Today, the Bihar government headed by Nitish Kumar stated that instead of demanding special category status for Bihar, it will now ask for special assistance in every field. Senior minister, Brijendra Yadav, said that the government is ‘tired’ of demanding special category status for Bihar. He added that there is a limit to their demands and they (the government) will now request special assistance in every field.
For the past several elections, the ruling party Janata Dal (United) has made the government’s decade-old request for special category status the main election agenda. The special category status was introduced by the government in 1969 and was allocated to states with hilly terrain, low population density, a large tribal population, strategic location along international borders, and backward economic and infrastructure conditions.
Earlier, Rajiv Ranjan Singh, Bihar’s lawmaker from the Janata Dal (United), asked in the Lok Sabha during the parliamentary session whether the Centre is considering granting Bihar special status, but the Centre replied that the 14th Finance Commission gives states more fiscal space for implementation of projects. In 2015, the government stated that the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission and the formulation of the Niti Aayog has removed the concept of Special Category Status.
Earlier this year, lawmakers from Bihar referred to the findings of a NITI Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index Report 2020-21 in order to reignite the demand of giving special category status to the state. The Index report stated that Bihar’s composite score was lowest among all states, and 33.74% of the population was living below the poverty line and 52.5% of the population was suffering from multidimensional poverty.