PATNA: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Saturday left for New Delhi to attend fourth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog to be held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on June 17.
Nitish is likely to raise once again the demand for granting Bihar a ‘special category status’ at the crucial meeting to be presided over by PM Narendra Modi, sources in chief minister office said.
The day-long meeting will be attended by union ministers, chief ministers from the states, lieutenant governors of union territories and senior officials from the Centre and states.
Nitish had also raised the demand for granting special category status to Bihar at the 3rd meeting of the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council, held in New Delhi on April 23 last year.
“Despite achieving a double digit growth rate in the past many years, we remain below the national average in terms of major development indices like poverty line, per capita income, industrialization and social and physical infrastructure. There is no doubt that there are many backward states like ours. In order to bail out such states from the morass of backwardness and bring them at par with the national average in development indices, it is essential to initiate an affirmative policy intervention. It has been observed that states with Special Status have shown better progress on developmental parameters. Hence, it is essential to grant special category status to Bihar and other backward states in order to fetch them out of backwardness, and help them to achieve the national average in terms of development indices,” Nitish had said at the 3rd meeting of the Aayog’s governing council.
“We have not given up the demand of special status. It will be raised again at the NITI Aayog’s meeting,” a state government official, who didn’t want to be identified, told TOI on Saturday.
Even Nitish Kumar, while responding to a query from media on March 19 this year — days after TDP pulled out from the NDA, had categorically said that he had not given up the demand for grant of special status to Bihar “for even one second” since he first raised the issue 13 years ago.