Leaders demand enhancement of development funds

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Patna, Aug 13: Concerned with the gap in the development expenditure for Bihar and other states, political leaders cutting across party lines, intellectuals and the thinktank of the society stressed on the need for increasing the funds for Bihar to match the national average by 2015.

Deliberating at the consultation meeting organised by the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) for discussion on various financial issues related to Bihar, the leaders felt that the state should get greater share in the 13th Finance Commission.

The meeting was held to finalise a joint memorandum likely to be handed over to the 13th Finance Commission.

The members expressed concern on the terms of reference of the Commission and advocated that the development expenditure for Bihar should match the national average by 2015.

Addressing the meeting, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said the devolution formula should be changed so that Bihar did not remain a loser.

He said in the previous Commission, the developed states procured greater share of funds and added that the backward states like Bihar should strive to get a better deal.

He said a horizontal devolution formula needed to be evolved to ensure greater grants to the backward states.

State Water Resources Minister Vijendra Yadav raised objections on the use of the 1971 census while RJD state president Abdul Bari Siddiqui suggested to take up the issues left unaddressed by the 12th Finance Commission.

Supporting Mr Siddiqui's suggestions, CPI state secretary Badri Narayan Lal said the flood problems and the vast devastation caused by it should also be addressed properly.

ADRI member secretary Shaibal Gupta and members from the Bihar Chamber of Commerce also came forward with suggestions for incorporating them in the memorandum, likely to be submitted by the state government before a team of the Commission scheduled to visit the state next month.

UNI

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