Nitish Kumar, the Bihar chief minister whose party,
Janata Dal United recently broke with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and
forged an alliance with Tejaswi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to form a
government in Bihar, said Thursday that all backward states will be given
special status if the Opposition coalition comes to power after the 2024

“If we get an opportunity to form the government, we
will surely give backward states special status. I am not just talking about
Bihar, but also other states that should get special status,” Kumar, the
three-time chief minister of Bihar, told the media while responding to a

Bihar has been seeking special status since 2007.

Why states want special status?

The demand for special status has come from states
across the country over the years. The core promise of special status is that states
which have special status see central schemes funded in a 90:10 ratio instead
of other ratios. As a result, states save a large amount of money as the Centre
largely pays for Union government-led policy implementation.

Are there special category states in India?

Yes. There are currently 10 special category states
in India. These include: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur,
Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand. Jammu and Kashmir
has been stripped off its special status and has now been turned into a Union

What makes states eligible for special status?

According to a 2018 reply by the government in
Parliament, the factors that make a state eligible for special status are:

Hilly or difficult terrain

Low population density

Sizeable share of tribal population

Strategic location along borders

Economic or infrastructural backwardness

Non-viable nature of state finances

Why is Nitish Kumar pitching Opposition unity plans?

Nitish Kumar recently visited Delhi and met a
large number of Opposition leaders in a bid to put together a coalition ahead
of the 2024 elections. Kumar had also previously met K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR),
the chief minister of Telangana, recently where the two made plans for a
potential coalition.