Rs 20 lakh crore corona package: What happened to the Rs 1.25 lakh crore special package for Bihar?

Different people had different reactions to PM Modi’s 20 lakh 20 crore speech yesterday. While the usual suspects hailed it, Kapil Mishra – of Goli Maro fame - even compared it with, Gandhi’s Do or Die and Churchill’s The Darkest Hour.

While many were excited by the announcement of the Rs 20 lakh crore package, others wondered to an older package – the Rs 1.25 lakh crore one promised for Bihar in 2015.

Even as PM Modi made the speech, an old video of former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav went viral.

The timing was no coincidence. It was a video of Lalu Prasad Yadav mocking PM Modi’s special Bihar package. In case you’ve forgotten, this was 2015, when sworn rivals – Lalu’s RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) – came together to take on the might of the BJP.

In the video, Lalu is at his raconteur best, mocking the PM over the special package he had promised for Bihar ahead of the elections.

However, the pre-promise didn’t help and RJD-JD(U)-Cong – the Mahagatbandhan – emerged victorious. But the

For those who might have forgotten, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD won 80 seats, JD(U) won 71 and the NDA only managed 53. It’s a different matter that Nitish Kumar and Lalu grew apart, and the former ran into BJP’s grateful arms and returned to the NDA fold.

What happened to the package?

An RTI query from 2017 showed that even after 18 months, the state still waited for the 1.25 lakh crore package. Mumbai RTI activist Anil Galgali had filed the query with the Union finance ministry in December 2016 seeking details of Modi’s assurances on massive financial aid or development packages to various states.

He also sought details of the action taken on the financial packages.

However, deputy director in finance ministry Anand Parmar, while declining to provide a direct reply to the Right To Information query, has made the position clear in a roundabout manner.

Galgali was quoted saying: “About the Rs 125,003-crore special package for Bihar, announced by PM for August 18, 2015 Parmar’s terse reply said that ‘the projects/works will be completed in a phased manner’ though not a paisa has been released till date. It is a shame that assurances to Bihar given by none other than the country’s Prime Minister, has failed with no action in the matter since one-and-half years.”

A day after announcing the mega Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday is busy with another important assignment. Modi is holding a meeting of a high-powered group of secretaries on COVID-19 to discuss modalities ahead of Lockdown4.0 which will begin on May 18.

In his address to the nation on Tuesday, PM Modi said that for Lockdown4.0 entirely new norms would be set up.

He said that before May 18, the norms would be made public. Sources said that the government is focussing primarily on restarting the industries especially the small and medium enterprises.

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