Asked about Bihar’s expectations from the forthcoming Union Budget for FY 2023-24, Nitish said, “We have, since the beginning of his government, been demanding the status of a special category state for Bihar, but it was not granted. We are trying our best to make Bihar a developed state. The Union government must ensure that all states and the country get opportunities for development. If they (people at the Centre) want to see Bihar as a developed state, they should seriously consider granting the status of special category state to this backward region. We want to execute more works of development. Since the status of a special category state is not being granted, we want to take loans for our proposed development works, but they have put a ‘ban’ on obtaining loans. … It means, the poor states will not be able to obtain loans and not progress further.”
Although the CM did not elaborate, he made the statement apparently referring to the proposed cap on states’ borrowing to 3.5 per cent of GDP from the next financial year.
Responding to media queries on the sidelines of an event at the local AN College, Nitish also said that the people at the centre are hardly doing anything except for their propaganda (prachar prasar). The Centre never made ‘so much interference’ in the state matters, the CM said, adding, “What we will get from the Union budget, only time will tell; but we are doing whatever possible from our own resources for the development of the state.”
Asked whether the BJP leaders at the Centre are creating more trouble for Bihar since his exit from the NDA in August last year, Nitish said, “They have no intention to help poor states, so they are not helping us. They were not helping our state even when we were together in the NDA. They are doing the same even now.
Nitish also said that the people at the Centre are only engaged in propaganda work in some selected states where they are expecting some political mileage. “But they will not get any political benefit,” Nitish claimed.
Asked about his demand for presenting a separate rail budget in the Parliament, Nitish, who earlier served as the railway minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said, “I want this to happen. You just go through the separate rail budget of previous years. You will get full knowledge. Earlier when a separate rail budget was presented in the Parliament, a longer discussion than the main budget used to happen in the House. Members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha used to take part in discussion even on smaller items of railway. People had huge interest in the rail budget.”