New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Amid speculation over the future of the BJP-JD-U ruling alliance in Bihar, the union cabinet Thursday substantially enhanced the special grant for the state to Rs.12,000 crore for the next four years.
“The cabinet decided to continue the special plan for Bihar in the remaining four years 2013-14 to 2016-17 of the Twelfth Five Year Plan with a total allocation of Rs.12,000 crore for the entire Twelfth Five Year Plan period,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
The decision was taken by the cabinet committee on economic affairs headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Stating that the cabinet approved the continuation of an existing scheme, Tewari clarified that “the correct interpretation (of the decision) would be that there is a substantial enhancement”.
However, he denied the special allocation was politically motivated.
“Administrative decisions should not be linked to politics. But in a democracy, people are free to draw their own conclusions,” said Tewari.
The decision assumes significance in the wake of reported rift between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) over the former’s Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is being seen as the NDA’s potential prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections.
The central government had recently assured Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U leader Nitish Kumar that his demand for a special status for the backward state would be considered.
Along with Bihar, the cabinet allocated Rs.250 crore for backward Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput disricts in Odisha and Rs.4,400 crore for the Bundelkhand region spreading across Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.