Nitish Kumar thanks Centre for special financial assistance, AIIMS

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Patna, Feb 28: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday welcomed the announcement of special financial assistance to Bihar and setting up of an AIIMS like institution in the state in the Union Budget.

"I express thanks to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for announcing special financial assistance like Andhra Pradesh after creation of Telengana from it and an AIIMS like institution for Bihar," Kumar told reporters.

Budget 2015: Nitish thanks govt

"We hope the assistance is substantive enough to cover up the loss that will occur to the state due to the 14th Finance Commission report," he said.

Asked if the promise of financial assistance was an outcome of his warm meeting with Prime Minister at the wedding of RJD president Lalu Prasad's daughter two days back, Kumar said it was a chance meeting but he did convey to him the loss Bihar would accrue due to the 14th Finance Commission.

Kumar had a detailed talks with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the night of February 26 on the issue. The Bihar CM welcomed Jaitley for continuing the special assistance by way of BRGF (Backward Region Grant Fund) to Bihar which was awarded to it since 10th plan period under an Act of Parliament after bifurcation of Jharkhand from Bihar.

Kumar, who yesterday wrote a letter to Prime Minister in the context of loss to Bihar out of 14th Finance Commission, said the state was estimated to suffer a loss of about Rs 55,000 crore on account of decrease in percentage share in devolution of total taxes to the state which he said would be less than 1.3 per cent as compared to 13th Finance Commission.

Kumar: We hope the assistance is substantive enough to cover up the loss

Kumar took a potshot at BJP for drum beating that by increasing central tax share to state by 10 per cent the state would gain in terms of quantum of money.

"But, the fact is that though there will be some increase in quantum of money but percentage of increase for Bihar at around 25 per cent as compared to it was getting earlier will be minimum when compared with other states for whom percentage hike will be as high as 50 per cent from past," he said.

Asked if the special financial assistance has something to do with coming Bihar election, Kumar said he did not know about others but for him it was a long pending demand in the interest of the state.

"I do not see it from political angle or coloured glass. For me it has to do with growth of Bihar," he said.

While being happy at promise of special financial assistance and AIIMS, Kumar said the Union budget by increasing service tax and dwindling central government fund for essential central schemes like Mid-day meal scheme, National Health Scheme and Sarv Siksha Abhiyan has dealt a "major blow" to the state.

PTI

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