Special Category Status Lifeline Of AP: YS Jagan At Niti Aayog

AP Chief Minister YS Jagan At Niti Aayog meeting - Sakshi Post

New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, demanded Special Category Status (SCS) for his state during the meeting of Fifth Governing Council of NITI Aayog here on Saturday.

He made a compelling case and raised passionate demand for declaring Andhra Pradesh as Special Category State with all incentives & benefits for accelerated inclusive development & employment creation at the NITI Aayog meeting .

Terming the status as an "essential lifeline" for Andhra Pradesh, the Chief Minister said, "It is disheartening when we hear several rumours and excuses for not granting special category status."

On "widely rumoured argument" that few other states may demand SCS if it is granted to Andhra Pradesh, the Chief Minister said, "In the history of this country no other state was bifurcated with a pre-condition that special category status would be accorded to compensate the economic and financial hardships such bifurcation would entail, which was supported by both ruling and opposition parties that had representatives from all the states."

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During his speech, the Andhra Chief Minister also criticised the previous TDP government led by Chandrababu Naidu for "mis-governance and institutionalising corruption".

- "Mis-governance and institutionalised corruption coupled with lack of sincerity during the past five years have left the state with high unemployment amongst youth, lack of investment in infrastructure and industry, a sharp deterioration of public education and health system and empty coffers," he said.

“The erstwhile Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in an unjust and inequitable manner, against the wishes of the majority of the people,” he said.

Andhra Pradesh inherited nearly 59% of the population, debt and liabilities of the erstwhile State, but it received just 47% of the revenues.

YS Jagan aid as against the estimates of the 14th Finance Commission that the revenue deficit of AP would be 22,113 crores between 2015 and 2020, the revenue deficit in the last five years was Rs 66,362 crore. On the other hand for the same period neighbouring Telangana has revenue surplus of Rs 1.18 lakh crore, he pointed out.

He said in the financial year 2015-16, the per capita income of Telangana stood at Rs 14,414, while it was just Rs 8,397 in Andhra Pradesh. He further pointed out that Hyderabad is economically developed while none of the cities in Andhra Pradesh are economically developed.

Drawing the attention of the meeting to the fact that Andhra Pradesh was having a debt burden of Rs 97,000 crore at the time of bifurcation in 2014, which increased to Rs 2.58 lakh crore in 2018-19, which is forcing the government to pay Rs 20,000 crore as interest and Rs 20,000 crore as principal for clearing the debt.

Stating that Andhra Pradesh is an agro-based economy, which is bereft of industrialization, the Chief Minister said Special Status once implemented will help the state get investments, incentives, concessions and certain exemptions like income tax. "Per capita grant to special category states is Rs 5,573 crore whereas Andhra Pradesh received only Rs 3,428 crore," he pointed out.

YS Jagan , said the promise of the special category status was a pre-condition for bifurcation, but it was never kept.

“The promises made in Parliament by the ruling and Opposition parties during the bifurcation have remained unfulfilled, leading to a great financial and social distress in the State.”

The status would help the State get higher grants-in-aid. To drive home his point, he said, the per capita grants to the special category States was ₹5,573, whereas Andhra Pradesh received only ₹3,428.

The Chief Minister reminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the promise formed part of the BJP’s election manifesto and Modi himself had made the promise. Supporting his argument, he presented the copy of the UPA government's cabinet meeting decision giving the Special Status to Andhra Pradesh. He also submitted the letter of the then Planning Commission member and member of the 14th Finance Commission Abhijit Sen explaining that Special Category Status was not scrapped. (WIth Inputs from Agency TNIE and The Hindu)

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