New Delhi, July 27: The special status to Andhra Pradesh has been a hot subject of debate and had even promoted a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha recently. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu has been crying foul and says that the Centre has not lived up to its promise of according special status to the state. He even pulled out of the NDA on this issue.
The Centre on the other hand has said on several occasions, that ample grant has been released. G V L Narasimha Rao, BJP, MP in the Rajya Sabha says that the Centre may have not given the title of 'Special Status,' but has given 'Special Focus' to AP.
In his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha, Rao says that a propaganda has been unleashed against the Centre, by Naidu. There is mass scale propaganda coupled with mass scale deception, he also added.
There is an attempt to completely mislead a young state like Andhra Pradesh. I am proud to say that Central government has given special focus to AP as no other government has ever done. It is only because of the BJP that you have so many assurances and promises which have been fulfilled, Rao said.
Rao adds that the UPA had said that for the purpose of central assistance, special category status will be given to AP for five years as this would put the state's financial status on a firmer footing.
In March 2017, the Centre had said that it would provide special assistance to AP which will make up for he additional share that the state may have received. The Centre also assured repayment of loans and interest.
A day later, Naidu said in the AP council that by way of this special assistance, the Centre has given us all the benefits. Rao pointed out that Naidu even thanked the PM and government.
Naidu adds that the projects assured are already being implemented and the repayment of the loan burden has been accepted by the government. He further adds that there was a special measure given by the Centre and it was appreciated by the state. That package is on and when this is the case, where is the need for a special status. Why do they continue to provoke, Rao asks.
Rao further added that the CBDT in its September 30 2016 notification said that 7 districts of AP can avail tax incentives. This promise too has been kept. One must be reminded that all special category states do not have IT incentives. Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in 2014 did not have 100 per cent tax exemption for the corporate sector.
Rao also brought to the notice of the House that that the 14th Finance Commission had allowed Rs 2 lakh and 44 thousand crore and this figure is up by more than double by way of what the state was getting. Further AP is the only state to get a revenue deficit grant for five years. No other state other than the Himalayan states and those in the North East have this benefit. Naidu had estimated a package of Rs 16,500 crore, but with the grants by the Centre and the Finance Commission has got over Rs 40,000 crore.
Rao further added that of the four new industrial corridors, two pass through Andhra Pradesh. On the Chennai-Bengaluru corridor, we have Krishnapatanam as a new industrial city, which is being developed. The state was to acquire 12,000 acres of land, but have not been able to acquire even 2,000 acres. This project would create 6 lakh jobs in AP, Rao also pointed out.
He further said that the Vizag-Chennai corridor which is part of the east coast economic corridor would boost the economy and by 2045 create, 1.10 crore jobs, Rao said while quoting a report by the Asian Development Bank.
He further questioned the AP government's lethargy on the National Industrial Manufacturing Zone. Two districts in the state have got it, but the state has not moved forward. This can transform the districts, but I wonder why the state is not working on this. Is this not special focus for AP by the Centre, he also asked.
While telling Naidu to stop blaming the Centre for its failings, Rao said the Centre may not have given the title special status, but has definitely given AP special focus, Rao also said.
You can check out G V L Narasimha Rao's maiden RS speech here:
My maiden speech in Rajya Sabha lasted for 45 minutes. The TDP MPs repeatedly disrupted my speech (much against convention for maiden speeches) as I exposed the "Politics of Deception" of regional parties over the Special Status issue. Please do watch!!https://t.co/y2UynST6RA— GVL Narasimha Rao (@GVLNRAO) July 26, 2018