Mangaluru: Renowned NRI businessman, philanthropist Dr. Ronald Colaco, who is set to receive an honorary doctorate from Mangaluru University, visited the headquarters of Vartha Bharati on Friday evening, accompanied by his wife, Jean Colaco.

During his visit, Dr. Colaco toured all the departments of Varta Bharati and engaged in discussions with Editor-in-Chief Abdussalam Puthige and the editorial team.

Expressing his admiration for the media house, Dr. Colaco said, "I read Vartha Bharati every morning without fail. I greatly appreciate Vartha Bharati's straightforward, precise, and thorough journalism. The newspaper and its digital media truly give a voice to the voiceless, standing out as a unique, people-oriented platform. The fearless reporting and impressive programs on its channel are commendable. I hope Vartha Bharati continues in this manner always."

Dr. Aarti Krishna, Vice Chairperson of the Non-resident Indian Cell of the state government, also praised Vartha Bharati, highlighting its dedication to addressing the issues faced by non-resident Kannadigas.

During the visit, Dr. Aarti Krishna, Vidhan Parishad Member Ivan D'Souza, and Syndicate Member of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences Dr. UT Iftikhar presented the Colaco couple with a memento and felicitations.

Vartha Bharati Mangalore Bureau Chief Pushparaj BN, extended welcome to the esteemed guests during their visit.

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New Delhi, Jul 22: The government on Monday cited an inter-ministerial group report prepared in 2012 to assert that a case for granting special category status to Bihar is not made out; a stand which came a day after BJP's allies from Bihar demanded the status for the backward state.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the Monsoon session, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said special category status was granted in the past by the National Development Council (NDC) to some states which were characterised by a number of features necessitating special consideration.

These included hilly and difficult terrain, low population density or sizeable share of tribal population, strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries, economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances, he said in reply to a question asked by JD(U) member Rampreet Mandal.

The decision was taken based on an integrated consideration of all the factors listed above and the peculiar situation of a state, the minister said.

"Earlier, the request of Bihar for Special Category Status was considered by an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) which submitted its Report on 30th March 2012. The IMG came to the finding that based on existing NDC criteria, the case for Special Category Status for Bihar is not made out," the minister said.

The Congress-led UPA was in power at the time.

JD(U) leader Sanjay Kumar Jha had voiced his party's demand for the status at an all-party meeting on Sunday. The Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), also a BJP ally, and the opposition RJD echoed the same demand at the meeting.

The JD(U), though, has already conveyed to the Centre that it is willing to settle for a special financial package in case the status cannot be granted to the state.

The BJD and the YSR Congress had made the same demand for Odisha and Andhra Pradesh respectively in the meeting.

The government has in the past also argued that the 14th Finance Commission report has ruled out the possibility of any more states being granted the status, which includes tax relief and higher central funding for the beneficiary states.