Patna, Aug 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will announce a special package for Bihar on Tuesday during his visit to the state, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.
“Wait for August 18; it will be an important day for Bihar when the prime minister will announce a special package for the state,” Pradhan told the media here.
“Modi has promised a special package of more than Rs.50,000 crore to Bihar for its development,” the union minister said.
Pradhan said Modi would fulfil the promises he made during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign and at a rally in Patna in 2013.
According to Pradhan, Modi will formally announce a special package for Bihar either at Ara or Saharsa.
Modi will also lay the foundation stone of a four-lane road connecting Patna and Buxar in Ara, the district headquarters of Bhojpur, about 60 km from here, before addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party rally in Saharsa district in flood-prone Kosi region.
Modi has already addressed two election rallies in Muzaffarpur and Gaya ahead of the Bihar assembly polls.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has repeatedly demanded a special category status for Bihar and said anything less won’t help it develop.
Nearly all of the currency removed from circulation in a surprise 2016 attempt to root out illegal hoards of cash came back into the financial system, Resever Bank of India has announced, indicating the move did little to slow the underground economy.
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s currency decree, which was designed to destroy the value of billions of dollars in untaxed cash stockpiles, caused an economic slowdown and months of financial chaos for tens of millions of people or demonetization.
Modi announced in a November 2016 TV address that all 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee notes, then worth about $7.50 and $15, would be withdrawn immediately from circulation. The banned notes could be deposited into bank accounts but the government also said it would investigate deposits over 250,000 rupees, or about $3,700. The government eventually released new currency notes worth 500 and 2,000 rupees.
In theory, the decree meant corrupt politicians and businesspeople would suddenly find themselves sitting on billions of dollars in worthless currency, known here as “black money.”
“A few people are spreading corruption for their own benefit,” Modi said in the surprise nighttime speech announcement of the order. “There is a time when you realize that you have to bring some change in society, and this is our time.”
But even as the decree caused turmoil for those in India who have always depended on cash — the poor and middle class, and millions of small traders — the rich found ways around the currency switch. In the months after the decree, businesspeople said that even large amounts of banned currency notes could be traded on the black market, though middlemen charged heavy fees.
The reserve bank of India report said in its Wednesday report that 99.3 percent of the $217 billion in notes withdrawn from circulation had come back into the economy. Some officials had originally predicted that number could be as low as 60 percent.
“Frankly, I think demonetization was a mistake,” said Gurcharan Das, a writer and the former head of Proctor & Gamble in India. He said that while it did broaden the country’s tax base, it was a nightmare for the immense, cash-dependent informal economy.
“You can’t overnight change that in a country which is poor and illiterate. Therefore, for me it’s not only an economic failure but a moral failure as well,” Das said. (VOA)