Amaravati: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy made a renewed pitch for the Special Status underscoring that Andhra Pradesh needed Special Status not special package as was promised earlier by the Centre.

As the Leader of the House, YS Jagan made a statement on the contentious issue of Special Status kicking off a debate between ruling YSRCP and the Opposition on Tuesday. After a brief round of discussions and debate, the Assembly passed a resolution on the same which will be later sent to the Centre.

Accusing the past TDP government's lackadaisical approach in securing the Special Status, YS Jagan said the State had lost out on several development parameters in the last five years. He reiterated that Special Status was the only way by which the State can fill the void left by the bifurcation of united AP.

"In spite of fighting against the injustice meted out to AP, the TDP government had, in fact, become a party to those injustices under whose watch they had gone up further," he lashed out.

Listing out the various parameters as how AP suffered, he said AP had inherited 59 percent of population and 47 percent of debts following the bifurcation of the State. Due to loss in income resources, jobs, capital city, and good infrastructure, the State fared poorly in terms of various human development indices and ended up being merely an agriculture state.

The 14th Finance Commission estimated that AP would have a revenue deficit of Rs 22,113 crore based on AP's share from central taxes between 2015 and 2020. However, the revenue deficit of the State had ballooned to Rs. 66,362 crore - which was three times more than what the Finance Commission had estimated, he added.

While the percapita income of Telangana for the 2015-16 fiscal was Rs 14, 411, the corresponding value for Andhra Pradesh stood only at Rs 8,398. In light of challenges and economic distress, the Centre had promised to grant Special Status to Andhra Pradesh on the floor of Parliament. The promise entailed financial support, economic incentives, and subsidies to the State to address the problem of revenue deficit, he recalled.

As those promises were not kept, it had led to economic and social distress. The State debt which was Rs 97,000 crore at the time of bifurcation in 2014 had escalated to Rs 2,58,928 crore by 2018-19 fiscal. Due to the escalation in debt, the State had to pay Rs 20,000 crore as interest and another Rs 20,000 crore in form of principle amount, he explained.

The Chief Minister concluded his speech by further emphasising that Special Status was nothing less than a 'lifeline' to the State of AP and its five crore population, and hence the Centre should accede to their request forthwith.

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