Imphal, Oct. 8: The Manipur BJP today urged the Centre to restore the state’s special category status, which has been withdrawn by the Raghuram Rajan committee.
The BJP made this demand during a meeting with the 14th Finance Commission team here today.
The Finance Commission team, headed by Y.V. Reddy, met delegations of political parties, including the ruling Congress, BJP and Left parties, at the Old Secretariat here today, after meeting the government team led by chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh yesterday.
The six-member Committee for Evolving a Composite Development Index of States, headed by the RBI governor, in its report submitted to the finance ministry recently, took out five states of the Northeast from the special category state list and listed them under less developed states.
The committee categorised the 28 states into three categories as least developed, less developed and relatively developed states. Earlier, all the eight states of the Northeast, including Sikkim, were in the list of least developed states, which were given special category status.
Manipur, along with Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim, which were earlier on the special category list, are now on a par with developed states like Gujarat, Bengal and Karnataka as less developed states.
It also recommended that the least developed states will get 90 per cent grant and 10 per cent loan from the Centre for projects while the less developed states will get 30 per cent grant and 70 per cent loan.
“We urged the Finance Commission team to restore Manipur’s special category status, considering the lack of development in the state,” the president of the BJP’s Manipur unit, Th. Chaoba Singh, said. Gangmumei Kamei, the co-chairman of the BJP’s state core committee, gave reasons to the Finance Commission team to restore Manipur’s special category status.
“Reddy assured us that he would convey the demand of the BJP on the issue of special category status to the Centre,” Gangmumei said after the meeting. Gangmumei blamed the Ibobi Singh government for keeping Manipur out of the special category list.
“On paper, the state government has shown Manipur to the Centre as a developed state and the GDP growth rate much higher than the national rate,” Gangmumei said.
Chaoba Singh expressed regret that Ibobi Singh and his council of ministers did not say anything on the changed status of Manipur.
Yesterday, Ibobi Singh sought “special consideration” on security-related matters, maintaining that implementation of big projects needed role of security personnel.
Ibobi Singh also explained to the central team his difficulties in implementing the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission in toto in the state at a time when the Centre had announced adoption of recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.
Stating that Manipur did not have resources and was an economically backward state, Ibobi Singh said the state needed special attention of the Finance Commission to overcome the difficulties.
United Naga Council, in a memorandum submitted to the Finance Commission team, demanded a separate budget for Nagas living in Manipur.