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Centre not releasing funds, depts told to keep in check avoidable expenses: Bihar minister

Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan, an integrated scheme for school education, is funded by the Centre and the states in a 60:40 ratio.

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Centre not releasing funds, depts told to keep in check avoidable expenses: Bihar minister

Alleging that that the Centre was showing reluctance to release funds under various welfare schemes, Bihar finance minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said on Tuesday that the state government would have to keep in check avoidable expenses to ease burden on the exchequer.

The state was struggling to get its ”rightful dues”, he said.

”The BJP-ruled central government is playing politics over schemes. It has stopped releasing its share for various schemes in social, education and infrastructure sectors of Bihar,” Chaudhary told PTI. The Centre has not released a single penny of its share under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) in the current financial year, the minister claimed.

Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan, an integrated scheme for school education, is funded by the Centre and the states in a 60:40 ratio.

”In the current fiscal (2022-23), the state government has so far released Rs 3,777 crore for paying salary to teachers under the scheme. No fund has been released by the Centre so far,” he said.

”All department heads have been advised to keep in check avoidable expenses. Officials have been asked to identify schemes that are no longer relevant and could be scrapped,” he underlined.

A senior official of the finance department said the state’s share in central taxes has also been decreased.

”Prior to 2015-16, the Centre’s share in various centrally assisted schemes ranged between 90 and 60%. Of late, Bihar has enhanced its spending on various schemes as the Centre has slashed its share considerably,” he explained.

Earlier, too, the finance minister had raised concerns over the SSA scheme during a programme.

Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had then said that Bihar had been ”getting the largest chunk of funds after Uttar Pradesh under the SSA scheme”.

”Fund release also depends on a state’s opening balance, pace of expenditure, submission of audit reports and utilization certificates among other criteria,” Modi had said.

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