NEW DELHI: The ruling NDA at the Centre may face a renewed attempt by some states for special category status during deliberations in the fifth Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog on Saturday at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The officials are anticipating that the chief ministers in their speeches would veer away from the fixed agenda of the meeting and stress on issues specific to their states. Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar chief ministers — Naveen Patnaik, Jagan Mohan Reddy and Nitish Kumar, respectively — may argue cases for their states to seek differential Central funding.
Patnaik has already argued that Odisha should be given the status of a special focus state on account of it facing regular episodes of cyclones.
Reddy is also likely to reiterate the demand for the special category status for Andhra. His rival and former CM N Chandrababu Naidu had snapped ties with the NDA on the issue of special category status.
While the Centre had assured the status during the process of bifurcation of the state, the NDA government stayed away from fulfilling the promise on the ground that the 14th Finance Commission had done away with such classifications to be granted to any additional state. Incidentally, the 15th Finance Commission report is likely later this year, which may revisit the issue.
Bihar chief minister, who is apparently miffed with the BJP on the formation of the council of ministers, is also likely to argue for better funding pattern for the backward state.
Besides, the governing council meeting may also see the Centre making a strong pitch for the convergence of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and agriculture in a bid to cut down on the rising farm input cost.
CMs to raise specific issue
Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar, in their speeches, are expected to veer away from the fixed agenda of the meeting and stress on their state-specific issues while arguing their cases