Centre No To Special Status To AP
New Delhi: The Union Government has made it clear in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that it cannot grant Special Status to Andhra Pradesh or any other State. The Government said Uttarakhand was the last State to get Special Status. The devolution of finances through Goods and Services Tax ( GST) would take care of the problems faced by small and backward States.
Speaking during the debate on the Call Attention Motion, Congress leader in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said Dr Manmohan Singh, as Prime Minister, had given assurance that the residual State of Andhra Pradesh would be given Special Status(SS) for five years. M Venkaiah Naidu who was in opposition at that time demanded SS for ten years. Present Finance Minister who was leader of Opposition in RS, Arun Jaitley also demanded SS. In the ensuing election campaign TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu had asked for 15 years of SS. The then BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi also supported the demand in an election meeting at Tirupati in 2014.
Azad has requested the Government to honour the commitment given by the former PM. Minister of State for Home Affairs Rao Jitender Singh said the Government is not in a position to concede the demand. Before that senior Congress Member KVP Ramachandra Rao demanded the Government to declare the date from which it is going to implement the SS. Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who drafted the Bifurcation Bill, pleaded that the Government should reconsider its stance on this demand. Another Congress MP T Subbarami Reddy also made an appeal to the Government to concede the demand. AICC General Secretary who is in charge of party affairs Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh also made a strong plea for granting of Special Category Status to AP
YSRCP Member Vijaya Sai Reddy said that the 14th Finance Commission never said that the SS should be abolished. It only said as far as devolution of funds under the GST is concerned there will be no distinction between Special Category States and other States. Naresh Aggarwal, SP, said more matters should be included in the Special Category.
D Raja of CPI wanted to know if the eleven States which were given Special Category are still enjoying the benefits or not. He said NDA Government should honour the promises made by UPA Government.
The Congress, YSRCP, CPM and CPI walked out of the House. Srujana Chowdary, now a Minister, and CM Ramesh, TDP Members who vociferously demanded SS when UPA was in power were not to be seen in the House when the debate on Special Category Status took place. TDP chief and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had given up the demand in lieu of special package which is vague.