Patna (Bihar) [India], March 23 (ANI): On the occasion of Bihar's founding day, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday demanded "special status" for the state.
"Though Bihar is still in the grip of poverty, it has been making development strides every year. Bihar must be accorded a special status. We have been demanding it from the Centre," Kumar said while addressing an event on the occasion of 111th Bihar Divas.
The CM added the special status is the need of the hour, especially with regard to closing the state's income gap with the rest of the country.
"The per capita income in India is almost Rs 1.50 lakh, it is three-times lesser at Rs 50,000 in Bihar. We are working to close our income gap with the rest of the country and a special status from the central government will help us get there," Kumar said at the event at Patna's Gandhi Maidan.
He further underlined that the state's youth was the driver of its development goals.
"Yuwa Shakti Bihar ki Pragati (the power of our youth is the key to our progress)," the Bihar CM added.
He stated further that the caste census, which was approved by his cabinet, is underway to help the government arrive at a better underatanding of the state's demography and whether targeted welfare schemes of the government were reaching the desired beneficiaries.
"We are doing a caste-based census to understand the demographics and tailor different schemes targeting for different sections of the society. We have to come together and work for the develoment of Bihar," Kumar said.
Coming down heavily on the media, the Bihar CM says it focuses more on what has not been done as opposed to what has been done.
The decision of a caste census was taken by the Bihar cabinet on June 2, last year, months after the Centre ruled out conducting such an exercise nationally.
The first phase of the caste-based census in Bihar began on January 7 and ended on January 21.
The second phase of the survey, which is likely to be held from April 1 to April 30, will involve gathering data on people from all castes, sub-castes, and socio-economic conditions backgrounds.
The survey, in its second phase, would cover an estimated population of 12.70 crores across 2.58 crore households in 38 districts, further spread over 534 blocks and 261 urban local bodies. The survey would be completed by May 31, this year.
A caste-based headcount will be conducted across all 38 districts in two stages. In the first phase, which will be over by January 21, the number of all households in the state will be counted.
The foundation day marks the emergence of Bihar as a separate state from the Bengal presidency.
The state was founded on March 22, 1912 when the British government partitioned the Bengal province. Before the formation of Bihar, the region was part of the Bengal Province, which included present-day West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and parts of Odisha and Bangladesh. (ANI)