Nitish for more autonomy to states for preparation of programmes

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Patna, Dec 17 (UNI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today advocated for more autonomy to states for preparation of welfare and development schemes in accordance with their needs, saying the present trends had converted the respective state governments into implementing agencies of the Centrally sponsored schemes.

After janta darbar at his residence here, Mr Kumar told reporters that he would raise the matter at the meeting of Nation Development Council (NDC), scheduled to be held in New Delhi on December 19.

'' The Central government prepares various schemes for states across the country and funds are accordingly released for its implementation, '' he added.

'' In several cases, these schemes do not serve the purpose as needs of the different states vary according to their demographic and geographical conditions, '' Mr Kumar said.

It would be better if states were provided with more funds and given free hands to evolve schemes in accordance with their requirements, instead of assigning them the responsibilities to execute mere Centrally sponsored schemes, he stated.

Referring to the criticism of his government by Union Ministers at official meetings on implementation of various welfare and development schemes, Mr Kumar said it was a brazen violation of federal spirit of the Constitution.

'' I would raise the matter at NDC meeting in New Delhi, '' Mr Kumar said adding this sort of practices must be stopped forthwith.

He said the Bihar government had already sent a package of Rs 17,000 crore to the Centre for reconstructions of infrastructure damaged during flood this year and urged the Union Government to approve it soon.

Mr Kumar said an all party delegation would call on Prime Minister Dr Mammohan Singh to urge him for consideration of special status to Bihar following its backwardness and losses of revenue after a separate Jharkhand state was carved out from it in 2000.

He urged Railway Minister Lalu Prasad to accelerate the pace of execution of various Railway projects in Bihar initiated by the erstwhile NDA government at the Centre during his tenure as Railway Minister.

The state government was providing land for railway projects in Bihar and there was leniency on that front, he added.

UNI

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