Ahead of the Assembly elections in Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of Rs. 1.25 lakh crore for the State at a function in Ara on Tuesday.
The package would change the “face and fate” of the State, he said.
Inaugurating several national highway and skill development projects, the Prime Minister took a swipe at Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for not utilising Central funds but always demanding a “special package or more funds” for the State.
Mr. Kumar has been demanding special status for a long time.
The Prime Minister said: “Earlier, I had declared that I would give a Rs. 50,000-crore package to Bihar, but now, I realised it was not enough for the State. So I have come here to Ara to declare that I will give a Rs 1.25-lakh-crore package for its growth and development.”
Road and power projects
Besides, he said, the Union government has launched several road and power projects estimated at Rs. 40,000 crore in the State.
“So, the total package for Bihar comes to Rs. 1.65 lakh crore and this will change the fate of Bihar,” Mr. Modi said.
“A comprehensive project is needed for development, but this will not be possible without skilldevelopment … that is why I say ‘Make in India, Skill India’.”
Alleging poor spending of Central funds by the Nitish Kumar government, he said: “The Vajpayeegovernment had given a Rs. 10,000-crore package for the development of Bihar, but the Stategovernment could utilise only Rs. 9,000 crore till 2013, while Rs. 1,000 crore remained unspent.”
Similarly, he said, after much persuasion by the present Chief Minister, the previous United Progressive Alliance government had given Rs. 12,000 crore to the State government — out of that, only Rs. 4,000 crore had been spent till today. He asked the cheering crowd, “Does anyone ask for food with a full stomach? Does anyone go for doctors if he is hale and hearty?… They [Mr. Kumar and the Janata Dal(U)] do it for the sake of politics, but I do not want to play politics over people’s misery, feeling and aspirations.”
Mr. Modi took a dig at Mr. Kumar for criticising him for calling Bihar a BIMARU State.
“I welcome his displeasure and anger and wish he was true … I would be the happiest person if Bihar comes out of the BIMARU bracket,” he said. “But why does he [Mr. Kumar] always beg for this fund … that fund?
After starting his speech in Bhojpuri, Mr. Modi spoke of the welfare of farmers and agriculturaldevelopment. “Both are complementary to each other for development and we cannot progress without the growth of both. Our government has decided to take care of both agriculture and farmer,” he said.
He said that without the development of Bihar and other eastern States, India could not progress.