Union Home Minister Amit Shah presided over the 26th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council in Patna, Bihar, where critical issues were discussed with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and senior ministers from Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand. In his address, Amit Shah clarified the Modi government’s stance on the caste-based survey conducted in Bihar while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pressed the demand for according ‘Special Status’ to the state.
Shah stated that when the BJP was in power in Bihar, it had supported the caste-based survey. There are some issues regarding caste surveys, which he hoped that the state government would resolve them. The Central government never had any intention of creating hurdles in the caste-based survey, a release by the Ministry of Home Affairs informed.
“Regarding the caste-based survey conducted in Bihar, the Home and Cooperation Minister said that when his party was in power in Bihar, it had supported the caste-based survey. He said the Governor also approved the bill. He added that there are some issues regarding caste based survey, which he hoped that the state government will resolve them. Shri Shah said that the Central government never had any intention of creating hurdles in the caste based survey, ” the statement read.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Raises Demand For Special Status
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, during the meeting, spoke about the caste-based census. He highlighted that a proposal for a caste-based census was unanimously passed in the Bihar Legislature in 2019 and 2020, but the Central Government did not consider it, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) stated.
“We were trying for this from the beginning. For this, in the years 2019 and 2020, a proposal for caste-based census was unanimously passed in the Bihar Legislature and sent to the Central Government. Then we met the Prime Minister along with representatives of all parties. No consideration was given to this by the Central Government,” the CM Nitish said, as per his office.
Additionally, CM Nitish Kumar sought ‘Special State’ status for Bihar which he has been demanding since 2010, citing historical significance and the need for development.
“Since 2010, we have been demanding ‘Special State’ status for Bihar. Bihar is a very historical state, despite continuous development, Bihar is far below the national average in the parameters of development. Bihar fulfils all the conditions for the status of a special state. We hope that you will definitely think about giving ‘Special State’ status to Bihar,” the Chief Minister said.
Responding to the CM’s concerns, the Union Home Minister acknowledged Bihar’s demands and assured a thorough examination of the issues raised. CM Nitish Kumar also apprised the gathering that the reservation limit in Bihar has been increased from 50% to 65%, with a new law passed for this purpose. He mentioned, “Our government has accepted the new reservation law from the Central Government in the Constitution”, the CMO informed.
Zonal Council Meetings Should Avoid Differences On Political Matters: Amit Shah
The meeting aimed to foster collaboration and address regional challenges. Amit Shah, addressing the meeting that spanned approximately three hours, highlighted the resolution of 1,157 issues in previous zonal council meetings. He urged avoiding political differences and resolving matters liberally.
“Zonal Council meetings should avoid differences on political matters and try to resolve issues in a liberal manner,” he said, as per the home ministry.
Key national issues, such as combating malnutrition through the Poshan Abhiyan, reducing school dropout rates, and expediting rape case investigations, were part of the agenda.
The meeting also witnessed impressive presentations by Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha regarding good practices in their states. Amit Shah noted that these practices could serve as models for others. The discussions covered various issues, including mining, central financial assistance, infrastructure construction, water sharing, and the implementation of the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme.
The Home Minister informed about significant progress, such as the completion of land acquisition for the Hajipur-Sugauli new railway line project and the initiation of land acquisition for the Nabadwipghat-Nabadwipdham New Railway Project in West Bengal.