Nitish to PM: grant special status to Bihar to spur growth

Nitish to PM: grant special status to Bihar to spur growth Patna: Pushing for a special category status to Bihar to help spur its growth, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh his state would need at least 30 years to catch up with the national average.

Kumar made the projection for Bihar citing its per capita income being one-third of the country and low developmental indices in all core sectors.

The renewed demand for a special category status was made by the chief minister in a letter written to the prime minister which he handed over to him during a meeting on December 6 in New Delhi, an official statement said here today.

In his six-page letter, Kumar contested a report of Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) set up by the prime minister which suggested that Bihar's development deficit needed special resource support to overcome economic and infrastructural backwardness but rejected its plea for special status.

"As if with settled predilections and hurried consultations, the IMG came to the conclusion that Bihar does not have a hilly terrain or a sparse population to deserve a special category state status," Kumar wrote in the letter, a copy of which was made available to media today.

Contesting the report, he said, "this was somewhat ironical, if not contradictory, because on several key parameters particularly the proneness to natural disaster, high population density and being at the rock bottom of all developmental indicators should have led to the opposite conclusion."

Kumar said while the per capita income of non-special category states in 2009-10 was Rs 914, the share of Bihar was a meagre Rs 465. The same was Rs 1,715 in Punjab, Rs 1,640 in Haryana and Rs 1,274 in Tamil Nadu.

In addition, Bihar also has the lowest per capita spending on education, health, social and other economic services, he added.

Per capita development expenditure in Bihar is Rs 3,600 compared to the national average of Rs 6,100.

Likewise, per capita net state domestic product of Bihar for 2011-12 at Rs 15,268 was well below the national average of Rs 38,005.

PTI