Skip to main content

Modi's "special" Rs 1.25 lakh package for Bihar is part of ongoing projects, has no separate budgetary provision

By Our Representative
Facts have come to light suggesting that there are no separate provisions in the Central budget in the “special mega package” for Rs 1.25 lakh announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “development” of Bihar, and the funds that he has said he “allocated” are actually mainly on-going infrastructure projects, which will take 10 years to complete. In fact, a senior finance ministry official has been quoted as saying that the Rs.1.25 lakh crore package, announced ahead of the Bihar elections due soon, is “part of ongoing development programmes.” 
Announced at an official function in Arrah, Bihar, on August 18 for a national highways project, which alone will cost Rs 54,713 crore for the highways, which includes 2,775 kilometres of highways and construction of bridges across the Kosi, Sone and Ganga rivers, another big chunk of funds has been allotted for the expansion of Barauni Refinery and a petrol-diesel pipeline from Raxaul to Nepal, and a few other already continuing projects.
In fact, observers say, similar announcements were made in Gujarat, where Modi declared in mid-2000s a Rs 15,000 crore Sagarkhedu project for improving livelihood of the people living in the 1,600-long state coastline, and another Rs 10,000 crore Vanbandhu project for the development of the eastern tribal belt, where 14 per cent of the state’s most backward population lives. 
He faced criticism for failing to spend funds he had announced, as no special budgetary provision was made for these projects. Even today, the two projects are largely on paper, even though the Gujarat government claims they have been "completed".
Keen commentators observe, the numbers look “very big and bombastic”, but actually it is nothing but “the art of packaging” involving dishing out big figures. Under Narendra Modi, packaging of development programmes is more art than science, perhaps an abstract art whose deconstruction is open to subjective interpretations.
Already, facts have come to light suggesting that the national highway projects (about 2,775 km), includes building four lanes as well as bridges across rivers, costing more than Rs 54,000 crore was to be actually built on a public-private partnership basis. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) should have invited tenders from private parties to do the project under a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement. But, say knowledgeable sources, the private companies “withdrew” from executing fresh national highway projects due to stressed balance sheets.
Hence the decision on the part of the NHAI, which operates under the Ministry of Roads and Surface Transport, to directly implement the project. As one source notes, even if the economy picks up in next couple of years or so, and the private sector “decides” to return to execute the highways projects, the Government of India cannot now say that it will hand over the project under the public private partnership (PPP). Hence, this has turned into a special financial package for Bihar!
Same is the case with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which has been considering to expand the capacity of its refinery in Barauni, Bihar. The refinery’s capacity is proposed to be expanded from 6 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes. RS Butola, ex-chairman and Managing Director of the Indian Oil Corporation (OIC) , has been quoted as saying that the idea of Barauni refinery expansion would have proved to be a very costly affair.
After all, it would require transporting crude oil to Bihar from the Haldia port in West Bengal. “Private refineries run by Reliance Industries and Essar in Jamnagar on the north Saurashtra coast in Gujarat would have huge advantage over an expanded Barauni”, the source points out, adding, hence the IOC was “exploring” the possibility of setting up a new refinery off the Gujarat or Maharashtra Coast to be able to better compete with RIL and Essar. The expansion would have meant Rs 13,000 crore, a cost which the Government of India will bear.

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.