Big Boost for Bihar

Government has bowed to pressure from Bihar heavyweights by extending the Rs 3,500-crore Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) to 50 more districts to include 13 from Bihar, and 37 others, that were left out of the ambit. The multi-crore fund was drafted to boost infrastructure in backward districts. A Group of Ministers (GoM) on Tuesday gave its nod to the proposal to expand BRGF to 250 districts from the chosen 200 after the Planning Commission proposed it as the way out of the deadlock over the beneficiary districts.

While the number of beneficiary districts has gone up to 250, the GoM has decided against raising the fund allocation of Rs 3,500 crore, thereby bringing down the money per district substantially. Each district was to be allocated an average sum of Rs 17.75 crore annually. As per the fresh draft, sources said, 242 districts will be allocated Rs 10 crore per year, while the remaining Rs 1,080 crore will be distributed among districts in proportion to their area and population. Bihar has emerged a major gainer in the process.

The government has decided to retain the annual special package of Rs 1,000 crore for the 11th Plan period while including all but one of its 38 districts in the ambit of the BRGF 13 districts falling in the list of the newly-added 50 districts. Thus, the state while getting the lion’s share of mega-crore BRGF will also get Rs 5,000 crore during the 11th Plan.
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