KOLKATA: Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla has expressed hope that the Narendra Modi government will retain the 'special states category status' as well as financial grant on '90:10 formula' to eight north-eastern states.
The eight north-eastern states have submitted a joint memorandum to Prime Minister Modi seeking his intervention in the matter, Lal Thanhawla said on the sidelines of a programme here last evening.
"During our last meeting, eight chief ministers of the north-east had sent a joint memorandum to the Prime Minister and he is looking into it. We have asked for a joint appointment with the Prime Minister," Thanhawla said.
The Mizoram Chief Minister was in the city to deliver the inaugural 'Carey Lecture' organised by the Bible Society of India to mark the 254th birth anniversary of the Reverend William Carey.
"Even though they (Centre) have not made any commitment or given any indication but something is in the air that they may restore the special states category status to the eight north-eastern states and also restore the financial grant on 90:10 formula for the north-eastern states instead of 50:50 proposal," Lal Thanhawla said.
"The finance minister (Arun Jaitley) had made some remarks favouring this and we are waiting with great expectation," he added.
According to the Mizoram Chief Minister the Centre should handle the matter "sympathetically" as the removal of the "special category status" from the eight north-eastern states would not help them but would leave them in lurch.
"In the process (removal of special states category status), they (the states) will be losing variety of developmental projects and infrastructure grants and all that. So they (the Centre) have to look into it and consider it sympathetically," Lal Thanhawla stressed.
The 14th Finance Commission had recommended to raise the transfer of taxes to states from 32 per cent to 42 per cent, and withdrawal of special states category status.
In 1969, National Development Council had first accorded the special category state status to Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Nagaland. Eight more states — Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand - were added to the list in 2010.
Until 2014-15, the special category status meant these 11 states received a variety of benefits and sops.
The major contention of the north-east states is that due to geographical reasons they suffer from economic-infrastructural deficiency which makes it difficult for them to earmark even their share of funds to meet the expenses of central schemes.
Talking about his brother and minister Lal Thanzara's resignation as the state Information and Communication Technology Minister, Lal Thanhawla said, "He (Thanzara) is holding highest moral values. Even though he is my brother I am all in praise for him."
Comparing the developments leading to Thanzara's resignation with the Lalit Modi issue implicating foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Vyapam
scam, Thanhawla said, "Because of (issues related to) Sushma Swaraj, Raje, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Parliament could not function throughout the (monsoon) session and the Prime Minister has not spoken a single word about this.
"But for this minister (Thanzara) there is mere allegation. To enable those who made the allegations in case they called for an enquiry against him and to give them a free hand he resigned... This kind of high moral responsibility was never seen before in Indian politics," he said.
Thanzara resigned last week from both the state Assembly and the Council of Ministers in the wake of reports of him holding 4,76,000 shares in a construction firm which bagged contracts worth crores in the state.
Opposition Mizo National Front leaders accused Thanzara, who held shares in the company, of ensuring it was given undue favours when applying for contracts by the state public works department.