Need to find out practical solutions of problems facing states: NITI member Arvind Virmani

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New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) NITI Aayog member Arvind Virmani on Wednesday made a case for finding 'practical' solutions to problems faced by states, as many of them like Rajasthan and Odisha have done well without getting the special category status.

Virmani further said in a democracy one has to recognise specific problems and find out pragmatic solutions.

He was responding to a question on the issue of granting special category status (SCS) to Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

"There have been committees and commissions which have tried to define criteria for special category status (for states). And again, it is a difficult issue," Virmani told PTI.

The economist noted that in the last 30-40 years, "we used to have BIMARU states".

"But Odisha for example developed a lot, Rajasthan has developed a lot and things change.

"As far as I know, none of those states had special category status. That does not mean it is not important," he said.

Andhra Pradesh has been demanding special category status after its bifurcation in 2014 on the grounds of revenue loss as Hyderabad became the capital of Telangana.

Bihar has also been seeking the special status since 2005 when Nitish Kumar was sworn in as its chief minister. The state also suffered revenue loss after the mineral-rich Jharkhand was carved out of it in 2000.

"So in a democracy, we have to discuss and find practical solutions," Virmani noted.

He observed that there is always a way of saying, "We recognise specific problems, and deal with those special problems".

The 14th Finance Commission raised the share of states in taxes collected by the Centre to 42 per cent from 32 per cent but abolished special category states.

The special status category was introduced in 1969 on the recommendation of the Fifth Finance Commission to benefit certain backward states with hilly terrains, strategic international borders, and economic and infrastructural backwardness.

With support from N Chandrababu Naidu's TDP and Nitish Kumar's JD(U), which won 16 and 12 seats in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, respectively, and other alliance partners, the NDA has crossed the halfway mark to form the government at the Centre. PTI BKS BKS SHW