Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday reached out to Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and said that the government will stand by all its commitments regarding the funds that were promised to the state after the bifurcation. However, he also added that “sentiments do not define the quantum of funds” as the Centre has to look at a number of things.
Arun Jaitley said that the Narendra Modi government is ready to give the monetary equivalent of special status as a special package to Andhra Pradesh.
Addressing a press conference, the finance minister said that Andhra Pradesh had suffered a lot the time of creation of Telangana. The state was unwilling for bifurcation, and Telangana wanted the division. Andhra was suffering in terms of resources. Therefore some help had to be given to Andhra Pradesh. So, one of the promises was, the should be given special category status.
“What is the implication of special status? The special status used to be originally granted to states in the North East because they have their own resources that were inadequate,” Jaitley said.
“At that time, special category state concept did exist. But, according to the 14th Finance Commission, there is no special category status now to be given”.
“So, a special package for the state was announced, and we stand committed to it”, he said.
“We have paid Rs 4,000 crore towards revenue deficit to Andhra Pradesh, only Rs 138 crore remains. We are committed to giving the monetary equivalent to special status to Andhra Pradesh,” said Jaitley.
The finance minister said that they are willing to satisfy every condition of Andhra Pradesh, but the only variation is that after Finance Commission report instead of formally calling it a special category state, we are calling it a special package, which gives same monetary benefits that a special category state gives you.
The only benefit that remained for a “special category state” was the benefit of assistance for externally aided projects (90 percent grant from Centre).
“The government is ready for the 90-10 formula. The state has to tell us what manner it wants it in. At no stage has the Centre said that we will not give it”, he added.
Jaitley’s statement comes close on the heels of TDP hinting at severing its ties with the NDA. TDP is an alliance partner in both the Centre and Andhra Pradesh. On Monday, MPs from Andhra Pradesh had met Jaitley, however, the deadlock continued as the meeting failed to make a breakthrough.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Mar 07, 2018 18:48 PM