads, railways and agriculture. “The issues raised by you on the Bihar development package are devoid of any constructive approach, especially when the package is designed to channelise all the forces to bring about concerted, integrated and focused development for the benefit of the millions of people of Bihar,” Jaitley said.

He emphasised that Bihar is in the league of larger states in the country, but in terms of development, much is left unfulfilled. Jaitley said the projects in the package are mostly central sector ones and therefore, would be directly implemented by the central ministries concerned.
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