New Delhi: The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, speaking at the 5th Governing Council of NITI Aayog in Delhi on Saturday sought for the elimination of economic inequality, industrial development and employment for youth in Andhra Pradesh, which has been hit hard by unfair bifurcation of the state. YS Jagan reiterated the need for special status for Andhra Pradesh and asked to retain the assurance of special status given to a divided state. NITI Aayog was presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi where Chief Minister YS Jagan, participated in the Fifth Governing Council meeting and made it clear that the AP needed special status. He explained how the state has suffered from the reckless rule and organized corruption for five years. As per the assurance given, YS Jagan appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accord special category status to lead the debt-ridden state towards development.

YS Jagan's speech at the meeting:

"I would like to present some suggestions and proposals on behalf of the state of Andhra Pradesh with the national aspirations associated with the state. The division of the state of Andhra Pradesh has taken place unfairly, opposing the views of the majority. The fact that Andhra Pradesh will face severe financial difficulties in the future was completely ignored.

The 14th Finance Commission estimated the AP revenue deficit at Rs 22,113 crore between 2015-20. In the last five years, Telangana has a revenue surplus of Rs 18 lakh crore. In fact, the AP revenue deficit in the last five years was Rs 66,362 crore. Within a few decades, the city of Hyderabad had developed into a super powerhouse. According to 2013-14 figures, software exports from Andhra Pradesh amounted to Rs 57,000 crore, of which Hyderabad alone accounted for Rs 56,500 crore. Now, it has become an agrarian state with severe economic deficits. The per capita income of Telangana was Rs 14,414 in 2015-16, compared to Rs 8,397 in AP. Prior to the partition of the state, the breakaway state Andhra Pradesh was promised special status by the Parliament. However, it was not implemented.

Only special status can compensate for some of the damage occurred to the state. Special status increases the amount of grant-in-aid we receive. In addition, industrial subsidies, tax concessions and other exceptions, GST and other entities will be encouraging investors. This will increase employment and solve the problem of unemployment. The specialty of our state is the development of super specialty hospitals, star hotels, industries, and service sectors. The situation of the state has caused serious damage to Andhra Pradesh. Over the past five years, employment opportunities in the state have further deteriorated due to the misuse of power and systematic corruption. In the industries and infrastructure sectors, investments have not materialized. The education and health systems have also deteriorated. With the backdrop of these developments, the special status of Andhra Pradesh becomes a necessity.

It was being said that other states will also seek special status if it is accorded to AP. Everybody knows that no state division in the history of India has taken place with the promise of special status to eliminate economic inequality. Both the authority and the opposition agreed to give special status. I, therefore urge the Prime Minister to implement the special status assurance given to the people of Andhra Pradesh before the division of the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said during the election campaign that the AP would be given special status. The BJP also included this promise in the election manifesto. I want the Prime Minister to fulfill the promise of Parliament to the people of Andhra Pradesh to show liberal nature.

There are rumors that the AP won't be granted special status due to the 14th Financial Commission. Nowhere does the 14th Financial Commission mention that no state can be given special status. Prof. Abhijit Sen, a member of the 14th Finance Committee, wrote a letter expressing the same point. The then Union Cabinet, which met on March 2, 2014, decided to give the AP special status. The Planning Commission had been ordered to take steps to implement it. But this was ignored by the previous state government. The decision by the then Union Cabinet to implement the AP special status remained there until the file planning commission was abolished (1 January 2015). Keeping all these in view, there are no obstacles to granting special status to Andhra Pradesh."

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