Center should reduce the number of central schemes to reduce financial burden on states: Bihar Finance Minister

Bihar Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary addressing a press conference after presenting the State Budget 2023-24 during the budget session of the State Assembly in Patna on Tuesday.

Bihar Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary addressing a press conference after presenting the State Budget 2023-24 during the budget session of the State Assembly in Patna on Tuesday. , Photo Credit: ANI

Finance minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said that the Bihar government would urge the Center to reduce the number of central schemes so that the financial burden on the states for implementation of such projects is reduced.

interacting with PTIShri Choudhary stressed the need for restructuring Centre-State financial relations and providing financial autonomy to the States.

He said that the substantial increase in the number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) in recent years has put additional financial burden on a poor state like Bihar.

“CSS forces states to re-prioritise their spending and puts poorer states at a disadvantage. It is observed that large expenditure by the Center on several schemes ultimately results in a reduction in the allocation of the Central Government. Therefore , we have decided to urge the Center to reduce the number of CSSs in the states,” he said.

“This will certainly empower states like Bihar to ensure greater flexibility in implementation of select schemes and improve delivery. We will soon write to the Center in this regard and I will be meeting Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss the issue.” Will also seek an appointment with Sitharaman.” said Mr. Chowdhary.

State Finance Minister said that Bihar’s economic growth rate of 10.98 percent has been better than the national average of 7 percent.

“The Bihar government had projected a growth of 9.84% during the 2021-22 financial year. However, the actual growth of the state’s economy was 15.04%, the highest in the last decade. But Bihar is one of the poorest states in the country. Hence it deserves special financial assistance from the Centre,” he said.

Accusing the Center of not releasing enough funds for CSS, the state’s finance minister said, “The BJP-ruled central government does politics on many centrally-sponsored schemes, especially in Bihar. It has given its share to various schemes for social, Issuance has stopped. Education, and infrastructure sectors.”

“In most cases of CSS, state governments are now paying the Centre’s share from their coffers. At the same time, Bihar is not getting its fair share even in central taxes.

“Let me make it clear that the financial health of Bihar is under pressure due to the non-cooperative attitude of the Centre… Why should the states spend from their coffers to implement the schemes of the Central Government?” asked Mr. Chowdhary.

In most CSSs, the central government’s share has now come down to 50% from 75% earlier, he said.

“Ideally, there should not be more than 40 CSSs, but currently there are more than 100 such schemes,” said the state finance minister.

Echoing the finance minister’s concern, senior CPI leader Atul Kumar Anjan alleged that it has become a habit of the NDA government at the Center to impose additional financial burden on states by changing the funding pattern of CSS.

“In some cases, states are forced to spend more than their exchequer to run CSS. Central schemes should neither put additional burden on the state nor be used to target poorer states, ” They said.

The Grand Alliance in Bihar comprises seven parties – JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI-ML (Liberation), CPI, CPI(M) and HAM – which has more than 160 MLAs in the 243-member assembly.

Senior BJP leader and former state finance minister Sushil Modi, however, rubbished Chowdhary’s claims.

He said, “I find his statement very strange. The funding pattern of central schemes is the same for rest of India, except for the northeastern states. Also, the number of CSSs for some states cannot be reduced.”

“Bihar government should try to meet the norms for effective implementation of CSS by removing anomalies. The norms are same for all states. Center has allocated huge amount for development of roads, highways, airports and many Other sectors including agriculture, tourism, fisheries, science and technology and rural development.”


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