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Modi announces Rs 1.25 lakh crore investment package for poll-bound Bihar

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A day after a Rs.1.25 lakh crore financial package was announced for poll-bound Bihar, the Finance Ministry on Wednesday declared tax incentives for five years to set up manufacturing facilities in 21 notified backward districts — including capital Patna.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a rally at Arrah in Bihar on Tuesday, announced an economic package of Rs.1.25 lakh crore in a measure taken to woo voters in the state which is headed for assembly polls later this year.

The tax benefit will be available during the five-year period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020, according to an official release issued here by the Finance Ministry.

Besides Patna, the other districts are Nalanda, Bhojpur, Rohtas, Kaimur, Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nawada, Vaishali, Sheohar, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Purnea, Katihar, Araria, Jamui, Lakhisarai, Supaul and Muzaffarpur.

During the period, the manufacturing units established in such areas will enjoy 15 per cent additional depreciation and 15 per cent investment allowance under the Income Tax Act on the total cost incurred.

The aforesaid incentives are in addition to other tax benefits available under the Income-tax Act, the release said.

“…Thus a manufacturing undertaking/enterprise set up in any of these areas during the aforesaid period will be eligible for 35 per cent (instead of 20 per cent) of additional depreciation.

“This would be over and above the normal depreciation of 15 per cent,” it said.

Besides, a company engaged in manufacturing will also be eligible for 30 percent (instead of 15 percent) of investment allowance if its investment in new plant and machinery during the period April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017 exceeds Rs 25 crore.

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India Struggles with Encephalitis Outbreak in Eastern State of Bihar, One of Its Poorest Regions

In 2014, an outbreak of encephalitis killed 350 children in Muzaffarpur

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India, Encephalitis Outbreak, Bihar
Children showing symptoms of encephalitis undergo treatment at Sri Krishna Medical College Hospital in Muzaffarpur, Bihar state, India, June 18, 2019. VOA

At least 152 children have died in an encephalitis outbreak during the month of June in India’s eastern state of Bihar, according to local health authorities. Following a petition, India’s supreme court ordered an investigation into the epidemic.

Acute encephalitis syndrome, sometimes referred to as ‘brain fever’, has claimed lives in 20 of Bihar’s 38 districts.  In particular, the disease has gripped the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, reaching epidemic proportions in a region already stricken with poverty and poor child health.

In 2014, an outbreak of encephalitis killed 350 children in Muzaffarpur.

A petition filed to India’s supreme court sought to end the current epidemic, accusing local and regional governments of being negligent in their response.

India, Encephalitis Outbreak, Bihar

At least 152 children have died in an encephalitis outbreak during the month of June in India’s eastern state of Bihar. Pixabay

“[Encephalitis] is completely curable and lives of young children are being lost due to the inaction of state machinery,” the petition read.

“Most of the deaths are occurring due to lack of medical facilities in the area of outbreak,” it continued.

In response to the petition, Indian supreme court justice Sanjiv Khanna said “We issue notice to the Bihar government seeking a detailed response.”

State and national officials must respond within seven days on health conditions, according to India’s top court.

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India’s health ministry affirmed its earlier promise to open a children’s ward in the district and monitor the epidemic, as state health official face sharp criticism for what has been seen as indifference and negligent behavior.

India’s health minister Harsh Varadhan insisted that the Indian government was providing “all possible support” to combat the epidemic.

Since June 1, more than 700 cases of the disease have been recorded, though there are signs that the disease has been slowing, with no new deaths reported on Monday. (VOA)