Nitish pitches for special status

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made a strong plea for special status to his state while refraining from anti-Centre rhetoric, unlike his BJP counterparts, in the National Development Council on Thursday. He also applauded the cash transfer scheme, but laced it with minor criticism.

The Centre’s response to Kumar’s demand for special status to the state has been negative and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has already made it clear that the state does not meet the criterion for such status. He has assured only funds from Backward Region Grant Fund.  

Viewed in this context, the Bihar chief minister’s response, devoid of any attack on the UPA government, indicates that he is not inclined to be seen in league with chief ministers from Opposition-ruled states in their political hostility towards the government.

However, Kumar expressed his disappointment over the Centre’s apathy and wanted it to do a policy change to make growth more inclusive.

“Growth will be ‘more inclusive and sustainable’ only if backward states are supported by resources and enabling policy,” he said. Otherwise, in his opinion, it “will only be a mere rhetoric and not translate into reality”.   Despite his lower political pitch, the Bihar chief minister argued strongly for an alternative approach towards the Central schemes in which backward states should be liberally treated in terms of financial assistance.

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