According to experts, the SCS will help Bihar get various tax concessions that may attract investments.
Patna: The Centre’s refusal to grant special category status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh has raised the political temperature in Bihar.
While the Opposition RJD is asking Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to revive the SCS demand for the development of the state, experts are debating whether the state fulfils the criteria set for getting the special status category which helps attract investment.
A section believes that the state meets the criteria because of its poor infrastructure. According to experts, the SCS will help Bihar get various tax concessions that may attract investments.
The ministry of planning had earlier cited the criteria fixed by National Development Council (NDC) to reject Bihar's demand for the special status category.
The experts pointed out that the central government was jittery in granting SCS to the state after the panel headed by Raghuram Rajan had earlier suggested ending the SCS criteria for providing assistance to backward states.
The panel had instead proposed a general method for allocating funds from the Centre based on the need of the state as well as its development performance.
According to market observers, the state has not seen any big ticket investment despite Mr Kumar's efforts to woo industrialists. They said that the situation deteriorated after liquor companies were forced to shelve their production and expansion plans due to the stringent prohibition law enforced in Bihar on April 5, 2016.
The state has been looking for an option to make up for the revenue loss to the tune of Rs 5000 crores incurred in 2017-18 due to liquor ban and slump in taxes from sand mining activities.
During a rally in 2009, Mr Kumar, who was then with the NDA, had created a flutter by showing his willingness to extend support to any political party which helped the state get the SCS.
According to RJD leaders, the chief minister went silent after the Centre rejected his demands in August last year — barely two months after he joined the NDA.
Sources claim that after forming the government with BJP in July 2017, Mr Kumar repeatedly raised the issue and urged the Prime Minister to bring the state under the SCS.
Among the many reasons he had cited for returning to NDA fold was the need for a special package for Bihar from the Central government.
“Bihar cannot progress without special status. We also support Andhra Pradesh's demand for special status. Andhra is today at the same position where Bihar was after its bifurcation,” JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi said.
The RJD leaders believe that chief minister surrendered Bihar’s interest for political gains.
The RJD praised Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu for reacting against the Centre’s decision and urged Mr Kumar to take a stand on the issue. “Nitish Kumar must take lessons from Chandrababu Naidu who reacted against the Centre over the denial of thespecial status category,”said an aide of RJD chief Lalu Yadav.