The Centre on Wednesday said it is “committed” to give the funding equivalent to special category states to Andhra Pradesh. The remarks came in a presser held by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on the issue of financial aid to Andhra Pradesh, the issue which has rocked both the houses of Parliament with the MPs of TDP, YSRCP and other parties form the state staging protest since Monday.
“We have paid Rs 4,000 cr towards revenue deficit to Andhra Pradesh, only Rs 138 cr remains,” Jaitley said, adding, “We are committed to giving funding equivalent to special category states and are waiting for Andhra Pradesh government to come back on option suggested”.
On the issue of special status, which TDP has been demanding, Jaitley said, “Special category status existed when Andhra Pradesh bifurcation took place, but the 14th Finance Commission abolished that concept”.
“All institutions promised to Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation are in the process of being set up… We are committed to giving monetary equivalent to special status to Andhra Pradesh,” he added.
Responding to the questions of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s promise of special category status to the state if his party comes to power, the finance minister said that the government of the day have to “follow constitutional award”.
The issue has also raised speculations about the continuation of TDP in the BJP-led NDA fold with its chief and state Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu saying that it will take a “right decision at the right time”.
Naidu also expressed displeasure over reports that the Centre was not ready to concede the state’s demands, particularly the grant of special category status and bridging the revenue deficit (for 2014-15 fiscal).
TDP is demanding three things – the grant of special category status, extension of industrial incentives on par with 11 other states and bridging of revenue deficit for 2014-15, said its finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu.
(With inputs from Kriti Mishra)