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Finance panel hears out industry

Patna, Jan. 6: Trade and industry body representatives today sounded the finance commission about the need to improve roads, availability of land and better rail connection so that the state gets potential investors.

The trade bodies insisted on strengthening infrastructure, e-governance and the IT sector, besides seeking funds for rehabilitating sick units and others. The 14th finance commission delegation, led by former RBI Governor Y.V. Reddy, held two rounds of meetings, one with representatives of panchayati raj and urban local bodies and another with representatives of industries and commerce.

Bihar Industries Association (BIA) general secretary Sanjay Kumar Bhartiya said: ďAs land has been a major bottleneck for industries in the state, we asked the 14th finance commission for grant-in-aid for buying industrial land in our memorandum.Ē The trade body representative stated that the state requires 20,000 acres in the next 10 years. At present market value, the price would be Rs 80,000 crore.

The trade body representative said their memorandum also mentions funds for urbanisation of other cities in Bihar, including with regard to transportation, sewerage system and improving roads and railway connectivity.

The 14th finance commission has been visiting states to review state of finances, deficit and debt levels of the Centre and states and also to suggest measures for maintaining a stable and sustainable fiscal environment, consistent with equitable growth. The commissionís latest visit to Patna is the 16th to any state. The commissionís members will on Tuesday meet chief minister Nitish Kumar and his officials.

Sources said the state government and the finance commissionís agenda is energy, Mission Manav Vikash, agriculture roadmap, and panchayati raj. Sources said the state government would demand more allocation of funds in the energy sector along with funds under Mission Manav Vikash under which come the key sectors of education and health.

Talking to the media at his weekly janada durbar, chief minister Nitish Kumar said states should be awarded 50 per cent of central revenue. Nitish Kumar said: ďAt present the Centre:state share in revenue is 68:32, with the state getting only 32 percent of total revenue collected. But it should be raised to 50 percent.Ē

The finance commission members are going to meet the chief minister and leaders of other political parties on Tuesday. Sources said leaders of all political parties and other professional bodies would jointly submit a memorandum to commission chairman Reddy in the state capital on January 7, while the state government is expected to submit its memorandum to the commission.


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