Days after he broke away from the NDA over choice of the presidential poll nominee, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has managed to get the Centre to double the special assistance package to Rs 20,000 crore during the 12th five year (2012-17) plan.
The state will get Rs 4,000 crore every year as central package. Although the assistance was promised at the time of its separation from Jharkhand, it was pegged at Rs 10,000 crore during the 11th Plan period.
The increased support can somewhat offset Bihar CM Nitish Kumar's disappointment of the denial of special category status to the state as it did not meet the five parameters.
During a long negotiation with the Planning Commission here on Wednesday, Bihar CM also secured approval for Delhi-like metro rail network for Patna, as well as an airport proposed to be set up in his former Lok Sabha constituency of Nalanda.
What is being seen as "Bihar bonus" was revealed at the meeting with deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Kumar, where an annual plan of Rs 28,000 crore was finalized for the state for 2012-13, reflecting an increase in annual plan outlay by 30.9 % over last fiscal.
Kumar met Ahluwalia and the chairman of PM's economic advisory council, C Rangarajan, at a dinner hosted by JD(U) MP N K Singh on Wednesday. The bonhomie comes close on the heels of Kumar's support for Congress's nominee for presidential poll Pranab Mukherjee.
Ahluwalia assured Kumar that the ongoing special assistance package for the state would continue in the 12th plan. "The Commission would be shortly seeking Cabinet approval for the package," he said.
He announced that the Commission accepts Kumar's long-pending demand for flexibility in execution of centrally sponsored programmes. "It is broadly acceptable to the Commission and would be supported wherever possible," he said, lauding Bihar for fast catching up with other developed states.
Bihar CM told Plan panel that the state would be targeting a growth rate of 13% in the next plan, including 7% growth in agriculture for which a roadmap has been worked out.
Plan panel was informed that the projected outlay for the 11th Plan (2007-12) was Rs 76481.77 crore (at 2006-07 prices). The total provisional expenditure in 11th Plan is about 99.42% and the actual expenditure during the first four years is estimated at about 72%. The total outlay for 12th Plan has been projected at Rs 269458.50 crore representing an increase of 352.32%.
Kumar said that the major chunk of the total proposed outlay has been earmarked for social sector, primarily for education, health, water supply and sanitation. Around 37.78% of the total proposed outlay for the annual plan (2012-13) and 35.23% of the total proposed outlay for the 12th Plan has been earmarked for social sector.