Centre examining northeast’s special category status: Minister

Agartala, Oct 9 (IANS) Central government’s finance ministry is examining the continuation of the special category status for the eight northeast states, a minister said here on Friday.

Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh said the issue whether the eight northeast states will continue to get special category status “is being looked into by the union finance ministry”.

“When and how the issue would be settled, I do not know,” he said.

He said many states, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, have been demanding for a special category status for additional funds from the central government.

“This issue was also considered by the 14th finance commission. Also, there is a problem of fund crunch.”

He said region is a priority area for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all ministers to visit the region repeatedly. During the governance of NDA government in the past 16 months, the space of development has been stepped up to a large extent,” he said.

Cutting across political lines, the chief ministers of the eight states ruled by the Congress, Left and regional parties through a unanimous resolution had earlier urged Modi to maintain the special category status for their states.

The funding pattern for the special category was in the ratio of 90:10, where 90 percent of the total expenditure was borne by the central government and 10 percent contributed by the state concerned.

There are 11 states in India clubbed under the special status category – eight northeast states, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.

Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya are ruled by the Congress, while Tripura has a CPI-M led Left Front government and Sikkim is ruled by the Sikkim Democratic Front.

In Nagaland, the BJP is a partner of the ruling Nagaland People’s Front-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland.

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