PATNA: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday reiterated his demand for grant of special category status to Bihar at the 4 th meeting of the NITI Aayog’s governing council, held at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.
While supporting Andhra Pradesh CM Chandra Babu Naidu’s similar demand for Andhra Pradesh, Nitish said the grant of special status to Bihar would enhance the availability of resources by lowering the state contribution in centrally sponsored schemes, improve access to external resources, 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 had repeatedly been raising the demand for special status before the central government. “Analysis of data on inter-regional and interstate variations on levels of development suggests that some states are far below the national average on multiple parameters of development like per capita income, education, health, electricity, institutional finance and other indices of human development. Any rational economic strategy should foster both investment and devolution patterns which would enable these states to reach the national average within a stipulated time-frame. Our demand for special category status for Bihar emanates from this very premise,” Nitish told the meeting which attended by CMs from different states and presided over by PM Narendra Modi.
Terming the crop loan waiver scheme (of some states) as a “regressive step”, Bihar CM further advocated for assisting farmers through input subsidy. “In the agriculture and allied sector, farmers are not getting the remunerative price for their produce; more over the farm income is showing no signs of improvement. Experts have suggested various remedies to overcome this agricultural crisis. Crop loan waiver is being adopted as one such measure, but experience indicates that it is a regressive step in a long-term perspective,” he said.
Nitish also pointed out that the crop loan waiver scheme was only limited to those farmers who have taken loan. “Non-loanee and Non-raiyat farmers, who are in a large number, do not benefit from the scheme. I firmly believe that farmers should be given assistance through ‘input subsidy.’ By doing so, we can reduce the total input cost of the farmers and ensure higher actual returns,” he argued.
Nitish further suggested the Centre to grant amnesty to all women prisoners and male prisoners above 60 years of ages, barring those criminals who are involved in serious crimes, on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. “Amnesty should be considered adopting due process of law. If changes are required in the law, the same may be considered,” he said.