New Delhi: The Central Government is yet to decide on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s demand for special status to the state. Softening its stand over the issue, the Centre is mulling to constitute a committee for redefining the backward states.

Presenting the Union Budget 2013-14 in the Parliament, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had opened avenues to redefine backward
states. Now, the government is considering forming a committee comprising a President and Members.                                       

The committee may be asked to submit its report in next six months. Given the gravity of the issue, the Union Cabinet will soon ponder over it. The final decision is likely to be taken by end of the financial year. Presently, total of 12 states have special category status.

Chidambaram himself said that special category states should be defined on the basis of economic and social backwardness. Once the backwardness of states is redefined, apart from Bihar, Goa, Rajasthan, Odisha and Chhattisgarh can also enjoy special status category.  

The UPA government has been turning down the Bihar government’s request for granting special status. The Inter Ministerial Group on redefining the special category state had rejected Bihar’s plea to be considered a special state citing reason that the state can get rid of present backwardness through proper utilization of its geographical and human resources assets.

Facilities being provided to special category states:

*Rebate in excise and other central duties
*Centre providing 90 percent of its funds as grant and remaining 10 percent as loan
*Interest free loan to states in case of special circumstances
*Easy norms for availing central funds
*Easy norms for getting funds from other agencies

(JPN/Bureau)

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