Nitish feels if ‘special status’ accorded to Bihar it will act as a catalyst

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Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asserted that grant of “Special Category” status to the state would “act as a catalyst for private investment” and would boost employment generation.

In a two-page note posted on his official twitter handle, Kumar said the demand for special status to Bihar has been repeatedly raised as “it will enhance the availability of resources by lowering the state’s contribution in centrally sponsored schemes, improve access to external resources.”

This will act as a catalyst for private investment based on tax breaks and concessions and act as a spur to employment generation and improve life quality, he said.

“Bihar is a land-locked state and categories of land-locked and least developed states are internationally eligible for special and differential treatment. In this context, the 15th Finance Commission must locate the resource gaps and support backward states like Bihar in their efforts to catch up with the developed states”, he said.

The Chief Minister also expressed dissatisfaction with the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, saying the “increase in transfers to the states from 32 per cent to 42 per cent were merely a compositional shift”.

The 14th Finance Commission, set up by the previous UPA government at the Centre, had done away with grant of special status.

Kumar, supported by other NDA leaders from Bihar like Sushil Kumar Modi and Ram Vilas Paswan, have been in favour of raising the demand before the 15th Finance Commission set up by the Narendra Modi government.

“In fact, following the recommendations of the last four Finance Commissions, our share in the divisible pool of taxes has steadily gone down – from 11.589 per cent (11th FC) to 11.028 per cent (12th FC) to 10.917 per cent (13th FC) and then to 9.665 per cent (14th FC)”, the chief minister claimed.

The Hariyali Mission under the agriculture road map has led to an increase in green cover of the state from 9.79 per cent to almost 15 per cent.

Now, we have a target to take it to 17 per cent by 2022, which is the maximum that can be achieved for a densely-populated state like Bihar, he said.

Kumar urged the Niti Ayog to fulfil the “legal requirement” as per the Bihar State Reorganisation Act, 2000, which provides for constitution of a special cell under the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission to look into the special financial needs of Bihar arising out of the reorganisation of the state.

“After the bifurcation of the state, no major industries were left in Bihar and this adversely affected both public and private investment”, he said.

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