PATNA: The ruling

Grand Alliance

on Thursday mounted further pressure on the BJP-led NDA government at the


asking the latter to


whether it was willing to grant special category status to Bihar and reminded PM Narendra Modi about his commitment he had made during an election rally in the state.
A group of ministers in the ruling Grand Alliance headed by deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav came together to hold a Press conference over the issue shortly after the Nitish Kumar cabinet passed a resolution demanding grant of special category status to the state in the light of findings of the recent caste survey.

Addressing the Press conference, Tejashwi asked the Centre to clarify its stance on this particular issue. “

Vishesh rajya ka darja denge ya nahin? Kam se kam apna opinion ko logon ke samne rakhna chahiye

(Whether you want to grant special category status or not. At least, you must put your opinion before the masses),” Tejashwi said, adding if the Centre didn’t act in this matter, the state government would work at its own level for the development of the state.
He also reminded the PM about how he had promised about granting both the special category status and special financial package to the state during an election rally in the state sometime back.

The Dy CM said the state government has planned to undertake a number of welfare measures for the deprived families in the light of findings of the caste survey and the implementation of all such measures will incur an expenditure of Rs2.50 lakh crores. “So, if the Centre grants

special status

to Bihar, then the state government will be able to remove poverty barely within two years from here,” he declared.
Finance minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said the very demand holds relevance in the light of the recent caste survey which identified 94 lakh families whose monthly income is less than Rs6,000 while there are around 64,000 families who don’t have their own land and houses.

“Going by all these calculations, we will be requiring around Rs2.50 lakh crore for their welfare in the next five years. Bihar being a poor state and starved of natural resources, we can’t uplift the condition of the poor families without adequate resources. So, we demand special category status,” the minister explained.
Choudhary said even if the Special category status doesn’t exist, the NITI Ayog too can give special assistance. “There is a provision for granting special assistance in the NITI Ayog’s mandate. Why don’t they invoke that provision which is mandated in NITI Ayog’s domain?” the finance minister asked.
He also sought for including two amendment bills with regard to increasing reservation from existing 50 per cent to 65 per cent in the state government jobs and educational institutions in the ninth schedule of the Constitution to make the laws immune to legal scrutiny.
“If they don’t immediately start the process to put these bills into the ninth schedule, then how can they claim that the Central government and the BJP are supporting them?” asked the minister.

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