Andhra assembly passes resolution for special status

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution urging the central government to accord special status to the state and to implement all provisions contained in the state reorganisation act.

The resolution moved by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and later passed unanimously by a voice vote also appealed to the central government to take steps to fulfill the assurances given by then prime minister Manmohan Singh in parliament.

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Making it clear he will not compromise on the issue of special status to the state, special package, tax incentives to industry and all provisions of the Reorganisation Act, Naidu reiterated that the state needs hand-holding by the central government till it achieves level-playing field with neighbouring states.

“This house unanimously resolves to request government of India to accord special category status to the state of Andhra Pradesh and further resolves to recommend government of India to implement all the provisions contained in the State Reorganisation Act and assurances made by then prime minister of India on floor of the Rajya Sabha on 20th February, 2014 which include fiscal measures like tax incentives to promote industrialisation and economic growth, special financial support for the new capital, special development package, release of balance grant to bridge revenue deficit, establishment of all education institutions provided in schedule 13, implementation of section 8, early completion of Polavaram irrigation project and all other commitments made in the AP Reorganisation Act and assurances made in the parliament to enable the state to achieve level-playing field on par with the neighbouring states,” the resolution said.

The chief minister Naidu, however, remarked that special category status has been diluted over the years and that it was not a solution of all the problems.

Naidu, whose Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is a partner in the National Democratic Alliance government, said his government had achieved some progress in its efforts to get central help for the revenue-deficit state.

He assured the house that he will continue to pursue the matter with the central government.

Pointing out that he visited New Delhi 17 times in the last 15 months, he said the state managed to get Rs.2,300 crore as grant to bridge revenue deficit. The state is yet to get another Rs.12,000 crore.

Naidu said the central government also provided Rs.1,500 crore in the first year for development of the state capital besides extending some incentives.

Quoting the 14th Finance Commission report, he said Andhra Pradesh will be a revenue-deficit state and hence needed all help from the central government.

He said the Finance Commission never said that Andhra Pradesh should not be given special status.

“We don’t have a state capital, funds, industry and jobs. Don’t compare us with other states,” he said, in an obvious reference to statements by some central ministers that no state will be given special status.

He recalled that then prime minister Manmohan Singh had announced in parliament that Andhra Pradesh will be given special category status for five years to bring the state finances on firm footing.

Voicing concern over some people committing suicides over the special status, Naidu appealed to people not to be driven by emotion.

Stating that bifurcation was imposed on the people of Andhra, he charged the then UPA government with dividing the state in an unjust manner.

He said 59 percent population was allotted 47 percent revenue. “For the first time 59 percent population of the state was deprived of the state capital.”

Opposition leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy lashed out at the TDP government for its failure to get the special status even after one and half years. He said Naidu failed to clarify why he failed to get the special status.

The YSR Congress party chief also wanted Naidu to mount pressure on the central government by fixing a deadline. “If the centre fails to announce special status in two week or a month, pull out your ministers from the central cabinet,” he said while blaming confusing statements of TDP and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders for the suicides.