New Delhi: More than half the population in Bihar lived below the poverty line in 2009-10, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Planning Rajeev Shukla said in Parliament Thursday.
"As per the Tendulkar methodology, 53.5 per cent of the population in Bihar was living below the poverty line in 2009-10," Shukla said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.
In reply to a question if the government has any special assistance to Bihar, he said Special Plan for Bihar was approved in 2003-04.
"An allocation of Rs 1,000 crore per annum was approved for the Special Plan during the 10th Plan period after approval to the scheme in 2003-04 under the erstwhile Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana," he said.
Shukla said the allocation was approved to be continued during the 11th Plan period under the Backward Regions Grant Fund. And this allocation was enhanced to Rs 2,000 crore for 2010-11 and Rs 1,470 crore for 2011-12.
An allocation of Rs 1,500 crore has been made for 2012-13. Funds are being released for various projects on 100 per cent grant basis, he added further.
He said the aim of all these programmes is to accelerate socio-economic development in Bihar. Through the special plan for Bihar, infrastructure - particularly power, roads and irrigation - is being put in place, Shukla said.
In reply to a separate question on according special status to states, he said presently 11 states are under the Special Category States.
These states are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand.
National Development Council is the sole body to accord special category status to a state based on an integrated consideration of set of criteria," he said.
He said the status is accorded on the basis of criterion such as hilly and difficult terrain, low population density or sizeable share of tribal population, strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries, economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances.