Eastern region key to India’s growth: Shah | India News

PATNA: Union home minister Amit Shah assured on Sunday that the Central government never intended to impede the caste-based survey and highlighted BJP’s past support for such surveys in Bihar during its governance alliance in the state.
Addressing the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) meeting in Patna, Shah acknowledged existing concerns related to Bihar’s caste-based survey and expressed optimism that the state government would address these issues.
Shah commended the eastern region for laying the foundation for the country’s industrial development, citing its rich mineral resources and water availability. “Many patriots from this region have contributed significantly to the development of the country before and after Independence… the eastern region has also been the centre of many major educational institutions since ancient times,” he said, acknowledging the region’s historical significance as a cultural and educational hub, with successful outcomes from competitive examinations.
The event, lasting at least three hours, witnessed Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s presence – notable as he had previously avoided NITI Aayog meetings and government functions to sidestep encounters with PM Narendra Modi and Shah since breaking ties with the BJ months ago.
During the meeting, Nitish urged the Centre to include Bihar’s new reservation law, providing a 65% quota for deprived castes, in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution for legal immunity. The Ninth Schedule comprises laws immune to legal challenges. Referring to the economic conditions of various social groups in the state, Nitish appealed to Shah for special category status for Bihar, which would facilitate financial assistance to the “94 lakh families” identified as “poor” in the recent caste survey in the state.
While several states, including Bihar and Odisha, have called for a national-level caste census, the Modi government has not definitively outlined its stand. Responding to parliamentary inquiries about including caste details in the general census, the government had said that all census exercises since Independence have focused solely on enumerating details of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
The 26th meeting of EZC – consisting of Bihar, Jharkhand, Bengal, and Odisha, saw only CM Nitish in attendance. Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, along with her Odisha and Jharkhand counterparts Naveen Pattnaik and Hemant Soren, skipped the meeting.
Emphasising the role of EZC meetings as a mechanism to resolve inter-state matters, Shah urged chief ministers to set aside political differences. He called for a review of progress in initiatives such as eliminating child malnutrition through Poshan Abhiyan, reducing school dropout rates, and operationalising fast-track special courts for expediting investigations and disposing of rape cases.

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