States won battle Bihar fought: Nitish

States won battle Bihar fought: Nitish

But Lalu Yadav says CM raised special status bogey to hide his own inefficiency

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said that the report of the Raghuram Rajan committee, which was set up by the Centre to look into the demand for ‘special category’ status, vindicated his stand that Bihar was one of the least developed states.

Nitish also thanked Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram for making the report public.
The Rajan panel has suggested a new methodology for devolving funds to states based on a multi dimensional index (MDI).

The Centre on May 16 had constituted a special committee under the chairmanship of the then chief economic adviser of Union Finance Ministry, Raghuram Rajan (now, RBI governor) to firm up parameters for finalising the composite development index that would determine the relative backwardness of states.

The report has now suggested that each state should get a basic fixed allocation and an additional allocation depending on its ‘development needs and development performance’.

Quoting Chidambaram, Nitish said, “The demand for funds and special attention of different states would be more than adequately met by the twin recommendations of the basic allocation of 0.3 per cent of overall funds to each state and the categorisation of states that scores 0.6 and above as least developed states.”

“It’s a positive outcome that the other states too will benefit from the battle which Bihar had waged relentlessly for the past few years,” said Nitish, who had been harping for such a status.

At one point of time, he had promised electoral support to whichever party granted Bihar the status.

However, on Thursday, Nitish evaded a direct reply on his possible support to the Congress. “The decision on political realignment will be taken after our party meeting on October 29,” he said.

Big let down: Modi

But his former deputy and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi took a dig at Nitish for “befooling people of Bihar on the issue of special status”.

In one of his tweets, Modi said, “Nitish created a hype that on his request the Union Government had formed Raghuram Rajan panel which will grant special category status to Bihar. But khoda pahad, nikli chuhiya. (Making mountain out of a molehill). Congress too has betrayed the aspirations of people. Nitish ji, will you still align with Congress?”

Lalu Prasad was in equally attacking mode. “Nitish had raised the bogey of special status just to hide his inefficiency on the development front. He stands exposed,” said the RJD chief.

But noted economist and professor in Patna University NK Choudhary said, “At least the Centre has now acknowledged that after Odisha, Bihar is the least developed state. It will now lay out fresh criteria for special fund allocation.”