Hyderabad: In the wake of the 15th finance commission report, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the long-pending Special Category Status (SCS) for the state.
Reddy congratulated the Centre on its latest Union Budget, but expressed dissatisfaction at the absence of any steps highlighted for the Centre to grant help to the state. “The Union budget is good. But we did not get anything and it has caused displeasure to the people," Jagan said.
According to the 15th finance commission report, granting SCS to states does not fall within its purview. In light of this, Reddy made a renewed attempt with his letter, stating Andhra Pradesh's financial distress since its bifurcation. Telangana is getting more revenue, the letter states.
The chief minister stated that during the passage of the AP Reorganisation Bill, 2014, the assurance of granting SCS for five years to Andhra Pradesh had been made in the Rajya Sabha by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He said that the Centre had argued that going by the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, SCS had ceased to exist. In 2016, the Ministry of Finance had stated that the "14th Finance Commission Report has not taken into account any distinction between special and general category states in determining their norms and recommendations, and therefore this has the effect of making the concept of SCS invalid."
Due to this, Reddy said, the state government had approached the 15th Finance Commission, to avail their request.
On Tuesday, Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nani had asked the government for the special category status, in the parliament. In response, Union Minister Anurag Singh Tagore replied that the Union government had assured special category status for five years, at the time of bifurcation. However, he said, according to 14th finance commission recommendations, the assurance was not valid anymore.
In 2018, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) quit the NDA, days after two ministers from the party resigned from the Narendra Modi government following the Centre's refusal to grant SCS to the state.
When Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated, it had sought SCS on the grounds that it was at a disadvantage, since it would lose a significant amount of revenue as a result of Hyderabad going to Telangana, the new state that came into existence on June 2, 2014.