Much has been said about Andhra Pradesh’s demands. The special category status demand tops the wish list of the people which is echoed by the political parties. The denial of special category status is now the bone of contention with people insisting on the Centre granting the status and the BJP leadership denying it.
On this, the TDP in the State had to finally toe the people’s line and go back on its compromise for the special package. This going back by the TDP had resulted in both the TDP and the BJP breaking their alliance. Now, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had raised a few questions to be answered only by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and none else.
Chandrababu Naidu played the video footage of Narendra Modi who addressed the people at Tirupati before elections and Amaravati after elections. He is now asking Modi to tell him why the special category status was denied when it is extended to the 11 States till 2027. When the special package was announced why was it not given directly like the North Eastern Industrial Development Package for the north east states till 2021.
The two questions are genuine and they are being asked by the people. The special category status was denied to AP on the ground that it is being withdrawn following the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission. Though the chairman and members of the Fourteenth Finance Commission denied having recommended so, people believed that the NDA government would withdraw it, particularly in the light of devolution of funds to the State in the GST. But, surprisingly, the special category status was extended to the 11 States till 2027.
The special package was offered as an alternative to the special category status and Chandrababu Naidu had agreed for it. The TDP and the BJP claimed that every benefit that comes with the special category status would come in the special package. Two years have gone after this announcement, but nothing was done. Now, the BJP wants AP to float a special purpose vehicle to receive the funds under the special package. There are constraints in floating a special purpose vehicle for which AP is not prepared now. But the issue is that the same government had extended special package to the north eastern States in the name of North East Industrial Development Scheme packed tightly with all the incentives without any requirement of the special purpose vehicle.
The big question now is when the special category status can be extended to the 11 States till 2027, why was it not given to AP? When the special package of incentives can be given to the north eastern States without any special purpose vehicle till 2021, why not the Centre give funds to AP in the similar manner?
The BJP leaders, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi should answer these two questions. Chandrababu Naidu had also asked one more question on the submission of Utilisation Certificates on the Central funds. He claims that the certificates were given and the Prime Minister cannot deny it. Let Modi react to it either in the Parliament or outside.