The UPA government has rejected chief minister Nitish Kumar's demand of special category status saying that Bihar has potential for fast growth based on its resources, and appropriate investments in infrastructure.
“Clearly, a special resource support from the Centre would be desirable, through flagship schemes as well as special plan under Backward Region Grants Fund,” said an inter-ministerial committee appointed by the planning commission on suggestion of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July 2011.
Janata Dal (United) MPs had submitted a memorandum to the PM saying that Bihar’s economic condition has worsened since mine rich Jharkhand was created out of it and poverty continues to be very high. They also reasoned that Bihar does not have avenues to generate enough employment.
The Central government had granted special status to states with hilly and difficult terrain, low population density, economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances. “States under this category have a low resource base and are not in a position to mobilize resources for their development,” the committee said in its report submitted to the government. Hill states such as Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand have special status.
The committee found that Bihar did not fit into any of the five features for special category status. Admitting that poverty was extreme in Bihar, the panel said it was not a consideration for granting special status.
Instead, the committee has suggested special plan for Bihar under Backward Regions Grant Fund to bridge the huge deficit in the state’s human development index.