Nitish Kumar pitches for central funds to catch up with rest of India

in Vihara

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday urged the Centre to generously provide funds to Bihar to help inclusive growth in the state. But for it, Bihar's efforts for the development of all regions and every section of society will not fully bear fruit, he said while addressing the valedictory session of the 'Global Summit on Changing Bihar'.

Stating that Bihar is struggling to touch new heights and make growth a continuous process with its limited resources, the CM told Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen, who was present in the front row, that if central assistance comes in a major way, "Bihar will not need to wait for 25 years to achieve the national average of per capita income".

A number of economists and experts had said during the three-day summit that Bihar would need 25-30 years to touch that level even if the state's present GDP growth rate continued.

"Why can't we achieve this target in 10 years? We can do this with focused planning," Nitish said while referring to state's road map on agriculture, envisaging an expenditure of Rs 1.50 lakh crore over five years. The new road map would come into effect from April 1 next, he declared.

Turning to Sen again, the CM said, "Poor people are comparatively less dishonest and we are poor people." The message conveyed was that central funds would not be misutilized in view of the state's recent record of fiscal discipline. He asked the economists and experts present to ponder over why the per capita income in Bihar is not increasing despite a high growth rate.

"It is a big challenge and we have to overcome it by identifying our own weaknesses and strengths," the CM said.

Nitish said proposals for various projects under public-private partnership mode were being received. One mega bridge was being constructed at Bakhtiyarpur in Patna district. The Centre has given no-objection certificate for a four-lane road from Rajauli to Bakhtiyarpur and bids will invited for building it under PPP mode, he said.

Nitish Kumar expressed confidence about an understanding with Nepal for the solution of certain problems.

"The opening of the summit by Nepal PM Baburam Bhattarai will open a new chapter in Indo-Nepal relations," he said, reiterating that Bihar's problem (of floods) cannot be solved without Nepal's cooperation.

Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said it was mainly because of good governance that Bihar has made an impressive turnaround. He referred to anti-corruption drive launched by the state government and attempt to check graft through declarations of assets by the CM to legislators and officials of all ranks. He said officials taking bribe are getting caught red-handed and confiscation of properties of corrupt officials under the Special Courts Act has started.

Summit organizers Shaibal Gupta of ADRI and Alakh Narayan Sharma of Institute of Human Development also spoke while senior bureaucrat C K Mishra proposed a vote of thanks.

Source:Times of India

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