Opposition parties on Friday created uproar in Rajya Sabha demanding special economic package for seven most backward states including Bihar, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, leading to adjournment of the House till noon.
Raising the issue, Kiranmay Nanda (SP) said the Central government has failed to provide financial package to the seven most backward states identified in the Raghuram Rajan report.
The Rajan panel had in September last year recommended anew index of backwardness to determine which states need special assistance. The new methodology ranked Odisha as India’s most backward state. Bihar, which has been seeking special status, was ranked the second most backward state. Other states listed in the category for whom it recommended allocation of majority of Central fund, included Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Nanda wanted the government to act on the recommendation of the Rajan panel report and announce special economic package for the most backward states. Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) said Finance Minister P Chidambaram had on a visit to Patna assured Bihar of special assistance but the same has come. He charged the Centre with discriminating against Bihar and other backward states. Mayawati (BSP) said she was hoping the Prime Minister will announce a package for seven most backward states along with package for Seemandhra.
“State creation does not help unless special package is given,” she said citing poor growth rate in recently created states of Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand. She alleged that the Centre was politicising the issue and ignoring Uttar Pradesh as neither Congress nor BJP was in power in the state. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said West Bengal is saddled with over Rs 2 lakh crore of debt his party inherited from the previous regimes.
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The Centre had promised that it will consider moratorium on repayment of interest on the state debt but it has not been implemented because of political vendetta, he alleged. Tapan Kumar Sen (CPM) said the government must respond immediately to needs of the backward states identified by the Raghuram Rajan panel. The special package “should not be tied up with any condition,” he said.
Vasudevan Maitreyan (AIADMK) said the Centre was politicising allocation of funds to states and has meted out step-motherly treatment to Tamil Nadu. N K Singh (JDU) said it was a matter of disappointment that the Prime Minister yesterday chose not to respond to the demands for special package for backward states.
At this, Samajwadi Party members started raising slogans demanding special package for Uttar Pradesh. Chairman Hamid Ansari remarked that the Question Hour has been converted into ‘Grievance Hour’ and asked members to take up Question Hour. Soon BSP members too joined the slogan shouting as they moved into the aisles. TMC and JD-U members too were on their feet demanding packages for West Bengal and Bihar.
Ansari asked members not to come to the Well. Though members did not move into the Well, the slogan shouting continued, forcing him to adjourn the House till noon. Earlier, the House mourned the death of former member Parvathi Krishnan on February 20 at the age of 94 years. A trade union worker, Krishnan represented the state of Madras (now Tamil Nadu) in the Upper House from April 1954 to March 1957.