The State of Bihar is assiduously endeavouring to get special category status from the centre,but to no avail. The Chief Minister(CM) of the state is relentlessly convincing the centre that the state,consequent upon its division in the year 2000 has lost its economic viability in view of the facts that all industries and minerals went to Jharkand by way of partition. Over and above the alternatively recurring flood and draught situation in the state is a great scourge to the development initiatives that the state govt. is taking recourse to.
It is not that this is a purely government demand rather the latter is backed by popular emotion when about 1.2 crore people as a part of the signature campaign wrote to the Prime Minister to this effect though some may term this as a political exercise at the behest of the ruling party in the state.But the unconcerned centre did not even think it necessary to communicate to these 1.2 crore people about the rejection of their demand by way of a public/press communique in the least.
All that is known about this rejection is through media only.Though the state government through its representative was solicited to put their case before the inter ministerial group who already appeared to have taken the decision on the issue.This is evident by the fact that on 26th March 2012, the state government representatives were called and the GOM reported on 30th shortshrifting the state demand.
Why the centre is not condescending? It has its own argument.It contends that the present special category states are so by virtue of their specialities like inaccessibility on account of their geographical isolation, their strategical location from the view point of international diplomacy and geo-political importance.Besides, these states together comprise about 5% of the total population of the country and any central assistance keeping in view their meagre population will be self-defeating as also these states are not capable enough to raise their own non-tax revenue to meet their requirement.
By what has been understood on the basis of the material available in public domain it can be concluded that the criteria for special category status has been deliberately designed keeping in mind only the hilly states of north-east, Jammu&Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland and not upon other debilitating factors that states like Bihar and others are confronted with.It appears that the centre is not ready to even mull over the issue of including other criteria/indicator based upon socio-economic constraints of the plain.For the time being it is obsessed with the hills.Any dent or reshaping the boundary of the domain of these special category states is not permissible.This is what the centre intends to say when it did not favour the demand of Goa, Odissa, let alone the case of Bihar.
After all,the benefits(90% grant and 10% loan, interalia) associated with special category status cannot so easily be foregone and for that the high level of persistence, perseverance and patience have to be exhibited by all those who are genuinely interested to see that the state receives its due which has hither to been denied.