Bonanza for Bihar

Days after he broke away from the NDA over choice of the presidential poll nominee, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar managed to extract a Rs 20,000-crore special assistance package for his state from the UPA in the 12th Five Year (2012-17) Plan. 
The backward state will get Rs 4,000 crore every year as central package, promised at the time of its separation from Jharkhand. Bihar was denied the special category status as it did not satisfy the necessary parameters. Kumar convinced the Planning Commission to set up an airport at Nalanda, the CM’s constituency where land is available with the Airport Authority of India. Soon, Patna too will get a Delhi-like metro rail network. 
Bihar’s bonanza was revealed at a meeting with the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia. An annual plan of Rs 28,000 crore 
was finalized for Bihar for 2012-13, a 30.9% increase in the annual plan outlay over the last fiscal. 
Kumar met Ahluwalia and the chairman of the PM’s economic advisory council, C Rangarajan — at a dinner hosted by JD(U) MP N K Singh on Wednesday — in what can be seen as the beginning of a new partnership between the UPA and JD (U). The bonhomie comes 
close on the heels of Kumar’s support for the Congress’s presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee. 
Ahluwalia assured Kumar that the ongoing special assistance package for the state will continue in the 12th plan.  
He announced that the Planning Commission ac
cepts Kumar’s long-pending demand for flexibility in execution of centrally-sponsored programmes.
The Bihar CM told the Plan panel that the state will target a growth rate of 13% in the next plan, including 7% in agriculture, for which it has a roadmap. 
The Plan panel was informed that the projected outlay for the 11th Plan (2007-12) was Rs 76,481.77 crore (at 2006-07 prices). Total provisional expenditure in the 11th Plan is about 99.42% and actual expenditure during the first four years is about 72%. Total outlay for the 12th Plan has been projected at Rs 2,69,458.5 crore—up 352.32%. 
Kumar said a major chunk — around 37.78% of the total proposed annual outlay for 2012-13 and 35.23% of the total proposed outlay for the 12th Plan — was earmarked for the social sector, primarily education, health, water supply and sanitation. 

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