Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said that the central government must fully fund all central schemes launched by it, instead of asking states to pay a share that sometimes goes up to 40 per cent. He also said that reduction in borrowing limit would also come as a hindrance to the state’s development.
“We had requested for fiscal limit to be increased to 4.5 per cent but our request was turned down. Our loan limit is not being increased, thus constraining our development… They give their own name (referring to PM prefix) to central schemes in which states have to share a substantial portion. In certain Central schemes, the share of states goes up to 40 per cent, leaving little funds for them to work it,” Nitish said in Saharsa where he attended mass outreach programme ‘Samadhan Yatra’, as quoted by The Indian Express.
He added, “Reduction in borrowing limits for states which would further hamper our ability to marshal resources.”
Budget disappointing: Nitish Kumar
Calling the Union Budget “disappointing”, the longest-serving CM of the state rued that the demand for special status for Bihar was also ignored.
“The Union Budget is disappointing as it lacks foresight. While the budgetary priorities change every year, none have been fulfilled due to a lack of focus and funds. Bihar has been left disappointed with this budget, as, once again, the demand for special status was ignored,” he had tweeted.
The Janata Dal (United) chief also alleged that there is no blueprint in the Budget on employment generation for the youth, and neither was there any in the loan limit of the state government in the year 2023-24.
“Ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget 2023-24, the Bihar government had demanded a special package of Rs 20,000 crore from the central government. However, there’s no mention of the same in the Budget. There is no blueprint on opening employment avenues for our youth,” tweeted Kumar.
“The financial conditions of states have been ignored. No relaxation has been given in the loan limit of the state government in 2023-24,” he added.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, presenting her fifth straight Budget, listed seven priorities, which she termed as “Saptarishi”, to guide the country through the Amrit Kaal, the 25-year journey towards the nation’s centenary. Taking a dig at it, Nitish tweeted, “The government has determined seven priorities (Saptarishi) in the Union Budget. This is just re-packaging of the central schemes that are already being implemented.”
Nothing for interest of people: Nitish Kumar
The JD(U) chief also hit out at the Centre for reduction in allocation in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). In the lowest allocation in four years, the Budget allocated Rs 60,000 crore for the MGNREGS, lower than the budgetary estimate of Rs 73,000 crore for 2022-23. The revised estimate was pegged at Rs 89,400 crore for the current financial year.
“Nothing is being done in the interest of people. Nothing has been done for poor states like Bihar. There was a provision of Rs 73,000 crore in MNREGA in 22-23 but it has been reduced to Rs 60,000 crore. Budget of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi also decreased,” Kumar said on Thursday, as quoted by ANI.