Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar, said today that all of the nation’s backward states will be given special status if non-BJP parties win the 2024 general election and establish the federal government.
“Giving backward states special status is something we would definitely do if given the chance to establish the government. I’m not simply referring to Bihar when I say that other states should also get special treatment.” In response to a query, he informed the reporters.
This is in light of Mr. Kumar’s recent trip to Delhi, during which he met with representatives of several opposition parties to discuss the prospect of putting together an opposition front to challenge the BJP’s electoral apparatus in the next general election.
Since 2007, Mr. Kumar has called for special status for Bihar. Last month, he broke with the BJP and created a new administration in the state with the help of Congress and Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal.
The Janata Dal (United) leader has strategically brought up the matter, sometimes to score political points before elections and other times to pressure coalition partner BJP.
The center-state funding ratio for centrally sponsored schemes is 90:10 if a state is granted special status, which is significantly better than the ratio for other states.
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir (now a Union Territory), Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, and Uttarakhand are the 11 particular category states that currently exist in the nation.
Although the National Development Council, a body that was a component of the now-defunct planning commission, had suggested a special status for these 11 states based on various considerations, the Constitution does not include any provisions for any unique category for conditions.
Hilly and challenging terrain, low population density and a sizable portion of the tribal people, strategic placement along borders with neighboring nations, and economic and infrastructure backwardness were among the considerations stated in the government’s 2018 response to Parliament.
And the unsustainable status of its finances.
After the government adopted the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations, the idea of states having special status was abandoned. However, despite their poverty and backwardness, Bihar, Odisha, and Jharkhand have continued to press for their demands.
Politically, Nitish Kumar’s decision to make such an announcement demonstrates that, despite his claim that he has no desire to become prime minister, he considers himself a key member of any opposition front that would unite to oppose the BJP.