Bihar Government’s ‘Hariyali Yatra’ is a Wastage of Public Funds Meant for Poverty Alleviation

AICCTU Secretary Ranvijay Kumar and Bihar Pradesh Jeevika Cadre Sangh President Pradeep Kumar Singh have said in a joint Press statement that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should make public the details of billions of rupees that are going to be spent on the human chain and ‘Hariyali Yatra’ to be organized on 19 January; they also demanded that the dispensation of Poverty Alleviation Funds during the 14 years of Nitish-BJP rule should be made public. They also criticized Deputy CM and Finance Minister Sushil Modi of corruption and siphoning of poverty alleviation funds meant especially for poor women which is now being spent on ‘Yatras’ and meetings instead.

They said that the people of Bihar have every right to know where the billions of rupees received as loan from World Bank for poverty alleviation have gone and how much of that money has been wasted by Nitish Kumar so far on publicity for himself and his government and how much of the funds has been ‘legally’ looted. The AICCTU-Jeevika leaders accused the Nitish-BJP government of misusing crores of rupees for gathering crowds for the human chain and CM’s meeting on 19 January. They handed to the Press a copy of a letter No. 1789 issued by Jeevika on 6 August 2019 directing Rs 200 per person to be spent for transport and food to attend Nitish Kumar’s meeting. The question then arises: how is the poverty of thousands of poor women going to be alleviated by their going and attending Nitish Kumar’s public meeting? Is Nitish’s meeting an activity that will generate livelihood for the poor women? If not, why are crores being spent on it? Why should we not take it that Nitish Kumar is misusing government funds meant for the poor to collect crowds for his meeting?

Ranvijay Kumar and Pradeep Kumar Singh pointed out that in 2016 CM Nitish Kumar had similarly misused Rs 2,49,43,959 from poverty alleviation funds for publicity and ‘Yatra’ in the name of the Prohibition program. In order to misuse these funds, Rs 75,000 each was cut from the funds granted to women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs), reducing the amount to a mere Rs 15,000 per SHG. Is this poverty alleviation or poverty aggravation? There are over a crore of women from backward and very backward communities who depend on SHGs for their livelihood; social justice and women’s empowerment are their right. Snatching away their rights and misusing funds meant for them is one of the Nitish-BJP government’s most shameful acts.