Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Secretary and Andhra Pradesh affairs in-charge Sidharth Nath Singh on Friday ruled out the possibility of giving Special Category Status (SCS) to the State because it did not figure in the A.P Reorganisation Act (APRA).
While describing A.P. as a 'special State for BJP', he said the SCS, which is just an emotive issue, can be given only when certain amendments are made to the Constitution, the APRA and 14th Finance Commission. Getting these things done is almost impossible now, he asserted.
Addressing media persons after the State BJP's core committee meeting here, Mr. Singh said the BJP would not mind giving SCS but the Constitution did not permit it. However, it took special interest of the State and got funds released on the basis of work-in-progress.
Misinformation campaign:- “In spite of various forms of assistance extended by the BJP to A.P., a misinformation campaign was launched by its detractors. We know how to counter it and welcome anyone to challenge our claims with facts and figures,” he asserted. He said the 14th Finance Commission had dissolved the distinction between SCS and 'normal category status'. Consequently, 11 SCS states ceased to get the benefits thereof.
The BJP did not want A.P. to become the 12th special category state and released a Revenue Deficit Grant (RDG) of Rs.7,020 crore (Rs. 6,609 crore in 2015-16 and Rs. 411 crore for April 2016) out of a total sanctioned RDG of Rs. 22,112 crore for four years.
Mr. Singh further said there was no specific provision in the APRA whereby the Central government was mandated to extend revenue deficit grants to the successor State but because A.P. was 'special' to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it disbursed financial assistance as per the recommendations of NITI Aayog and by other means.
A special assistance of Rs. 6,403 crore, which is not a part of the APRA, was released as advised by the NITI Aayog (Rs. 4,403 crore in 2014-15 and the balance in 2015-16). Andhra Pradesh would have got Rs.1,70,686 crore devolved from the Central pool of taxes as recommended by the 13th Finance Commission. It went up by nearly Rs. 30,000 crore, to Rs.2,06,911 crore as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission.