Bihar fails to use development funds but seeks more

February 15th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by admin  

By Faraz Ahmad
New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Central funds worth over Rs.10 billion for rural development in Bihar for fiscal 2007-08 are yet to be utilised, but that has not stopped the state from asking for greater allotments for the coming financial year. Taking note of the unutilised funds and barely two months to go before fiscal 2007-08 ends, Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has written to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“The minister has written to the chief minister only last week reminding him of the poor performance of his state and requesting him to lift the central allocation in time to execute the various rural development schemes,” a rural development ministry official told IANS.

Nitish Kumar had come to the capital along with an all-party team of legislators Monday to plead for more central funds.

Accompanied by his Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and other members of the delegation, Nitish Kumar met union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to press his demand to give more to Bihar to enable the state government to complete its developmental tasks.

However, the soon-to-lapse funds include over Rs.1 billion for India’s flagship rural self-employment programme Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY).

Another Rs.7.6 billion for the housing scheme Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) is also lying unutilised.

Similar is the fate of Rs.1.7 billion allocated to Bihar under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) meant to provide safe drinking water to all.

Finally, a sum of Rs.1.12 billion is lying idle with the central government under the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) account. DRDA is the principal organ at districts to oversee the implementation of anti-poverty programmes.

Ministry officials said these figures tell only half the truth because the opening balance at the start of the current financial year for Bihar for these programmes was Rs.8.6 billion with Rs.1.3 billion under SGSY, Rs.6.2 billion under IAY, Rs.77 million against DRDA and Rs.1.06 billion for ARWSP.

This means the central government has released only 42.44 percent of the total allocation in Bihar’s rural development schemes with 1.23 percent released for SGSY, 48.71 percent for IAY, 43.75 percent against DRDA and 50 percent against ARWSP.

Commenting on the performance of the state, Singh said: “It is true that the situation in Bihar is the worst. Of the 600 districts, there are 50 that have turned out to be failures (in implementing rural development schemes). Of these, 36 are in Bihar and sundry others mainly in the northeastern states.”

As for the flagship scheme of the centre, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), the minister had said earlier: “Nitish is trying to dodge and fool the people. The state has not even completed giving the job cards to people so far.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |