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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Cong-RJD proximity hits Nitish’s demand

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 28, 2013
First Published: 00:23 IST(28/12/2013) | Last Updated: 11:45 IST(28/12/2013)

As the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) gets closer before the next general elections, the government is going slow on the demand of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar of granting special status to the state.

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The UPA government indicated granting of special status, which means more flow of Central funds for development, to Bihar after Nitish Kumar ended his alliance with BJP. The government had set up a committee under Raghuram Rajan, now RBI governor, to consider Kumar’s demand.

The committee has termed Bihar as second most backward state after Odisha and suggested a formula for increasing Central fund flow for the backward states.

Four months down the Planning Commission has found the committee’s recommendation as not implementable hinting that Bihar will not get special status for fund flow before the 2014 elections as expected earlier.

"The methodology used in Rajan committee report fails to consider many other indicators for backwardness. It also fails to say why Bihar should be granted special status under the existing formula for fund allocation to the state governments," a senior planning commission functionary said.

The government had decided to go slow on Rajan committee report. The Bihar Congress units want an electoral tie-up with Lalu Prasad’s RJD.

"Giving special status or anything more to Bihar at this time would be considered victory for Kumar," a government functionary said.

 The panel has also ruled out National Development Council meeting, which is a must to grant the status, before the next general elections.

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