New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy met the Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi and reiterated the demand for Special Category Status (SCS) on Tuesday.
Special Category Status
YS Jagan who has been waging a lone battle for SCS to Andhra Pradesh right from 2014 brought to Amit Shah's notice that for industries to choose Andhra Pradesh to Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai, the SCS was necessary. YS Jagan mentioned that bifurcation had adverse effects on the industrial sectors and to overcome this, SCS had to be granted to the state of Andhra Pradesh. He also sought release of funds towards assured revenue deficit for 2014-15 . He noted that the announced revenue deficit was Rs 22,948.76 crore but the Central government is yet to pay Rs 18,969.26 crore to the state.
YS Jagan and the YSR Congress Party has been consistently demanding for the special status to the state even when he was in the opposition. Unlike the Telugu Desam Party Chief N Chandrababu Naidu's double- stance, YS Jagan has been stead fast in his pursuit of this objective and commitment to the cause which lends credibility to YS Jagan as a political leader and to the YSRCP as a party with a clear vision and ideology.
From the day that the undivided state was bifurcated, the YSRCP president has maintained that special status would bring more investments to the state and generate employment opportunities. He also pointed out on several occasions that it would create educational opportunities and will accelerate the growth of the fledgling state of AP.
It may be recollected that Chandrababu first said no to the SCS and demanded a special package, then he changed his stance and started protesting for the SCS after his relations with BJP soured at the centre. His statements have been inconsistent in the past four years and changed it according to his whims and fancies.
YS Jagan also appealed to the Centre to grant Rs 55,548.87 crore as per the revised estimates of the Polavaram project. He pointed out that out of the mentioned amount, land acquisition and Relief and Rehabilitation itself requires Rs 33,000 crore. He also sought release of Rs 5,073 crore spent by the state government. YS Jagan also wanted the Centre to give Rs 16,000 crore for land acquisition and R &R during the current financial year. Stating that out of Rs 2,100 crore allocated for seven backward districts, the state received only Rs 1,050 crore, he sought release of the remaining amount.
Chandrababu Naidu once stated that, "We will complete Polavaram project by 2018 Kharif season and provide water for irrigation through gravity." Even after four and half years and four kharif seasons, the Polavaram project had yet to progress from its foundation stage. Meanwhile, the estimated costs of the project were hiked from Rs.16,010.45 crore to Rs. 57,940.86 crore. If there is progress on any count for Polavaram project, it is only in the project estimates.
Chandrababu Naidu snatched Polavaram project from the centre despite the AP State Reorganisation Act, 2014 clear mandate that it should be completed by the central government. Though he had claimed that his decision would help speed up the project construction, it was the kickbacks that he actually was energized about.
The Home Minister lauded YS Jagan for the reverse tendering process initiated by the Chief Minister with regards to the Polavaram project . A sum of Rs. 838 crore of funds were saved due to the implementation of reverse tendering in the Polavaram project works
The Chief Minister is making all the necessary efforts to maintain healthy relations with the Centre to cope up with the financial crisis in AP State as left by the previous TDP regime.
YS Jagan is also making all the moves to recover the losses as Andhra Pradesh's debt burden is estimated to reach Rs 2,58,928 crore by the end of 2019 and from 2018-19 it was estimated to be Rs 11,654.91 crore, due to meaningless expenditure of former CM Chandrababu Naidu.
Critics and financial analysts pointed out that Chandrababu Naidu pushed the State into a severe debt trap in the last leg of his regime which incidentally came to an end of the financial year. In the last three months of his term and during the elections phase he had taken loans at high interest rates to fulfill election promises.
He had also been running the government by taking overdrafts and loans, which has brought the state to such a position making it difficult for the new government to get further new loans. It was the same case in the year 2004, where right before the elections Chandrababu had emptied the state coffers and pushed the state into heavy revenue and fiscal deficit.
Kadapa Steel Plant
YS Jagan also sought funds for various projects like construction of the port at Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district, the Visakhapatnam-Chennai industrial corridor, the petrochemical complex at Kakinada, and urged the Centre to set up the steel plant in Kadapa as promised at the time of bifurcation.
The Kadapa steel plant issue was incorporated in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 with the Centre promising to explore the feasibility of establishing it.
It had since been a contentious issue between the state and the Central governments with the previous TDP government accusing the centre of not honouring the commitment made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. But after assuming charge YS Jagan Mohan Reddy promised that the project would be completed within three years and provide employment to about 20,000 people.