Raghuram Rajan panel report good for Bihar gets Shaibal Gupta thumbs up

Written by PTI | Patna | Updated: Sep 30 2013, 15:27pm hrs
Hailing the Raghuram Rajan panel report on Bihar as a "positive" development, panel member Shaibal Gupta today said that though decks were clear for the grant of special status to the state, it, however, would require a "political will" for the fulfilment.

"The first round of battle has been won (Raghuram Rajan panel report), but the war remains to be won," he told reporters here referring to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's pet political agenda demand for special status to Bihar.

"The grant of special status is a political decision requiring political will," Gupta who had submitted a 10-page dissenting note on the report to protest against non-inclusion of variables like per capita income, energy consumption and freight equalisation that would have ensured Bihar's standing as the least developed state on Multi-Dimensional Index (MDI).

All states classified among the least developed states should join forces together on the lines of coalition of backward states to pitch for grant of special status, he said.

Referring to the Raghuram Rajan panel report, which put Bihar as the second least developed state in the country, he said it must be welcomed as a 'historic' and 'positive' development as it will bring in additional funds to Bihar if it's recommendation was to be implemented by the centre to make additional devolution to the least developed states.

Bihar would be the second biggest beneficiary of the additional devolution after Uttar Pradesh if the centre decides to implement the report in future, Gupta, who a founding member and secretary of Patna-based Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), said.

On opposition parties in Bihar hitting out at Kumar for welcoming the Raghuram Rajan panel report, to which his own nominee (Gupta) had voiced dissent, Gupta said his notes should be taken as critique of the report as he had sought inclusion of certain variables to benefit Bihar's case and not for any other reason.

The panel has left the door ajar for revisit to the backwardness of the states every five years and assessment of development on the basis of new variables in future, he said, adding, his dissent will guide the future panels when they take up the task to revisit backwardness of the states.

About criticism of the Raghuram Rajan panel report, the ADRI secretary said it should be lauded instead as it was for the first time since the Independence that development in the states had been revisited on solid economic formulations and a mechanism had been worked out for financial devolution on the basis of performance and needs of the states.

The emphasis on development on sound economic fundamentals would deflect attention from emotive issues in future as the public and political discourse will be centred on development only, he added.