Jaitley promises funds equivalent of special status to Andhra

Saul Bowman
March 8, 2018

Though the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that rules at the Centre, its leaders are protesting against the central government for "neglecting Andhra Pradesh".

Naidu made the announcement just hours after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed that it was hard to give "special status" to Andhra Pradesh.

TDP president and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is likely to set the separation process in motion beginning with the resignation of two TDP ministers Ashok Gajapathi Raju and YS Chowdhary from the Narendra Modi cabinet, reported the Times of India.

The statements made by the FM have apparently not gone down well with Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu and the party members.

Special, area-based sops were introduced by the Fifth Finance Commission to share the development cost of economically disadvantaged regions; hence the inclusion of the north-eastern and northern hilly states. "That is the reason we are pulling out of the government", he said.

On meeting the revenue deficit of the state, Jaitley said, "the Centre has already paid Rs 4,000 crore and only Rs 138 crore remains".

Highlighting the implications of the special status category, Jaitley clarified that instead of the conventional 60-40 contribution from the central and state governments towards central schemes; such states get a 30 percent advantage, as the ratio for this case is 90-10, with the larger proportion coming from the government. Mr Naidu said, "Andhra Pradesh is not getting its due under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act".

Late on Wednesday night, Naidu held a teleconference with his MPs and said he was upset with Jaitley dismissing AP's demand for special category status as a "sentimental and political movement" that can not be accommodated constitutionally. He said the state would have grown by now, had there been the expected cooperation from the Centre.

Naidu hoped the Centre would at least now respect the sentiments of people of Andhra Pradesh.

He said, "We are willing to satisfy every condition".

Pressed on the issue of more money for Andhra Pradesh in view of the political issue, Jaitely said that can not decide an increase or decrease in the quantum of fund. "However, in the last one-and-a-half years, we received virtually nothing under the package".

Earlier in the day, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley ruled out Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh, but added that the government was ready to give the monetary equivalent of it as a special package.

"Revenue deficit is for only ten months period".

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