March 1: Led by deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, the BJP today stepped up its tirade against Union finance minister P. Chidambaram, a day after chief minister Nitish Kumar praised the latter for his promise to revisit the special status parameters.
Modi came out with statistics and figures to prove Chidambaram had not done any favour to the state. he spoke shortly before leaving for New Delhi to participate in the national executive of the BJP, where Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is likely to get a key responsibility for the next Lok Sabha polls. His party colleagues, animal and fish resources minister Giriraj Singh and health minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, joined Modi in criticising the budget.
Modi declared that while Chidambaram was speaking about redefining the backwardness of states, the Centre was actually choking them of funds. “Several key programmes of Bihar would be hit in the current financial year and I am not hopeful about the next year,” he said, stressing that Bihar’s current plan size of Rs 28,000 crore would have to be downsized too.
Modi had issued a statement last evening criticising the budget after going through it partially. A day on, he came prepared.
“When I read the entire budget, I realised the serious implications it would have on poor states like Bihar, Bengal and Odisha,” he said, pointing out that each state would be losing funds to the tune of Rs 59.22 crore because the Centre had reduced their share of taxes and duties (by Rs 7,874 crore), non-plan grants and loans (by Rs 2,988 crore), central assistance (Rs 17,333 crore) and assistance for centrally sponsored schemes (by Rs 3,723) crore and direct funds released from the Centre to state- and district-level bodies for Indira Awas and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (by Rs 27,297 crore).
He pointed out that the Centre had made substantial reduction in its budget estimate and revised estimate in key programmes like Indira Awas Yojana, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and MNREGA. “Even the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) has been reduced from Rs 6,990 crore to Rs 6,790 crore. The main thing to worry about is the allotment for BRGF funds for 2013-14. It has been reduced to Rs 5,000 crore,” Modi said, hinting that Bihar might get Rs 1,000 crore less than what it was getting as special grant. He said the Centre had even reduced funds in agriculture.