Nitish raises demand for special status for Bihar again
Cm Nitish Kumar was replying on the motion of thanks after debate on the Governor’s address to the joint sitting of the state legislature on the first day of the Budget session. Kumar was composed despite frequent interjections by the BJP, which later staged walkout.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday reiterated the demand for special status to Bihar, citing its backwardness, huge population, poverty and the lowest per capita income despite consistently high economic growth rate over the last one decade.
“... all political parties were unanimous (in demand for special status). If it happens, Bihar will have to spend less on central schemes and would be able to utilise money for its own development programmes. Despite high growth, the per capita income in Bihar has increased to barely 54,383, while it is ₹1,50,000 at the national level. We are doing everything possible, but that is not enough. Now the central schemes have almost 40-50% of state’s share, which will come down to 10% for the state once special status is granted. Whatever money the state gets as part of the central devolution also comes late,” he said.
Kumar was replying on the motion of thanks after debate on the Governor’s address to the joint sitting of the state legislature on the first day of the Budget session. Kumar was composed despite frequent interjections by the BJP, which later staged walkout.
Kumar said the Governor’s address referred to the work done in Bihar and the vision for the future, which has been a precedence. “I myself went on the Samadhan Yatra earlier this year for stocktaking and had interaction with the people about the needs and aspirations so that more could be done in addition to the existing schemes,” he said.
The CM said that politics apart, the work in different fields to ensure inclusive growth was for all to see. “We know education is an important tool for progress and population control. Therefore, we want teaching in schools. We will appoint more teachers and also give salary hike, but for a backward state like Bihar, everything is not so easy. Yet, we are on job and the department is working on the modalities,” he said.
Kumar also responded to Opposition’s criticism of prohibition, citing support for it in the studies carried out to assess its impact in the state and the feedback during his Samadhan Yatra. “Just a small percentage of people are into wrong things. We should propagate that liquor consumption is bad and if the people do not consume, there will be no deaths due to spurious liquor. The government is tough on those into spurious liquor manufacturing,” he said.
The chief minister also advocated “one nation, one rate” for electricity. “Despite being poor, Bihar has to pay more. We purchase electricity at ₹5.55/unit and provide it for agriculture for just 70 paisa/unit. Some people want it made free, but I don’t believe in ‘free-ship’. We take minimum possible price,” he said.