No Special Category Status for Andhra, Anurag Thakur Says in Lok Sabha; Cites Finance Panel's Advice

Union Minister Anurag Thakur speaks at the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Union Minister Anurag Thakur speaks at the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Replying to a question raised by TDP MP Kesineni Srinivas in the Lok Sabha, Thakur said following recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, the category has ceased to exist.

Syed Ahmed
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Amaravati: Union Minister of State for Finance reiterated on Monday the Centre’s stand to not grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

Replying to a question raised by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP Kesineni Srinivas in the Lok Sabha regarding the criterion for special category status that Andhra has been demanding ever since it was bifurcated in 2014, Thakur said following recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, the category has ceased to exist for states.

Srinivas also sought to know if the Finance Ministry has received any proposal in this regard since 2014.

The Union minister said according to the standard criterion that has been adopted, special category status would be granted to only those states that fall under the hilly and difficult terrain, have low populating density or sizeable tribal population, are strategically located along international borders or face economic and infrastructural backwardness.

He said although the then prime minister (Manmohan Singh) had announced on February 20, 2014, that special category status would be extended to Andhra Pradesh for five years to put the state’s finances on a firm footing, the 14th Finance Commission had recommended otherwise and the category now ceases to exist.

However, the current Central government, led by Narendra Modi, is committed to support the development of Andhra Pradesh,” Thakur added.

The announcement came at a time when the ruling YSR Congress Party was planning to put pressure on the Centre through its 22 MPs in the Lok Sabha and two parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha over the issue during the ongoing Budget Session.

Earlier, both the YSRCP and TDP had dubbed the Union Budget presented on Saturday by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as disappointing for the state. Both parties decried non-allocation of grants that were long overdue to the state.

YSRC Parliamentary Party leader V Vijayasai Reddy said the budget was totally disappointing as the state got only an empty hand.

"There was no mention of the special category status to the state or various incentives. Neither was there a mention of the special grant for backward districts development nor promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014,” he said.

Noting that the Centre should have released more funds for the Polavaram multipurpose project, the Rajya Sabha member said they would raise the injustice done to Andhra with the Centre.

TDP politburo member Yanamala Ramakrishnudu blamed the YSRC government for failing to extract the state’s due from the Centre.

The faulty policies of the Jagan Mohan Reddy government have brought disgrace to the state, which has been in chaos because of the "inept" governance.

Though the YSRCP leadership boasted it would force the Centre to release more funds to the state, it has clearly failed as the Budget indicated," the former finance minister said.

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