No special category status for Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan

New Delhi:  Jharkhand, Odisha and Rajasthan do not meet the criteria for being accorded the special category status, while such proposal from Bihar is under consideration, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
"It was found that states of Jharkhand, Odisha and Rajasthan do not qualify for grant of special category status based on an integrated consideration of the existing criteria," Planning Minister Rajeev Shukla said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
"In case of the request of Bihar, an inter-ministerial group (IMG) was set up in September, 2011. The IMG has submitted its report on March 30, 2012. The request of Bihar is under consideration," the Minister said.
According to Shukla, the governments of Jharkhand in January, 2013 and Odisha and Rajasthan in May 2013 were communicated regarding the matter.
The states which enjoy the special category status are provided assistance for externally aided projects as 90 per cent grant. For the general category states, there is usually no grant and resources flow to states as back to back loans.
Moreover, the requirement of state's share to access centrally sponsored schemes is usually lower for special category states especially the states of North East region compared to general category states.
Besides, special plan assistance and special central assistance grants are exclusively provided to special category states.
The Minister said that of the total normal central assistance (grant) 56.25 per cent is distributed among 11 special category states as compared to 43.75 per cent among seventeen general category states.
The country's apex decision making body National Development Council headed by Prime Minister and all chief ministers and Union Cabinet ministers on board, is the competent authority to grant special category status to a state based on a set of criteria.