Bihar presses for special category status to boost investments

New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) Bihar today mounted pressureat the Centre to grant special category status to it pleadingthat the move was essential to boost investments in the state.

"Despite progress in the social sector we need massiveinvestments to reach even the national per capita income.

Therefore, to attract investment especially in potential areaslike Agro industries, it is essential that Bihar should begiven the status of a special category state," state DeputyChief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said at Union FinanceMinister''s pre-budget meeting here.

Expressing apprehension that the poor in Bihar willnot be able to take full benefits of the increased allocationin major social sector programmes with the Central governmentfixing the number of BPL family households "at very lowlevel", Modi asked the Centre to set up an independentcommission to identify BPL families based on the criteriadecided by it.

"We feel that it will be better if there is anindependent commission to identify BPL families based on thecriteria decided by government of India," he told the meetingof finance ministers of all states and Union Territories.

The meeting was convened for getting ideas andsuggestions for the Union Budget 2011-12.

Noting that Bihar has been maintaining "exemplaryfiscal discipline" over the last few years, the Ministerexpressed concern over the share of Bihar being reduced in the13th Finance Commission award despite the development deficitand advocated special grants to compensate it.

"It is a matter of serious concern that despitethe high developmental deficit and the high proportion ofstate in national population, the share of the state of Biharhas been reduced in the 13th Finance Commission award," hesaid.

"From 11.028 per cent of tax devolution in the 12thFC, the share has come down to 10.917 per cent in 13th FC. Ifwe consider the total grants and tax devolution, the amountcomes to 10.08 per cent of the devolution. Thus the 13thFinance Commission''s award has seriously undermined theconcept of equity and nationally comparable public services inthe state," Modi said.

"The deficit must be compensated with special grants,"he added.

Modi also requested the Centre to take "urgent steps"to ensure that Bihar gets Rs 5030.71 crore in pensionliabilities and Rs 285.78 crore in the state governmentguaranteed bonds from Jharkhand pending since the bifurcationof the state in 2000.

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