With the visiting 15th Finance Commission team indicating that recommending special category status is not within the commission’s realm, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday reiterated that industry, trade and investment will not come to the state until it gets the special status.
He also said that it is “not fair” that the state has to contribute to the Central government’s schemes.
Following his meeting with the Finance Commission team led by the commission’s chairperson, N K Singh, Nitish said, “The 14th Finance Commission had promised that there would not be any discrimination between general states and special category states. The 15th Finance Commission has to look into it. The commission has to see all practical constraints of Bihar and take a call.”
Pointing out that Bihar is a land-locked state, he said, “Trade, industry and investment are possible in the state only if it gets the special category status. It is not fair that the state has to spend its funds in Central-sponsored schemes.”
Bihar, he said, is a disaster-affected state, and floods are are caused mostly by overflowing of rivers from other states. “We are also in earthquake-prone zone. The Central government gives us only Rs 500 crore fund. This needs to be increased. In 2017, we had to distribute Rs 2,400 crore among 18 lakh affected families,” he said.
“We are focussing on basic development. Building malls and buildings alone is not the only sign of development,” he said.
The CM also said that the Centre is yet to reimburse the state government Rs 970 crore spent on repair of national highways.
N K Singh said, “The Chief Minister has made his suggestions logically and there is need to look at them. The commission would seriously and sympathetically look at what is best interest of Bihar.”
On Tuesday, Singh had told The Indian Express that recommending special category status is not within the commission’s realm and that some special or revenue deficit grants can be considered within the given framework.
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