Congress MP Jairam Ramesh has charged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with misleading Parliament and people on the grant of Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh. He faulted the Union Minister for citing the 14th Finance Commission's recommendations as a pretext to deny the status to Andhra Pradesh.
There was no truth in the government's claim that according SCS was related to the Finance Commission, as the decision on granting the coveted status was vested with the government, he told reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday. “It is for the Centre to take a decision on the issue,” he said, adding that 11 States, including six ruled by the Congress, had enjoyed the status till 2015.
Mr. Ramesh said that the Finance Commission did not recommend abolition of the SCS to States. All that the Commission did was to increase the share of States in tax revenue from 32 per cent to 42 per cent. “That's all they did, and the government accepted the recommendation,” he said, adding that the Commission did not make any differentiation between the SCS and non-SCS States. The government was blaming the 14th Finance Commission and “that is a lie.”
Even the 14th Finance Commission Chairman Y. Venugopal Reddy confirmed that the Commission did not make any such recommendation.
He criticised the NDA government for failing to fulfil the assurances made in the A.P. Reorganisation Act, but for sanctioning an IIT in Tirupati and a NIT in Tadepalligudem after more than two years since the State was bifurcated. He alleged that the BJP and the TDP were resorting to “drama” in the name of SCS.
The Centre would have granted the status had the TDP genuinely fought for it. “Neither the TDP is serious about securing the status, nor the BJP willing to grant it,” he said. The TDP should come out of the NDA coalition if it were serious about the issue and all the political parties were ready to extend their support to the TDP in this regard.