The Bihar Post

Another volte face: JD-U says ‘ready’ to give up its demand for special category status to Bihar

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PATNA: In a curious development, the JD-U led by chief minister Nitish Kumar today said it was ready to give up its demand for granting special category status to Bihar should the centre extends some “special facilities” to the state.

“The situation has indeed undergone a change and in the changed political situation, the JD-U is ready to compromise on its demand if some special facilities are granted to the state,” JD-U general secretary and party’s Rajya Sabha member RCP Singh told a function in Hajipur on Monday.

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Explaining further, he said his party’s lone purpose behind this demand was bringing investments and industrialization to Bihar.

“If that happens even by other means, then we will welcome it,” he said.

The volte face comes barely within two months of the JD-U returning to the BJP camp while in the past one month, at least two Union ministers—Giriraj Singh and Rao Inderjit Singh—have rejected the JD-U demand for granting special category status to Bihar.

The retracting from its stand indeed appears absurd since the JD-U had been making this demand for the past over a decade and even held bigger rallies over the issue in Patna and New Delhi.

As recently as in July this year, the chief minister had raised this demand at a meeting of the 11th Inter-State Council held in Delhi.

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The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was held after a gap of 10 years.

Addressing the meeting Kumar sought for granting special category status to all the backward states so as to bring them on national mainstream in terms of development.

He said even after achieving double digit growth rate during the last so many years, Bihar still lagged  behind the national average in major development parameters viz., poverty line, per capita income, industrialization and social and physical infrastructure.

However there are many other States which are as backward as Bihar, he claimed.

“Therefore, special category status is needed for Bihar and to all the other backward States so that they can come out of their backwardness and catch up with the national average. We have repeatedly raised this demand before the Central government,” was how the chief minister had said claiming States having been given special status had progressed on development scale.

In support of this demand, Kumar also mentioned the recommendations of Raghuram Rajan Committee in which composite development index was presented for States and accordingly ten least developed states were identified. Bihar also figured in the list.

It was mentioned in the report, he added, that the Central government should provide additional assistance to these least developed states to increase their pace of development.

“In light of the above, it is our request that Central government should raise the Central Share in various centrally sponsored developmental and welfare schemes, so that the States have the opportunity to utilize their own resources for other developmental and welfare schemes,” he had sought.

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