BJP funds plea in Delhi court

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By Our special correspondent
  • Published 25.03.15
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MONEY TALKS: (Top) Sushil Kumar Modi and Arun Jaitley

Patna, March 24: Chief minister Nitish Kumar and the BJP are engaged in one-upmanship over the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.

Before the chief minister could write a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to compensate for the "losses incurred by Bihar on the account of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations", former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi met Union finance minister Arun Jaitley today and sought assurance for the continuation of the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF).

"The Union minister has given us a very positive response and stressed that Bihar's interest would be safeguarded," Modi told The Telegraph.

Modi met Jaitley along with Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Bihar BJP general secretary in-charge Bhupendra Yadav and former MP N.K. Singh. "We stressed that Bihar should get the remaining amount of Rs 7,370 crore of the Rs 12,000 crore under the BRGF so that pending projects of the 12th Finance Commission period could be completed," said Modi. He said that the delegation had called on the Union minister to congratulate him for the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission because Bihar is a "major gainer".

He said of Rs 12,000 crore had been earmarked in the 12th Finance Commission under the BRGF for construction of roads, modernisation of Barauni and Kanti thermal plants and bridge over Ganga in Patna, strengthening of rural electrification.

When the Union government slashed the central grants after it hiked the state's share of central funds from 32 to 42 per cent, Nitish had threatened to approach the apex court if the Union government stopped the BRGF.

Sushil said the delegation also spoke to Jaitley about his announcement in the budget speech on providing Bihar special assistance on the pattern of Andhra Pradesh. "The finance minister said he would call a meeting of the secretaries of the departments concerned and take a decision soon. The same announcement was made for Bengal also."

Sushil said Bihar would get Rs 3.81 lakh crore in the next five years of the 14th Finance Commission, which would be Rs 2.15 lakh crore more than it got in the 13th Finance Commission period. The local bodies of Bihar would get Rs 1,800 crore more, he added.

Nitish had called an all-party meeting on Monday to discuss the situation arising out of "the implementation of 14th Finance Commission recommendations". The BJP boycotted it, questioning the motive of holding the meeting and "insulting" the BJP by inviting it only hours before the meeting.