Why hasn't Bihar been granted special category status: Congress to PM Modi

The opposition party also asked why Patna University has been denied central university status.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh during a press conference at AICC headquarters in New Delhi.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh during a press conference at AICC headquarters in New Delhi.FILE Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bihar, the Congress on Wednesday attacked him and asked why hasn't the state been granted special category status as promised by him.

The opposition party also asked why Patna University has been denied central university status.

"As the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri visits Bihar to inaugurate Nalanda University, some questions from the campaign that we hope he answers now - Why hasn't Bihar been granted Special Category Status as the PM had promised?" Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X.

"In 2014, when campaigning for his current position, Mr. Modi effectively promised special category status for Bihar. As per the Centre's own Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report, Bihar ranks as the poorest state in India, and 52% of the state's population lacks access to requisite health, education, and living standards," he said.

In 2013, the Raghuram Rajan Committee recommended a new methodology for devolving funds that is based on a multi-dimensional index to account for a state's economic backwardness, Ramesh pointed out.

Ten years later, what is the Government waiting for, he asked.

"Why has the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri forgotten the people of Bihar? After 10 years in power at the Centre, and almost 20 years in power in Bihar, why has the Government failed to deliver Special Category Status in the state?" he said.

Ramesh further asked why has Patna University been denied central university status.

"In 2017, Mr. Modi flat-out denied Nitish Kumar's request to give Patna University Central university status.

This has been a long-standing demand of the people of Bihar because students from modest backgrounds are currently forced to leave the state for quality higher education," the Congress leader said.

"Many poor families are not able to afford this either. Central university status for Patna University would change the lives of thousands of students. Why, then, has the non-biological Prime Minister so callously ignored the plight of Bihar's youth?" Ramesh said.

He also asked whether the NEET-UG 2024 Paper was leaked.

"The countrywide NEET-UG 2024 exam has been plagued with several inconsistencies, and even as students and families have been protesting for several days now, the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri has been silent on the issue.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh during a press conference at AICC headquarters in New Delhi.
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Among these several issues is that of the paper leak for which an investigation is currently ongoing," Ramesh said.

At the least, can the PM at least confirm or deny the leak, and promise students that corrective action will be taken, he said. Ramesh also asked will the Bihta airport ever be built.

"Eight years after it was approved in 2016, there is no sign that the Bihta airport, located about 30 km west of Patna, will ever be built.

States like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have received plenty of airports under the UDAN scheme, but Bihar has been left behind," he said.

Phase I of construction was supposed to begin in October 2017 and be completed in two years' time, he said.

The timeline was then revised for construction to start in 2018 and be completed by 2021, Ramesh said.

"Although the state government transferred the required land to the Centre by 2018, only a boundary wall has been built till date.

Can the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri explain why Bihar has been neglected under the UDAN scheme? Will the Bihta airport ever be built?" Ramesh said.

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