New Delhi: Bihar does not meet the existing criteria to be granted the status of special category state, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Wednesday. "Bihar does not meet the existing criteria according to which a state is deemed eligible for special category state. We do recognise that Bihar and some parts do have a special problem and as part of BGRF (Backward Regions Grant Fund) we have Bihar package," Ahluwalia told reporters.
He was briefing the media on the eve of National Development Council meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had last week said he would raise the demand for special status state for Bihar at the National Development Council meeting. Special category status brings private investment in a state as investors get tax benefits.
Kumar had also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and handed over a six-page letter on the demand to provide special category state status to Bihar to spur growth. Bihar demands the special category state status saying it is subject to floods. Likewise, Rajasthan demands the same saying it is subject to draught.
Bihar does not meet the existing criteria according to which a state is deemed eligible for special category state, said Montek.
Ahluwalia said the Planning Commission cannot see to such demands by states in isolation. "Either we have to reopen the whole question or respond (to) the demand of one state. Many states have problem," he said.
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkin, Tripura and Uttarakhand are amongst the states that have been granted special category status.