In a blow to the poll promises made by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has ruled out the possibility of granting Special Category Status (SCS) to the state.
In a reply to Bihar MP Kaushalendra Kumar, Sitharaman said that there is no proposal under consideration of the central government to grant SCS to any state. Kumar had questioned Sitharaman about the government considering the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and some other economically backward states.
Sitharaman said that the centre was receiving requests for SCS from Odisha, Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, and Chattisgarh.
"SCS for plan assistance has been granted in the past to some states that are characterised by a number of features necessitating special consideration," said Sitharaman.
"These features include hill and difficult terrain, low population density or sizeable share of tribal population, strategic locations; economic and infrastructural backwardness and non-viable nature of state finances. Special Category Status for plan assistance to any state has been granted based on an integrated consideration of these criteria," she added.
Sitharaman also said that the SCS for plan assistance granted by National Development Council does not provide for any special measure for growth of industries.
SCS in Parliament
This reply by the Union Finance Minister comes in the backdrop of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy's resolve to get SCS for Andhra Pradesh. A day before the parliamentary session began, Jagan had told his 22 Lok Sabha and two Rajya Sabha MPs to put pressure on the centre to grant SCS to AP.
"Voters elected 22 of you as MPs and they expect that you will fight for SCS in Parliament. Raise the issue of promises made to AP in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. Ask them why the promises made in the Parliament are not being fulfilled," said Jagan.
He had demanded the same during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He had also reiterated the demand during the NITI Aayog meeting.
AP got a raw deal in the division and people of the state stayed deprived of a capital city though they opposed bifurcation, Jagan said at the meeting.
On June 18, the AP Assembly had adopted a resolution requesting the centre to confer the SCS with all financial benefits and industrial incentives without further delay. The Assembly had also asked the Union government to fulfil all provisions and assurances incorporated in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, in letter and spirit.