Andhra, Bihar seek special status, Modi assures on provisions at bifurcation time


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday assured states like Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, which have been demanding special status category, that the Centre is committed in “letter and spirit” to adhere to statutory provisions in place at the time of the bifurcation of states.

Briefing reporters here following the fourth meeting of the Governing Council of the NITI Aayog, its Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said that the Prime Minister, who addressed the Chief Ministers, clarified the Central government’s position on the claims of some states for special status.

His assurance came after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu raised his long-pending demand of special category status which was supported by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“Some states did raise the issue of special status. The discussions were more focused on the statutory provisions that were in place at the time of the bifurcation of states and the Prime Minister said that the central government is committed in letter and spirit to adhere to those provisions,” Rajiv Kumar said.

Earlier, Naidu raised issues related to bifurcation, agenda and other pressing needs of the state.

“Received overwhelming support from Chief Ministers, officials and dignitaries at the 4th Governing Council meeting at @NITIAayog, where we discussed issues relating to the AP Reorganization Act, 2014,” Naidu said in a tweet.

During his 20-minute speech, he also demanded the special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

Nitish Kumar also raised the demand for special status and supported Naidu’s move.

On the issue of the minimum support price (MSP) for crops raised in Budget 2018-19 towards doubling farmers’ incomes, the Vice Chairman described the MSP issue as “work-in progress”.

“The details are being worked out and a bouquet of options will be offered to the states for them to meet the Prime Minister’s promise of an increase of 1.5 times in the MSP,” he said.

Rajiv Kumar said that the Prime Minister, who is also the Chairperson of the Niti Aayog – the think-tank that replaced the erstwhile Planning Commission – also directed that a committee be formed to look into farmers’ issues.

It was also suggested at the discussions that states should also set up their own GDP targets which all add up to compose the national gross domestic product (GDP), he added.

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