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Modi’s Bihar package “mere repackaging of old schemes”: Nitish

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Wednesday that the amount of Rs. 1.25 lakh crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a special package for the state’s development was nothing but a “mere repackaging of old schemes.”

nitish-kumar-2“A closer look reveals that against the claim of Rs.1.25 lakh crore, at least Rs.1.08 lakh crore worth projects is nothing but a mere repackaging of old schemes,” Nitish Kumar tweeted.

He said this included appropriation of pre-approved allocations for old ones and continued contribution to ongoing schemes which were announced by various ministries at different points of time in the past.

“Further, few new line items, totalling to the tune of about Rs.6,000 crore, are a part of the package for which there is not even a shred of evidence of planning or work on ground,” he added.

“Thus, in totality, at very best, the so called Rs.1.25 lakh crore package will not provide anything more than Rs.10,368 crore as additional or incremental resource to the state of Bihar.

“This, Rs.10,368 crore, too in the absence of a defined timeline or disbursement modalities, hardly means anything to the state,” added the Janata Dal-United leader.

Modi announced the Bihar package on August 18 while addressing an election campaign rally at Arrah.

With inputs from IANS

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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)