Patna, Sep 8:
Ahead of the upcoming state assembly polls, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reiterated his demand before the central government to grant “Special Category” status for Bihar.
The move seems to be aimed at targetting the Narendra Modi-led government’s ‘special package politics’ ahead of the upcoming Bihar assembly polls.
In a letter addressed to union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Nitish Kumar said: “I firmly believe that instead of taking these piece-meal measures, the Government of India should grant Special Category status to Bihar, if it genuinely desires to address the backwardness of the State in a holistic manner.”
The letter was shared with the media on Tuesday.
In a reference to the Rs.1.25 lakh crore special package for Bihar, announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 18, Nitish Kumar said: “…this so-called package will never meet the aspirations of the people of the state.”
“If the central government really wants Bihar to overcome its social, economic and infrastructural backwardness, they should affirmatively decide on our demand for Special Category Status and supplement the formula-based transfer by additional grants-in-aid and genuine special assistance on an assured basis and in a fair manner.”
Nitish Kumar said: “…an assertion has been made, claiming that a great favour has been bestowed upon the people of the state.”
“A narrative has been put together that this package has the potential to change the face of Bihar… A closer look reveals that against the much hyped claim of Rs.1.25 lakh crore, at least Rs.1.08 lakh crore — about 87 percent of the projects — is nothing but a mere repackaging of old schemes.”
“…In totality, the so-called Rs.1.25 lakh crore package will not provide anything more than Rs.10,368 crore as additional or incremental resources to Bihar.
“This, Rs.10,368 crore, too in the absence of a defined timeline or disbursement modalities would hardly mean anything to the state,” the chief minister said, adding that “without exact timelines, the package appears to be a post-dated cheque with no certainty of encashment”. (IANS)