Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that the Centre would provide funds amounting to Rs 10,000 crore over five years for 10 public and private universities in Bihar, ANI reported. “India is a youthful nation, blessed with youthful aspirations. Our youngsters can do a lot for the nation and the world,” he said at an event in Patna.

The prime minister laid the foundation stone of projects under the Namami Gange programme in Mokama town in Patna district of Bihar. Modi said the projects would provide an impetus to Bihar’s development.

“I assure you that the Centre and the Bihar government will do everything for the development of the state,” Modi said. He added that the Union Railway Ministry had started four special trains in the state so that people could reach home in time for Diwali and Chhath Puja.

Earlier, Modi attended the centenary celebrations of Patna University, the country’s seventh old university. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Union ministers Ram Vilas Paswan and Ravi Shankar Prasad were also present at the event.

Modi said in every state, the top level of civil services has people who have studied in Patna University. “In Delhi, I interact with so many officials, many of whom belong to Bihar,” he added.

The prime minister said when the country celebrates 75 years of independence, Bihar should feature in the list of leading states in the nation. “This is what we are aiming and working towards,” he said. He added India has to make a place in the world by understanding the changing trends across the world and increased spirit of competitiveness.

Speaking at the centenary event, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pitched for central university status to Patna University. “Patna University was founded in the year when the Champaran Satyagraha took place,” he said. Kumar reminisced of his days spent as a student at the university.

He also took a dig at the Congress as former education minister Ashok Chaudhary had attended the event. “I hope you will not be expelled from your party,” he said.

On September 27, Choudhary had been removed from the post of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee chief with immediate effect. The ouster followed speculation that a few Congress members, including Choudhary, were engineering a defection to the Janata Dal (United). However, this allegation was denied by Choudhary.

Political tensions have been high in Bihar since July 26 when Kumar broke his Janata Dal (United)’s alliance with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal in the state, and resigned from the chief minister’s post. He later allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party, and was sworn in as the chief minister again.