New Delhi: The Planning Commission on Wednesday approved Bihar's Rs 28,000 crore annual Plan for the current fiscal, which is 16.66 percent higher compared to 2012-13.

The state's annual Plan outlay for 2012-13 was finalised in the capital at a meeting between the Commission's Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Commenting on state's performance, Ahluwalia said Bihar is fast catching up with developed states.

He assured the state that the on-going special assistance package for Bihar would continue in the 12th Plan.

Ahluwalia said the Commission would be shortly seeking central government's approval for the same and move a Cabinet proposal in this regard.

"We demanded a special package of Rs 4,000 crore every year during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) during the meeting," Kumar told reporters after the meeting.

The state was given Rs 10,000 crore special package during the 11th Plan (2007-12). Since the 12th Plan has already begun, the Commission needs to take the Union Cabinet approval for continuation of the central package for the state.
Kumar said he has also demanded constitution of a committee to suggest various criteria like human development index for granting special category status to states.

During the meeting, attention was drawn by the Commission on the need to improve education standard.
It was pointed out that in the focus in the next plan would be on quality and not so on quantity expansion. The state was advised to focus on teachers' training to improve quality.

Briefing the Commission, the Chief Minister said the state would be targeting an economic growth of 13 percent in the next five year Plan which would include 7 percent growth in agriculture for which a road map has been drawn.
The Commission was also told that the Airport Authority of India has already approved the proposal for an airport at Nalanda.


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