Cash Transfer Good in Principle But Bad in Form: Nitish
Describing the direct cash transfer scheme of the Centre as "good" in principle but "bad" in form as it excludes food and fertiliser, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he would take up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"The cash transfer scheme brought by the Centre is good in principle as Bihar has already successfully experimented this," Kumar told reporters here.
He, however, said the form in which the Centre had decided to launch it from January one next year was "bad".
He said the scheme which the UPA government was terming as "game-changer" did not include transfer of cash to beneficiaries of food and fertiliser subsidy.
Besides, he said, the scheme in the field of education had made a provision for purchase of uniform for school students from standard one to VIII under Sarv Siksha Abhiyan through a committee which could breed corruption.
"In Bihar my government is distributing cash directly to students for purchase of uniform as per dress code and it has been very successful," Kumar said.
"The state government is also distributing direct cash for cycle scheme for school students and purchase of uniform for policemen and no complaint of corruption has been reported from anywhere", he said.
The chief minister regretted that the Centre did not include any district from Bihar in the scheme although "the idea has been taken from the eastern state."
He avoided a direct reply to a question if selection of 51 districts from 15 states in the scheme initially was influenced by politics as majority states selected have either Congress government or that of UPA partners, but said the "success of the scheme would be judged in the perspective of similar successful effort in Bihar.
On Bihar being judged as the top performer among the major states in terms of economic growth during the 11th Five Year Plan and accusation of RJD President Lalu Prasad that it was based on "colourful data" provided by the state government, Kumar said the survey had been carried out by central agencies and the state government had no role in it.
"The report has been brought out by the Planning Commission which reveals that the nominal gross state domestic product
(GSDP) growth rate of Bihar is 21.9 per cent during the 11th Plan," the chief minister said.
According to a Planning Commission report on state finances, only Sikkim and
Goa, which are much smaller in size than Bihar, have performed better than the state.
In an indirect dig at Lalu Prasad who has contested the report, Kumar said "young people with young mind think differently, but some old people with old mind see things in different way."
"Such people have nothing to speak. And for that they look for opportunity to be in media somehow," he said without naming
Kumar said a mood of development was prevailing in Bihar at present and this was the right time the Centre could help the state by granting it special state status.
"During a visit to Delhi recently, I told Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram that fluctuation in growth rate in the country has been due to concentration of policy makers on islands of prosperity and ignoring backward states like Bihar," he said.
"I told Chidambaram that there is a need for paradigm shift by drawing special strategy for states like Bihar that lag behind the national average on major developmental indices," he said.
"Bihar will create a 'Janmat' (peoples voice) on the issue by working with states sharing similar condition to put pressure on the Centre to pay special care for states which would take not less than 25 years to even match the national average," he added.
On a US magazine naming him among 100 global thinkers, Kumar said "I concentrate on work and not on praise."
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